The Boy Next Door, Literally.

It’s not all it’s cracked up to be!

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I’m the kind of gal who does things full bore.  As much as I can, anyway.  For the most part. Most of the time?    Sometimes, I get tired, and think, “eh, that’s enough.”  I think some people find my “passion” for whatever I am excited about at the moment as  a bit intense.  But bascially, I am harmless.  What they fail to see is that this exuberance I have can also be quite draining.  And without fuel of some sort, be it inspiration, or merely food; I can burn out easily.

Take for example, my new room.  I am on the verge of being 50 years old.  I will be 49 in just three days!  For a woman my age, you would think I have owned two or three homes by now.  Nope.  Not one!  Aside from always feeling like I couldn’t really afford a home, I think I am a bit of a Commitment Phobe.  So, it’s not just relationships I have had a problem committing to.  It’s a lot of things, really.  Maybe I just get bored too easily.  Yes, I think that’s definitely a contributing factor.    But for as long as I’m interested and invested, I give it my all.

My dad has had some extensive health problems and so my parents and I decided we would all move out here to Arkansas, and my brother and I could both help take care of the folks.  My parents and I are buying this house on my brother’s land.  It’s not a bad set up really.  I struggle with my loss of privacy, or “my space” if you will, but I’m adjusting.  The house is set up where there are two bedrooms on one end of the house, and two bedrooms on the other; with the kitchen and living room in the middle.  So, being the loser that I am, this is the first time I have lived somewhere I could paint the walls of my bedroom whatever color I wanted!

I spent several weeks contemplating my color scheme and trying to envision how glorious it would look.  It would be so awesome that it should be in a Martha Stewart magazine!  I decided that since I am a single woman, I don’t have to worry about a man being upset about a “girlie” bedroom.   S0 I was doing EXACTLY what I wanted!  I decided that I love peach and purple, and  my new bedroom was going to be peach and purple!

I started with ordering some wonderful 100% linen fabric sheets in, of course, purple.  Then I found this amazing website with the coolest linen duvet covers, and they had them in peach!  I was well on my way!  I found a very cool easy chair at the Salvation Army for only twenty bucks and it was neutral enough it would tie in nicely. I felt good about this purchase, since I had just spent over a hundred bucks on the new duvet alone.  I am by nature rather thrifty. But I still hadn’t gotten to the painting.  I finally decided that I needed to just do it.  So, down to the local hardware store I went.

I am standing in the isle looking at all the swatches and trying to decide what colors would look sophisticated and give me that peaceful respite I was hoping to achieve.  An older man walks up to me and asks me how I’m doing and I explain to him that I am going to paint my room purple and peach!   He tells me that when I am ready, just ask for Richard.  I really liked Richard!  He was not your average everyday run of the mill worker at Wal-Mart, who rushes around you like you aren’t even there, and refuses to help you like they did back in Pueblo, Colorado. No, this small town hardware store was the way to go!  Richard is working his little machine, putting just the right amounts of each color in the cans to give me the shades I had chosen.  I had decided that I was going to do purple walls in the bedroom with a super light peach accent on the trim work; and then paint the walls of the on-suite with a darker peach and use the same light color on the trim work to tie it all in together.

Richard is chatting along as he goes.  This literally takes about half an hour, I am sure of it.  But I don’t particularly care.  It’s not like I have anywhere to be and he’s kind of funny.  He’s telling me about his wife’s latest decorating schemes and how she wanted to paint something black, but that it actually ended up looking very nice!  Yay Richard’s wife!  By the time we were through, I had a pretty good idea that Richard lived in an expertly decorated home, but it wasn’t going to be a cool as MY bedroom!

I get home and begin my project.  I haven’t decided yet if I want to do all the walls in purple, or maybe just an accent wall; or maybe two.  I decide that I will think about it as I paint.  As I still had most of my furniture in storage, and didn’t have to move a lot of things around, it was pretty fast work.  My niece came over and asked to help, so I let her and we had fun.  I decided that I would do all the walls.  The trim was great.  It was such a light shade of peach, you couldn’t even really tell unless you really looked at it.  Most people would probably assume it was white.   Which, probably would have been a better choice, and given it more of a pop.   But I am rather fond of the delicate color, so I leave it. The project is completed in just a few days and I am proud to say that I now live inside a giant grape.

It’s great.  Really.  It’s just….very purple.  And if I weren’t so burnt out on painting…I didn’t even do the bathroom. I’m too afraid of how it will turn out!  Remember what I said earlier?  Eh, that’s enough! Guess Martha Stewart won’t be calling me any time soon.

But I do a lot of things with as much dedication and enthusiasm as I have painted my room.  It’s really a wonder that I didn’t paint the dang doors too, knowing me!  Had I not been hoping for a more “classy” look…it would probably be worse!

I spend a lot of time in my giant grape.  Mostly because I like my solitude and my parents tend to wonder out into the kitchen or living room whenever I’m in there and I’d rather be left alone sometimes. I’m not a perpetually cranky person, but I have moments when I just don’t feel like talking to anyone.  Not because I’m mad or anything, just not in the mood to talk.  But if someone insists that I talk when I don’t really feel like it, then I can get a little cranky.

I need to get back to work, cuz this is driving me crazy!  But yeah, as I mentioned before…not a lot of jobs here.  What’s up with that, Arkansas????  Yeah, it’s tough all over.  I know it’s not your fault.  Anyway, I will be bored with my new paint job soon enough; and then I will be on to my next decorating adventure.

I get bored a lot.   There’s only so much job searching one can do in a day.  I don’t sleep well either, so I live on a few Rock Star Energy drinks to stay awake.  I know, they are bad for me, but so is losing sleep!

Things are different here.  The nearest town is about ten miles away and there isn’t much there to do, even if I drive the 30 miles to Fayetteville either. Not that I have found, anyway.   I was never one for hanging out in a mall, and never had that whole “shop ’til you drop” mentality.  I actually rather loathe shopping.  I prefer to go in, get what I want or need, and leave.  Be done with it.  So, aside from working in the yard, there’s not much to do.  I look forward to the one day a week I get to spend five hours mowing the yards and the sides of the drive to the property.  Yes, it takes that long!  But now my allergies have gotten so bad, I can’t even do that.   I try not to sleep past ten so the family doesn’t think I’m a total slouch.  I am afraid they kinda do anyway; but they don’t say it.

Another thing that’s different out here than back in Colorado where I came from?  The humidity!  Wow!  I have lived in mountainous states like Wyoming and Colorado most of my life.  There was a stint in Roswell, NM  for about five years that I’d rather forget, because that place is just…awful.  I call that period of my life, “doin’ time.”  Not because of anything going on in my life.  I just hated that Gawd awful ugly place THAT much!  Why would anyone want to live there?  On purpose?   I drove through there on my way back from Texas a few years ago…I still don’t know why people would live there!  In fact, it had grown!  But it was still fuggly as hell.

I still hated it.  There was no reminiscing over the place at all.  I drove right by McGaffey Street and NMMI with no desire whatsoever to take any detours to see the old homes I had once lived in.  In fact, I just wanted to get gas and keep on moving.  I wouldn’t have even stopped to get gas if I hadn’t needed it.  I didn’t even want to do that.  That’s how much I hated that place.  I much preferred to go to Ruidoso to hang out, which we did quite often.  I think the mountains will always be in my blood.

I lived in California in my late teens, and  boy was it humid there!  We also lived in Kansas when I was young and  I also experienced the joys of humidity.  I was in third grade to the sixth, but I don’t remember it being like this!  Must be cuz I was young and more resilient.  That kind  of thing doesn’t bother a kid so much.  But Cali?  I have pictures I had to throw out because the pictures stuck to the glass in the frames!  I hated getting out of the shower and feeling like I never dried off.

Thankfully, here in the corner, as I like to call it, my pictures are holding up much better than Cali, so at least it’s not that bad!  But this is still a difficult adjustment for me to make after being in Colorado and New Mexico the last 27 years.  I don’t know if I will ever get used to it, but I am still holding out hope!

I think about maybe trying to date.  That would at least give me something to do, and I could make some friends.  But frankly, I don’t think I am up to it.  I just went through a horrible marriage with an alcoholic, who had me so anxious all the time, I was eating Xanax like candy just to stop my hands from shaking so he wouldn’t yell at me for that too.  I was the only one with any credit, so everything was in my name.   I was financially ruined too.  It’s been about a couple years now since the split, I guess.   I can’t quite recall, exactly.  So much of it has been a blur.  All I know is I’m still healing from it.

Since I live in the sticks, I don’t really see a lot of people either.  There’s online dating, but have you tried that?!?!  If you haven’t had to do that, be grateful!  I tried it a few times.  The first time being back in the late nineties when it was new and supposed to be all the rage.  I can’t tell you how disgusted I was to be in my living room trying to chat with a guy who decided to send me a nudie close up of his junk after only ten seconds of chatting, while my children were playing right behind me in the same room!  And that would happen a LOT!  I was mortified!  What is up with these guys!  And apparently the gals must be ok with it, cuz they keep doing it!  I am obviously not “hip” enough to be in the dating world anymore, because fifteen years later, it hasn’t changed much.  It’s bad enough to meet someone and give them your number only to get pics on your phone you never asked for!  Good grief!  The world’s gone mad!  Call me a prude.  I do  not care!  I’m just not up for that.  Dating is so hard anyway.  Even back when I was younger, it was hard.  I remember my very first real boyfriend.  He actually lived next door.  You know the saying about “the girl next door?”  It’s supposed to imply a good, wholesome, sweet person. That was me!  But it was not him.

We had moved to Lander, Wyoming the summer before I started seventh grade.  In fact, it was only two or three short weeks before school started.  Having only lived in very small towns before in Kansas, I was very excited to be someplace where the radio actually played top forty music!  The small town I had lived in before had one station, and it only played country.  I mean old country too.  I hated it and didn’t even bother to listen to it except for at night before bed.  And every night right before ten O’clock, they played Kenny Rogers’ Coward of the County, the National Anthem, and then signed off until the next morning.  Lander had two stations!  Woo Hoo!  One country and one top forty!  I was living the life!

I am pretty shy by nature.  Given the fact that I can have a big, loud mouth, people do not realize this.  They don’t understand that the loud mouth blabbering is merely a coping mechanism for the extreme awkwardness I felt inside.  Apparently I was cute.  I say this, only because other people would say this about me.  Not because I believed it for even one second.  Because I didn’t.  My very first day, someone told me that these two popular boys who were twins had a bet to see who could get me to go out with them first.  That terrified me just a little!  (Neither one of them ever asked me out either! Ever!) Some of the girls were mean to me and made fun of anything they could find to make fun of.  In home room, my very first week, a couple of gals began calling me two-by-four because of my nose.  It’s a rather wide and flat nose, so I suppose it was appropriate.  Looking back now, I think they should have tried to be a little more creative, but oh well.  One of the gals was really big; so, needless to say, I was scared.  But there were more people who were nice to me than not, and even those two gals came around.  I am actually still pretty good friends with one of them to this day!  Go figure!  But that wouldn’t happen until later.

My bedroom in Lander was, in a lot of ways, similar to my room here in Arkansas.  Only back then, I was into red.  Granted, I didn’t have red walls.  That would be too much like the Amityville Horror; although that movie wouldn’t come out for a while yet.  But I had red curtains and this red velvet bed spread.  Anything I could find that was red, you name it, I probably had it.

One evening just after the street lights came on, I was in my room changing.  I had not remembered to close said red curtains, and had taken off my top and my bra.  The reason I knew the street lights had just come on was because there was one right across the street from my bedroom window.  I happened to look over that way just in time to see a figure standing under that street light.  Watching me.  I gasped and ducked down onto the floor in horror.  I crawled over to the wall and up it to peek over the window sill, but whoever it was had run off and was nowhere to be seen.  I quickly closed my curtains and jumped into bed, only to toss and turn all night.  I was on edge.  I was scared.  Would this man come back?  Would they begin to stalk me?  I had no way of knowing.  It was a very uncomfortable feeling, to say the least.  I never change clothes in front of an open window any more.

I made friends with a gal who lived down the street and hung out with her some.  She was a bit older than me, so I think she mostly was just being nice.  We weren’t “besties,” by any means.  But one day, she and I were outside her house messing around and this guy walked by and she started taking to him.  He kept looking at me with this weird grin on his face and said hello.  They only talked a minute and he continued on up the street and walked into the house right next door to mine.  My friend began to ooh and ahh about him after he left and how she thought he was so cute.  He was tall.  About six foot.  With blonde hair and blue eyes covered by big, heavy glasses he had to keep pushing back up his prominent nose.  He had what I thought was an odd nasally sound to his voice and his front teeth were a bit crooked.  He was ok, I guess.  Average.  I certainly wasn’t ready to do any cartwheels over him like she was!

Over  time, somehow he and I started talking and he asked me out.  Problem was, he was already in high school and I was still in Junior High.  He was a freshman, and I was in seventh grade.  There was no way my parents were going to go for that!  So, it started out real slow and simple like.  Within a couple months, he and I were inseparable.  If we were not in school, we were almost always together.  And since we were right next door to each other, how could we not be?  Unless he was in the bathroom blow drying his hair that I personally thought was a little too long ,with his little round brush, (I swear he took longer to get ready than I did) or sleeping, he was up in my business.   Of course, at first, I didn’t see it that way.  For while anyway, I liked all the attention and it was nice to know I always had someone to hang out with.

After we had been together a couple months, he came to me and said that he needed to tell me something.  We sat down and he began to tell me how that he had already seen me naked and he was sorry.  I asked him what he was talking about.  He told me that one night he was walking home, and I was in my room changing and had not closed the curtains…..he was sorry.  Yeah…I didn’t know what to do or say.  I decided to forgive him and things seemed pretty good.  Looking back now, I wish I had walked away right then and there.  The perv!  How many times had he spied on me without me knowing?  I mean, I knew that there was at least one time SOMEONE did, and so that was most likely him.  But were there other times he decided to just outright peek and I never knew after that? And then to start dating me after?  Ew!  It makes me sick to even think about it.

It wasn’t too long though, before things got to be harder.  He was insecure and began to question everything I did.  We would walk to school together every morning since my school was on the way to his.  He would drop me off with a kiss and continue on.  One morning, I was wearing these new pants my mom had just bought me.  They were white painter’s pants with the loop on the side of the leg and everything, and I thought they were great.  We weren’t even three houses away from home and he started into me about who I was trying to impress.   He thought the pants were too tight and showed off my back side too much, and I was obviously trying to get someone’s attention.  I don’t know who, and he didn’t either.  But he was sure of it, and it got so bad, that by the time we were a block from home, I turned back and changed my jeans.  It was just easier than fighting with him about it.

Over time, he had decided that we were going to get married and bought me a promise ring.  It was this dainty ring made of white gold with a little diamond in it.  They called it a Canardly Diamond, cuz you can hardly see it!  I was still very proud to sport the ring nevertheless. His poor mom.  She tried so hard to be nice about it, but you could tell she wasn’t too thrilled about the idea.  Understandably so, now that I am older!  She gave me a job working in her little shop down town from time to time to earn a little extra money and we actually got a long really well.   But she never really liked the idea of us having made that kind of commitment so young.

Summer came and it was time for us to go on vacation.  I don’t know why or how it happened, but he came along.  We all piled into our big old Ninety Eight Regency Olds and hit the road for Kansas.  It was a very long drive and we spent a lot of time eating cheese and crackers and playing Trivial Pursuit without the board and pieces.  First stop was Denver and my mom’s mother.  Then we headed west to Hutchinson, home of the world’s largest grain elevators.  If you haven’t seen them; they really are quite impressive, in my opinion.  We stayed at my aunts house and then a day or two later, we headed to Wichita to see my mom’s sister.  I was excited because I would get to see my favorite cousin.

Oh, I had LOTS of cousins.  My dad was the oldest of nine children.  I am the oldest of seventeen grandchildren, if I recall correctly.  I could be wrong.  It’s been a long time since I tried to count us all.  There are at least that many of us though.   But I was closer to this cousin and we had a lot of fun together whenever we got to visit.

This visit, however was not as fun.  My cousin and I didn’t get to hang out at all, or even really talk.  Why?  Because my boyfriend was with us!  And I don’t say that because she and I would go out and get wild.  I was only in the seventh grade, remember.  And if you haven’t read any of my former posts, I suppose now would be a good time to remind you all that I was also a preacher’s daughter.  So, I was as straight laced as they come.  Not just because my parents were strict, but I was a pretty good girl.  (My parents most likely would not tell you that, but that’s a story we will have to get into later…if at all.)  Fact is that while a lot of people I knew were already drinking a lot and doing drugs, I had no real interest in it.  Did I want to be allowed to go to movies? Yes.  Did I want to be allowed to go to dances? Hell yeah!  Did I want to be able to go to a concert?  Yes!  I couldn’t even go see Kenny Rogers or someone mellow!  Nope, I would be nineteen and on my own before I would get to go to my first concert.  (Def Leppard, by the way.)

So, yes, I did give my parents a hard time.  It was a struggle to go to a movie if it was PG; and if it was R?  Forget about it!  I got invited to a dance my freshman year by a really hot guy who was a junior.  So, I concocted a plan with one of my friends to spend the night with her so that after the football game, we could go to said dance and I could meet this boy.  I was there maybe half an hour before dear ol’dad showed up.  I saw him in the doorway to the gym and ran behind the bleachers and hid.  I thought I might get away with it until I peeked out and saw him talking to my friend.  I knew I was busted.  If I was supposed to be with her and she was at the dance, he knew I would be too.  He got all dramatic on me, and stopped at the cop shop on the way home.  Told me he had to let them  know he found his daughter.  (Insert eye roll here.)  I knew he had a couple buddies who were cops.  He wasn’t fooling me for one second.  But whatever.  I knew I was still in trouble.  I never got to go to a dance, and never tried to sneak out to one again.  Not even prom.  I will get to that in a minute.

So, we are in Wichita and my aunt has decided that we should all go out for dinner.  We are all getting ready and I put on some nice slacks, a turtle neck and some new clogs we had just bought.  My boyfriend comes in the bathroom while I am putting on my make-up, and looks me up and down.  Instead of telling me I look nice, he asks me why I’m getting all dressed up.   I didn’t feel like I was “dressed up,” per se, but I did want to look nice.  He insisted that once again, I was trying to impress someone.  When I would ask him who, he would never know.  This time though, he got this hateful look in his eyes and called me a bitch.  This did not set well with me and we got into an argument, like we had been doing a lot of recently.  My mom came in wanting to know what was going on and I told her he was being an ass and had called me a bitch.  She was no help, other than telling us to knock it off.

When we got back to Lander, I had pretty much changed.  I went through the motions with this guy for a little while longer, but I just wasn’t feeling it any more.  We fought all the time, it seemed.  Over nothing.  I began seeking more distance from him and wanting to have more personal space.  Which I was rarely allowed to have.

I had made friends with a gal in school who was even more shy and quiet than I was, if you can believe that!  She was a real sweetheart.  We decided that on a Saturday, I would ride my bike out to her house and we would hang out.  This didn’t go over well with the ol’ ball and chain.  (And you guys think it’s women who are bad?)  But I insisted that I was going whether he liked it or not.  He asked me when I would be home and I told him probably around 3:00, or something like that. I don’t recall exactly, except that I told him it would only be two or three hours. All I know is that she lived out second street after it curves, and not too far from where you would turn to go down Rollercoaster Road. So, it took me longer to even get there than I had anticipated.  A LOT longer!   So, naturally, I wasn’t going to just turn right around and ride back home when I had just gotten there!

We hung out making latch hook rugs and whatever else.  It was great to just relax with someone.  Her parents were nice and her dad was funny.  I liked being there.  But, as we sat at the kitchen table doing whatever it was we were doing, I look out the window to see my boyfriend driving down Roller Coaster Road in his yellow truck.  Great.  I was a half hour late getting home (Like he was my dad or something) and he was out there looking for me.  I decided that he was NOT my dad and I didn’t have to go home until I was ready or my parents said so.  But after a few drive-by’s I began to feel bad and told my friend I should probably go.  I got on my bike and headed for second street.  It wasn’t long until the yellow truck pulled up beside me.  He had grabbed my bike and thrown it in the back of his truck and the yelling ensued.    He first accused me of not being where I said I was.  How did I know she didn’t live exactly where I thought she did?!  Hell, I wouldn’t have ridden my bike if I had known it was so far!  And then, of course, I was meeting some guy or who knows what.  It was so ridiculous that I can’t even find words to explain how ridiculous it was.

About the time we got into town and close to the house, in just a split second I saw his arm swing and his hand hit my face.  Then, almost as quickly the truck had been stopped and he opened the door and started slamming the door on his arm.  So, as you can imagine, I was pretty freaked out.  It’s bad enough the fucker had hit me.  Then he started acting like a crazy man. I asked him what he was doing, and he started saying something about how the Bible says if your had offends you that you should cut it off.  Great!  Can you say crazy???

Don’t get me wrong.  The Bible does say that, and I suppose that in some ways, maybe he should have cut it off!  I was personally of the opinion that there was this thing called self-control, and he should check into it.  But maybe that was just too hard for him.

It wasn’t too long after that I started to develop a crush on another boy at school and after being together about a year and a half; I broke up with my boyfriend.  The fighting got worse, and more intense, and I just could not deal with it any more.  I did the right thing and broke up with him first.  Though, I never got with this other boy.  It wasn’t like that.  He was even more shy and awkward than I was.  At one point, I did get the courage to let him know that I liked him.  He actually ran away.  Literally!  In fact, he ran to tell his friends, indeed yelling to them, that I had said I liked him!  Yep!  Oy….

THAT guy went on to some Naval Academy like West Point or something like that.  He has never married that I know of and I kind of wondered if maybe he was gay.  I connected with him about the time of our twenty year class reunion via email and he actually called me.  We played catch up a little.  He was in California doing some electronic kind of work or something.  The timing was pretty bad, because I was in a parking lot somewhere and saw my car get hit by a shopping cart.  He said he would let me take care of it, and we just never really talked again.

I didn’t make it to the reunion because I had to work or didn’t have the money to go.  Probably both.  He apparently made it.

My good friend that I stayed in touch with, you know the one who dubbed me “two-by-four?”  She told me later that he was going around at the reunion bragging about how I had done a legal name change with the last name the same as his.  Apparently, he was quite the braggart.  Like it had anything to do with him!!!  Yes, I had done a legal name change and took my mother’s maiden name.  It happened to be a pretty common last name, which he also had.  End of story.

I saw him again this summer at our thirty year class reunion.  I pretended I didn’t recognize him just out of spite.  He came up to me and said hello, eventually.  I looked at him with the blankest look I could muster.  I made this dramatic inquisitive look at his name tag and acted surprised and gave him a quick hug, and then made any conversation very difficult for him; only answering his questions in one or two word sentences. I asked him absolutely nothing about himself.  I think I actually just kind of walked off and left him standing there.  He didn’t want to go out with me, but he sure wanted to brag about how I wanted him and supposedly did a name change because of him??  The nerve!  I wasn’t going to give him anything to brag about this time!

He did have a girlfriend with him.  Some general’s daughter or something like that.  Guess he’s not gay.  Or at least not wanting to look like he is.  She was actually, in my opinion, the most beautiful woman there.  Well done, buddy.  Well done.

So, life went on, though not very smoothly.  My boyfriend did not take the break up very well.  And my parents really liked him.  So, the battle continued.  This guy kept calling the house to talk to my mom.  I would pick up the phone to call someone and they’d be on the line.  He would come over and they would “go for a Coke” all the time.  That’s just the way we said they’d go get a soda.  It could be a drink of any kind, really.  It was still called going to get a Coke.  He’d show up will all these CD’s in his hands and they’d get in our car and leave.  Sometimes mom even still let him drive our car.  (Which really chapped my hide.  Just as they intended, I’m sure.)

I got the message loud and clear from my folks that they thought I should get back together with this guy; because we had had sex, and in God’s eyes, we were married.  Not to mention that he had professed his desire to become a minister.  He had to be my parent’s dream!  The fact that he had deflowered their daughter at such a young age did not seem to upset them all that much, apparently.  I guess since he had promised to marry me and whatnot, they thought that was ok. And the fact that he was verbally and physically abusing me?  We’ll just sweep that right under the rug! Looking back at it as an adult, I can’t fathom why they let me go out with a boy that much older than me in the first place.  I guess they thought I would just do it behind their backs if they didn’t give me permission.  Maybe I would have.  Maybe not.  I guess we’ll never know.

But, this guy kept making sure he was in my face all the time through my parents  Mostly my mom.  I finally made a remark to my mom that I thought for her to keep hanging out with him and talking to him all the time like she was, upset me.  She quite emphatically told me that she was allowed to have friends, and that they didn’t even talk about me.  That she was the pastor’s wife and he still needed spiritual counseling or some bullshit.  I considered this to be a huge betrayal on my mother’s part.

A couple months later, she and I were driving somewhere in Riverton, and she brought up that this old girlfriend of his was in town for some reason and that she had gone with him to meet this girl.  She kept going on about how pretty this girl was with her pretty blonde hair and whatever else.  I made the mistake of asking her what color the girl’s eyes were.  Boy she pounced on that like a kitty with a mouse trapped in front of it!  She turned to me with this stupid smile and made her eyes real big, and oozed the word brown, like she had just seen the most beautiful eyes in the world.  Sorry I asked.  I looked out the window in complete…I don’t even know what the word is.  It was raining outside and gloomy…I remember feeling just like that.  My own mother was trying to make me jealous of some other girl for my ex-boyfriend.  The thirty mile drive home was made in silence, and I did not speak another word to her the rest of the day.

Oh, it gets better!  I had moved on.  I had a crush on this guy and had been talking to him a lot and was really excited about him.  He had asked me out once, and we went to the movies.  Then afterward we sat in his car kissing for a bit.  Wow!  He was an amazing kisser!  At least I thought so!  He never asked me out again though, and I never understood why.  He would talk to me on the phone, sometimes for hours.  But I always had to call him.  He never called me.  If I saw him out, we’d drag main in his Mustang and just visit.  He never touched me or kissed me again.  I found it very confusing.

I started getting these letters in the mail from a secret admirer and they would be spritzed with cologne and I thought for sure it must be from this new crush.  He never let on it was him though and I think at some point I finally asked him and he said it wasn’t him.  It never even occurred to me that it was my ex.  Talk about disappointment!  Ewww!

I finally get the letter that’s the big reveal.  He said that he had seen me wearing a ring he had given me for a gift at some point one night at church, so he assumed that because I was wearing this ring it meant I missed him.  It was not the promise ring he had given me, but another one.  A pearl maybe, but I am not sure.  I gave all the jewelry he had ever given me to my good friend out on second street the next day at school.  I was so pissed.

Graduation time came upon us and I decided to go and watch that years seniors’ commencement ceremony.  I can’t remember if I went with friends, or what the situation was.   But the new crush guy was graduating.  Somehow after the ceremony, he and I got to talking.  My parents were there too, so my ex must have graduated that year also.  I can’t think of any other reason they would have been there.  I remember asking my dad if I could walk home with this guy.  He reluctantly gave his permission and told me to walk straight there and straight home.  I got around to asking him why he never asked me out again and how I felt like there were all these mixed signals.  Finally, out of exasperation, I think; he said he had to tell me something, and that I could not repeat it.  It was like a slap in the face!  I was not expecting the words that came out of his mouth at all.

My mother had showed up at their house one evening, and had a talk with him and his parents, and forbade him to ever see me again!  Behind my back!! And then I remembered that time we were on the phone a few months before and he had said he had to go abruptly.  He said, “I gotta go, your mom’s here, er, someone’s here.”  It all made perfect sense at that moment.  He hadn’t made a mistake when he said my mom was there.  My mom actually WAS there!  I was so upset.  We stood outside his house talking for a little while and then up pulls this damn yellow truck.

The ex tells me to get in and that I need to go with him. I, of course yell back that I am not going anywhere with him!  What the hell was he doing there anyway?  Stalking me some more?  He said that my parents had sent him looking for me.

You have GOT to be kidding me right now!  There was no way in hell I was getting in that truck with him, I didn’t care if my parents HAD sent him!  The new crush told me maybe I should, just to keep the peace, and so I did.  I spoke not a word on that ride home and got out of the truck, slammed the door and went straight to my room.  Not speaking to anyone.

Well…Those are the highlights anyway.  My dating life was not off to a very good start.  I honestly think that to have had to deal with those things at such an early age, truly affected me and how I looked at dating and relationships for the rest of my life. There was a lot of crap going on.  (I actually became quite depressed by my freshman year.)  I wasn’t allowed to date anyone after that.  All because of my ex, I assumed.

Well, there was one guy.  I sure miss him on  nights like tonight.  My parents actually liked him, and he really was great.  And I don’t mean great like great.  I mean he was great.  He would come over, he even kissed me in front of them.  Which kind of scared me at first, but yeah. They didn’t seem to mind.  (Just pecks, not making out kissing.)  He’s the man upon my pedestal.  The one that got away.  Most likely my own fault.  I wrote about him for my very first blog.  My relationship life has not been easy.  There were a few good ones, but mostly, I seemed to either attract assholes, or there are just a shit-ton of them out there.  Take your pick.  I’m leaning towards there being way too many out there. I would not have managed to have good relationships if I only attracted assholes.  And there were a few good ones.  But there were a lot of bad ones too.  Some, REALLY bad….

So, for a lot of years, I have wondered about what might have been if only…and I miss him.  I miss that relationship we had for that short little while and how happy I was with him.  I also felt safe with him.  And when you’ve been through the carp I have, that’s a big deal.  After him, I never really got to date again.  Not while I was living under their roof.  Not even to prom.

Ok, I take that back.  Well, sort of.  A nice guy from our church asked me to prom.  My mom had been feverishly working away sewing this beautiful Gunne Sax dress for me.  Back then, those dresses were all the rage.  My mom found a pattern and made me this amazing dress.  See, she had planned for me to be able to wear it to prom…with my ex.  Well, I was having none of that!  This other guy from church asked me and although I had no feelings for him, he was a sweet guy and I felt back telling him no.  But I would have to ask my parents first.  I think they also thought he was a really nice guy and would feel bad telling him no, too!  But dad would not relent on the dance thing. I was told I could go to any of the other functions; but I could not go to the dance. Great.  I may as well have been telling him no.  And since he was the nice guy he was, he still took me out, but we didn’t go to the dance.  I wouldn’t have tried sneaking anyway, given the way my dad would always show up wherever I was to make sure I was there.  I always was, and that’s how I knew he was checking up on me all the time.  Didn’t matter.   He kept doing it anyway.   That was the only other date I went on that they allowed me to.  If you can even really call it a date, given the fact that I wasn’t really interested in him romantically at all.

My dad always said it was simply because I was not allowed to date a boy who was not a Christian.  But if I brought home a Catholic boy…They’re Christians, right?!?  Nope.  If I married him, I would have to convert, and then if we had kids they would have to be raised Catholic, and all this other evil stuff, apparently.  So it was better just not to even date him.  I bring home a boy who goes to our own church.  Nope.  He may go to church, but he ain’t no Christian, and his daughter was not going out with that boy!  It didn’t matter how nice the guy was or nuthin’.  My dad found something wrong with EVERY one of them.  That was about the time I just started hanging out with guys behind their backs.

I suppose that my parents were only doing what they thought was best for me.  There are probably a lot of parents out there who have done, and will do the same things. (But I never did it to any of my girls.)  I have learned to forgive them.  The hardest part to forgive was what I felt was a blatant betrayal by my mom.  There were many times, I have wanted to blurt out, “Hey, remember that time you thought it was so important to be friends with my ex-boyfriend?  You know.  The relationship you chose at the expense of the one with your daughter?  Well, where is he now?  You don’t even know!  But I am still here.”  I bite my tongue.  She’s my mother.

There are times, I wonder if maybe I am crazy.  Then there are times I ask myself, “How could I not be?!” Haha!  Life has a way of knocking us around and forcing us all to make choices we are ill equipped to make at times.  I think we have all made some crummy ones.  I know I have.  I have done a few things I am quite ashamed of, just like a lot of folks, most likely.

Dating has changed a lot since then in many ways.  Now days, things happen so much more quickly.  It’s all part of this instant gratification world we live in.  And in other ways, it hasn’t really changed at all.  Perhaps that is the biggest reason I don’t really want to date again.  At least right now, anyway.  I get too involved in something that isn’t reciprocated in the super, superficial world of late.  As a woman who put so much of herself into what she does, especially relationships, this is not a good combo.    Mostly though, I just think I’ve had enough.  I’m tired.  Tired in my heart, and in my spirit.  Tired in my bones.

I have to say though, that I am proud of one thing.  My first boyfriend had his flaws and made plenty of mistakes.  He did and said some really crappy things to me.  But through it all, I remained steadfast and faithful to him.  I did what I knew was right and never once did anything that he accused me of so fervently.  I guess in a lot of ways, that’s what makes me so mad.  I never gave him any reason to think I would do anything like that, yet he thought those things.  It took me many years to realize that it wasn’t even about me, but him.  He blamed me for everything, and l accepted the blame for a lot of it, too.

But I gave him my all.  Everything I had to give, was given freely to him…and then I just reached that point where I was like, “Eh, that’s enough.”

I do that sometimes.  Did I mention that?

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