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Birthday Surprise

Wakefield, Massachusetts April 15, 1983 I was about to turn 25 years old and close the books on one of the toughest years in my life. In the previous 5 months I had lost my Godmother to cancer and one of my best friends had been murdered. I had struggled and finally succeeded in giving up Cocaine, which had put me on a terrifying threshold coming to know and understand my limits. Relationships failed. Money was tight. I worked for minimum wage as a teacher aide in a classriom with severe and profoundly developmentally disabled teenagers. I wasn’t looking forward to turning 25.     Friday afternoon as the school day was drawing to a close Karen my boss opened the classroom door. John, a lanky kid from her adjacent room came running in laughing nervously and presented me a boquet of red roses. “Happy birthday Paul!” Karen called and the other teachers and aides gathered by the door and applauded. I had to laugh.Two weeks before I had commented “Girls never give guys flowers”. Karen set out to prove me wrong. “Thanks Karen, you got me” I grinned. A few weeks later the program we worked for had a big budget cut. Karen and I and 20 of our co-workers were laid off. I didn’t stress about it, feeling confident I’d find another job, and now that Karen wasn’t my boss anymore, I became her boyfriend.


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14 Points

Written by PaulPallazola


    • Almost everyone there had at one point slept with one or more coworkers. Karen said she was attracted to me months before we hooked up but she thought I was involved with her ex-lover April. April was my drinking buddy and frequent flyer in shared cocaine escapades but I had no desire for her. April lied and told me she was still involved with Karen, then told Karen that she was involved with me, effectively keeping us apart all school year.