June 02, 2007
Tropical Depression Barry
As I checked out the weather today, I saw the status of Tropical Depression Barry. It's bringin' on some much needed rain. And the talk of this tropical depression named after a piece of my past has me thinking back to that time of my life, and that relationship.
The story is below the fold. It's long, very long. But I wrote it for me. I believe it's the first time I've told the story in full and I know it's the first time I've written it. It was a good way to think through it all.
After getting kicked out of college my first year, I moved back home to 29 Palms, CA. I knew I would get a job, or two. I new I would attend the community college. But I didn't know anything else. My original plan of graduating college and becoming a music teacher was no longer relevant.
One of my jobs was working at the Marine Corps Exchange. There weren't many choices in 29 Palms. But who am I to complain? The eye candy was great! While working there, I met a great guy. I could stare at him for hours. Barry and I started casually dating, neither of us wanting anything too serious. This lasted for a couple of months when he said he had to go to North Carolina because his grandfather was ill and was close to dying. He said he didn't know how long he would be, and that he knew that we weren't officially together but he wanted me to wait for him. Despite the choice to not be serious, he was my first, so I couldn't help but want him to come back.
1 week goes by. 2 weeks...3 weeks. And I hear nothing. Not a phone call, not an email...nothing.
Meanwhile, my parents moved to Phoenix and I moved into my first apartment. $300 a month got me a "furnished" 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom place that I believe used to be an old motel.
I continued to work at the Exchange and the night audit shift at the Best Western and take a couple of classes. I met a new guy again while at work and began dating him. That lasted about 3 months before he was stationed in Okinawa.
About 6 months after Barry originally left, he walked back into my life. While at work, I saw him walk into my department, with the biggest smile and looking as good as ever. To say the least, I was shocked.
He admitted to being in Okinawa for the previous 6 months and that he couldn't handle telling me because he had fallen in love with me. I was 19 years old...I fell for it.
At that point, there was no more casual. We were together. He soon moved in with me to a studio rat hole that was the size of my guest bedroom now. It was such an awful, old, nasty place. But with him there, I was truly happy. I could have lived in a cardboard box with him and been happy. We would have fun just playing Spades on the bed, or him showing me how to put a computer together.
There were a couple of times that he had to go down to Palm Desert, where he used to live previously. He had told me he was helping a friend move or some other excuses. I never thought anything of it. He spent 90% of his time with me.
During this time, my grandfather had fallen extremely ill with multiple cancers and was in extreme pain. In November, I was told he wouldn't make it much longer. I decided I needed to go out there before he passed. Unfortunately, even after working for the exchange for a year and a half, they wouldn't let me have the time off because it was in November...retail blackout. Barry told me to quit so we could go and he would take on more financially until we got back and I got another job. He was somehow able to get the time off work to go with me and I just thought that was the greatest thing in the world. I remember at one point he told me he had to tell his 1st Sgt that he was going to see his ex-wife's sick parent so he could go. Again, I didn't think anything of it!
With limited time and money, we made the non stop trip from California to Missouri. As hard and tiring as it was, it was great because it was with him. He'd drive and I'd read one of the computer books he was studying to him. I'd drive and he'd sing to me or tell me stories.
We made it to Missouri, the first time I had been back since I was kicked out of college. Due to being sick and the unlivable conditions they were in prior, my grandparents had moved out of their trailer into an apartment that used to be a motel. With all of the medical equipment and tubes running everywhere, it was difficult to get 2 people in there, let alone move around.
I spent some time with my grandparents. They were so happy to meet Barry and said I looked very happy. At one point when I wasn't around, my grandmother pulled Barry aside and asked him when he was going to marry me. He told her as soon as he could.
I took him around my old stomping ground. We made the trip up to my old college and I shared many memories with him.
We had to get back home so I said my last goodbyes to my grandpa and told grandma I'd visit more often. As we left, Barry would not let me go. As we drove back home to Cali, he would not let go of my hand.
24 hours into our drive, somewhere in the desert (I think it was New Mexico) I got a phone call from my mom. I couldn't understand her through her sobbing. She finally got out that grandma had passed away. Not grandpa, but grandma. And Barry was there. He was there for me for the first time I had a family member pass away. He was the only man in my life to meet my grandparents. The one my grandma left this earth believing I would marry.
We got home to our rat hole and he rarely left my side. I got a job as a vendor for a few consumer electronic companies at the Exchange. And then it happened. A couple days before Thanksgiving, not soon after our trip to Missouri, I came home from work to a 1/2 empty rat hole and a note on the ironing board. Barry said he wasn't good for me and couldn't be with me anymore. He was terribly sorry and that this was the best thing for me.
I was heartbroken. Probably the most heartbroken ever. The feeling of having the earth ripped out from underneath you. The feeling that I would never come out of this gutwrenching pain. Wondering what I did. The shock!
I could not get a hold of Barry. He wouldn't answer my calls, despite that he was in possession of a cell phone that was on my account. Finally, the day before Thanksgiving, we talked. He apologized and just kept saying the same thing he said in his letter. He said he was at a friend's house for Thanksgiving and that he would come see me when he returned the next week.
I went to a co-worker's house for Thanksgiving. I ended up getting the most sick I have ever been. I started breaking out in cold sweats, had a slight fever and couldn't bare the sight of food. So I excused myself from her home and headed back to the painful reminder of what wasn't there. And I hurled. I puked for 3 days. I had the worst body pain and a fever. I was miserable inside and out.
It took about 3 days to get over that and I went back to work the following week. Barry came home to the rat hole so we could talk. I came home for lunch and we talked about what he did and why. He just kept saying he was sorry and didn't want to hurt me. I begged him to stay. At that point, I honestly could not imagine life without him. Ah, to be 20 years old.
He said he didn't want to live without me either and he was going to stay. We made up, and then I headed back to work. All was better in the world. I couldn't wait to get back home; back to the way things were just a couple of weeks ago.
And when I got home, there was another note on the ironing board attached to his key. The note just said I'm sorry. (Hmmmm, I wonder if I can blame my hate of ironing on him?)
At this point, I was hurt and pissed. The calls began and once I realized he wasn't coming back, I started to get more pissed that I was left with his share of financial responsibilities as well. I called and told him he owed me money for rent, electric, the phone, etc. Anything I could think of. I then received 3 voicemails from a man I had never seen. He left all of these hateful words. I was a dirty bitch and all I cared about was getting his money (Sgt's in the Marine Corps have money?) Words came from him that I never knew possible.
So I threatened to go to his command if he did not pay his share of the rest of the month. I was hurt and pissed. (Ah, the mistakes of a 20 year old) Well, the threat of going to his command worked. He gave me about $120 and said he'd give me the rest next pay day.
With the new job not going as I planned and him leaving me with bills, I couldn't make it there on my own. That December I moved to Yuma to stay on my mom's couch. I was left with a $1300 cell phone bill, utilities that still needed to be paid, and the unanswered question as to why this all happened.
Skip ahead about a year. I was 21, living in a slightly better studio rat hole and was working for a retail company that was allowing me to pay for my mistakes in 29 Palms. The past year allowed me time to think, get friend's opinions about what happened. We came to the conclusion that we thought he may have been married. It was hard for me to believe, it just didn't make sense. And I also couldn't believe that the things he did at the end of the relationship were him. I knew him, it just wasn't him.
I then hear from Barry via email. We casually talk back and forth. He said he is sorry for what he did and the things he said and that he knew they were unforgivable. He said he screwed up the best thing in his life. I finally asked if he had been married, and he said yes.
He explained that when we first met 2 1/2 years ago, his wife had cheated on him and had given him "permission" to cheat back. That's when he met me. When he came back from Okinawa, they were supposedly separated and she thought he was living in the Barracks. When he left note on my ironing board, she had found out about me and threatened to go to his command if he didn't return to her.
At this point, he was out of the Marine Corps, they were divorced and she was out of his life. We continued to talk and he asked me if there would ever be the chance for us to be together again. I still had not achieved that happiness I had with him and the thought of having that again was overwhelming. I wanted that more than anything.
I told him that if he was willing to come to Yuma to talk and hang out, we could see how we felt. He talked about moving to Yuma to make things right, to be with me. For 3 weeks before he came, I received a dozen roses at work. Cards that professed his love for me and how he was the luckiest man on earth to have another chance.
When he arrived, we went to dinner and talked. He was the same. The same cheery, funny man that I loved to stare at. His smile was the same; the way he looked at me was the same.
But I had changed. We went out to his car and he pulled me over to hug me. I just stood there while he held me tight. I couldn't get myself to even put my arms around him.
We went back to my house as I had agreed that he could stay with me for the evening before returning back to California.
We laid down on the pull-out couch that I used for a bed. He wrapped his arm around me tight. Tight enough that I couldn't budge. I cried, I couldn't do it. He was sound asleep while I got out of his hold and tried to fall asleep on the couch.
Later in the evening, he woke up and asked what I was doing over there. I told him I couldn't sleep. In all actuality, I just couldn't sleep with him. He asked me to come back to bed and I did. I thought if I could just make it through the night and until he left, I would tell him that I couldn't do this. I wasn't the same. As I was lying there he wanted to be physical, and I didn't. He was persistent. And I continued to tell him I couldn't. He won.
I don't think I've ever been so happy to see daybreak. He left that day knowing that was the end of that. He didn't have to ask. He acted just as he had when he arrived the day before. I was happy to see him leave.
It wasn't too much longer that I decided it was time to get out of Yuma. I faxed my resume to every one of my company's retail locations in Eastern North Carolina. I got an offer to manage one of the locations and took it.
Posted by Sissy at June 2, 2007 11:35 AM