Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Story (Well some of it)

Our true cinderella story of how a young single guy buys a house and finds a wedding dress, moves across the country to meet a travelling nurse and falls in love. She moves home and  promises to come back someday. 5 years later after not seeing each other for 3 years, they run off to vegas in the dress he kept all this time that turns out to fit her perfectly and get married.

Part 1 - San Francisco Summer 2008

I bought a house in Grand Rapids MI back in 2006. It was a 100 year old three story owner occupied historic home in Heritage Hill. When I moved it, I found a designer wedding dress in the basement. My female friends insisted that someone would indeed be missing this dress so I attempt to find the owner, but I was ultimately unsuccessful.

In the summer of 2008, I moved to San Francisco CA. I didn't have a job or a place to live yet but I was staying with a friend Kate until I got on my feet. When I packed up the house, I once again came across the dress and decided, as any single guy would, that I should keep this dress as  you never know, it could come in handy.

I drove my BMW M3 across the country at extremely high speed; Like felony fast. At one point, I fueled up and drove at an average speed of 130 miles an hour for an entire tank of gas across the desert of Utah. I reached a speed of 173 mph and finally, had to fuel up again. I drove so fast, for so long, that this second gas purchase actually triggered a fraud alert on my credit card. As I was filling up, my phone rang, it was the credit card company. They asked me if I purchased gas at such and such, and am purchasing gas now. I said that indeed I am. They guy on the other end of the phone took a second, and said, “But how, thats impossible” I just laughed and told him I have a heavy foot.

I tell you all of this because there are windows of opportunity in your life and you never know what would have happened if you had or had not done something. I don't know what possessed me to drive that fast (well other than I really like doing it) but I was driven to get to California.

When I got to cali, I parked my car and Kate promptly informed me that I was going to a Giants game with her and some of her nursing friends. Sounded like an excellent plan to me! So we walked two blocks down the street to the Bus Stop (A local dive/sports bar) and I set down next to a beautiful blonde nurse. I don't remember what was said, but someone made a joke of some sort and this chick blurts out, “That was gay”. Now, I found this to be a bit odd, as I had just driven past a gay flag the size of texas waiving over the Castro so I said to her, “You must not be from around here”, she laughed and told me that she in fact was from Michigan. I regaled her with my story of just arriving from michigan and by the nights end, we were playing rock paper scissors, falling down drunk, making out and simply, causing a raucous.

This summer was in fact, the best summer of my life. I had meet my match. We were the life of a party and if there wasn't a party, we made a party everywhere we went. I think most days, we were oblivious to anyone else being around us, I loved her from day one.

We were driving up highway 1 just north of the city one day, and I am not sure why, but I looked at her and said, you know I have always wanted to date a girl named Mercedes, so I could drive a beemer and ride a Mercedes.... I expected to get punched but instead she laughed and said, well thats funny, I have always wanted to be called Mercedes, I love love love that name! So right then and there, we agreed she would go by the name Mercedes and most days I forget thats not actually her name.

We stopped at a gift shop in Point Reyes Junction and as we were perusing, we came across a bedazzled M (you know, the kind people get cause thats what there name starts with). I was going to buy it for her but it was missing a stone and besides, I didn't want it to be completely obviously I had fallen totally in love with her.

We went to the Point Reyes lighthouse and goofed off and then spent hours collecting small colored rocks on the 7 mile long beach north of the point. The beach is all pebbles and extremely steep and the waves were pounding that day. It was exhilarating running up and down, dodging the waves (any one of which could surely have swept us out to a most assured death) and at the end of the day, we were soaked from head to toe, exhausted, and happier than we had been in a long time.

We were perfect together but we both knew it wasn't forever. Mercedes was 23 and I was 31. Her contract was up in a couple of weeks and she was going home. I knew I had to let her go. We were shopping one day in the Height and we came across some rings. I bought one for her that she loved and she put it on her hand and said, I love you Tommy, one day, I will come back. I am gonna wear this ring every day until I do.

The day before she left,  I put on our favorite CD and drove up the 1 again to that shop and bought the M with the missing stone. I pried out a second stone and threw it in the ocean and wrote her this letter:

You were “born” just north of Dogwood CA on our rock collecting/fast driving/wave dodging trip. We found this M moments later at the epicenter gift shop. I wanted to buy it for you right then, but it was missing a stone and I thought it would be way too obvious I had completely fell for you. Well know that you know, I decided you must have your “birth” charm. There are two stones missing now.

I would like to think that even though we aren’t together, they are off playing and having a wonderful time. When you get back, we will find them and fix your M. Hopefully they are playing on a far away beach so we can hunt the beautiful places of the earth together looking for them.

I folded the necklace in the letter, gave it to her and said goodbye.

Part 2 - The Dress 2008 to 2012

In December that year, I moved back to Michigan and once again, I came upon the dress. I again considered why the hell I own this damn wedding dress and again decided that what the hell, I have brought it this far, I might as well keep it. So back it went to Michigan.

Now you would think that this is where Mercedes and I get back together, but its not. I really don't know why, but its not. She came to visit me one weekend and had a surprise waiting for her. When she got there, she found the wedding dress, a bottle of Laurent Perrier Rose champagne, and a ball gag laid out on the bed. We got a great laugh out of it, opened the champagne and she held up the dress. I think this will fit she says. She tried it on and sure enough, it was as if it was made for her! I put on a suit and we decided to go out on the town with our friends and pretend we had just gotten married! It was a blast. People were buying us drinks and we simply were transported back to our summer in SF. Not a care in the world. Just us again. At one point, I tripped on the train and fell down a flight of stairs and went through a window, later that evening, i was standing on the train and she took a step back and fell through my buddy Dans Noguchi coffee table! Amazingly we didn't get seriously hurt, we were on top of the world and invincible once more.

That weekend went and we saw each other a few more times over the next year, but then I moved back to California. Over the next three years I never saw her again. We chatted from time to time on facebook, we dated other people but always, she was in the back of my mind, and Mercedes wore that ring every single day.

When I moved to California the second time, I again found a now tattered box containing a wedding dress. I considered finally giving it away, or just throwing it away, but I couldn’t. That dress reminded me of Mercedes and the times we shared. I packed it up along with the collage of photos of us that she had made me, and back to SF I went.

The collage is important because one day I was tired of waiting for her to come back to me and decided, I was going to do something about it. Most of my friends back in Michigan had never met her, and they werent sure to believe this story or not. This was also around the time the movie Lars and The Real Girl was out. We used to joke that we should show up to my buddy Dwights house in Michigan with a blow up doll in the front seat and her hiding in the back to play a prank on him.

I was commuting back and forth to michigan from SF at the time and, one day, I went out on lunch and bought a blow up doll. I dragged this naked sex toy all over the city recreating all the pictures in the collage. I eventually bought her clothes and got really drunk! People loved her, I would have total strangers take our picture, they they wanted their picture and to know the story. I dragged that damn doll all over the city for two days! The best part might have been meeting my co-workers at dinner at Bacar (an upscale restaurant in SOMA). After striding in with my “date” to stunned silence, slack jaws, and building nervous laughter, the manager soon approached and suggested that perhaps my “guest” would feel more comfortable in the coat check! We about died with laughter so I checked my date and enjoyed a wonderful meal. One of my coworkers decided to join us for the evening and a great time ensued. To be honest, it was so much fun, it was as if the real mercedes and I had gone out. The next time I saw her, I gave her this album and its still one of my fondest memories.

Now back to the dress. I was racing my boat to Hawaii in the SIngle Handed Transpac and then delivering it to Seattle last year. Once again it came time to move. I have since become simpler with my possessions and decided to take most everything to good will. I was standing in the back of a U-haul with the dress in my hands and asked the guy if he would take a wedding dress. Absolutely was the response. I was handing over the dress, and said you know what, I’m sorry, I’ve changed my mind and I packed the dress in the back seat of my car.
I headed to Alan's house for a going away party and my friends found the dress. Lots of questions came up like, why the fuck do you own a pretty princess wedding dress? I told them the story and soon everyone was trying on the dress. We took pictures and I sent them all to Mercedes. It didn't fit anyone and she laughed and said, well, I guess it is meant to be my dress after all.

We got to talking and decided it had been way too long since we had seen each other and she bought a ticket to come see me in Seattle in a few months. We talked about the dress and remembered how much fun we had the last time we wore it out and planned to do it again. But then I don't do anything half ass, so I thought, lets just take this one step further, lets have a fake reception; dancing, cake, the whole bit. The best part of a wedding is the party right? I was thinking wedding crashers epic!

A funny thing happened, we started talking about cakes and dresses and tuxes and stuff and all of a sudden, I realized I didn't want to do this anymore. I realized I loved her too much to pretend to be married to her. I still had this seed of hope that someday we would get married for real one day. Now, bare in mind, we were not the marrying type. I was a bit of playboy and Mercedes has exclaimed to her family over thanksgiving  how she would in fact,  NEVER be getting married. So we talked about it, and we both decided that it was probably a bad idea so I cancelled the cake and the band (the wedding dress was already at the cleaners so nothing could be done about that).

But I wanted this trip to be epic, one that we would never forget and then it dawned on me. Vegas. Neither one us had been (because we both know better). I double checked her flight itinerary and booked a surprise trip to vegas for while she was here. I could not wait! Keeping the secret, it turns out, was very hard to do! About a week before the trip, I was having dinner with Keith and Michelle (who agreed to come with us to Vegas) and we noticed a pair of cowboy boots as decoration in the bbq restaurant we were eating at. Michelle casually mentioned to me that it looks like they would fit me, so I slipped off my shoes and tried them on. Sure enough, the fit. Well, these boots were made for walking, and walkings what they did. We were so excited that they would be perfect for vegas that I stole them! (I did try to buy them but the kid behind the counter was not of the decision making level so I vowed to bring them back off they went to vegas). It was like being a kid again and I was so jazzed, I called up Mercedes and told her that I stole these boots and they are gonna be perfect for vegas... as I hung up the phone I realized what I had done and texted back that it would ruin the suprise if she listened to my message so she deleted it.

Well some time went by and I we both started dating people in our respective cities, and as the trip drew nearer, for a hot minute, I kinda wished she wasn't coming. I was starting to really like the girl I was seeing and surely this trip to vegas would mess things up. It was a tuff call, on one hand, I love Mercedes, I always have, but it had been three years since I had seen her and nearly 5 since our summer in SF. That love that once made me ill when she left was more like a love for a sister. On the other hand there was this new relationship that I was really excited about. We were clicking really well. So I told her about the visit and she said, “so basically, you are going to Vegas to get really drunk and have crazy sex for a weekend and you planned this before we started dating?” I said, “Well, that pretty much sums it up I guess”. She said, “Well, have a good time, kissed me and told me not to forget my condoms, then asked if I would need a ride home from the airport.” I was speechless. I dropped her off at the airport as she was heading to Utah for a few days.

About a day later, I realized, I have a serious problem on my hands.  It was great that she was ok with Mercedes coming to visit, but both women were supposed to be at the airport at nearly the same time this Friday! Now its one thing to be ok with the guy you're dating to run off to Vegas for a weekend with some chick, its another thing entirely to have to ride in the car with her. I told Mercedes about the problem and she asked me if Katie was ok with her coming, I said sure thing, “when I dropped her off at the airport she said to have fun in Vegas and dont forget your condoms!”..... the cat, as they say, was out of the bag!

Part 3 - The Trip December 2012

Friday came and I decided I could pick up Mercedes, take her home and go back and get Katie. Well Mercedes told me the wrong time and the wong airline and Katie’s flight got in early! Both women ended up at the airport at the same time! I picked up Mercedes and took her to my place. I had Katie take the light rail downtown and picked her up there and took her home. So far so good!

I finally got back to Mercedes and after an hour, she asked me what was wrong. She said I was acting funny. It was true. I was being cautious. I knew that if I let myself go, that if I gave into my feelings, I would fall hopelessly back in love with her, that things would get messy and that I most likely would cause myself a lot of heartache when she left me again at the end of the weekend. I told her this and I have to be honest I don't remember what she said, but about 30 seconds later it was too late. It was hopeless, there was no resisting her, everything I have ever felt flooded back just by admitting I was afraid for it to happen.

We started getting dressed for the xmas party that evening and she slipped on a stunning red dress and did her hair in huge springy golden loops. It was this moment in time I realized, that waiting for a women to get ready is somewhat of an annoyance but well worth it! She was so beautiful, I vowed to never bitch about the time she spends getting ready!

The rest of the story, is bit x rated, but it involved a lot of drinking, sex in public places, getting married at 1:30 am, getting kicked out of a vegas casino, getting matching tattoos, doing ectasy and basically having the time of our lives in Vegas. When it all wore off, we wondered what the fuck we had done, but decided that we are perfect for each other and have decided to make it work and it was the best decision we have ever made.

We do a bunch of puzzles now, stroll the beaches in St Thomas looking for rocks/shells and still manage to party like rock stars from time to time. :-)

This is the M I bought her, the rocks we collected that day and the actual letter. She kept them all this time.

1 comment :

  1. Holy cow....that really is a movie! What a cool story, and your friend is should be made into one. LOL

    I guess the dress was just meant to be...

    Thanks for sharing the story, it is truly unique.

    You guys definitely lead a much different lifestyle than my husband and I...LOL I have never done a single ounce of any kind of drug and actually never even knew what pot smelled like until I was 25 years old. I was not a fan. LOL As for drinking, I have been drunk once in my entire life. It was the first and last time ever. I had only been 21 for a few months and had a New Year's Eve party at my house for a couple of friends. Well, by the time my best friend at the time got off work, the other 2 people we had invited were already too drunk to come over. But, unfortunately my friend and I drank all the alcohol I had bought anyway..just the two of us, and it wasnt just one type of alcohol either which a novice drinker like me didn't realize is a majorly BAD idea! LOL At about 5:30 that New Year's morning I started puking, and I literally did not stop until well after 8 p.m. that night!!!!! I had no idea at the time about alochol poisoning, but I'm sure I probably should have died that night. I vowed right then and there that I would never drink again to the point of being the slightest bit drunk, and I have kept my word for 17 years now. LOL

    I will have an occasional drink every now and then (maybe once every 6 months or so), but it's always a "foo foo" drink like a strawberry margarita, or a fuzzy naval.

    So your party lifestyle is foreign to me, but certainly entertaining. LOL

    Thanks for sharing.