We’ve been planning our wedding, and all that’s going fine. I have a dress and veil I got from a rack of older models for under $100, and we found leftover matching gold bands at a jewelry store for even less; can’t do much better than that. We’re having the ceremony at Union College in Jackson’s Gardens, where we had our first kiss. The only issue is that the church on campus that is back up in case of bad weather is only available at 10am on Friday morning, the week before graduation. The reception will be at the fraternity house, and I will cook.

Lou finally called his mother to talk to her and let her know we are getting married. Apparently, she and Lou’s dad have officially separated; Lou doesn’t want to try to get in touch with him. He hasn’t spoken with her since he and I started dating, so she didn’t even know I existed, but she will come to the wedding with his sister. I wish I could have the chance to meet them before the wedding, because this is going to be very uncomfortable for everyone.

In other good news, Lou was accepted into the Duke University MBA program. It was the last school that we heard from and his only acceptance. I don’t know what we would be doing if he didn’t get in. He had blown off most of his on-campus job interviews, so there was a lot riding on Duke, and the hopes that his chem professor’s connections there would get him in.

We were working together the day he got his acceptance letter. Lou had a call on his handyman ad from a couple that needed help moving. Help was an understatement. They needed the National Guard, but all they could afford was Lou, who came with my labor for free. Simon and Laura had two kids and two floors full of crap. They were being evicted and needed to move right away. Their floors were literally covered with stuff, the boxes the stuff came in, and the advertisements for the stuff. Laura explained her situation, saying that everything had been going just fine for a long time. Life was good until Simon lost his job and couldn’t find another position. Suddenly there was no income, and they had no savings, so they couldn’t make the credit card payments, they couldn’t make the rent payments, and it all went downhill like a mudslide. We worked steadily for two days, moving stacks and stacks of crap from their old place to their new apartment. We filled an entire bedroom of the new apartment stacked from floor to ceiling with stuff, yet they were dirt poor. We rode back to campus on our bicycles talking about them the entire trip. Not in a gossip or judgmental way, but more reflective, as to how they ended up in such a position in life. We both took a vow: “Remember Simon and Laura.”  We swore we would never let ourselves get so far over our heads that we saw no way out and could only dream about the days we thought would never end.

When we arrived back on campus, we stopped at the student center to check the mail; I waited with the bikes while he enthusiastically skipped steps up the long stairway. On most recent occasions, he has plodded back down, dejected by the bad news in his mailbox. This time, he came running out with the open letter in hand, and practically bounced down the stairs so excited that he got into Duke.

So, now I know what we’ll be doing for the next two years.

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