Story Seed: Christmas and You
a Behind the Book piece by Caitlyn Willows
Christmas and You is a story about three lovers who reunite after fifteen years. All stories start with a seed. In this case, the seed that grew Christmas and You was a life event that happened to me many years ago. No, it wasn’t a menage, and I won’t name names. But here’s what happened…
It was early summer when I met him. I was a single mother. He had a three year old daughter and was going through a divorce. To say the relationship we had was hot is an understatement. It was wild, crazy, fantastic, and all the things associated with head-over-heels for each other. And I feel hard. The months rolled by and he moved in. He confided in friends that he intended to propose when his divorce was final. He came from a family who wouldn’t have approved of what we were doing — living together while he was still technically married. So when Thanksgiving rolled around, he visited his family alone, stopping along the way to see his daughter. He called me two weeks later on my birthday to tell me that he had decided to return to his soon-to-be ex-wife because he missed his daughter too much to stay away.
I would like to tell you that I took the news like a champ. I didn’t. I was devastated, beyond heartbroken. Then I was furious. I gathered up all his possessions (military uniforms included), dumped them into a pile in the extra room, and poured perfume all over everything. I rampaged his jewelry box and tore up a love note I found from his ex. When he arrived five days later (in her car) and saw what I’d done, he said he was so sorry, gathered his things, and kissed me good-bye. Within two months his wife was expecting again and I had met the man I was destined to be married to for the rest of my life. Yet he still managed to give me “those” looks and the occasional touch that meant more than it looked like. Military orders finally sent him and his family elsewhere.
Fifteen years later military orders sent him back. I ran into him. We’d both changed, of course, but when my eyes caught his name tag I stopped. We hugged right then and there, causing the friend who was with me to ask afterward. “WTF, who was that? More than a friend, so don’t lie.” I asked him how his family was. He laughed and said, “Well, I have a new family now.” He’d divorced the other one (which had been his second wife) and was now on Wife #3 with two more children, equally five or six children from three or four different women. And yes, circumstances kept throwing us in each other’s paths, the looks and touches started again. One time right in front of my husband, who laughed about it when I explained the history.
The sting of it all has never gone away. But clearly, the Universe was watching out for me. I definitely got the better deal. My husband and I have been married for almost 36 years.