It was bound to happen. And I'll admit, I'm a fool.
A fool for not seeing the signs, for not hearing the alarms, for not feeling the thorns being pushed in my side.
But how was I to know? How was I to predict this outcome of fated betrayal?
After all, Tom Brady is a professional quarterback in the National Football League. Surely he is too far displaced to have any real impact on my life, aside for beating the Bengals every time they met.
But I was wrong. I was clearly mistaken. For indeed Mr. Brady was closer than I assumed, he was well within reach.
And reach he did.
Let me share the story with you.
It begins with a boy (me), and a girl (Ann).
Ann was every guy's dream. Perfect in every way, totally devoted to me and my happiness.
And she was beautiful.
Like a rainbow on a warm spring day, she made the storms of life much more bearable.
I loved her.
One fated Sunday afternoon, after cleaning up the kitchen, Ann came into the room and sat down on the couch next to me. I was enjoying a game of football as I normally do.
A timeout was called and Brady headed for the sideline to discuss the play with the coaches. He took off his helmet and grabbed the bottle of Gatorade handed to him.
Suddenly, breaking the monotony of the moment, Ann quickly asked, "Who is that?"
Now this wasn't uncommon. Ann would watch games with me often and if she had a question she would just ask.
I didn't mind, I actually enjoyed helping her learn this game I love so dear and loved seeing her interest grow in it.
"Tom Brady," I replied. "One of the better quarterbacks in the league."
Then the response, "He's cute."
Followed was the slow turn of my head in her direction. You know what I'm talking about. The turn to try and catch a glimpse of the expression on her face as she spoke these words in front of me.
What did she mean by "cute"?
Teddy bears are cute. Kittens are cute. NFL quarterbacks are not cute.
I didn't say a word. Didn't want her to know that what she said sent tremors through my brain as I tried to figure out how concerned I should be with this four letter word usually reserved for animals with fur.
Then I broke the silence, "Cute? Nah, he went to Michigan, he can barely spell his last name."
No chuckle, no smirk, no comment in response. I just saw her intently looking at this high definition picture of Tom Brady on my television screen. As if she were in some kind of trance.
Stupid HDTV. Why did I buy that thing in the first place?
Tom might as well be standing in the room with us. Sweat trickling down his contoured face. His hair still perfect even after wearing a helmet for almost three hours. His eyes...
What is going on here?
Red flags are flying around my head and I hear that stupid voice announcing "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!"
"So, honey, anything else you'd like to watch? Isn't that John and Kate Plus 8 marathon on today?" I said.
"Oh, no, babe. It's OK, you can finish watching the game. I'm kind of getting into it," she countered.
Getting into it?
I clutch the pillow in my lap a little tighter.
Freaking Tom Brady.
He's got some nerve.
Doesn't he have it all already? And now he wants to destroy my life along with it.
I sat in silence for the rest of the game as I watched Brady meticulously drive the Patriots down the field for another touchdown and another win.
Freaking Tom Brady.
The days and weeks following this newly claimed "worse day of my life," were completely out of control.
Ann was enamored by her new interest in Tom.
She researched his career on the Internet, watched SportsCenter in the mornings to hear the latest news, even had Tom's picture set as her computer's background.
But I knew that it was over the day the package arrived.
The UPS man arrived about 10:30 that morning bringing a nice sized box mailed from nfl.com.
"What could this be?" I questioned.
She bought me a gift!
But it's not my birthday, not Valentine's Day. What could be the occasion?
I would soon find out.
Ann came home and saw the box immediately.
"Oh! It's here!" she exclaimed.
She skipped over to the box and began to open it like a child on Christmas Day.
I watched, very much confused by the whole scene.
Suddenly I see the objects causing such excitement on a normally dull Wednesday afternoon.
Ann pulls out of the box a blue and white jersey. I stare in silence as she opens it up and reveals the No. 12 and the name "Brady" on the back.
A Tom Brady jersey. Great. Just great.
I could have dealt with the jersey, but it was what followed that really sealed the deal for me.
She laid down her new jersey and reached for the item left in the box.
My eyes intently staring at the brown cube that was vicariously ruining my life.
And in slow motion, like seeing Tom throw a touchdown in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter, I see the love of my life pull from the box the new object of my resentment: a Tom Brady bobble-head doll.
It's been several weeks since the debacle. Several weeks for me to sit and contemplate the events that occurred. And I've come up with this simple revelation: Tom Brady wants to ruin my life.
In 1999, he stole the game from the Ohio State Buckeyes with a fourth-quarter touchdown.
At the turn of the century, he stole three Super Bowls in four years.
And in 2008, he stole what mattered most in my life...yes, ladies and gentlemen, Tom Brady stole my girlfriend.
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