Remembering Tara

I’m ashamed to admit that the majority of posts I’ve made in this weblog have been of a cynical nature. That was not my intent but is a window into what motivates me. Those who are close to me would tell you that I’m not a negative person on the whole, although I do tend to have a problem with self-esteem, but that I tend to over-analyze things. I am a worrier, through-and-through. You could consider this tending toward pessimism, but I look at it more as being realistic.

One by-product of this “accentuating the negative” approach to writing on my weblog is that I have left out many precious and joyful experiences in my life. These “Kodak moments” are cherished by me, emblazoned in my mind for eternity. However, I have neglected to share them with you, the reader. For this, I wholeheartedly apologize. I vow to make a concerted effort to go back and fill in the gaps of my history with those more-positive happenings.

One such omission, and perhaps the greatest neglect I have made thus far, is the experience I had with my first wife, Tara. I did archive the events that led up to my union with Tara, but I approached them from the position of a spurned ex-husband, which is what I was at the time of writing about them. (And, frankly, still am to an extent.) But what resulted in a marriage between Tara and me wasn’t just happenstance. It wasn’t merely an outcome produced from some random intimate tryst. True, our initial meeting was expected to be a one-nighter by both of us, but the events that followed were more common with how most couples fall in love.

Please understand that I am writing this twenty years after-the-fact and my memory isn’t completely clear as to the order of the events that took place. I am sure of one thing, though. Tara and I fell in love. Initially, as I recall, I was working at Osco drugstore in Orem, Utah, while attending Utah Valley Community College over the summer. Tara was working at McDonald’s in Provo, Utah, while attending UVCC, too. After our first union, which I have written about elsewhere in an archived post predated to the time of the event, I approached Tara and asked her to go with me on a date.

We went on a picnic, hiking a bit up one of the nearby canyons. We hit it off quickly, talking for what seemed like several hours about our lives, our aspirations, and our dreams. We were two peas-in-a-pod, Tara and I, for we seldom disagreed and never argued. Other dates followed, hiking in other canyons, visits to Lagoon (an amusement park), and several dinner-and-movie dates. We were, in most respects, an ordinary couple falling in love, albeit at a rapid pace.

For me, it was love at first sight. I was enamored with her vibrant personality. Her smile comforted me. The way she laughed at my corny jokes made me feel like a million bucks. In addition to that, Tara was very flirtatious. She had a way about her that every woman could learn from. She wasn’t overbearing with it, she just had looks, and touches, and moves that were merely magnetizing. I found myself quickly falling in love with her. There was nothing confrontational about our relationship.

I found myself doing things for Tara that I’d never done for a girl before. During our courtship, I moved from the complex where Tara and I had met to a condominium near to Brigham Young University, and attended school there. Whenever Tara visited me, I went around the condo making sure everything was clean and organized. I spent more time grooming myself, before seeing Tara, than I had ever done previously. Also, I cooked for her on a couple of occasions, which is something I’d never done before!

Tara and I were very affectionate toward one another. We walked about; arm-in-arm, holding hands and staring at one another like there were no other people in the world. We had different likes and dislikes, but we accepted that. Our conversations were fluid, and we accepted and validated each other’s opinions, without accusatory judgment.

Because Tara and I are Mormons, we shared guilt about having pre-marital sex. That is something which is contrary to the doctrine of our Church, and something that prohibits a couple from being married in a Mormon temple. Our relationship was getting to the point where the prospect of marriage was being thought about. Consequently, we decided together to attempt to quit having sex until when (and if) we got married.

It was around this time that Tara and I both began working for NICE Corporation, an outbound telemarketing firm. For the most part, we shared the same shift hours, while continuing to attend school. Therefore, we spent a lot of time together. Our commitment to not having sex grew increasingly difficult. Some nights, we slept together, while not engaging in sex. The situation of us spending so much time together, coupled with the fact that we had a past of having frequent sex, made it unbearable for us to continue our vow of chastity.

During the period that we abstained from sex, Tara went off of the birth control. The thinking was that she did not need to take it, for there was not going to be any sexual activity taking place. When we found ourselves having sex again, it was an unplanned occurrence, and we didn’t even use a condom. What we did do was the pullout method. Now, let me tell you that the pullout method doesn’t work, for I have had three children using that method. But at the time, it seemed like a good idea, horny as we both were.

Once we began having sex again, we didn’t stop. The frequency was higher than before. We often cut dates short or left social gatherings, so that we could engage in intimacy. Up until that time, I had never experienced such a passionate relationship as the one I was experiencing with Tara. It certainly seemed like nirvana to me. We were so in love with each other that we completely forgot about our Church’s doctrine and did what seemed like something pleasing toward each other.

We often expressed our love for each other. I told Tara that she was greater than any other woman on earth. To me, she was the most physically beautiful woman. But, my love for her went far beyond that. She demonstrated a lot of concern for me, worked hard on making our time together enjoyable, and possessed very pleasing ladylike attributes. We praised each other. I felt like I was the most special man alive to her, and I feel confident that she felt treasured by me. Finding no flaw with Tara, I grew to love everything about her.

We enjoyed life together as if we were inseparable. We longed to be with each other when we were apart, calling each other often, and rushing to meet each other at every opportunity. Tara and I were like-minded. That is, we enjoyed spending a lot of time alone together just talking and sharing the happenings of the day. We were genuinely and unequivocally in love.

At that time, my father was making an addition to his cabin in Island Park, Idaho. I was on break from school, so I went there to help him. We poured the foundation to the addition during an early snowfall. I remember one of the cement trucks got stuck and another one had to pull it out. It was during that episode when I told my father, “Dad, I think I want to marry Tara.” He responded, “Well, you better be surer than just think.” I told him that I had misspoken and that I was certain I wanted to marry her. He said that she seemed like “a really great gal” and that he was happy with my decision.

In the weeks that followed, after I returned to school, Tara said that she was considering moving to some state in the Midwest (which state, I cannot recall). She wanted to pursue a career as a travel agent, and there was a school there that she was interested in attending. My heart sank when she told me that. I thought that I would lose her if that happened. There was nothing that I could have imagined worse than that, for I loved her dearly. I began looking into the schools in the area that she was talking about, to see if I, too, could move there.

In hindsight, I have to wonder why Tara was considering moving to attend this school, given the closeness of our relationship. Perhaps she was getting a bit scared at how close we were becoming and felt the next step of marriage coming upon us. Maybe Tara was worried about the “immoral” nature of our relationship, as it was against the doctrine of our Church. Perhaps she just genuinely wanted to become a travel agent and that school was appealing to her. I simply don’t know why she just sprung that news on me, without preparation. I’ll probably never know. What I do know is that I was willing to do anything it took not to lose her.

Then it happened. A few days after the surprise announcement of the travel school, Tara called me with another surprise, a big whopper to be sure. Over the telephone, she told me that she was pregnant. I could tell from her voice that she was very distraught over it. She sobbed as she asked me, “What are we going to do?” I told her, “We’re going to get married, of course!” She said, “We can’t get married just because I’m pregnant.” I explained to her that this wasn’t the reason we should get married, but because we were in love with each other. She said that she would have to think about it.

I remember walking around the condo where I lived, from the kitchen to the living room to the hallway and back to the kitchen, repeatedly. As I did, I thought of what a fantastic happening this was. I felt that God had blessed us, even though we hadn’t followed His gospel principles, and that we were entering a new and important phase of our lives.

After walking around that circuit for what seemed like a thousand times, pondering upon the future, I heard Tara coming in the front door. I went to greet her. She was in tears. Tara told me that she felt like she had done something very wrong in her life, that she had ended up being the failure that her mother once told her she would be. I assured her that this is what mother’s do, in moments of anguish, and her mother had a lot of love and faith in her. I told her that this was a moment to celebrate and not feel sorry. I spoke to her for a long time, filling her full of hope for the future of us together, with a beautiful baby. At that time, I felt that love would conquer all.

Tara wasn’t immediately agreeable to getting married, though. She wanted to ponder and pray about it. It took her several days before she agreed to marry me. In that time, I arranged for a proper proposal, one that I hoped would impress her. We had at one time looked at wedding rings, and I remembered one she was especially fond of. I purchased it. Then, I set about to make a creative proposal.

I got an egg-timer and set it in a little cardboard box. Then, I decorated the box to look like a bomb, complete with pipe-cleaners for wires and all. Then, I used my video camera to make a proposal video for Tara. In the video, I was in several settings, playing my guitar and singing love songs for her. At the end of the video, I was on my knees and said I had an important question for her. I then had the question text ‘Tara, will you marry me?” superimposed on the screen and asked her the question. I said, “If the answer is ‘yes,’ please meet me at Adrian’s [a chic restaurant in Provo, Utah]. If the answer is ‘no’ then please set the timer on the bomb and leave. I will be home before it blows up because living without you isn’t worth living.” I then called Tara and asked her to come over. I went to Adrian’s, in the hope that she would join me there later on.

Luckily, Tara did show up at Adrian’s. I was grinning ear-to-ear when I saw her. I had asked for, and received, a very romantic setting in the restaurant, one in which I’m sure countless men had proposed to their girlfriends before. It was a romantic dinner, except for one thing. The waiter interrupted us all-too-often, asking if everything was alright. I politely told him, “Yes,” But I wanted to say, “It would be ‘alright’ if you were to get lost!” Because of these frequent interruptions, it was hard for me to find a time to present Tara with her engagement ring. When I finally did do it, the waiter showed up in the middle, to inquire about everything being alright. Seeing me down on my knees with a ring in my hand probably answered his question, as he quickly went away. To my sheer delight, Tara said, “Yes, I will marry you, BB.” No man on earth could be happier than I was at that moment.

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