Part Thirty-Six: The Love of My Life

We’re going to jump forward a little bit here, or perhaps more than a little bit, because something specific is on my mind.

I met a woman a couple of years ago who changed everything for me. She knocked me off my feet in a way that I couldn’t have conceivably seen coming, in a way that I can confidently state that no other woman could.

It started innocently enough, with a night of fantastic conversation that neither of us wanted to walk away from. It was only a couple of days after the New Year, and I still can’t imagine a better way for that year to have started off. New Year’s Eve had been a disappointment for me, as the girl that I had been involved with was too busy drinking in the bars to even visit me long enough to wish me a happy new year with a kiss. I was in the final stage of a failing relationship which sorely lacked in connection and communication; so that night, losing track of the hours in captivating conversation was a blessing that I wouldn’t have dared hope for.

It began with something so simple, a friend request on Facebook from a woman I knew of but didn’t actually know. She had been involved with a friend of mine almost a year before and was previously married to an acquaintance of mine who I hadn’t really seen since before they had gotten married. In addition to those connections we had numerous mutual friends, so I had seen her pop up all over the place for quite some time online, though we had never been properly introduced and had never met in person.

I had always thought she was incredibly beautiful, and I do very much mean it when I use the word “incredibly” as a modifier there. I never had any occasion to contact her because there was no reason for me to suspect that she would even know that I existed…or to care, even if she did know. We know about my crippling self doubt and insecurity already, so there is no reason to explain why I felt that way with respect to her. It should come as no surprise.

It startled me to receive the friend request from her, if only because I had entertained the thought of trying to establish contact with her so many times before just to try and get to know her. That initial shock was nothing compared to how startled I was at how well we seemed to hit it off. We talked for hours, like I said, discovering that we had far more in common than either of us had with anyone else who had come into our lives, and I was beyond captivated with her.

It’s strange to imagine that, had she not taken that first step, I would never have had the nerve to try talking with her. As silly as it seems for a man in his 30s, I am (and have always been) intimidated by beautiful women, and she was certainly no exception, being so exceptionally beautiful to me that she took my breath away (and still does on occasion when I first catch a glimpse of her). It was astounding to me that, after talking with her for that whole time, that she could turn out to be such a perfect match for me.

My self doubt manifested itself when I began to suspect that our apparent connection and enjoyment of each other’s company was a one-sided thing when I didn’t hear from her again for a little more than a week after that first conversation, and I had made a couple of small attempts to touch base in that silence.

I started to think that I was right to assume that there was positively no way that she would take a real interest in me. I didn’t know how hectic her life was though, not at the time, and that her internet connection at home was far from reliable. She did indeed reestablish communication though, and we ended up talking for hours all over again quite a few times over the following days and weeks. I was enamored of her before I even knew it.

There were a couple of hurdles though, where my admiration of her was concerned. She seemed so unbelievably perfect for me, but I was still tacitly involved with another girl, which made it impossible for me to really delve into this amazing thing that was happening to me. The other hurdle came in the form of some mutual friends she and I shared who were feeding into my insecurity by reinforcing the fear in me that I could not possibly be what she would want in a man…they amplified my feelings of inadequacy. These were not insurmountable difficulties, but it was the issue with my insecurity that would prove to be the greater of the challenges.

There came a night, not too far down the road from her getting back in contact with me, when this spectacular woman invited me to her house. We had been talking quite a great deal and were already growing quite fond of one another. That first meeting was all it took for me to be entirely won over by her. We sat in her dimly lit bedroom talking for a couple of hours that night, about whatever came to mind, and joking with each other about things that polite company would find horrifying. I perused the books she had stacked upon her headboard and smiled to see so many of the same ones I had read for myself or intended to read. That would ultimately be one of the things that she cited as the sort of thing that made her so happy to have found me; that I was not only literate, but also intelligent and a writer myself.

There was something distracting though, about the fact that she was wearing nothing but a sarong when I arrived. There I was, sitting next to this enthralling and intoxicatingly lovely woman, with nothing but a thin piece of cloth covering her. If she had been trying to seduce me, she would have been hard-pressed to find a better starting point. It was undeniable that the chemistry we’d felt when we were simply talking with one another was even more profound in person. If you believe in love at first sight it could be argued that I fell in love with her right there that night…I certainly couldn’t frame a satisfactory argument to the contrary.

All that we shared that night, beyond the excellent company, was a kiss. I certainly wanted more than that and so did she…but I knew already that I wanted to be hers and that she felt the same way about me. I wanted to start things the right way between us, which meant that I needed to end things with the girlfriend I still sort of had. I didn’t drag my feet about it.

It didn’t take us long to be together and she was amazing in every way I could have dreamed as well as numerous ways I wouldn’t have thought to dream about. Everything about her served to draw me closer and closer to her. I won’t describe the intimacy here, but I would actually love to do so just to relive those experiences in my mind. We were insatiable for each other though, whenever or wherever the opportunity presented itself. We couldn’t keep our hands off of each other even during the breaks she had between classes when she would stop by my house to see me. I must admit that I miss those days, looking back…and I wish my memory was well-developed enough to allow me to close my eyes and relive almost every moment I spent with her up until today, the good and the bad.

And there were indeed bad times and fights. She wasn’t good at communicating her feelings about things and I had a tendency to push far too much when there was conflict, which triggered a fight or flight response ingrained in her since she had been involved in an abusive former relationship. I should have treaded more carefully in those cases, and I wish that I had, if only to know that I’d made things easier on her rather than more challenging when she was already in a negative state of mind. We could have avoided many of our fights if I had been more respectful of her problems concerning confrontation. That isn’t to say that there were a lot of fights, proportionately speaking. There were too many, for sure (but I would likely insist that one fight with her where I made her unhappy in any way would be too many), but I have been involved in plenty of relationships of my own and witnessed many others (both successful and not), and we actually fought less than what I would have to perceive as the average. If we had worked together to develop better habits for communication, a lot of those fights could have been easily avoided…maybe all of them could have been.

After starting my current job (less than half a year into our relationship) we developed a routine that I still reminisce about. I would spend the night at her house on Wednesday and Thursday nights while she and her children would stay with my own children and me on Fridays and Saturdays (and longer if there happened to be a day off from school for the kids on Monday). We would snuggle up in her bed on my nights out there and watch movies together until we fell asleep or until we couldn’t bear to keep our affection for one another held in check.

On Saturday afternoons, between my split shifts, I would drive to the bar where she worked and we would have lunch together. The routine was both comfortable and nice. I was happy. For the first time in my life I was happy without reservation…and she felt the same way.

During the summer months and Christmas break, she and her kids would crowd into the house here and we would have more time together. Our children bonded far better than either of us could have hoped for (something that we remarked upon plenty of times) and both of us were readily accepted by each other’s children as well. I won’t claim that life was perfect, but it was so much closer to perfection than I had any right to believe I would ever find.

You could easily guess that we started talking about marriage, and she was even the one to first bring up the topic in conversation, after I caught her looking at dresses and rings one day. Neither of us had the best opinions where marriage was concerned when we first got together, our previous experiences being less than stellar…but here we were, ignoring all of those predispositions and discussing our getting married in such a casual and optimistic way. It was all I could have hoped for, and she was everything I could have wanted. I knew that I would be spending my life with her, I had no doubt that she was the right one for me, and I didn’t even believe in that sort of thing.

There were ups and downs, like with every relationship…but for me the good always outweighed the bad. Maybe I will go into further detail on that aspect of our relationship later, when I come back to this topic. There will be more to write about where she is concerned. She is the love of my life, after all.

Part Thirty-One: In Love and Meth

I’m forced to temporarily merge a couple of different threads of this disordered narrative that is my abysmally ludicrous existence, because there is an unavoidable correlation between my disastrous love life and my final bit of drug binge debauchery. I told you already about my roommate (the former waiter) and I stumbling upon a steady supply of methamphetamine shortly after the time that I’d forced a wonderful woman out of my life for what I told myself was her own good.

It was entirely recreational use at first, a nice way to compensate for the occasional fog that I experience as an unmedicated insomniac in addition to boosting creativity and productivity quite a bit. Even casual use tends to have a fairly profound impact on emotional stability and thought processes though, and the next half-year or so was most certainly influenced by that chemically altered state of mind I was fostering.

After The Chemical Toilet did what she does best by disappointing me and disappearing, I was in a position to actively pursue other women, even though I wasn’t inclined to actually do that. I did however begin catching the occasional ride home from a girl I worked with at the local NBC affiliate, a girl who happened to be the cousin of my roommate’s best friend. One night we ended up sleeping together quite unexpectedly, the girl and I, not my roommate’s best friend and I…just in case there was some ambiguity in my statement.

That incident felt far more intense and meaningful to me than it probably should have, almost certainly more than it would have if I hadn’t been indulging in the specific substance that I was…or maybe it would have. Fuck if I know if things would have been different if I had been sober at the time, and I have no way of comparing it to a sober iteration of me because this wasn’t a god damn experiment with a control group included, though that prospect does intrigue me and I would love to have gone through my life precisely that way, with a control me insulated from my less brilliant decisions. That’s entirely beside the point, what I do know is that I felt an intense attachment to the girl in question, and she supposedly reciprocated.

We began a relationship together and it wasn’t a bad one while it lasted, I don’t think. She was sweet and affectionate towards me and I apparently treated her better than any other guy had previously. Some of our coworkers were skeptical of our relationship and even poked fun at me for being involved with her, because they were assholes and because they didn’t happen to think much of her…but I didn’t give a damn what they thought because she made me feel good, which was something I most assuredly needed.

A couple of months later she ended up taking a trip to visit some family in North Dakota and ended up returning home entirely broke because she had taken one of her cousins and that cousin’s boyfriend along with her on the road trip and those two had managed to do the exact opposite of contributing. Finances were a bit tight for my roommate and I, but I did have my bass guitar that I wasn’t actively using much. I took my bass down to a nearby pawnshop and collected a decent bit of cash so that I could help her get by until the next paycheck.

She began growing distant towards me shortly after that, spending less time with me and not coming around even at times when she said she would be. Things went on like this for a couple of weeks until one of my days off she called me to let me know that she wanted to come by and talk with me after the 10:00 news was over.

I knew what was coming, and I dreaded her showing up around 11:00 that night, but I sat there waiting for her to let herself in. As I had predicted, she only wanted to talk to me for the purpose of ending our relationship face-to-face…I can respect that. At least she didn’t try to end it over the phone or something silly like that.

As soon as she left I made the decision that changed things from that point on, I made a call to obtain an address I hadn’t previously wanted to know, I put on my coat, and I walked to the house where my roommate and his friend (the now ex-girlfriend’s cousin) were hanging out. This house was the proximate source of the methamphetamine that we had been using for the past couple of months.

That night was when the transition from recreational use to something far more extreme took place. Until that night I had never really tried to consider the sort of quantities that were available in order for my roommate and I to enjoy the free or damn near free surplus that we had been receiving…but it became difficult not to think about that sort of thing when faced with it, and good lord was there quantity. It sometimes felt like there was a lifetime supply readily available to us right there, which could be an accurate assessment if we actually did consume all of it.

The methamphetamine was higher quality than anything I’d experimented with previously, with an almost perfect glass-like clarity…which stood to reason, being trafficked (as it was) up here directly from Guadalajara, Mexico by various Mexicans including a Mexican fellow I actually happened to like, enough so that I began working on developing some degree of conversational Spanish in order to better communicate with him.

I may be making light of the situation a bit more than is justifiable, because these were the sort of men who carried illegal firearms along with them as they illegally crossed the US/Mexico border with massive quantities of high quality methamphetamine and occasional cocaine. These were dangerous men who were members of a dangerous organization…and I couldn’t possibly have cared less. Being closely involved with organized crime wasn’t the sort of thing that tripped alarms for me like it probably should have. Maybe we could casually place the blame for that indifference on the drugs, but it really seems like a bit of a stretch if not an outright copout…in reality I just happen to suffer from a bit of moral flexibility which makes proximity to dangerous criminals the sort of thing I didn’t even consider to be an issue worth worrying about.

These Mexican fellows were arriving here with their cargo, setting up a base in the home of a former police officer, and distributing their materials outward from there. My roommate and I had hit the jackpot simply because his best friend was staying with said former police officer. This placed us right there near the epicenter of the action…and we both milked it for what it was worth.

My state of mind was not the greatest during the succeeding months, as one might suspect…and that was exacerbated by the fact that my recent ex-girlfriend arbitrarily decided to show up over the following three months or so, sometimes for sex and sometimes just to spend the night with me. She would appear at work when my shift was ending just to give me a ride home (and often stay with me) or she would show up somewhere along my path during the walk home to pick me up for the same purpose. Her appearances weren’t the sort of thing I could count on or predict with any efficacy, but it was surprisingly frequent from someone who had broken up with me just a short while before.

The only thing that could be predicted from her during that interval was that she would once again disappear if I even suggested us being together again or if I questioned the fact that she would have left me in the first place just to continue behaving as if we were still in a relationship of some sort.

Between the drug use becoming steadily heavier and this girl seemingly delighting in torturing me and promoting a state of near constant confusion…I’m surprised I managed to come out the other side with anything approaching sanity. Before you interject, let me just say that you should shut up because this is my fucking story and I am sane if I say that I am. Your job is to listen, not to be a backseat narrator.

This seems like a reasonable place to stop, before I go into further detail on the experiences over those months. I have a thing or two to discuss before we get there anyhow, because I clearly have a coherent plan in place regarding what I’m sharing with you, if you couldn’t tell. Bear with me, it won’t be long before we’re back on track. You can deal with the brief hiatus, or you can just stop reading now.

Part Twenty-Four: Part 13, My Lucky Number, Continued

Since my apparent inability to see things through to completion or successfully navigate the currents that would lead me to a successful completion is fresh on my mind and I sidetracked myself when it was my intention to tell you more about the significant relationships in my life, I figure now is as good a time as any…so, let’s get back on track here.

It was after the incident during which my ex-girlfriend was almost assaulted by the guy she left me for that I found myself in the unenviable position of needing to choose between two women who came into my life at approximately the same time and expressed a desire to become involved with me. This is not a fun position to be in, contrary to what you might believe.

I’ll start here with the one I didn’t choose, though I can’t for the life of me determine why I ever made that choice. Maybe I flipped a coin, out of sheer imbecility, and let that arbitrary chance make the choice for me? First off, I want to clarify that, though I may not have chosen her at the time, she and I had managed to remain close over the years and even pursued some intimate experiences with one another as well as some tentative steps towards a relationship.

At that time, however, it could have been taken as a bad sign for the potential between she and I that I stopped in the middle of intercourse so that I could go out to my living room and watch the episode of South Park in which Mr. Garrison was upset about his father not molesting him as a child. That was disrespectful of me, without any question…but what makes it far worse is the fact that I wasn’t even aware that I was being disrespectful at the time. There was a large chunk of my life during which I had little to no capacity to consider how my actions impacted others, not when all that really mattered to me was whatever I felt like doing at the time. Other people weren’t blessed with internal, three dimensional existence when it was inconvenient for me to consider that those things existed.

I was the sort of person who could walk away, mid-coitus, simply because there was something on television…and that is far from a healthy way to live one’s life.

That ability to turn on a dime from an emotional perspective ended up playing out pretty heavily in the relationship that developed between myself and the woman that I did choose out of those two. She and I could be in the midst of a major argument when something grabbed my attention or some random thought or recollection would pop into my head, and the argument would evaporate almost immediately. If I felt like arguing, it could go on for hours…but if I found something else I felt like doing instead of continuing with the argument, that is where my attention would shift without any hesitation. She accused me of not actually caring about the things we were fighting about, and that I was just playing a part when our fights arose. She wasn’t even entirely incorrect.

She and I had a relationship that consisted of more than arguments and disagreement, but it is those intervals of conflict that stand out the most in that relationship for me…perhaps mostly due to how it ended.

As you’re aware, marijuana has never been my drug of choice, but I had a quite nice blown glass pipe that was purchased by the mother of my two oldest children from some random guy who had been peddling his wares through the audience during the final live performance of Alter Noctvm…Alter Idem. She left this pipe behind when she and the children moved out. Even though I rarely had either motivation or occasion to use it, I held onto it for purely sentimental reasons both because it had been purchased by the third (and final) live performance and because it was the only thing left behind as a remnant of the good aspects of my former relationship.

It was necessary to mention the history of that specific piece of glassware because my girlfriend in this piece of personal history took the pipe with her one night while I was at work…and while she and her friends were drinking and getting high that night, a whiskey bottle was dropped on the pipe and it was shattered.

It wasn’t until the next afternoon while she and I were sharing a lunch of chicken and dumpling soup that her mother had made (in her place of employment, I might add, which was an adult bookstore, though they mostly dealt in movies and artificial genitalia rather than books) that she told me about what had happened the night before and informed me that her friend who’d broken the pipe was offering to replace it with one of his own. I was unhappy with the whole situation and I told her precisely why that pipe itself mattered to me regardless of my use for it, all sentimental rather than practical.

Her response was to sarcastically tell me that she was, “so sorry.”

My response to her sarcasm was to throw my bowl of soup at her…not the bowl itself, mind you, but the contents of it. I threw my chicken and dumplings on her and stormed away, walking home.

It was a short while after I’d arrived home that the police showed up, informing me that they had been called by my (now) ex-girlfriend’s mother. Both of the officers apologized to me for the fact that they were arresting me; because, had she and I not been living together, what I’d done would not have been illegal…but, solely because we did share my apartment, the soup incident was classified as domestic violence.

We should take a moment to parse that little bit of information; that an action which was not, by itself, illegal, became illegal exclusively because of relative living arrangements. I won’t pretend that I don’t have some problems with the whole rationale behind that odd and flawed inconsistency. As far as I’m concerned, an act is either illegal or legal, and that’s all there should be to say about it.

I spent the night in jail and, not knowing how the legal system works at the time, I plead guilty the next morning when I appeared in court. That was how I wound up with a domestic violence charge on my adult record. My former girlfriend hadn’t pressed charges, but the state did that in her stead, for something that literally was not illegal.

If I’d known that I would not be stuck in jail for another night regardless of my plea, I would damn well have never accepted the domestic violence charge without contesting it, a charge that will perpetually haunt me. That stupid action of tossing soup and my subsequent lack of understanding as far as how the legal system works has made it so that I am unable to own or carry a firearm (and that kept me from being able to enlist with the military a few years later)…it also prohibited me from taking a job as a paid tutor in the high school where my mother worked when the opportunity arose.

More stupid decisions from everyone’s favorite genius, right?

Have you started to notice a trend here?