A Scandalous Story of Love: Filled with What?!



I didn’t know Duff was a holiday scrooge until our first December in North Carolina arrived.

I broached the subject of procuring a small pine tree.

You know…to decorate with handmade ornaments and cover in festive lights.

He seemed at best uninterested.

The word ‘hassle’ may have been tossed around.  Perhaps he questioned the whole tradition and wondered if it was a ‘waste of time’.

I was pretty presuasive back then though. Still am. ;)

He dutifully came along and managed to help me shove a meager evergreen specimen, generously spilling forth needles, into the back of our Civic.

We carried it up the flight of stairs into our cozy apartment, and after much effort, managed to erect our first Christmas tree in a newly purchased stand.

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A Scandalous Story of Love: The Year of the Rat

I had decided after taking several neuroscience/neuropsychology classes that the brain completely fascinated me.

I signed up for a two-semester independent study my senior year, working in a rat lab with one of my favorite professors .

I attended surgeries where probes were inserted into the brains of female rats to measure the release of dopamine.

We tested the rats’ chemical responses to different stimuli for months at a time.

Rats are naturally nocturnal animals, behaving more actively when the lights are low, therefore studies were conducted in rooms illuminated with red lights.

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Scandalous Story of Love: Jobs, Kids, and Automobiles

Junior year came to a close in the spring of ’94.

Duff and I planned to spend the summer in Boston subletting an apartment with a few friends from school.*

We found the perfect second floor apartment, near the intersection of Commonwealth Ave. and Harvard Ave., and moved right on in.

I secured a job at the Pizzeria Uno Restaurant right across the street and began my waitress training.

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A Scandalous Story of Love: Intentions

I had reached that point in the relationship when I was ready to get married and have his babies.

But mercy!  You can’t just come out and say that to a 20 year-old college boy!

Talk about the top ten things you don’t say to your boyfriend!

Seriously though, I couldn’t live without him.

He was perfect for me.

He was everything I was not.

He was spontaneous, bold, and logical.

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The Scandalous Story of Love: Kissing Disease

It was November of 1993. I hopped onto the stairmaster at the gym for my afternoon workout. My legs felt noticeably weak. I wrote it off as one of those days when you initially feel fatigued. I just needed to push through. Get warmed up a little. But I barely finished my routine and headed back to my dorm, legs still terribly heavy. Later that evening, my throat grew sore. I peeked in the mirror to discover a few white spots on my tonsils. Clearly I had strep throat.

I considered the possibility that I might need to visit the infirmary come morning. Perhaps get a rapid strep test done and pick-up some antibiotics. The sun came up, and I could scarcely swallow. I scooted into the bathroom and visited, my friend, the mirror.


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A Scandalous Story of Love: Gram and Gramps

Junior year at Boston College began for us in the fall of 1993 with all of our money pooled together in a joint bank account. The morning air grew crisper and the trees around campus began to turn breathtaking shades of yellow, orange, and red.

Autumn was my very favorite time of year. I loved walking across campus in just a sweater and jeans, sun warming away the slight chill. I delighted in the deep blue sky of autumn, a backdrop for the leaves twirling and dancing their way to the ground. I had a bounce in my step and a flutter in my stomach. I was unspeakably happy and content.

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A Scandalous Story of Love: Joint Account

Duff and Kell

As the spring semester of our Sophomore year came to a close, we decided we couldn’t spend the summer apart. We began searching for inexpensive summer sublets in Boston. While we would have loved to find a cute little apartment for the two of us, I was troubled by the obvious potential for upsetting our families.* We decided on separate apartments, just across the street from each other, on Commonwealth Ave. Now we just needed summer jobs to pay for rent, grub, and leisure.

I planned to continue working at the School of Nursing, where I had worked throughout the school year. The pay wasn’t great but I liked the people and it was convenient. Picture me riding my red Huffy ten-speed along Commomwealth Ave. towards Boston College. I would jump off my bike, lock it up in front of the gym, and race up the longest set of continuous stairs ever. I would arrive for my office job doing clerical work, gasping for breath. The girls I worked with would ask all about “my man” and beg to meet him. I took Calculus that summer and conveniently had Duff available as my private tutor. It still baffles me to this day, how he made sense of it all! (The Calculus, that is!)

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A Scandalous Story of Love: Secret Lovers

Duff and I decided without a doubt we wanted to be together. I gradually became convinced that everyone would see the big picture. We were all adults. We wouldn’t be in college forever. We wouldn’t be bound to this group of friends for much longer. If Duff and I were destined to be a couple and live “happily ever after” it was worth the short term awkwardness. I figured we would give everyone a little time to digest the news of the recent break up before going public with our status.

We began with the best of intentions. We would limit our time together. We would play it cool for a while and hang out with friends. Get absorbed in our school work.

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A Scandalous Story of Love: The Break Up

Winter break came to an end and the guilty verdict soaked into my conscience. I headed back to college to start my spring semester of Sophomore year with my mind a complete jumble. I needed some clarity about this situation. I needed to reach some conclusions. The tiny analytical portion of my brain would need to come through for me and preserve normalcy once again by balancing the overbearing emotional side of me.

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A Scandalous Story of Love: Guilty

After a couple of days spent relaxing, skiing, and shopping, Mike and I made plans to attend a friend’s New Year’s Eve party. It would be a gathering of Mike’s old high school buddies. I only knew a handful of these people and was relieved when Duff called Mike to say he’d be there.

This was great! It would be just like old times! The three of us hanging out having a good time together. Mike and I obviously a couple again. The ring on my finger. There would be nothing left for Duff to speculate about. After tonight it would be evident that my bold overtures that last night in Boston were purely whimsical.

We arrived at the party ready to bring in 1993 with a raucous crowd of college aged coeds. It promised to be a wild night. I grabbed a beer and mingled with acquaintances while Mike quickly assimilated with his cronies. Spotting Duff’s familiar face through the crowd melted away my uneasiness. I crossed the room to greet him and received a wonderfully strong embrace. What was it about his hugs? They always made me feel so important.

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