People often ask me the same question:
What is it like to live with Melodee?
That’s a pretty big and deep subject, and there isn’t an easy answer. Like the old saying goes, it’s complicated.
But I’m going to try to tell you a little about what Life With Melodee is like in a series of postings here on Melodee’s blog.
This time, I’m going to talk a bit about the things that led up to Melodee and me falling in love. No, that’s not really correct, because I think we’d been in love for a long time before we admitted it to ourselves and each other.
As I said before, my two daughters and I were living at Melodee’s house, and everything was working out well. Melodee’s housekeeper, Maria, would watch the girls when I had to leave town with Melodee on trips, and if I had to go someplace alone, Aunt Melodee would take care of them. The girls learned sign language, both the standard ASL and Melodee’s own special version, much faster than I did. I chalk it up to them being kids and so information sponges.
Melodee was still dating other people, and it was still making me nuts sometimes. Yes, I was still rationalizing my irritation as being concerned about her safety. Yes, I still knew it was bullshit.
It was about that time that I noticed a change in Melodee. She stopped dating and became more withdrawn. She spent long hours talking with a man on the Internet in chat rooms and via email. I wondered what was going on, but she would deny that anything was wrong. I found out that the man she was in contact with was doing a tour of duty in Iraq, and then things got really weird. Melodee started asking me if I knew of anyone who could get her to Iraq to meet him. I tried to impress on her how dangerous that would be for her, but she wasn’t interested in any of that. She wanted to go.
I didn’t mention that the man was also married. Any of you who know much about the military will see the problem here. For a married officer, having an affair can end a career. Whether it was that fact or just that the man really is an officer and gentleman, he talked Melodee out of the bad idea of going to downtown Baghdad for vacation.
Personally, I think it was the latter that motivated him.
Just days after this all happened, we had a tour on the US east coast. Melodee hates to tour, but she went anyway, and she became more and more isolated. She snapped at everyone, and even walked out of an appearance. Somehow, she got past the security people and pretty well vanished for several hours.
I had gone back to the hotel to see if she was there, and was just about to call the local police when she walked into the room like she owned the place. And it was clear from the instant she walked in that she was so stoned that she could barely walk.
I’ve mentioned that Melodee has a history of drug abuse, but she had been on the wagon for about 4 years. When she fell off, she fell off hard. At the risk of getting an assault charge, I shook her down and found a rather large supply of drugs and the related paraphernalia. I also found the name and phone number of the pusher who fixed her up.
I doubt they will ever find him.
To make a long story short, we got her home, cleaned up, and back on her feet.
Melodee continued her contact with the man in Iraq, but he made it clear to her that he wasn’t going to leave his wife. You have to keep in mind that Melodee is used to getting what she wants. Call her spoiled if you like, but she was not a happy camper about that. She went off on him, and later, after she effectively hung up the Internet on him, she went off on me. And all I was doing was having a glass of milk before bed.
I had learned a long time before this night that the worst thing I could do when Melodee was in a mood like she was in was to actually say anything. So I just listened as she ranted. Actually, I watched, mostly. She was so mad that she couldn’t speak, so she used sign. At one point she said that the man had told her that she needed to find a good man who was available, and suggested that she go out with me.
I almost choked on my milk, at least at first. I had pretty well worked up my nerve to ask her out before she started her online dating affair, but then backed away. So, I decided in an instant that it was now or never.
I shrugged my shoulders and said, “So, would you go out with me?”
Melodee stopped pacing and stared at me for a moment before she signed, “What? Like on a date?”
I shrugged again. “No, not really a date. Just go out for a couple of drinks and dinner and maybe some dancing. You know…nothing about business, just friends out for a good time.”
She laughed. “Oh, like fuck buddies?”
I actually did spray milk out of my nose. “No! Just friends.” I’ll admit to more than a few fantasies about her.
It was her turn to shrug. “Sure, why not?”
We decided to go to the local tribal casino at Viejas the next evening.
We more or less avoided each other all the next day. I really don’t know if that was intentional or not, but Melodee and I didn’t see much of each other until it was time to leave at about 6pm. Maria told me that Melodee would be out in a minute, so I went to get the car. Truck, actually. A Ford F-250 with a crew cab. Melodee likes trucks. I pulled the truck up in front of the house and was about halfway up the steps when Melodee came through the door.
Before I go on, I want you to remember that I had been living in Melodee’s house for more than a year and working for her for more than 4 years. I’d seen her in everything from jeans and a tee shirt to evening gowns that cost more than the GDP of some countries. I’d seen her in swimsuits that weren’t much more than a few square inches of lace and some string to baggy sweatshirts and footy pajamas. And she has the habit of running around the house after she showers in nothing but a towel. I already knew that, somehow, Melodee made them all look good. Maybe I’m biased on that part.
She was wearing a yellow skirt that was far enough above her knees and tight enough that I couldn’t help wondering how she could walk in it. Added to the skirt was a black top that left like a mile of her waist exposed. She had her hair down to its full length just past the middle of her back, and she had added shoes that had at least 4-inch heels. Melodee is tall. She claims she’s 5’9″, but she’s closer to 5’10″. I know because I’m 6’9″ and the top of her head was level with my eyes. Not that I was looking at the top of her head.
I can remember that the only thing I could come up with to say was, “Hi.”
She smiled that dawn-breaking smile of hers and said, “Not tonight.”
We got in the truck and drove the 10 or so miles to the casino. I couldn’t even speak and I was afraid to look over at her for fear of wrecking the truck. As we walked through the casino to the restaurant, every man we passed stared at her. No, it didn’t bother me, but I still don’t know why. All I knew at the time was that I didn’t blame them.
After dinner, we went over to the nightclub in the casino, and we had a few drinks. Between the wine with dinner and the drinks at the bar, I was at least able to talk to her. Until then, I don’t think I had said more than a dozen words. I managed something like, “You look nice tonight.”
She smiled. “Thanks. I hoped you’d like it.”
“Yeah, I do.” I needed another drink. Or ten.
She laughed and flipped her hair over her shoulder. I recall wishing she hadn’t done that, because my mind sort of kicked into neutral then. “Are you going to ask me to dance or what?”
I honestly still don’t know how Melodee can dance. She’s totally deaf, but she keeps in time with the music somehow. She says she can feel the vibrations, but I don’t know. Maybe she’s in better tune to that than I am, but I can’t feel anything. But I asked her to dance, and we went to the dance floor. The band played two fairly fast songs, and we danced to them, only holding hands most of the time. Then, the band shifted gears to a slow dance. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and headed for the table, but Melodee grabbed my hand. She frowned and signed, “Where are you going?” Without waiting for an answer, she moved into my arms and wrapped hers around my neck. By now, my brain couldn’t find any gear, not even neutral, so I just followed her lead.
I had danced with Melodee before at various business gatherings. I often went to such events with her as her “date”, but I was actually her bodyguard. The fact was that this was different. Those past events were, well, business. This was pleasure. Before, I was focused on the crowd, watching the people there. Now, I was focused on Melodee.
As the song played (it was “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” originally by Aerosmith. Yes, I remember that.), it felt right somehow. Melodee rested her head on my shoulder, and she did something that, at the time, I couldn’t follow at all. As we danced, she pulled her right hand from around my neck and rested it on my chest, and was signing with her fingers. I couldn’t understand her, though, and I told her so. She just smiled and put her arm back around my neck.
After the song ended, we went back to the table, and sat down. I had my hands on the table in front of me, and she reached over and took them in her left hand so she could sign with her right. “I was trying to tell you two things out there. First, thanks for bringing me here tonight.”
I guess my brain was working a little better. “No, thank you for coming with me.”
Melodee smiled. “And it felt really good dancing with you.”
“I could say the same.”
She laughed. About then, the waitress came around, and Melodee changed from the mixed drink she had to iced tea, and I followed suit. I realized that I didn’t need booze to build up my nerve. I just needed to relax. Melodee wouldn’t bite me, at least not unless I wanted her to.
We talked and drank tea for a long time, sometimes taking a break to dance a little. As the night wore on, I think we both relaxed a lot and became more comfortable with each other. We also spent a lot of time just staring at each other. I won’t even try to guess what Melodee’s thoughts were, but mine were that maybe this attraction I’d felt for her for so long was something more than simple attraction.
It was after 1am when we decided to head home. As we waited for the valet to bring the truck around, Melodee held on to my arm and rested her head on my shoulder, and it felt great. As we pulled out of the casino, Melodee told me to take “the other” way home.
There are 2 ways to get between where Melodee lives and the casino. The fast way is to take Interstate 8 from the East Willows Road overpass to Highway 79. The “other way” is a dirt road called Viejas Grade Road up the mountain and through Descanso. So, I turned and made my way through the reservation and started up the grade.
It was a clear and moonless night, and there were at least a million stars in the sky. I’d known for a long time that Melodee loves the night sky, and it didn’t surprise me at all when, about halfway up the hill, she asked me to pull over so she could look at the stars. I pulled over on a wide spot and shut off the truck and the lights, and we stepped outside. Melodee fumbled in her purse and pulled out a little LED flashlight with a red lens, and we walked to the back of the truck and I let down the tailgate and spread a blanket on the bare steel. I lifted her up to sit on the blanket, and without thinking, I leaned over and picked a freeway daisy from the side of the road and handed it to her.
In the red light, I saw her face get a funny look, like she couldn’t believe that I was giving her a flower that didn’t come from a florist. For a moment, I thought that I had offended her somehow, broken some rule known only to women that said unless the flowers cost $40 a dozen, they aren’t worth having. But Melodee slowly smiled, and took the flower from my hand. She signed, “No one ever picked a flower for me before.” She slipped the flower behind her ear, and then patted the tailgate next to her. I sat down beside her, and she leaned against me. We just sat there for a long time, watching the stars and not speaking. We only moved to point to the occasional shooting star as they passed through the darkness.
I felt Melodee shiver, and I asked if she was cold. She nodded, so I helped her down and we got back in the truck. I started the engine and started to put the truck in gear, but she touched my hand. When I looked at her, Melodee took a deep breath and took the flower from her hair and put it carefully on the dash. She leaned over and kissed me.
Things got a little blurry after that. I know we set there in the darkness making out like a couple of kids at the drive-in for more than an hour. I can’t remember either of us saying much of anything, and truth be told, we didn’t get much past “first base”. What I do know for sure is that Melodee felt wonderful in my arms and her lips tasted delicious.
It was pushing 3am when we finally came up for air and decided that we should get home, and all the way there, we held hands and Melodee used the center seatbelt and sat next to me. I just parked the truck in front of the house and we went inside. We peeked into the girl’s rooms and they were both sound asleep.
All the way home, I had been wondering what to do when we got there. Okay, I’ll admit that I wanted Melodee. To this day, I have no idea why we didn’t have sex in the truck, but it seemed right just kissing her. Once we got home, I thought things would be different. I know there are some reading this who will fuss about my kids being in the house, but I wasn’t thinking about that.
I walked Melodee to her room, and she opened the door. She turned to face me and smiled, though it looked a little shy, something I had never seen from her before. She asked, “Would you like to come inside?”
I didn’t even think about it. It was like I had planned it all, and rehearsed the lines, and knew exactly what to say to her. I reached up and put my hand on her cheek. “No, we both need to think about this and what happened.” I kissed her cheek. “Goodnight, Melodee.”
I walked down the hall toward my room.
By the time I got to my room and closed the door, I was ready to kick myself. I don’t know how long I was in the shower (cold, by the way) before I noticed that I still had my socks on. But sometime around when I laid down and turned out the light, I realized what had happened.
At some point over the last five years, I had fallen in love with Melodee. The fact that she was acting an awful lot like I was told me that maybe, just maybe, she felt the same way.
I slept very well that night, and I had wonderful dreams about an amazing woman.