A True Love Story
This is a very personal, very long, and very true story. This resulted from a sleepless night of me being so sick I couldn't lay down without coughing. I wrote this to occupy my mind, and as a way to reminisce on the events which have placed me where I am today. It's been a long time since I've written anything apart from fictional stories, so excuse the grammatical errors and repetition of "I's" and "we's." Enjoy!
THE YEAR WAS 2004, AND I HAD JUST TURNED 19 YEARS OLD.
I was in the process of recovering from a series of bad relationships when he found me.
I had recently ditched my long term high school boyfriend who found the act of faithfulness impossible. We had been together for three and a half years, we went to prom together, and I had emancipated myself at sixteen years old, abandoning my family who disapproved of him, so we could live together. It took far too long for me to realize that he was a lying, cheating bastard. I was blind to his actions, I was gullible, and I was in love, or so I thought at the time. He broke my heart, so I started dating his best friend; and now, he was stalking me.
It wasn’t long before the stalker’s once best friend moved to New Jersey for college. We attempted a long distance relationship which would inevitably fail.
I was living in a one bedroom apartment, one of ten units in the building, owned by the town’s slumlord. It was the most I could afford working in retail. I didn’t have hot water, cable, and the heat didn’t work the greatest. My cell phone was prepaid, and rarely used. My car was a hand-me-down from my mother, eleven years old at the time with bald tires and a bad head gasket. It overheated if I drove it for long periods of time, and I was constantly buying coolant for it. I slept on a futon with one blanket and an over-sized pillow. My couch came with the apartment, and my television was a thirteen inch freebie. I purchased my desktop computer from my step-sister’s boyfriend for seventy dollars, and acquired a desk on clearance from work for twenty. My only luxury was the high speed internet which I paid thirty dollars a month for.
My apartment door was always locked and dead-bolted. The nights in which my stalker made the twenty minute drive from his Mom’s house; I hid in my bedroom while he rapped on the door, calling my name.
I tried to date, though I was damaged. I was unable to make a solid commitment to anyone. A hole existed in my chest, in which no one was able to repair. Little did I know at the time, I was living through the toughest period of my life; scraping away to make ends meet, and struggling to keep a smile plastered on my face. I was scared, lonely, and due to prescribed anti-depressants in combination with alcoholism; I was suicidal.
He couldn’t have come in to my life at a better time for me, yet it certainly was not the best time for him. I needed him more than anything. He came into my life by complete fluke, messaging me on the computer by pure accident. To this day, I give him credit for saving my life.
He was only one month older than I was, yet far beyond me in measures of wisdom, ambition and simple common sense. We began talking in February of 2004, right around the time of my nineteenth birthday. We’d stay up until two, three o’clock in the morning constructing extravagant conversations on AOL instant messenger. We connected in a way I’d never experienced with anyone before; even via internet connection. We discussed our favorite music, work, and our current relationships. He fixed my computer over the internet, which thoroughly impressed me. I began rushing home from work anticipating my conversations with him, and he was always there waiting for me. These chats became the highlight of my days, and the only thing that kept me going. This lasted several months, before we decided to go on our first date on June 21, 2004.
I asked him. It wasn’t like me to take bold steps like this, I was beyond shy. I ended my half-existent long distance relationship the day prior, and on a whim, with no planning whatsoever, asked him if he wanted to go out with me. I wasn’t expecting a yes, but was thrilled by his answer. I promptly pulled myself out of the slum I was in, went out and splurged on a new pair of heels. I spent more time than normal getting ready for that night. For the first time in a long time, I was finally excited about something.
He picked me up at my scummy little apartment in his very well taken care of mid nineties V8 Ford Thunderbird. The car was custom painted a pearl white, had immaculate tan leather, and a custom stereo installed. He was thin, muscular, five foot nine with brown eyes, dark hair with subtle highlights, and wore a teal tee shirt under his button down which read ‘All this and fresh breath too.’
He took me to the Crow’s Nest for dinner, where was sat on the deck, overlooking the lake, and by complete coincidence; both ordered the chicken fettuccine alfredo. After dinner we went for a walk along the lake, where we wound up sitting in the shore for several hours talking. The entire night was playing out like a scene from a movie, I picked on him for his choice of silly tee shirt while he joked that his liquor bottle key chain was the fob for his car. We were getting along too well to depart, and I personally never wanted this night to end.
We headed back to my apartment with plans to watch a movie. The movie itself escapes me, as our conversation continued and we failed to pay any attention to the plot. We laid on my futon talking until two o’clock in the morning before we kissed for the first time and fell asleep wrapped up in each other’s arms. From that moment on, we were inseparable.
I called in to work the next day, anxious to spend it with him. That night, he told me he loved me, though didn’t want me to say it back because it was too soon. The next two weeks flew by, as time always did when I was with him. He did my laundry for me while I was at work, we snuck over to his parents house and spent the nights there when they weren’t home, we ran from the cops after he was caught speeding in the thunderbird. Not a single night passed in which I came home from work and he wasn’t there waiting for me. He was concerned with getting me out of my crappy little apartment, using the lack of hot water as an excuse, and after only a few weeks, we had put down a deposit on our very first home together in Auburn. Though everyone judged us for moving too fast, we knew how we felt about each other, and we knew that neither of us had any reason to let go of the other for a very long time.
We lived in our little eight hundred square foot apartment for two years. During which time he purchased me a new car, and found me a higher paying job. He bought me a diamond solitaire, which he proudly gave to me on November twenty third of 2004; only five months to the date after our official anniversary. He didn’t say anything, he didn’t propose, didn’t utter a word, though he expected me to wear it on my left hand as a symbol of our relationship. It was an engagement ring, but neither of us made any plans of marriage from there.
He taught me to be financially responsible, to be ambitious, and to be more outspoken. He taught me how to cook and how to drive a standard car. He helped me fix my ruined credit and taught me to appreciate beer among other fine things. He talked to me about politics and computers, expanding my knowledge on the subjects immensely. He boosted my self confidence, took me on several vacations, and made me the number one priority in his life. Most importantly, he changed me into someone new; he encouraged me to obtain a mind, a personality of my own. My success flourished because of him, and it wasn’t long before I found myself managing a restaurant at the age of twenty-one.
We purchased our first house shortly thereafter, freshly twenty one years old, and homeowners. Soon, we had everything imaginable; big screen televisions, several computers, expensive clothes, nice furniture, a completely remodeled home and a very nice pair of vehicles. We were quite successful for our young ages; he was still working for the same company as a traveling computer technician. He was often gone on overnight assignments, which seemed to take a serious toll on both of us. I did not sleep when he wasn’t around, and while he was gone, he’d go out and get drunk. Our problems seemed to worsen when he was promoted to an in-house technician. He began complaining that he was spending too much time trapped with me, and had no life. He blamed me, and I was crushed by these accusations. The only way I knew to deal with them, was to become angry.
I was lacking something major in my life, I wanted marriage, and I wanted children. He made his opinions very clear; marriage was nothing more than a piece of paper, and he was dead set against having children. He didn’t understand my persistence on the subjects. Instead, he surprised me in March of 2007, with an adorable puppy whom we dubbed Mylie.
It was not surprising as we spiraled downward into a path of self destruction. We had spent the ‘party years’ of our lives becoming adults. We were both bored, and we blamed each other. He began looking for temptations behind my back as I fell into an obsessive state where I kept tabs on his every move; dictating who he was allowed to talk to and where he was allowed to go. We had arguments so intense, at least once per month that we’d fight until five o’clock in the morning until we’d both gave up in tears and apologies. Though, despite the tantrums we threw, neither of us changed for the better, and we continued to take each other for granted. We sustained this damaging behavior for another two and a half years before we finally split. Four and a half years flushed down the toilet instead of either of us willing to fix it.
I moved out in a state of frustration and anger, while in effort to hurt me, he was leaving to have a lunch date with a girl I forbid him to see. I packed up everything I was able to fit into my car, and lived out of it for a month before I found myself an apartment close to work.
My second path to alcoholism began here. I was devastated, I had lost the love of my life, and I was once again lonely; only this time I was significantly emotionally stronger. I continued to flourish in my career, despite going out every single night and obtaining no more than a few hours of comatose, drunken induced sleep. I was not ashamed of my behavior then, as my friends and I closed the bars every night of the week. I drove drunk, on several occasions, looking back I am shocked that I did not injury myself, or worse; someone else. I made many, many self damaging and terrible decisions. All the while, he behaved the exact same way.
I continued to keep tabs on him, falling into states of depression each time he found a new girl to cling to. I’d pick out the very worst qualities in each one of them, and use them as an excuse to feel better about myself. I hated him, as he vowed to treat his next serious girlfriend better than he had treated me. I hated him even more when he became sober, and sent me a long email apology for all the wrong he’d done in the past. He begged for me to come back, regardless of how much I still loved him, I held myself up on a false pedestal and told myself I deserved better.
We continued like this for seven months before we saw each other face to face again. The reason being a custody swap of Mylie. I falsely blamed giving her up on the fact that she, due to my stupidity, out of fear; had bitten me. Though I knew deep down that I was not financially stable enough to care for her anymore and honestly felt she would be better off with him. He took her without any resistance, and shortly thereafter became very attached to her. This wasn’t surprising; Mylie had the type of personality that could keep you trudging through the worst during difficult times. She cuddled on rare occasion when needed and was a committed playful companion other times.
We sat on the stoop, outside the kitchen’s French doors during the custody swap. We held up insignificant, light conversation over a bottle of Coors Light until I was able to leave, letting go of my dog, who was in many ways; my daughter. I cried the entire drive back to my apartment. I cried over the loss of Mylie, and over the loss of him. I cried over the changed person our break-up had caused him to become, and because he was now perfect for me. That ship had sailed and I saw no feasible way that we could be together without falling back into our old routine.
This night rest in the forefront of my mind for the next few weeks. I began reminiscing about the good times, which I finally admitted to myself, I’d never really appreciated before. I was a pessimist back then; I only focused on the bad, letting it rule my life. I complained about him to no end, never giving him any credit whatsoever for all the good he’d done for me. After all, I was damaged by my past, left untrusting and jealous. Who’d have thought it would take several months of alcoholism and complete freedom vs. a long successful relationship to change me so drastically?
I sent him a text message. I asked him if he would be willing to meet with me halfway between our homes and take a walk. He agreed. We met in Cayuga, and took a walk, Mylie in tow, down the railroad tracks which ran along the lake shore. Our conversation wasn’t forced, it was just as easy as ever; yet this time both of us were careful not to touch on iffy subjects. We talked about what we’d been up to, how Mylie was doing, our jobs, etc. Time passed too quickly, as always, and it was soon becoming dark. As we made our way back to where we had parked, he loaded Mylie in his car and quickly returned to me. He said his goodbyes and hugged me, neither one of us wanted to let go. I felt my eyes swelling up with tears, and took that as my cue to leave. I quickly jumped in my car, and took off towards home. My thoughts were too distracted during the first few moments of my drive to realize that the song, the one depicting our break-up, which he had dedicated to me, had been randomly chosen out of nearly four-thousand songs on my ipod. At the realization of this, I burst in to tears. “Somebody Like You” by Pop Evil surrounded me, each word identifying with the pain he felt during my absence.
I couldn’t help but thinking of him while I lay in bed that night, I couldn’t sleep. After several beers I pulled out my laptop and opened my instant messenger. As I expected, he was there, waiting for me. He poured out his heart to me, and I did the same. I admit the alcohol played a role in my absurd honesty. We agreed to meet up again the next day I didn’t have to work so we planned a road trip to Scranton, Pennsylvania; a five hour trip, just like old times to our favorite seafood restaurant and to watch the sun set over the city.
We left early that Saturday morning, and took his Infiniti down the familiar stretch of Route 81. He held my hand for the majority of the drive, and we stopped randomly on hiking trails and scenic stretches of road to take pictures with my DSLR camera. Dinner was mediocre, but snapping pictures from the Wegman’s parking lot at twilight was one of the most meaningful moments of my life. I was immediately reminded of how much I missed his presence. After a long day, and a long drive home, we were utterly exhausted. I had no intentions of driving home so fatigued, and accepted his invitation to stay the night. We then fell asleep, wrapped up in each other, in our bed once again.
We continued to see each other for two weeks. During that time he helped me find a more affordable apartment and brought me a miniature pot of flowers for my new place. He clung to me during those weeks as if he were afraid I’d disappear in to thin air.
It didn’t take long for him to express his motives. He wanted me to quit my job, move in with him, marry him, and to raise our children. He also held no hesitation in telling everyone about our recent reconnection, he was thrilled, and he didn’t even attempt to hide it.
I, on the other hand, was terrified.
Terrified because this was all happening so fast; I didn’t want to give up on the career I’d worked so hard on. I didn’t want to risk a life with him for the second time only to slip back into our old mistakes. Worst of all, I did not want to face the criticism coming at us from every direction; from his friends, his parents, my friends, and my parents. All of them were pessimists who couldn’t understand why we were attempting to try again. The negativity sprung from every route thinkable.
I hated myself for it, but I gave up. I became distant, I fabricated arguments and I eventually just stopped talking to him. I was a horrible person, and I knew it.
I started going out every night again, this time it was worse. I’d become so intoxicated, so fall down drunk that looking back I am utterly disgusted with my actions. I threw up in a gas station parking lot at two o’clock in the morning, when I was supposed to be at work in less than four hours. It even got to the point where I was drinking alone when I wasn’t going out, killing several bottles of wine on a single night. I’d even skimp on groceries in order to buy alcohol. I dated a series of mistakes for very short periods of time, refusing to let any of them break the icy shell I’d build around myself for protection. This created several problems, and in the process I obtained three legitimate stalkers. Not the call you every day stalker, but the show up at your apartment, pound on your door, follow you to work stalker.
Then one day, after three months of self destruction, I caved. I hated who I was, who I’d become. The only time in my life where I’d ever found myself even remotely acceptable were the years I’d spent with him.
It was January 21, 2010.
I was sick with a stomach bug, and had spent 8 hours throughout the night vomiting every twenty minutes. I called in to work, which even due to my near perfect attendance would eventually be greatly frowned upon.
The current sports fanatic, illiterate moron I was sort-of dating at the time became annoyed with my illness. That was the end of him; I didn’t tolerate such stupidity when I really didn’t care either way if I saw the person again or not. Slightly annoyed with the current circumstances, I sent him a text. I told him I just needed to talk to someone with half a brain in their head before I lost any more brain cells. He laughed at me, but didn’t question me any further. He accepted me back with open arms after a year apart, minus two weeks. That day he brought me soup, and sat with me on his lunch break from work. That night, he stayed with me, and took care of me while I was too sick to move.
He was a phenomenal person, all around, truly amazing; I’d be lucky if he were willing to even consider the option of giving me a third chance, and to my astonishment, he was more than willing. It was then, that I did something I should had done years ago, I promised myself I’d always try, and I’d never stop appreciating him. I wanted more than anything to be the girl he promised he’d treat better than he treated me.
The thoughts of others didn’t matter anymore. The only thing that mattered was the truth that I loved him beyond words, and he made me happy. Even more, he made my life worth living; he made me a better person simply by being around me.
I spent nearly every night with him from that point on; we blamed it on the stalkers, though we both knew I’d be abandoning my apartment regardless.
In a matter of weeks I was moved back in, and for the first time in many years, we were happy, honestly happy. Possibly even happier than we were when we first met. We had both grown into the person the other one wanted from the start. We were perfect for each other… Again.
On April 30, 2010 he proposed.
It was a real proposal this time, with a new ring, and a charming speech. I was so overwhelmed with surprise, I almost forgot to answer him and the key question had to be re-asked.
Much to my own astonishment, I managed to plan a wedding in only five months. I had originally suggested longer, the next year at our original anniversary, but he declined and said he wanted to be married sooner. He didn’t see the point in waiting an entire year.
To be married so quickly, after just getting back together was outrageous, and shock came at us from everyone we told. It was too soon, happening on a whim and irresponsible; but it was just like us to act without a plan, we made every good decision we’d ever made this way. It’d worked for us so far, so why not?
On September 12, 2010 we were married.
We had an extravagant reception in an old church converted to a banquet hall, and kept our guest list small, only inviting sixty people. We had a great time, even if our first dance was a touch awkward due to our lack of ability to dance together, despite the fact that our cream cheese frosting on our cake had melted leaving it lopsided; regardless of the reverend making a mistake during the ceremony due to a mix up with the rings. The day meant more to us than the silly things, it was the first day of the rest of our lives together and we were both walking on clouds. That night we stayed at the Springside Inn on Owasco Lake in the honeymoon suite. We had one amazing night together, popping champagne and soaking in the hot tub filled with rose petals. We then sat up in our robes until four o’clock in the morning talking about anything and everything.
The time after our wedding seemed to fly by. He stopped treating me the way a good boyfriend treats his girlfriend; and began treating me like a good husband should treat his wife. The difference is subtle and hard to explain without experiencing it. He asked me why I wanted marriage so badly, told me I looked so happy, so beautiful. My response was simply because you’re mine, really mine now. I should have elaborated. I wanted marriage because it gave me a sense of closure, that chapter of my life complete, leaving space for a new and exciting one to begin. I held on to my priority of maintaining the new person I’d become, and put forth more effort into our relationship than I ever had before. The result was never ending honeymoon bliss. If we could manage to keep even the smallest spark of this burning, there’s no doubt in my mind that we have several decades of happy years lying before us.
So why am I telling this story? The answer lies in one reason. A few weeks before our wedding, he was telling me about a couple he’d had lunch with. A grungy looking man and his drop dead gorgeous girlfriend who were madly in love; in response to their relationship, he commented; looks like I’m not the only one dating someone who’s too good for me.
This bothered me.
It bothered me, because while I held my tongue in hearing this statement from other people, hearing it from him, knowing he thought it was true… How could he think so highly of me, and so low of himself when the reason why I am who I have become is one hundred percent on him?
My point being, this is for everyone who said in the very beginning, that we’d never make it; everyone who looked down on us for trying again and everyone who frowned upon our wedding. For everyone who ever claimed that one of us was better than, or too good for the other. For all of those who are merely outsiders looking in, making false statements and lacking the facts; now you have the whole story, the true story.
6 years, 5 months, 13 days and counting.
He is my life, my absolute everything; and I plan on staying home to raise our children. I vow to try my hardest throughout the inevitable hard times, and I have every intention of growing old with him. The most difficult of times are behind us now. If our love can survive what we have been through – There’s no doubt in my mind we can make it through anything.