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When I moved to Boulder, Colorado in June of 2004 I only had two friends in town.  Coincidentally, I’d met them both when I was twelve years old.  One was my closest and oldest friend, Maya, and the other, a guy I’d dated for all of a month during the summer before eighth grade.  I hadn’t spoken to him in twenty years, but decided to call him out of the blue.  He answered.

We met for dinner at a Nepalese restaurant called Sherpa’s.  Fatefully, this restaurant would turn out to be the bookends of our relationship – it was the place we went on our first date that warm June evening, and the place we went on our last date on a similarly warm June evening almost a year later to the day.  Though there were no big sparks at first, he had my attention.  He was a tall, funny-enough firefighter who knew how to fix things.

We spent the next few months getting reacquainted.  Through conversations about our families and upbringings we pieced together that we had a whooooole lot more in common than our love of camping, evening strolls in the neighborhood, and snowboarding; we had DNA in common.  Yup, that’s right, y’all.  We were related. It turns out that our great-great-great grandfathers were brothers and our families (er, family) had been in the oil business together since the 1800’s.

When we were dating, the firefighter’s grandmother and my uncle were the primary points of contact for that business.  And at some point down the road, the two of us would be.  From a stands-to-gain-twice-as-much-financially perspective as a couple, this was a good thing.  But, from a we-will-inevitably-break-up-because-everyone-does-and-we-are-forever-linked perspective, it sucked.  And break up we did.

I must confess that the incestuous link between us is not what caused us to split.  I actually can’t put my finger on exactly what did.  We just kind of fizzled.  And it wasn’t until the break up was over and we were untangling our lives that my opinion of him dramatically changed.  That once charming firefighter who surprised me one day with an adorable black and white Schwinn cruiser bike of my very own turned out to be a monster.  I walked away from that relationship wondering how I’d so grossly misjudged him all along.  And I wondered what was wrong with me that I would fall for someone that was capable of being so cruel.

I heard recently that his mother died, moving him one step closer to succeeding his grandmother in dealing with the family business.  Condolences about his mom and all, but frankly I’m more unnerved by the thought of that time when we will eventually have to come face-to-face again.  Luckily for me I have an older sister to attend those meetings in my place. I guess they don’t say you shouldn’t do business with family for nothing.


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