I Had Bigfoot’s Love Child
by Cherri Randall
You probably remember the headlines when my then-husband, Rick, gave that interview to a popular tabloid that resulted in his 15 minutes of fame. You could not check out at a grocery store or 7-Eleven without noticing the banner title: “Bigfoot Stole My Wife.”
Maybe you also remember the media circus that occurred when Bigfoot came forward for his first and only encounter with the press. The upshot of that incident resulted in more headlines, fat and black as a declaration of war: “I Am Bigfoot.”
It’s not like they were both wrong and I’m here to set the record straight. The fact is, Rick was right about quite a few things. Bigfoot did watch me in the garden all that summer before we ran away together, and we did leave in my Toyota. It was crowded but it had a moon roof, so Bigfoot was quite comfortable considering.
Of course I brought my collie, Buster. There was never any danger he might be eaten. In case you’re wondering, Bigfoot’s a vegetarian. I don’t want to get on a soapbox or anything, and I’m not going to tell you that women are smarter than men or vice versa. I live my life on a case-by-case basis, but I did feel just a little ticked off by that headline Bigfoot Stole My Wife like I was a piece of property to be carted off or repossessed.
A man like that — I mean, do you wonder how it happened? Here’s a reality check for all you husbands busy with your horse races or ball games or poker matches: I left. I drove my Celica off into the sunset packed with all the clothes that would fit in the trunk, my dog, and the lover of my dreams.
I would also like to say Rick was wrong about a few things, although to be fair, they could be perceptual differences. We left a mess behind, there just wasn’t time to clean once we came up with a plan.
I’ll never forget how I felt when I turned around and saw Bigfoot for the first time. All summer he left little presents for me in my garden, so I knew someone was watching me, someone thoughtful and sweet. I never felt threatened when I found flowers waiting for me where I left off working the day before. Once I stood transfixed while two cardinals mated in the trees behind our yard, and the next day there was a red feather underneath my troweling shovel.
But I didn’t know who was responsible for this gentle wooing until I came in from weeding one day for a drink. When I turned around, there he was. Let me just tell you, when a seven-foot male stands in your doorway wearing nothing but his birthday suit, fur-trimmed though it may be, and he wants you, you can tell. I dropped my Dr. Pepper.
So in the debit column, I have to admit, Bigfoot is hairy and he smells like a Super Bowl locker room. There are worse things than spending your life with a guy who smells like a football team. Rick made a comment about Bigfoot not being well-trained, like in two and a half years of wedlock he ever put the seat back down. I wanted to come forward with a rebuttal story then, but Bigfoot convinced me of the futility of that.
You really can’t go around worrying about everything you hear or read. He’s a smart guy so I don’t mind telling you, this isn’t just about physical interaction. He thinks of things I would never imagine. For example, he has a theory that Princess Di and Dodi are alive in their own little cabin somewhere, tired of being hounded by the press so they found a way around it. Bigfoot is an expert on avoiding the press. Bigfoot is a lot of things that might surprise you.
For one thing he has green eyes, and when I gaze into their depths I shiver from the emotion that shines back at me. You may well wonder how this is still possible, since Bigfoot said in his press interview that I was not the first or the last.
Things were lovely between us for quite some time, and I know you’re wondering just how lovely. Everybody wants details. Well, Bigfoot could hurt a woman if he wanted to, there’s no denying he makes Sylvester Stallone look like a wimp, but abuse is not part of his nature. Bigfoot is a lover, not a fighter.
Still, I thought he might be restless after a while, and I didn’t want him to share his life with me out of a sense of obligation. When I left I pinned a note to his pillow (Bigfoot has a nice cabin in Washington state) with a line of poetry by Pablo Neruda. It said: “Well, now, if little by little you stop loving me I shall stop loving you little by little.”
Then there was the headline news thing. I picked up the papers at the Safeway. I felt a little stab when I read that line about not being the last, but still I could not honestly regret any of my choices. I wanted the big guy to be happy. If someone else could offer him more happiness, I was glad.
I don’t know how he located me, but about six months later I found a letter tucked inside my gardening gloves where I left them on the back porch. He looked up the poem, “If You Forget Me” and printed the last verse in the note: But if each day, each hour, you feel that you are destined for me with implacable sweetness ... my love feeds on your love, and as long as you live it will be in your arms without leaving mine.”
When I read those words my heart melted. I looked across the lawn towards the trees and he stepped out from behind the tallest one, slowly at first, then racing towards me.
He stood stock still when he reached me. Bigfoot does not remember any parents, which saddens him, so he never had a father to give him macho lessons. When he looked down, his knees buckled. His hands came up and captured my belly, his palms nestled against my pregnant body, and he laid his face between my heavy breasts and cried. We’ve been together ever since.
I know there are women who will think I’m crazy, that I’m living with a Neanderthal guy. Some of those women are lonely and even mistreated. Does a locker room smell that bad? There are worse things to get used to in the world than fragrances. I don’t think Bigfoot is on the same evolutionary rung of the ladder that other men occupy, but I’m not convinced he’s a step down either.
After I left he had a few flings. When he found me the second time he told me he never thought one woman could satisfy his need for variety before he met me. He picked me up and carried me, swollen with our love child, into the bedroom.
“Trudy,” he whispered, “what have you done to me? It’s lovely only with you now.”
We have four boys. The oldest one’s name is Pablo, the twins are Hayden and Strand, and William started Kindergarten this year. We argue sometimes about William’s name. Bigfoot says it’s for Shakespeare but I say Butler Yeats. They all have eyes like emeralds and my soul smiles just thinking about the happy daughters-in-law I’m going to have someday.
The baby, Emily (finally a girl!), just lay down for her nap. Which means we have a few minutes to ourselves. I can hear him sending Buster off out the back door after a Milk-Bone. He is not one to miss an opportunity, and here he is now, whispering a poem in my ear. “Let’s go and you, my star, next to me, with your wild eyes, raising my flag.”
I always kind of liked the way a locker room smells.
* * *
In high school I had this best friend named Heidi Swanson who was crazy about a boy named Enrico. He asked her to the prom when we were juniors and I couldn’t believe it when she turned him down.
“What did you do that for?” I asked her.
“Because he isn’t right for me. I have a future to consider,” she answered. She wouldn’t date any of the boys on the high school baseball team, but stuck to the future-banker types.
She married this guy named Jameson Carr and she took to wearing dark shades even on cloudy days and the last time I saw her it was ten o’clock in the morning and she smelled of vodka.
Enrico went on to pitch for a major league team. I know, because one time when we were having lunch and arguing over the tab I saw his baseball card in her wallet. Heidi laughed and told me, in a rare moment of candor, that she only had to chew 37 sticks of gum before she finally bought a pack with his card.
I thought about her after that, how she was so happy with the fingertip bruises on her wrist that played peek-a-boo with her cuffs, how she must have felt flashing American Express plastic in a baseball card shop.
I miss shopping sometimes, and bistro lunches, and plastic money. But not enough to trade whispered poems for harsh words. I wouldn’t trade cleaning the hair out of the bathtub for Cobb salad at Planet Hollywood every afternoon. I had that once-upon-a-time life with Rick, and I learned there’s no such thing as having it all.
Heidi would not understand my life with Bigfoot.
Copyright © 2007 by Cherri Randall