He was always a quiet one. Popular, but quiet. The one in the group that would cheer everyone else up while he was crying silently on the inside. We bonded from the moment we met, not because of our shared depression, but because our shared views in the fact that we should always try to look on the bright side.
I remember on our first date. We’d met on a dating site, believe it or not. We’d only talked through texting, but even in texting the man was a wonder to my feeble female mind. He said all the right things, but not in a cocky way. More in a dorky-sweet way. I knew this man could do a lot of damage in a little amount of time if I let him in, but I did anyway. What the hell, right?
He had texted me out of blue after his class had finished at the local technical college. “Hey want to meet up for dinner tonight? I know it’s a wee bit sporadic to ask on such short notice, so I understand if you already had other plans.” God, he’d been so understanding back then. Still is today, but I immediately texted him back. “Sure! When and where?” He told me later how excited he’d been that I had eagerly agreed to such a fast date with him without even talking on the phone first. I joked with him back saying I wasn’t entirely sure he wasn’t a serial killer, but I decided to take my chances.
He’d been waiting there for a good twenty minutes before I finally showed up. I hadn’t even known he’d gone from school straight to the fancy restaurant we’d picked out. He was close to leaving by the time I had finally shown up, thinking I had bailed on him.
Once we were in person, though, we both felt that connection. Of course, it was slightly awkward. The sexual tension was immediate as well, no matter how much he tries to deny his thoughts veering toward the gutter that night, because I know mine were. He was my personal definition of eye candy. Perfectly cut hair, a smile that showed flawless teeth, two adorable dimples on either side of his cheeks, and a toned body hidden beneath slightly baggy clothes. He was yummy from the get-go and I just couldn’t help letting my thought train go from chu-chuing right to sex land.
Not only was a sight for sore eyes, he was so well-mannered I figured this could not be real. He wasn’t painfully shy, but he wasn’t overly talkative either. He was perfect. The lesbian waitress that kept hitting on me also played part in breaking the ice, but that was a minor detail.
Here, you could draw on the table tops with crayons. So, as any adult would, we both asked for a bunch of crayons and got to work drawing tiny master pieces on the tabletop. His: a small soccer field. Mine: a plain flower with a happy face beaming at you from the middle. I recall ordering the Feduccini Alfredo with Chicken when the waitress finally came back to hit on me some more, but then quickly changed my mind when I heard what he was having.
We spent the rest of that night making small talk, too nervous to really enjoy the food. He talked about his family and I immediately got the notion that he was very family-oriented. He liked sports, soccer particularly, partied a little bit in high school, and now was going to college to get his masters in teaching.
“What do you want to teach?” I had asked. He spent a moment picking at his food and staring at it as if it would come alive at any moment.
“Math,” he finally answered. I nodded my head in agreeability.
“Not one of my best subjects, despite my oriental background,” I joked. That got a tiny chuckle out of him. Good, I thought, he has the same sense of humor as me.
After dinner we had walked right across the street to the movie theater. It was quite a spontaneous decision to go see the movie right after, but I just wanted more time with this guy! Neither of us knew what was playing, but we settled on seeing a comedic action movie that got us both out our comfort zones with each other.
After that date, we were inseparable. I quickly learned to trust this man, despite my horrific past. I opened up to him fast, let him in on my dirty secrets, and reveled in the fact that this man was enjoying my company as much as I was enjoying his!
It wasn’t long before I felt myself falling flat on my face for this man. He was everything I had ever dreamed a man to be. He was sweet, compassionate, understanding, amazing with children, romantic, lustful, loving, and friendly. He could hold a conversation through text and through person. He didn’t have an angry bone in his body, he was the most trustworthy guy you’d ever meet, and he was all mine.
We constantly laughed together. We had so many inside jokes by the time three months rolled around that I couldn’t honestly count them on both hands.We rarely ever fought and when we did, we quickly apologized to each other and made up.
And the sex! Oh the sex! He wasn’t nearly as experienced as I was in that field, but boy did he have a knack for fast learning! It got to the point where we were having it at least four or five times a day. That continued on for a good four months.
But every relationship will lose its initial luster. After we got out of the puppy love stage we saw things for what they really were, stressful. We promised each other we’d always get through things, together. One day my car had broken down and he had come to my rescue. The very next day he got in a car crash. His car had rolled down the street and flipped upside down and it pained me more than anything that I couldn’t drive over and see if he was okay.
The months that followed both our car incidents were exasperating, to say the least. I was using my mother’s twenty-five year old car to get around until I could afford to buy a new one and he was using a beat-up, run-down, rusty old van to get around. That is, until that one also broke down leaving him, once again, car-less.
Not having a car was stressful enough, but to top college off with it as well was adding for pain and ache to our lives. No matter what we did something seemed to always go wrong. It was as if the universe was purposefully making our lives a living hell.
But despite all the wear and tear on both of us we still remained madly in love. We still laughed, just not as often. We still joked, just lighter. We still went out on dates, but they were only half-assed. We still tried to look on the bright side, but that was proving to be easier said than done. I was still falling more and more in love with this man every moment I was with him. It began to get to the point where I would just glance at him and notice his insane beauty. He’d talk and I’d feel my body respond to his deep voice. He touch me and my heart would go flying out of my chest. It was like I had a high school crush again and I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that this amazing man was mine.
He had his flaws, like not being able to communicate his emotions with me, but that was a detail I often over looked because I usually knew what he was trying to say. Our biggest issue was my jealousy problems. Before me, he had a wide range of girly-friends and guy friends. He texted women on a daily basis and joked with them like he would with me, but thanks to my past I couldn’t handle that. Bless his heart for quickly adapting to my issues, but that cost him a lot. Almost his entire friend group save for two of is best guy friends.
I was on a never ending cycle of emotional abuse and I had no idea how to get out of it. I loved this man to death, I wanted to give him the world and then some, yet I was taking his world away. No matter how many times he said he didn’t mind losing those people because they never really talked anyway I knew the truth. I knew he missed his friends, his freedom, his old life. He loved me, yes, but at what cost?
Sometimes I sit here and wonder what his loving me has actually cost him. What would be best for him? Should I run away and never look back so that he can have a chance at finding a normal girlfriend? Do I stay and try to keep getting better? I knew the longer I stayed the more I’d keep pushing him away and that was the complete opposite of what I wanted to do.
At night when we would be laying side by side with each other I’d wake up in the middle of the night. I lay there for hours just staring at him, wondering what in the world to do, apologizing to his unconscious face for being the way that I am, talking to myself/him about the different options going through my head. Then the scenarios would start. Anything could trigger them, literally. It was like a never ending movie playing in my head that would just getting worse and worse.
I’d lay there beside him, reminding myself of how much this man loves me, but still I’d see him on top of someone else, loving someone else, kissing someone else. I’d scream internally at myself, scolding myself for letting my mind think this way, until finally the anxiety attacks would come. I’d start crying silently, so as not to wake him, as I just let the scenarios have at it, rip away at my mind, and tear me apart form he inside out.
I suppressed a lot every day so that him and I could just have a happy, normal relationship but then something would trigger my jealousy and it was a mento being dropped in a coke bottle. I’d explode and even with the cap twisted on tightly I still blew that cap clear off. There was no stopping it. It got to the point where even when my jealousy was justified I still had no idea what was right and wrong of me to be jealous about. I’d never had a wide range of girly-friends I could confide in and the ones I did have seemed more crazy than I thought I was!
So what was normal? How much further did I have to go before I was finally considered a good girlfriend by the average societal definition?
The answer was not that much further. The last thing I needed to over come was the scenarios that randomly played out. It was hardest thing to kick, like a heroine addict quitting cold turkey. After that was kicked we both were happier.
We overcame the stress that hit us, we trusted each other indefinitely, and we loved each other unconditionally. By the time he had finally had gotten his masters degree and was teaching middle schoolers about the pythagorean theorem I was well on my way to getting my Ph. D. as a Clinical Psychologist.
We were living a happy life in a decent sized home, had a few cats and dogs scattered around the house (no matter how many times I begged for other sorts of animals), drove well-maintained cars that were under ten years old, and we were finally financially stable. It was at that moment that he finally proposed after five years of being with each other.
Our wedding would take place the year after and we were to live our happy lives, until one day I got the phone call that shattered my entire world. My dear precious fiancee had gotten into a fatal car crash.
I had rushed to the hospital and got there just in time to see him go into surgery. My family and his family waited in the waiting room for a full 10 hours until finally the doctor came out. We all stood immediately.
“Are you his wife?” he had asked.
“Yes,” I answered automatically.
“I’m sorry to say,” and that was all I needed to hear. My heart had ripped to shreds, my stomach had left my body, and my knees ceased to work. Just like that he was gone.
The days spent after his funeral were lonely and depressing. We had over come so much together, invested so much time in each other, and dreamed of such a happy ending. How it ended up like that I’ll never know.
But luckily I got him back. We were finally together again. I don’t regret my decision to put the piece in my mouth. I really don’t. Life was nothing without him. I lived for years with the weight of his death on my shoulders and now finally, we were reunited. I couldn’t be happier. Sure, my family will mourn, but they’ll join me soon enough as well.