May 22, 1980
I’m mostly settled in my apartment. I have furniture, I’ve been able to get some new clothes, and a job. I’m working in a deli department at Market Basket in the deli department. I like it because I’ve actually been able to take the later shift, which will allow me to take classes in the morning.
Melanie knocked on my door yesterday, and obviously I had to welcome her in. Don’t get me wrong, from a purely selfish standpoint, I’m so happy to see her. I just worry about her level of attachment. She’s in the bathroom taking a shower, and getting ready for us to go out. I had planned on going to see The Empire Strikes Back which opens today, and then when she showed up. I assumed those plans were out the window, but she surprised me and said she’d go with me.
I discovered Star Wars in the early 90s as a small kid—my Aunt Amy had rented Return of the Jedi while watching my sister and I, because it was the only Star Wars movie available, and I was instantly hooked— then when I went to middle school, and high school, it was clear that Star Wars seemed pretty niche, and only the nerds liked it. I have been under the assumption that this has always been the case, but it turns out Melanie loved the first movie, and is just hoping that the second one doesn’t ruin it. My only concern now, is not mouthing the lines along as I watch it, or even worse saying “I am your Father” before she, or the rest of the audience find out, but I think I can control myself.
I have been able to keep myself busy, trying to not think about Melanie. I had made a couple of friends even.
The guy who had sold me the couch and helped me carry it back to my apartment, his name was Al and he was a married guy with a nice wife Whitney, and two kids. When he saw my embarrassingly barren apartment, he told me they were going to cook some hot dogs and hamburgers, and invited me over for dinner. I’m sure it was more awkward for them than me, I was just so happy to have something so ‘normal’ going on.
Whitney recognized the starvation for contact in me, and invited me to their Memorial Day cookout, which I plan on attending. After seeing Al and Whitney a few times since, Whitney had told me that she had a friend who I had to meet. I had used Melanie as an excuse as to why that wouldn’t be a good idea. Her response was to tell me to bring her around the next time she came up to visit. So, I’m actually having them over for dinner tomorrow night. I bought a charcoal grill a couple of weeks ago, and will do the cookout thing for them now.
One of the perks of working in the deli has been my placement. I hadn’t done it on purpose, but the Market Basket that I was working at, was on my father’s delivery route. He was delivering for Coke, and once a week, when I walked in for my shift, he’d be stocking an end cap. I always made sure he didn’t see me, this wasn’t my plan for how to meet him, and I didn’t want to be ‘the deli guy’ to him.
I was amazed at how young he looked. He was always pretty shy when it came to the camera, and there weren’t really that many pictures from this time period. His mustache, which I always remember as being perfectly thick, a real man’s mustache, isn’t that yet. He has more than a boy’s peach fuzz, but it’s a much more youthful, thinner mustache, and it’s strange for me to see.
He smiles at every customer, and every employee who walks into his view, but isn’t overly talkative. This is pretty much in character for what I know.
I’m 5 years older than him, and this is the first time I’ve seen him looking like an adult, but looking younger than me, and every week it messes with my head. It’s also intrigues me, because my parents meet this year, and while I know, my father is 21, and my mother is 19, seeing this young man and realizing he may already have met her, makes it hard to fathom. He’s almost a different person than the man I knew. I’m really proud that they were able to grow from ‘kind-of’ adults into full grown adults together. Every week when I see him, and think about that, I think about Melanie, and while I don’t know if I love her, or could love her, I long for that with someone.
The blow dryer just stopped, so I need to finish for today. Even though there is this huge level of worry, and guilt about my relationship with a woman who is like 30 years older than me, in an unnatural time, I have to admit, I enjoy every moment with her. Also, I’m really excited about the chance to see Empire in theaters. I have never seen any of the original trilogy in theaters before, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the original cut of any of the original trilogy. I suspect tonight might be my best night of 1980 so far.