Suppressed memories…

24 10 2010

I went through a pretty bleak time about a year after college ended.  Nothing made sense and getting through another day seemed like too big of a task to handle.  And sometimes?  I just didn’t want to and considered just throwing in the towel more than once.    

You see…  there was this guy.  I met him at a summer job between my freshman and sophomore years of college.  He was my supervisor, but we were the same age.  The draw between the two of us was so strong it was ridiculous.  Everyone saw it.  WE saw it, but what were we to do?  He’d have lost his job.  It was NOT a summer job for him.  So I ended up dating some loser guy for a month or so always wanting and longing to be with the one I just KNEW was who I was supposed to be with.  He ended up dating some creepy girl who later wanted to beat the crap out of me.  And it went on like that for 3 long, insufferable, but wonderful months because through it all I still got to see him every day. 

The time came for me to head back to school and we were both distraught.  Odd, since we’d never spent one moment together as more than line supervisor and cashier, but the connection…  it had muscle.   He even cried when he said bye to me.  I was, of course, sobbing.  And then?  Two nights before I left to head back to school – only an hour away at that point since I was at a satellite campus and not at the main campus of PSU yet, the phone call came.   Could he stop by?   Um…  YES!!  

He showed up with a stuffed teddy bear and a single rose.  We stood on my front porch under the porch lights and he told me he told the creepy girl that it just wasn’t going to work out and then told me that if I wanted to try to make a go of it….  we could try to make it work.  Oh my heck.   I don’t know when I’ve ever been so happy.  It was a magical moment to be sure. 

So we spent that year with him visiting me up at school and me coming home almost every weekend and we worked it out.  It was wonderful.  Was it AS wonderful as I thought it would be?  In retrospect…  no, I guess not.  The teasing and the playful picking on me that he did, I thought, to just get my attention when we worked together continued once we were together.  And at times it took on a much sharper, much more critical edge….  but was always masterfully weaved into joking so I was none the wiser.  

He never would tell me he loved me without me saying it first.  Which Hello??  Could there be any bigger of a red flag ?  And on the rare occasion that he did it was always an “I love ya.” never a “you”.   After a year together…  it all did start to weigh on me.  The teasing, the inability to profess his love…  and though it killed me…  I ended it. 

We stayed in touch.  We bowled together during the summers.  I was on a league with him, his best friend and his dad.  So the summer between sophomore and junior years and junior and senior years I bowled with them.  The summer before my senior year we were both dating other people who both showed up at bowling from time to time…  how could they not, right?  We were bowling with our ex’s once a week.   I’d have judged both his girlfriend and my boyfriend if they didn’t show up unexpected from time to time.  But, oh, that summer was brutal.  When she would show up at the alley it was like a dagger to my heart.  And I made sure to be over the freaking moon when my guy showed up.  I mean all’s fair in love and war, right?  I could see the hurt in my ex’s eyes and I reveled in it all the while knowing the next time his girl showed up, I would be so in for it. 

Over Spring Break of my Senior year, he called me and asked me to have dinner and come bowling.  As neither of us were with our significant others anymore I agreed and we had a lovely fun evening with a lot of laughter.  At the end of the night he so wanted to say something.  I could tell.  There was just SOMETHING.  But whatever it was, he couldn’t do it and we parted ways and I headed back to school for the final 6 weeks of my college career. 

I emailed him upon getting back to school and thanked him for the nice night.  I got a WHOPPER of an email back.  He told me that there had been so much he wanted to say to me during the night and it was the REASON he asked me to go out to begin with but the time never seemed right and when it was right he’d built up too much pressure on himself to do it and he got nervous and chickened out.   But that he loved me.  And that he always had and always would.  How he knew it hurt me so much when he never used to be able to say it, but that he’d grown up a lot in those 3 years and he was certain that he loved me.  He said he realized how much he took me for granted and how the things he said to me weren’t funny or playful…. that most of the time they were just mean and he didn’t know how he could have done that and not seen what it was doing to me.  And since school was almost over and I was coming home for good soon…  could I, did I think, consider giving him another chance. 

Oh, I tried to be standoffish.  I told him I’d think about it.  That he’d hurt me in so many ways.  But I already knew that I’d be out with him the first evening I was back home.  Which was close.  I got home to stay on May 13th, 2000.  Our first date was May 15th.    It was wonderful for a while.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I thought at the time that it was always wonderful.  I know now that it wasn’t.  But for the first several months he was everything he said he was.  Mature, attentive, loving, considerate…  oh, he still teased me and joked…  but in the beginning it really was harmless.  Around the 5th month or so he started to fall back into his old ways, but I didn’t even care or see it, I think.  I was head over heels and I knew he was the one. 

We talked about when we’d be married all the time.   And not just with me brining it up.  Him, too.   And then? The bomb dropped.  His mom, who was ill of health, made the decision that the family was moving to South Carolina.  The day he told me, I thought I’d die from crying.  But he held me and whispered to me that it’d be ok and we’d figure it out and find a way but that since he was out of work and there was a job waiting for him down there, he was indeed going.  From then on when I would get sad…  he would hug me and tell me it would be ok.  He had a plan.  And then he would lay out the plan for me every time I got upset.  He was going to get down there and start working.  When he got back on his feet he was going to find us an apartment.  Then he was going to come up here for a few months while we planned our wedding and got married and then we’d move me down there after the wedding.  He must have recited that plan to me at least a dozen times to the point where I was certain it would happen. 

And then May, 2001….  we said goodbye.  I wept as though my heart had been viciously torn into a thousand pieces…  and indeed it had been.  He looked in my eyes and told me the plan one more time.  Kissed me.  Hugged me fiercely and then sent me off.  And then?   I didn’t hear from him again.  I know what you’re thinking.  Tragic car accident wiped out the family on the way to South Carolina.   Sadly, no such luck.  They got there.  They’re still there.  Except for his mom, who passed away a year after they moved down there, as she knew she would.  I think that was always the reason she wanted them to move, so that when she was gone they’d be near family.   So yeah, that was it.  He never called.  He never emailed.  He never…  meant any of it.  

To say I was devastated would be the understatement of the millennium.  I was destroyed.  A shell of a person.  I didn’t eat.  I didn’t sleep.  How I didn’t get fired from my job I will never ever know.  I think they took pity on me with seeing my state of mind.  I spent a month waiting for him to call.  Then two.  Then three.  I remember nothing from that time except excruciating pain and laying facedown on my bed wailing while my mom would rub my back and cry with me because she couldn’t help me and couldn’t reach me.   Dying.  I thought about dying all the time.  And then I thought about finding him and killing him.  I’m certainly glad I didn’t go through on either of those things.  All rational thought was gone.  To this day I only attribute my survival and his to my deeply rooted knowledge of right and wrong.  Had I grown up and lived in a world where those terms had more ambiguous definitions…  I don’t know that either he or I would be alive today.  

Needless to say I came out of the dark.  I eventually made it through to the other side where hope and happiness seemed possible once again.  And, of course, they were.  To this day I’m grateful to the guy I had a short 3 month relationship with from October to January following the May departure of THE GUY.  That little relationship did wonders for me going forward in my life.  THAT fellow was sweet and complimentary and romantic and showed me what I deserved and helped me realize what I’d been through and what I’d ALMOST settled for.  He took the heartbreak that I’d been through and just through his actions showed me it wasn’t a big loss and helped me see the sheer size of the bullet I’d dodged, through no action of my own. 

But…  I do have to say…  that although I only think upon those times every once in a very rare while, there is a song that can take me back to that place and to that time in a moment and drops me instantly to my metaphorical knees.  It was extremely popular right at the time the “love of my life” was getting ready to leave and every time it came on the radio, which was ALL THE TIME, reduced me to sobbing every time.  And now?  These days?   It will spring a tear or two to my eyes.   It immediately takes me back to that most painful time in my life and though I’m not still sad about what happened?  I’m sad for that girl.  The one wailing on her bed.  I wish I could tell her that I’ve seen the other side and that she does get there and that she’s a better person for it.  I hear the song and I see that girl and a couple of the tears that were wept  in the hundreds of thousands all those years ago make it all the way to the here and now and cloud my vision for a moment or two until I blink them away.  I have a feeling this song will have me blinking away tears for years to come.

I think I’ve already lost you.   I think you’re already gone.  I think I’m finally scared now.  You think I’m weak…  I think you’re wrong.
I think you’re already leaving.  Feels like your hand is on the door.  I thought this place was an empire.  Now I’m relaxed, I can’t be sure.
And I think you’re so mean.  I think we should try.  I think I could need this in my life and I think I’m scared  I think too much.  
I know it wrong but it’s a problem I’m dealing if you’re gone,  baby you need to come home.  There’s an awful lot of breathing room, but I can hardly move.  If you’re gone, baby you need to come home.     
There’s a little bit of something me in everything in you.



One response

25 10 2010

BAM. You got me.

This was wonderful… Younger Brooke had a few guys like that (minus the tragic moving away part) and it took a while for her to smarten up…

One of these guys is marrying a former friend of mine next month. (Obviously, as this person was aware that he cheated on me TWICE, since she helped pick up the pieces… we're no longer close) I still get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about him, though not nearly as vicious as it used to be.

Thank God for the good guys, the ones that might not have been “The Ones” but showed us all the right things to look for. 🙂

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