Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD.
[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks!]
Even from the start, it’s tough to woo the woman who becomes my beautiful brown-eyed bride.
Duh! exclaims Screen Three. Of course it’s tough when a person’s not in pursuit mode! And I’m talking about her.
Really not interested, yawns One, wincing as the tiny daughter soaks my shirt with post-breastfeeding bubbles from Travis’ winsome wife, Carol.
“You’ll like her,” Travis persists. “Think her son’s even in your youth group.” My second, more emphatic “no” apparently inspires Travis, because I’m rocking Brianna on a recliner in the Montgomery living room when this highly recommended Laura stops by to visit.
Timing entirely too coincidental, warns Four.
She lives across the street? scoffs Five. She just happens to run over to see the baby and chat with Carol?
One reports in. Laura’s hair and eyeglasses are smeared with flour. Claims she’s been baking Christmas cookies all afternoon.
That’s a plus, say Two, smacking his lips the way screens do.
Self-proclaimed fashion expert Three laughs. Baggy sweatsuit. Nice touch.
Travis enthusiastically introduces us and we quickly, politely nod. Laura turns to chat with Carol; Travis drags me to another room where he whispers urgently, “So, what do you think?”
Pirate! six screens roar. You gave our night to a complete stranger?
This is not a problem, soothes Screen One. Just make small talk, Black. Bore her to tears.
Yes, agrees Three. Tell her about your acting roles in community theater.
Bore her to tears, repeats One. Don’t put her to death.
Bring out the big guns, bristles Six.
Hold nothing back, agrees Five. Recite everything bad about yourself.
Wednesday arrives. My plan for Solo Sitting is set. Three hours later, from separate couches, Laura and I – having evenly split time holding our tiny cherub – stare wide-eyed at one another.
Stroke for stroke, marvels Four, she matched your bad boy commentary!
Travis “forgets” to mention to me he’d told Laura of his clever plan to connect us. He also forgets to mention her initial response: “Why on earth would we want to get to know each other?” But seeing that her negative response only amps Travis’ determination, Laura too, plans to hold nothing back and recite every reason why our getting together is impossible.
By our Third Wednesday of “shared parenting,” Travis and winsome wife Carol return to find us sitting at opposite ends of the same couch. Travis flashes a triumphant smile, well aware his plan for Potential Partnering is successful.
Slowpoke, laughs Six, derisively. She came over right after work in her form-fitting business attire, and I was a goner!
Four, who has long held his peace, speaks up. I represent the six of us, chief. We like this bright, professional, good-natured, and attractive woman. Ask her out. Do it tonight.
We agree to meet at a nearby New Year’s Eve dance for singles. Brilliant! asserts Six. No tough goodbyes when the night bombs. She’ll drive herself home.
Yes! affirms Two. And if Laura thinks little of you, she can easily slip away.
“You clearly don’t understand how this works, Two. You’re inside my head. Cheer for me.”
I arrive just two minutes before the dance’s posted start time. Slick, says Three. Not too eager, but still respectful of promised commitments.
My confidence doesn’t dip until I cannot remember what my date looks like, having seen Laura only three times, with her dressed differently in each instance. My damaged short-term memory pulls up no clear image.
Got it covered, Black, Six comforts. Just walk between tables saying her full name.
“Don’t know her last name,” I reply in panic. Six is unflappable. Not a big event. How many “Lauras” can there be? When she stands, ask her to come to your table.
The first Laura appears mildly interested but declines my offer, saying she’s with two friends. The second Laura shoots me a strange look and suddenly “must powder” her nose, which isn’t the least bit shiny. Defeated, I sit down at an empty table promptly filled by five nervous women. Conversation is tentative, intermittent –
And mighty awkward, declares Four, when that fifth woman bursts into tears and wails about her daughter’s arrest today for drunken pole dancing in the snow-filled streets of Toledo.
“Darn you guys,” I mutter to my screens. “Why can’t you help me locate the Laura? My eyes should have given you plenty to remember!”
Restate that last line, chief, urges Two. Sounds like you were scoping Miss Laura rather than admiring her.
Five fires back, We’re your screens, not your memory. You want memory, buy a flash drive.
Suddenly a beautiful woman stands beside me, her smile warm and inviting. I whisper, “Are – are you Miss Laura?” and her eyes dance. “Yes,” she quietly responds. “I’ve come to you because I know you have trouble with your memory.” She shows me where she and friend Patty sit. I move one plate at a time – trust me, I have several – to her table so as not to offend the women who kindly sat with a lonely bachelor.
We dance –
She dances, notes One. You do the Ohio stomp, a rather spasmodic and arrhythmic motion that produces noise but not much else.
– and Laura generously allows me to ask other women, whom I’ve seen sadly seated for much of the night, to come and trip the light fantastic for a song or two. Some of the faster numbers fall to Patty, who asks rapid-fire questions as she assesses my character to determine the safety of her dear friend and our potential for future happiness.
All slow songs belong to Laura alone. During these close encounters, our conversation is light, easy, intriguing. Surprisingly soon, notice is given for the “last dance.” I wonder how Miss Laura will handle this, especially because as the song concludes, our gathering will watch the famed lighted ball descend in New York City’s Times Square. Is a kiss appropriate? Do I shake her hand?
Sheesh, Romeo, mutters Three. Why not give her a business card? Tell her you’ll do lunch someday.
But Laura must leave before the last dance, having plotted an early escape with Patty. Though that isn’t necessary, such a getaway still avoids last-minute drama. I, stunned, murmur a goodbye and sit, flooded by mixed emotions.
Smooth, sighs Six. She’s gone and you set nothing up. When do we get to see her again?
My shoulder is tapped, so gently I almost miss the cue. I look up into the beautiful amber-brown eyes of Laura. She says something, but the boom of the song drowns her out. I ask her to repeat it, and she leans down.
“Would you be interested,” her warm voice tickles my ear, “in coming to my home tomorrow? I’ll make dinner.”
Postscript: Facebook, through a single viewer click, has the curious ability to breathe life back into something that’s come and gone. Last June, I posted a letter to my lovely Laura, celebrating our anniversary and extolling the wonder of being married to her ….
Eight years ago today, I stood at an altar and watched the most stunning woman, tangerine wedding dress flowing, draw near. The brilliance of those eyes, the promise of those lips, the strength of that mind, the warmth of her smile … all conveyed such Christ-centered love to a broken man.
I was overwhelmed at that luminous moment and, to my continued amazement, the “delight of my eyes” has shown herself to be even more these days.
I thank God (and His agent, Travis) for having placed you in my life, Laura M. Blackwell. Pray we do not old grow old together but laugh away the years more deeply, fully, wonderfully in love. Thank you for the honor of holding your heart close to mine.
Let me be yours forever, o beautiful brown-eyed bride!
A friend with whom I’ve recently connected found the message and the photo (which I’ve used as the lead to to this week’s column) on my Facebook wall and “liked” it, which drew the attention of many other friends who had missed (or ignored) the initial posting. Since then, I’ve had more “best wishes” from other readers than I received the first time.
The more I clarify that this cold December month does NOT include my anniversary, the faster the “congrats!” fly into my screen.
There’s just gotta be a way to use this “resurrection” feature to ADHD-vantage! (I wonder if it works on busted bodies and broken memories …)
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Were you mentally dismissing this teen? (Me, too!)