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It Seems Our Time Has Run Out, Dr. Jones
By Megan Stielstra

It was the week before I was about to elope. I had a twenty-dollar dress from H&M, my best friend was recently ordained at, and there were three cases of Maker's Mark -- we were good to go.

"Except for one thing," Christopher said, "you have to tell him." Christopher, FYI, was my fiance, a fact that still sort of blows my mind. Usually guys like him are: a) Taken, b) Gay, c) Dying, or d) A figment of my imagination. Christopher is none of these things. He's wonderful and smart and "together," -- like, there are goals and shit -- and also he loves kids and puppies in a very non-sappy kind of edgy DIY sort of way. And he always, always does the right thing, even in those moments where the right thing makes you want to stick a fork in your eye -- which just then, was exactly what he was asking me to do.

"I can't," I said. "I can't tell him."

"You have to," Christopher said. "He deserves to know."

In my head I listed every possible out and decided on avoidance. "I'll tell him when we get back," I said, but Christopher shook his head. "This is your last week as a single woman. Get your stuff, we're going now."

He dropped me off at the Music Box, this beautiful old movie theatre on Southport that only shows classics or arty stuff. It was built in the '20s, I think -- really ornate architecture with this huge, red velvet curtain over the screen. I found a seat near the front and tried to calm down. There was a grapefruit sized knot in my chest, one part fear and two parts guilt. We'd been together for so long, twenty years almost, and here I was, showing up out of the clear blue sky to say, "I'm sorry, but I just don't need you anymore." I suddenly wondered how he'd react: he is a pretty unpredictable guy, after all. Would he snap his whip around my waist and refuse to let me go? Would he jump on a camel and track Christopher across Chicago? Or would he do something drastic, like look into the Arc of the Covenant until his skin boiled off and he eventually exploded?

The lights went down, and there was that feeling right before a movie when you're transported to another life that's the farthest thing from real. The red velvet curtain rose up -- my heart was pounding so fast I didn't know if I'd make it through the opening credits -- and suddenly, there he was.

We've all had our little crushes on fictional characters. Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles, right? Maybe James Bond? Annette Funnicello? Legalos? I know you've all had one, but please understand -- Indiana Jones and I were not just some fling. We were the REAL DEAL. And don't say, "Oh MY God, I love Harrison Ford, too!" because, I tell you what, I couldn't give a rat's ASS about Harrison Ford -- or Han Solo. Or Bob Falfa, or John Book, or Deckard, or any of them. This is about me and Indiana Jones.

We met in my parent's basement in 1986. I was nine years old, one of those messy, Barbie-hating tomboys with ratty pigtails, OshKosh B'Gosh, and freshly picked scabs from some imaginary battle in the creek behind my house. It's important to note that I was an only child, which means I was pretty lonely, but also, that I had all sorts of magical powers. For example, on the day I met Indy there was a thunderstorm outside which I'd started with my brain. Because of it, I couldn't play in the creek, and since my folks were upstairs loudly focused on their impending divorce, all I had was the TV: this tiny, rabbit-eared job that only received one channel: the Saturday afternoon movie: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

The scene that really got me was the one where Indy and the kid from The Goonies are in that secret corridor with all the bugs and decapitated skeletons, and the kid keeps setting off booby traps, and almost squashes them very gruesomely in the Spikey Room of Death. And I'm all, "Indy, that kid SUCKS! I am SO way better than him!" I was up off the couch, talking directly to the television. "I'm not scared of bugs, and also I can teleport, and stop moving walls with my mind!" I would've kept listing off my powers, but just then -- I know you'll think I'm crazy when I say this but it happened, I SWEAR! -- Indiana Jones turned and looked straight at me, like how in the movies the actors talk into the camera but there wasn't any camera, there was only me, all alone in the basement with my incredible ten-year-old need, and he SAW ME, he looked right in my eyes and said, "What a vivid imagination."

That was the beginning. We spent most of our time playing in the creek, digging ancient architectural relics out of the mud, and swinging on vines. Eventually, though, I got older. My priorities changed. I didn't want us to play in the mud anymore, I wanted us to…well, I had these feelings, you know…God, how do I word this? "Nocturnal activities," is what Indy always says and -- don't look at me that way! Like you don't have fantasies! Everybody has them, my psychiatrist says it's perfectly normal and Indiana Jones is pretty top-of-the-line of I do say so myself. a) He's a college professor fluent in numerous indigenous languages, b) He has a very great hat, and c) Whenever I've needed him, he's been there.

Valentine's Day, 1995. I was eighteen years old. I wore combat boots and ripped fishnets, listened exclusively to Nine Inch Nails, and read waaaay too much Sylvia Plath for anybody's health. My boyfriend, Ricky -- he had green hair. AND a leather jacket held together with safety pins. We'd met in freshman biology at EMU, dissecting frogs, which in retrospect is an appropriate metaphor for our relationship. Anyhow, we had this discussion about how Valentine's Day was sap-ass corporate social conditioning designed to subjugate the masses and we wanted no part. I believe his exact words were, "Cupid can suck my dick."

He was soooo cool.

So, long story short we spent the day in a laundromat -- Valentine's Day in a laundromat in Ypsilanti, Michigan, as gray and dead of a town as you could get. And I remember I was pairing his socks when out of the clear blue sky he said, "I'm outta here tomorrow."

I said, "Outta where?" And he said, "Ypsilanti. There's nothing here for me." At which point I put down the socks.

"I'm here," I said.

And he said, "Yeah, about that..."

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