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Courting Gee

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The Courtship of Gee

During our first date, Gee told me she was flying out to Seattle in a week or so. She was going there to check out apartments for when she moved out to Seattle to go to school. She had applied to the graduate TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program at Seattle University, and was due to start in January. She was planning on moving out to Seattle in September. She said she'd call me once she was back from Seattle.

Almost a week after Gee got back from Seattle, she called me for a second date. During her trip to the Pacific Northwest, she had stayed at a youth hostel. Her roommate at the hostel was Sophie Heiman. Sophie was looking at schools in Seattle as well. She was a student visiting from Vienna, Austria. You'll hear more about her later.

For our second date, Gee had asked me if I liked old movies. I told her I did, so she asked if I would join her for a movie on the mall. She met me at my office and we walked down to the mall. I don't remember what the movie she had invited me to, but I do remember that the original movie wasn't showing... but the movie that was showing was King Kong. This was the original black-and-white King Kong with Fay Wray. So there we were, sitting on Gee’s Holly Hobby sleeping bag, watching King Kong... We laughed at the same things, often little things...found the same things silly in the same way.

For our third date, we decided to do the tourist thing...and go to several museums. We started at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. We then went to the Hirshhorn Gallery and walked to the Smithsonian Castle for lunch. One of the sculptures that we both loved was the giant typewriter eraser wheel and brush on the mall. While we were walking from the Corcoran to the Hirshhorn, we talked about our families and what we wanted for ourselves. I jokingly asked Gee if she would marry me. She said, "no, not yet." When I got home that night, I remember calling Brad, and telling him that Gee was going to marry me. He asked me how I knew...and I told him that her reply, "no, not yet" meant "yes, later." He thought I was crazy.

One afternoon, not too much later, I took the afternoon off from work to spend some time with Gee. We talked about her plans to move to Seattle and how she was going to do it. She told me that she was going to drive her car, a Saturn SL1, across the country towing a small U-Haul trailer. I told her that I didn't think it was safe for her to do that. She knew that I had a lot of long distance driving experience and had driven across country several times over with my twin, David. I had told her about the countless trips that he and I had taken together... and that he had been killed on a cross-country drive back to school.

We talked about her trip several times and I finally decided that the only way I could let this woman—whom I had become friends with, and was learning I loved—drive across country was if I went with her. I asked Gee if we could have dinner the following night.

We met at Bertucci’s, one of the places we had gone on an earlier date. During dinner we talked about her trip, and I told her, because of what had happened with my twin, I would only let her drive cross-country if I could go with her—otherwise I was going to make her fly to Seattle, even if I had to buy her ticket myself. I also, finally, admitted to her that I loved her. She then asked me, if I loved her, why was I helping her move 3,000 miles away, to the other side of the country. I told her, I was helping her move because it was what she wanted to do... even if it wasn't going to make me very happy... because I wanted her to never ever have any regrets about not going to Seattle, not moving like she had planned for so long. I told her I knew that if what I felt for her was true, the distance wouldn't matter.

We finally agreed that we would drive from DC to Seattle in my Ford Explorer, towing her Saturn on a tow dolly. I told her that I had had a bag in my twin’s car until just before he left for San Diego. He had finally convinced me to stay behind and then was killed a day later. I knew that if I let Gee go by herself and anything happened to her, I would never be able to forgive myself.

So, we planned. She told her parents that she was going to go to Seattle and a friend was driving out with her. Finally, they insisted on meeting her friend... and she hadn't told them that I was that friend. So, just before Labor Day weekend, with a hurricane just off the North Carolina/Virginia coast, we drove down to Portsmouth.

This was my first time meeting her parents. Part of the reason we were hesitant to tell them about my accompanying her was we didn't want her parents to jump to the conclusions that many parents would. The weekend went really well and I had gotten both her father’s approval to help Gee move as well as a request that I check out Gee’s new apartment and neighborhood for him. I was actually quite honored that he trusted me to look out for his eldest daughter.

A week later, two months from when Gee and I first met, we left for Seattle. The trip was something that I will always treasure. My father has a theory about couples and a good test to see if they should get married. His test is to have the couple go on a long drive (about eight hours) and see whether they're still getting along at the end of it... My dad also used to say that I sometimes take things to the extreme... six days, instead of eight hours... but Gee and I passed with flying colors, as you'll see.