I opened the exterior door to the dorm and out of habit, looked inside the hall. There, in front of my dorm room door, about 30 feet down the hall, sat the bouncer with his head back against the wall. His hands were clasped together and his knees drawn up to his chest. He was just sitting there. When I saw him before he saw me, I knew right then that I loved him and we would get married. That's what I wanted. I just needed the space and freedom to choose that. And now I had.
I heard the door close behind me and so did he.
It seems my entire life has been a series of doors that close and prepare the way for the ones that open. It's only in maturity and life experience that we learn that those openings and closings are part of the circle of life. When we are young and have our whole lives before us, we can't really understand how it all fits together, can we? How in the world would I ever have been able to learn that lesson from someone trying to tell me while growing up? I've been spending a significant amount of time these past 2 weeks thinking about the various phases of my life and those doors. The hinges have had their share of workouts, that for certain. There hasn't been one time in my life - not once - where there wasn't another door waiting ahead of me to open.....or at least for me to explore and try the knob. Some I have passed by with regret, some without. Others I have tried and opted to keep closed and others have I flung wide open to feel the fresh air and taste the scenery.
When I saw The Bouncer sitting there in that hallway, I knew the choice I was going to make. I didn't fully understand how it would all fall together but the one thing that I did know is that I wanted whatever was inside of me from that moment on. I was connected to it - regardless if I was with The Bouncer or not. I wanted to have that baby.
He looked up and the expression of relief on his face betrayed any emotion that he was hiding. He jumped up and came towards me with arms outstretched. There was no awkwardness or embarrassment - only true affection and joy to be in each other's hugs. I unlocked the door to my room and we sat right there on the foot of that single bed. After we went through the formalities of him wanting to know why I wouldn't answer the phone and him not being able to wait because it was just too important - we got down to me sharing the events of the past 24 hours. He held me tight while I recounted the bad dream at the
clinic pro-life blackmail center. I shared how I sat in the parking lot for hours and how I had the answers right in me the whole time, I just needed to give them space to come to the surface so I could see them.
We decided to move the wedding up. We knew that telling both of our parents would be troublesome at best. His father and my father had lots of water under the bridge and held little respect for each other. They worked together long ago and had lots of friction between them. I remember us joking about this being a "Hatfield & McCoy situation but we knew what we felt and were moving forward. We guessed that we could plan a wedding within 8 weeks and realized that the dreams of a large, elaborate wedding would probably be lost to the necessity to be married sooner. I knew that there were going to be casualties of dreams and expectations and I figured that I'd take it one step at a time.
A few days later on Friday evening, we both sat holding hands at the kitchen table of my parents. I remember The Bouncer saying to my parents that we wanted to get married and I remember my father saying, "Why? Are you pregnant?" and The Bouncer looked my father straight in the eye and said, "Yes, she is."
I don't remember the exact words that were exchanged but it wasn't pretty. I felt betrayed and rejected by my parents. Having two decades behind me of parenting, I know that their embarrassment took over because my mother was an expert at discussing other young women's indiscretions and mistakes and now it was going to be her turn to be the topic of those discussions. That didn't set well with her. I'm certain there were some accusations about being irresponsible and thinking with a dick and not a brain but I knew that we had been careful and I didn't even try to defend myself. It was useless. The bouncer plainly and calmly said, "We'd like to get married and have everyone participate and be happy about it or if not, we'll just do it ourselves."
My mother just sat there crying - the poor, pitiful victim that she was. She demanded that I explain why I was doing this to her...why I was ruining not only my life but hers as well. Oh, the drama. When The bouncer said it didn't have anything to do with that and that we had already planned to get married - we were just moving the wedding date up....
That pissed my parents off and my dad got up and the door slammed on his way out.
The Bouncer and I stood up and he said, "It's a lot to digest. I know. I want you to know that I love your daughter and we will make this work. I hope you'll support us."
Then we both got up, walked through the door that we gently closed behind us and got in the car and drove away.