Nine years-its seems like a long time but it has flown by. Our story is probably more typical of current relationships than old fashioned ones. We both lived in the Raleigh, NC area. I met Gary Albin in a Yahoo chat room when they still had those. It’s probably a little equivalent to today’s Tinder app. Except this guy didn’t just want A/S/L…for those of you who have no clue, Age/Sex/Location. Yeah, don’t judge me. I was coming off of a bad divorce and not sure which direction I was going. I found a few people who would hold a conversation further than “what size are your boobs” and Gary was definitely the exception to the rule. He gave me his number instead of asking for mine and we ended up going on a date. An all day adventure date that started with lunch at Red, Hot and Blue BBQ in Raleigh, NC, a visit to the State Fair and even though I’m afraid of heights, he coaxed me onto several rides, a movie-we saw Taxi with Mike Myers and Queen Latifa and ended the full day with appetizers and drinks on the patio at Bahama Breeze. Ah, that patio at Bahama Breeze with it’s fire pit and amazing appetizers and the waiter who would always draw on our to-go box. I got my first kiss in that parking lot in Gary’s car. We dated for quite a while and he even helped decorate our haunted house at the apartments where I was the Assistant Manager at the time. Everyone loved him and he had flowers on my desk almost weekly and took me to amazing restaurants to eat and wined and dined me. And then he stood in my bedroom and said, “I want to date you and love you until I ask you to marry me”. And I broke his heart. I just had been through a whole lot with my divorce which is subject to a whole other blog. I wasn’t ready to settle down again and the worst part is I couldn’t bring myself to tell him this. He found out on his own, and we had a terrible break up that was my fault and to this day I have not yet laid eyes on his mother face to face because she knows how badly I hurt him. Don’t worry, we speak on Facebook and on the phone and have plans to go visit this winter or coming spring. There are other circumstances that have kept us from being able to visit in person, but Gary has seen her at least 3 times in our nine years of marriage.
So, I continued sowing my wild oats and we went our separate ways. He asked me back out one time and I agreed and then backed out. I just felt like I could never make it right and he was full of himself and loved to brag-at the time he had met John Mayer and held regular conversations with him. He loved who he knew and how much he made and I felt honestly undeserving of someone like that. I ended up losing my job and having to make a move back to Mississippi with my parents. Talk about feeling defeated. It didn’t end there-about the time Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans AND Mississippi, I was now managing a cute little 100 unit property and had moved back out on my own. I was dating a guy I went to high school with and he even helped with a generator for my company. Shortly after the storm and recovery I found out my high school friend still happened to have a wife he was married to. I had friends set me up on dates and floundered in relationships again. And then I got this email-I still have it in my Yahoo inbox-still have the same username…lol. It was from Gary but my ex’s name is also Gary so I thought it was him checking in on the kids, but it was “GaryK”. The kids and I had named him that after his middle initial to distinguish which Gary and it stuck. A simple email-how are you, how are the kids? And so began the emailing and the phone calls and the long distance relationship. I let him know he was the best thing I ever lost in my life and divulged that I had been physically sick for two days after we broke up and I regretted everything. More phone calls, emails and then a visit. He flew in from North Carolina to Mississippi and met my parents and stayed for a weekend which turned into planning a wedding. We started talking again in June of 2006 and were married October 21, 2006.
It’s been a crazy ride of blending a family. We clashed about the kids at times especially in the beginning and through the years, he has become a bit softer and I have become maybe a little more tough. You would never know he is a step-dad to Deborah and Nathan. He is an amazing father and a great husband and I’m so glad to say that more than anything he is my best friend!