V. Christmas getaway during which I make a decision.
After the Christmas party problem, I did all I could to heal the breach with Shauna by taking her out before I went on my Christmas vacation. But, of course, I also took JoAnn out very briefly. Then, just before leaving, I dropped by each of their apartments and gave each her Christmas present form me--a music box playing a romantic melody--Somewhere my love--and a journal in which I inscribed a romantic note. I was so proud of the inscription that I used exactly the same one for each girl (changing the name in the "To _______")--a fact that would come to haunt me later.
I had a wonderful time on my vacation. I rode down to my parents’ place in Southern California with my brother, Erin, and sister-in-law, Janice. They seemed wonderfully happy, and I must confess that I rather envied them. It was also a welcome break from carrying on a double courtship while pretending to each girl that my real affections were centered only--or, at least, mostly--on her.
I decided that I could not continue with the duplicity in which I found myself, and determined to end one relationship, but which?
On my birthday, I received a telegram from Shauna wishing me a happy birthday. That telegram more or less tipped the scales. As soon as I got back, I went to JoAnn, confessed that I had been dating someone else and that I needed to break off our relationship. I may have misread her feelings, (I frequently did with girls) but it seemed to me that she was mostly disappointed that I broke up with her before she had a chance to break up with me.
I began dating Shauna exclusively, but it seemed to me that she was beginning to turn cold too. I was later to learn that she was being hotly and ardently pursued by her former fiancé, Herbert Ungricht Jr., who was in his last year of medical school and did not wish to go into residency in a far-off location as a bachelor.
Nevertheless, on Valentine’s day as I stumbled out the door of my apartment, I found a blueberry cheesecake and a lunch sack on my front porch containing the inscription "For Merrill. Happy Valentine’s Day. Shauna."
At lunchtime, as I munched on those sandwiches, I dreamed about how wonderful it would be to have that quality of sandwich every day--little suspecting that I was eating the only sandwiches Shauna would ever make for my lunch. But I have gotten a blueberry cheesecake every Valentine’s day since then.
As I ate my lunch, I remembered that I had promised myself and had made a strong commitment and the date for both was coming up. I knew I needed to follow through.