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It was his world, I was just living in it.

Issue Date: Monday, Sept. 18, 2006

Speaking of buffalo, I have a little story. What? We weren’t talking about buffalo? Yessss (yeth?) we were. Weren’t we?

Either way. Do ya’ll remember me telling you the story of dating that very charismatic man-child in college? Let’s go back a little shall we? (I can actually hear the Kerr Krew rolling their eyes. Stop it ya’ll. These people want to be entertained.)

This man-child’s name was Mike Gibson. Oh hells to the yes, I am going to use his real name.

I met him through a friend of a friend. Mike and his family had just moved to Texas from California and you could just tell, he wanted to be a cowboy in the worst way. He wore boots and jeans and was very handsome. But no matter how he tried… he just didn’t fit the cowboy role. He had a horse, but still… no dice. How he carried himself and his cadence of speech fairly screamed cityboy.

He sauntered over to me one Wednesday night (while I was telling dirty jokes… at the bar… in between dances… with my friends (mainly guys)) and asked me out. I nodded and asked him when. He said, “Saturday night.” And walked off smiling.

By the time Saturday had rolled around Mike had called me and backed out on our date. I gave him a verbal shrug with the patented, “Whatever.” the first time, so the second time he called I started getting pissed. “Look, Mike, if you want to go out, fine, that is totally cool, but if you don’t… that is okay too. Your loss, but just do us both a favor and make up your mind so I can make other plans if you are going to back out.” He countered with, “Well, I really want to take you out… it’s just that I don’t date women who are already taken.”

“Pardon me?” I could not believe my ears. Already taken, my ass. “And just who am I supposedly taken by?” I asked him. “Troy. He told me you two were an item.” “Well shit.”

I called Troy and gave him a verbal lashing and asked him to go clear things up. Now that drama was part of the mix, I was intrigued.

Mike picked me up Saturday night in his black Ford F-150 extended cab (see? Poor thing wanted to be a cowboy) and took me to dinner. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and the dinner seemed to take all of 45 seconds when in all actuality it was over two and a half hours. We talked and laughed and joked and on the way to drop me off he asked if I would like to go to the park. I said sure. As soon as we pulled up to Pecan Park (FYI… They have Awesome swings there.) it started to drizzle.

I asked if he minded if I smoked. He said no, so I cracked the window. He told me, “Sue, you really shouldn’t smoke you know. It is bad for you and sort of looks trashy.” Little did I know, this would be the first of many “you shouldn’ts” to come from Mike. We sat in the cab of the truck for a little while; him talking and me smoking (purely out of spite) and then he got serious.

“So,” I asked, “what brings you and your family to Texas… and how in the world did you find Stephen F. Austin?”

“Well,” he started, “I was going to school at Loyola Marymount. I had a full ride for voice when my parents decided to move to Texas. My brother still goes to school there, he was the one who got me the audition for the scholarship… but when my parents said that they were going to move to Houston, I wanted to come along. Our family is very close.”

“Wait. What?”

“Our family is very close.”

“No, no… got that part… the other. You were at Loyola with a full ride… on a voice scholarship… and you dumped it to come to SFA?” I am sure I blinked several times. As this is how I show my disbelief. It is endearing. Shut up. It is.

“Yes, I had a scholarship to Loyola Marymount for voice. Opera.”


“Here, I’ll show you. I’m going to roll down the windows because it might get a little loud. Is that okay?”

And ya’ll? The man rolled down the windows as I flicked my smoke onto the blacktop of the parking lot and turned towards him. He opened his mouth and the purest angelic loudest most nipple hardening baritone belted forth with Ave Maria*. A Capella.

*scroll down and play the Andrea Bocelli one.

When he was done, I whispered, “No. Fucking. Shit.” It was my way of eloquently saying “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude.”

We started dating from that day forward. We had the “exclusivity talk” only days past our first date and then it was on.

The happy couple.

I was loud, crass, fun, a dancing fanatic, a smoker, taller than him and had curly hair. Mike’s perfect woman was everything that I was not. Small, blonde, quiet, polite (What? I was fucking polite.), was to be seen and not heard, prim, proper and had straight hair. So, I see ya’ll asking yourselves, “Why in the hell were ya’ll dating then?” And I? Honestly do not have an answer for you.

Although, he was hot and looked like a young Al Pacino. Oh, and I loved his dog… Mousse. She was a chocolate lab.

Mike was not the best dancer, and ya’ll know how much that meant to me. He was charismatic and could talk me into almost anything. Yes. Anything. He wanted to ride bulls or broncs (see also: time he was mad at me for riding better than he did) and would use my fear for his safety as a bargaining chip to get me to quit smoking. He would ask me to tone down my humor and my voice when talking with our friends.


And. He had a tendency to throw chairs.

Mike’s mother was 100% Italian and his father was 100% Irish and… let’s just say that he had a bit of a temper.

He had me so trained that I was even embarrassed of my own family. MY FAMILY. Of course they didn’t take it seriously. I can remember the evening that his folks were coming over to my parents’ house for drinks and to talk about our futures. (Pardon me for a moment while I guffaw heartily.) Our futures, Puh-Leeze.

Anyway, we were all over across the street at the neighbor’s house having dinner and waiting for the Gibson’s to show up. Mrs. D was (and still is) a fantastic cook and a great decorator, and that evening we were having bar-b-que so Mrs. D rolled up some bandannas for us to use as napkins. As the drinks flowed and the dinner wound down the time for the Gibson’s to show was coming closer and I was watching out the window like some cocker spaniel waiting for her master to come home.

My mother, my father, my sister and the rest of the D family all decided that they were going to use their napkin/bandanna as doo-rags to meet the Gibson’s. I was mortified. “Ya’ll, please take those off. And for the love of all that is holy, stop throwing gang symbols. We live in SUBURBIA!... Gah! I am so embarrassed, I may throw up.”

I can not even tell you how the rest of that evening went. I may have passed out from fright. I am not sure.

Back at school I was never seen by my girlfriends. “Where’s Sue?” “With Mike.” “Gah.” “I hate that guy.” “Me too.” “Well, if she’s happy…”

I wasn’t happy ya’ll. I was miserable. I was quiet for almost a YEAR. Me. Quiet. I stopped smoking, I never joked with my friends, I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my guy friends unless Mike was there. I was a Stepford girlfriend.

We went out with our “couple friends”. One night my friends Lisa and Cully asked us over to their apartment to have dinner and drinks. I had known Cully since he was practically a baby and Lisa for a year or two before I even met Mike.

We had dinner and were hanging out at their apartment. The tv was on and we were talking and drinking and the movie Dances with Wolves came on. Mike sat transfixed on the television screen with the intensity of a thousand fiery burning suns. Personally, I thought it was rude since we were there to visit and hang out with our friends, not to watch a movie and shush people when the dialogue was a little low.

Seriously, he shushed the host and hostess. Come ON.

I finally had enough and asked him if we could get going. He looked up at me like I was insane. He said, “I am watching this movie, Susan.” He totally spoke in italics like that all the time. He had a total flair for the theatrical.

I politely pointed out that he could watch the movie later as our hosts were ready to go to bed as Cully had to get up at five in the morning. He didn’t even flinch, just kept on watching the movie. So Cully, Lisa and I started talking again, he asked us to please be quiet. I said, “Mike, it is just a movie…” And he yelled back, “But it’s my HERITAGE, SUE!” I blinked and then pointed out, “Mike, sweetie, you are Irish and Italian. This is about American Indians.” And then I walked out the door.

I think that was the beginning of the end. He seemed like such a caricature of a person to me. Not even real. But he knew how to push my buttons. He had this whole entire thing about fighting for our relationship down pat. And we would fight, Lord, would we ever fight. I cried more then than years later when I was going through my divorce. He had this hold on me and it didn’t break until one morning.

By then I was living in an apartment off campus. Lisa (of the Lisa and Cully fame) was my roommate and Mike, and his roommate Steve, lived in the same complex, just down at the south side of the building.

I woke up one morning and felt this hole where my heart should be. I felt hollow, used up and very tired. I kept saying to myself, “What am I missing?” I felt heavy and weak. “What am I missing… why don’t I feel whole?” And then it dawned on me. It was already 11 a.m. and I hadn’t cried yet. I was missing that burning feeling that I would get in the back of my throat when I was trying to fight the tears.

I broke up with him that day.

I had lost myself and I knew that I had to get back to the person I once was. Happy, joking, laughing, dancing, carefree Susan. Not this jittery, nonsmoking, miserable shell of a person who hung her whole self worth on some guy…And a fucking SHORT guy at that.

The feud was bitter and long even months after we broke up. He started rumors and would drive by my apartment every time he left his just to see what I was doing, he would beg alliance from my friends to turn against me. They would look down at him and say, “Mike, please, we knew Susan first, and we like her better than we like you.” It was an ugly battle, but it was worth it.

Mike kept one friend, a person that he met after we broke up. That person introduced Mike to his cousin. Her name was Fern. She was quiet, shy, timid, blonde and was normally seen and not heard. Mike talked Fern into selling all of her worldly belongings, including her grandmother’s antiques, and moving out to California with him to get married. She went. I often think about Fern and wonder how she is.


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To understand this dear reward (above) at all, you must hie thee on and read gatsby’s grape ape entry and my comments.

And because of said comments he sent me my very own dream turtle in an email titled wee gift with these words attached, “my purple monkey is booked solid so i ordered you a tangerine turtle. hope he proves helpful.”

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