Just the Way I Quit Smoking Part III of Several

Get it together, Amber. 

You had a past before you met him. 

In fact, I had been seeing someone else, vaguely. A tall, well-proportioned Trinity alum with a booming voice and personality to match. He was fun to sing songs with, but I likened it to dating an oversized child. He wasn't ready for a single mom. It was ending. But I saw him the night of my Meet Cute with Mr. Wonderful, on the snow-day. Still grasping at straws. Ever the optimist.

Of course - my Mr. Wonderful had been seeing someone else, too. This is Adult Life.

So, when he asked me back over again that very night, I went. And I sat on his bed criss-cross-applesauce Adult Style, and said, "I have to ask."

Yes, we dated casually. Then it turned into more of a friendship for us both. We didn't even kiss Saturday night when I made her dinner. I think she wanted to give it one more chance to see if we changed our minds. We didn't. We even spent the night together, she in her bed and me on her couch. 

Mr. Wonderful gave me the serious face.

Look, I'm not looking to hook up. I'm in my thirties. I've done plenty of that. I'm looking for something meaningful, real, with a future. 

And then he came over to kiss me. So, that was resolved.

See, it would have been so much better if he'd just told me the opposite, given me a chance to agree to keep it casual. Then maybe my heart wouldn't have latched on. But that wouldn't have been any fun; that wasn't the way he played the game.


January trudged on and we had text-marathons when Stella was with me ( words like "Miss you, cuz" made me melt) and spent every moment together when Stella was at her dads.

We played round after round of the board game Aggravation with his roommate, a boisterous Seventh-Day Adventist with a drinking problem.

We ate more sushi, met some of his friends for karaoke. We walked into the bar, and I felt like we were the best-looking and luckiest couple in the joint. I hated to leave his side to go smoke.

Cigarette. Breath mint. Body Splash. Back to him. And he was so understanding. It was snowing that night when we got back to his place. He grabbed me from the passenger seat and carried me over the snow and over the threshold of his apartment doorway.


Sweet Stella, circa Superbowl Feb 2014
The weather melted into an early February Superbowl. I had Stella that weekend, and my parents had invited me over for a Superbowl party. Could I bring Him? It was way early for Mr. Wonderful to meet her. Way too early.

Mr. Wonderful played hide-and-seek with Stella in my parents hallway and he kept lifting her up over his head, to her amusement. We barely watched the commercials, much less the football game.

When my phone alarm sounded at 9:00 pm, I went to take my birth control bill.

"Mom, is that your gum?!"

I turned bright red. We all laughed to the point of hysterics. I saw the look in my mother's eye. She was a fan of this, Mr. Wonderful and me. She looked at me in that way your mother looks at you when she knows you're happy.


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