The year was 2004. The city was Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Handsome and I were there to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and quite against my will I was being seduced and absorbed by another man.
Ted Bundy. Yes, that Ted Bundy. The serial killer.
I’m not proud of this. But neither am I terribly ashamed.
I am sharing this with you fine people for two reasons. First, because Mama Kat http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/, in all of her infinite wisdom, has asked us to dig deep into our histories, ten years deep to be exact. She has asked us to share a photo of ourselves from 2004 and compare it to ourselves now.
I am also sharing this with you fine people because this photo represents a rather sore spot in my otherwise dazzling love story with Handsome. A tiny little fly in the ointment, I’ll admit, although good grief I have laughed so hard about it over the years! So telling this story publicly needs to happen. The healing needs to begin.
I’ll tell you how much the healing needs to begin: While typing this story I asked my sweet guy to verify the name of the city in Mexico where all of this took place, and his eyes flamed. He even stopped playing his video game. “You don’t even remember?! You were so caught up with what’s-his-name that you can’t even remember the name of the city we were in??” Then he shook his head too forcefully and went back to his video game. “Playa del Carmen,” he mumbled, “you should know that.”
Once again, I laughed so hard. You have to understand how rarely my husband gets jealous. It’s a rare romantic gift that delights me, and I realize that is horrible.
Back to Summer 2004.
Handsome and I were leaving Oklahoma City, just the two of us, to seek the hot sands and tranquil waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We were so excited, and with good reason. I mean, when does a married couple not need a trip alone to anywhere beachy? I know.
Before driving to Dallas for our overnight wait, we stopped at the grocery store for road trip snacks and at the library for books.
Allow me to repeat: We both checked out books for pleasure reading during our trip. Neither of us disputes this fact, but also neither of us can remember any of the other books we borrowed from the Metropolitan Library System. Just the Ted Bundy story stands out in our pained collective memory.
So we drove cheerily south to our Dallas hotel, no doubt flirting with each other and jamming out to really good early 90′s rap all the way. It’s kind of our go-to road trip music. I don’t remember exactly when I would have first pried open that paperback book by Ann Rule, but by Dallas I was hooked. Perhaps you can see the seriousness on my face in the photo above, taken by my already frustrated husband of just three years. Perhaps you can see I didn’t even bother to unpack anything before crashing with this stranger.
Perhaps you agree my forehead is too shiny.
I should point out that this was long before I had a blog for recording my book reviews. I didn’t even know at that time that normal people were allowed to write book reviews. Didn’t you need a Presidential pardon? Or to be knighted by the Queen? No such plans for me. I was very simply enthralled by an excellent story and glued to its pages. My husband grew less and less amused by my amusement.
Apparently the deeper I fell down the morbid, twisted rabbit hole that was the story of Ted Bundy’s 1970′s wickedness, the more difficulty Handsome had in getting my attention. He claims that by the time we reached Mexico he had to say my name three or four times to break my hypnotic gaze, and getting me to go anywhere without that paperback appendage was impossible. Including to the elegant pineapple-and-espresso breakfast spread at our resort. Including to the pristine white beach with no children. Including to our vacation bed.
He exaggerates. It’s really embarrassing.
Anyway. This book was incredible. It was written from the perspective of a young woman who actually kn…
Wait, I’m slipping down the T.B. rabbit hole again. Sorry. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t avoiding my wonderful husband; I was having a great time with him in Mexico! I was just also deeply, widely, thoroughly fascinated by the ed-Tay undy-Bay story. (I try not to say his name too often. It’s… provoking.)
All told, we were in Mexico for almost a week, and if my sweet, lonely husband’s version of the truth can be trusted, it was halfway through that week before I would swim in the ocean or dine with him making full eye contact, undistracted by you-know-who. I feel a little bad about that. What I do not feel bad about is becoming fully educated on the dangerous wiles of a serial killer and simultaneously being absorbed by the story telling prowess of a woman who, somehow, survived him.
So that’s the story of my tryst with Ted Bundy. How am I different ten years later?
Ironically, I read far more now than I did then. But never, I mean almost never, at the beach with my husband, and also never at dinner. In fact to this day I am reluctant to bring a book on any trip with my long suffering husband, lest it should prove to be as wickedly fascinating and distracting as that. Fat chance, but still.
Be better than me, friends. Pay attention to your man on vacation and read on the side.
And if you know Handsome in 3-D, I double dog dare you to strike up a conversation with him about the Lady Killer.