I do not know if you know this about me or not (I’m guessing you probably don’t because most people in the world couldn’t care less about my personal life) but I once had two girlfriends at the same time.
It is the kind of thing that Tony Curtis can make look cool. But Mickey can’t. You see, the whole nasty, sordid matter happened completely by accident, and I did not do any of the terrible things I did… well, intentionally.
To understand how this all happened, you have to understand that I was about as awkward a hobbledehoy (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hobbledehoy) as it is possible to find in a modern world no longer considered Victorian in nature. I had been molested as a child, and had my share of issues. I made the character of Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory look like Don Juan by comparison.
I truthfully did not understand why young women would be interested in befriending me. I had a pronounced tendency to address my need for female companionship that was not of the sister-variety by chasing after women I knew for certainly would only respond by running away from me screaming bloody murder. There are mutant women out there so mousey that you can’t even look at them without making them flee. That was the type I set my sights on. I needed to try… but I also needed not to succeed.
Ysandra was definitely not in that category when I first laid eyes upon her. She was working at our school as an instructional aid, mostly helping translate Spanish into English and vice versa for the ESL students who didn’t understand more than ten or twelve words in the language I was hired to teach them. For three years she was in and out of my classroom, translating and helping, and making my life generally easier, though she was in the other English teachers’ classrooms more than mine. I don’t know why I automatically assumed that if I worked up the courage to actually ask her to go on a date with me, she would run away in terror. But I could not have asked her that question without assuming it would be exactly like that. I was not courageous in the face of success. I had been on three dates before that point in my life, and they all proceeded from the fact the woman involved was afraid to commit to anything more than letting me pay for her movie ticket and sitting two seats away from me with an empty seat between in the movie theater. I would not have been able to handle it otherwise. But Ysandra, it turned out, was not like that. She was an aggressive Hispanic woman with an agenda. Divorced once already, and determined never to let a man make her do anything she didn’t want to do ever again. But there were things she wanted to do that would make me nauseous and even faint.
At the same time as Ysandra’s terrifying acceptance of me, I was busy mentoring the first-year Reading teacher across the hall. Abigail MacNutly was a robust blond girl from Wisconsin who had gotten her first teaching job in deep South Texas, and was in for the same kind of slam-a-frying-pan-in-your-face sort of culture shock I had experienced three years before. I discovered, to my chagrin, that this out-going, vivacious, and enthusiastic young lady not only had a lot in common with me and needed to rely on me to make her way in the world of teaching, but she also lived in the apartment next door to me. And she had no compunction whatsoever about knocking on my door late at night and asking to borrow something for her apartment with no furniture in it, and then inviting herself to watch TV with me in my apartment. You know what all the old ladies in the neighborhood that watched both of us constantly would say about that! And when I tried to tell her that I was not comfortable with that arrangement, she would use her thousand watt smile on me and convince me that I was too nutty to be believed. She even told me that her grandmother (whom I met when she moved into the apartment next door) had told her she needed to marry me so that she could settle down enough to make her life work out better than her mother’s had.
So, here is the set up for a horror story of monstrous proportions. I was a child-man with serious issues about the concept of intimacy. I suddenly, within the space of a week at the beginning of a new school year (1984-85) had acquired two girlfriends. One I had thought I was chasing, and one who was obviously chasing me. It has the makings of a long and totally unbelievable tale that I not only can’t complete in only one post, but can’t possible get away with not telling. So be warned…