Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is a decision.

My marriage was supposed to last forever.

I was supposed to be the one to break the chain of dysfunction. Everybody in my family had divorced except me. I don’t know at what point I was committed to the marriage or just committed to being married. At some point the Taylors in fact and in fiction became blurred.

He was my butterfly. I met him at age 17 at a summer leadership camp before our senior year in high school. He represented his high school in Louisiana and I hailed from the Mississippi Delta. I thought he was weird. He wore blue suede timberlands in the summer time and listened to reggae music. I assumed that he must smoke weed too (yeah, I was country and uninformed about the world in many ways). Anyway. I ignored him for much of the camp, but sat by him on the bus trip back to the dorm rooms after the closing dinner. We held hand and he got hooked in my heart.

We went our separate ways and returned to high school. We were supposed to write each other. I began writing my letter to him in Ms. Oswald’s Economics class, but I never finished it. I almost forgot about him until I saw him again on the steps of Tougaloo College where I transferred my junior year. I recognized his face and said, “Hey, don’t I know you?” and he replied, “No, I’ve never seen you before in my life.” What a jackass!

He knew me. He came up to me later at a dance club off-campus and confessed that he did. We danced and reconnected. He was fine. He had been lifting weights all summer at UC Berkley and I could see his efforts in his black Girbaud jeans. We exchanged numbers. I may have called him once, but the sparks did not get to flame much before he went to Brown for a semester. I didn’t really give him much thought because I thought he was dumb. I never saw him with any books. He was always at the library with his headphones on and no books. He used to beg me for my French fries in the cafeteria. I always ate my French fries.

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