I’ve done a lot of writing the last six months and after restructuring and rethinking the angle of my book, there are several stories that will end up on the cutting room floor. Before they do, I thought I’d share some of them here.
The book is largely about how I lived life at all the various weights I’ve weighed in my life. Some of the stories I’ll share here will be condensed or referred to in the book, so this is my chance to expand on the details a little more. I apologize in advance for perhaps boring you with all this, but I promise to only post these stories every other blog, at least for awhile. Thanks for indulging me.
This first story is about how I met my husband, Larry.
I met Larry in 1991 when I weighed 140 pounds. I was our local university’s campus coordinator for Habitat for Humanity. Larry, a biochemistry professor, was one of the group’s faculty advisors. We were friends, nothing more. Both of us were married and he had two young sons. It never crossed our minds that we’d find each other remotely interesting in a romantic way five years later. The only things we had in common were that we attended the same Presbyterian church and liked white wine. Larry was a runner, a scientist and had lived in two foreign countries. I worked out with Cindy Crawford videos once in awhile, had started but not completed a B.A. in English, and lived in three states, including a 3-month stint in South Dakota after I graduated from high school.
I don’t think I even said goodbye to Larry when I left Clarion in 1994 and moved the girls and me back to Minneapolis so I could finish my degree at Augsburg College. I was too busy being divorced, dating a man seven years younger than me, and worrying about weighing 160 pounds. By 1996, the girls missed their stepfather and I was concerned about raising them in an environment in which they had to lock themselves in our apartment from the time they got home from school until I got home from work. Carlene and Cassie had freedom in a small town, where they could ride their bikes and go to the pool and buy candy at the drugstore without being tethered to me like dogs. So we schlepped our stuff back to Clarion and I promised the kids we’d stay this time.
I weighed 180 pounds when I ran into Larry at a downtown coffee shop the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It was a deadline day at the newspaper. I was the features editor, and I needed a large Mexican Custapec. With cream, of course. The real stuff.
The place was packed. As I stood in line, I saw Larry having coffee with a few colleagues at a table 20 feet away. He had on a Burberry trench coat over a shirt and tie and Lands End dress pants. He still had a runner’s build and most of his hair. I wondered if I should say hello, but before I could decide, Larry looked up and saw me, and the grin on his face said he recognized me, even though I’d gained 20 pounds.
“Lynn!” he exclaimed.
He got up, and in what I thought was a very un-scientist, un-Larry kind of move, he walked into my space and embraced me.
“I saw your byline but thought that couldn’t be the Lynn Haraldson I knew. She moved to Minnesota!”
“Ah, but I moved back,” I said, laughing. His hug felt good. Too good because I recognized that safe and warm, chocolate-pudding feeling you get when you first really like someone, and I was not ready to like someone again.
I’d heard through the grapevine that Larry and his wife were divorced and that she’d returned to her teaching position at a private college in upstate New York. I was sad to hear they’d parted after 15 years. When I told him that, he thanked me but said it was for the best.
“I’m going to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving,” he said. “Can I call you when I get back?”
“I live on Wood Street,” I replied. “I’m in the book.”
He looked me up and called on Saturday. We made plans for him to come over to my apartment the following Saturday, which he did with two bottles of wine in hand.
He knocked on the door. I cracked it open and asked him if he was allergic to cats.
“No. Why?” he asked. I let him in and our cat ran toward him.
“This is Silas,” I said.
“As in ‘Silas Marner?’” he asked.
What? I thought. This runner scientist guy knows Brit lit?
“Yes, actually. You’ve read the book?” I pressed a little further as I hung up his coat.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I’ve read George Eliot, and Jane Austen, too.”
He opened the first bottle of wine and I put on “Tapestry.” He said he liked Carol King, too. This guy was batting a thousand. We sat on the couch and talked about where I’d been and what I’d done, and where he’d been and what he’d done. Before we knew it, it was 3 a.m. and we were both yawning. I walked him to the door and we agreed it was good to get reacquainted. Then, just as he’d done at the coffee shop, he leaned into my space, only this time he kissed me.