Eric and Katrina
I had reached a point in
my life where I didn’t really believe in true, fairy tale love and was quite
content in settling for companionship. As
long as I could have someone there with me to go to bed with at night, hold my
hand once in a while during the day and keep me distracted from the voices in my
head, I felt the love vacancy had been filled.
There were so many ghosts in my past, clamoring to be heard, that having
someone else to take up some of the attention was a Godsend.
That’s where I was in my head when I married my first husband for the
I believed in that
romantic kind of love when I got married at sixteen, the fairy tale stuff, that
is. Since we don’t usually have a
standard for male-female relationships other than what our parents set for us,
it seems that we are doomed to repeat those patterns in our own interpersonal
relationships, no matter what idealistic ideas books and Hollywood have given
us. Although my first husband (who
would subsequently end up being my second husband as well), was seemingly as
different from my dad as night and day, subversely, they were very much alike and
in as many ways, the dysfunctions that existed between my parents themselves, as
well as between myself and my parents were duplicated in my marriage to Paul
(The Goat, as he is referred to in my journal from time to time).
Although my parents never had a drop of alcohol brought into their house
and never picked up a cigarette, they had all of the hallmarks of addicts and
were very dysfunctional people, constantly competing with one another in any
number of ways for attention and having absolutely no qualms about sacrificing
someone dear to them to get it. Their
drug of choice was both food and attention.
They could never get enough of either.
Paul’s was alcohol.
He was (and I presume still is) hypoglycemic, so alcohol did really
strange things to him. He could
“turn” after two beers or ten; you never knew when it was going to hit.
He would become a totally different person and was extremely aggressive
and emotionally abusive to me and the kids.
Without going deeply into it, he also had his issues with physical abuse,
but although I could feel the wrongness of it, I didn’t have the first clue
of what to do about it. His
behavior during those times and sometimes even sober was no different than my
father’s, so it took a long time before I could have external validation of my
feelings that what he was doing was wrong.
When a behavior has existed your whole life, through childhood and into
marriage, it becomes normal and it’s not until you pick up on what’s going
on in the outside world that you question its morality, no matter how bad it
makes you feel inside.
We had three sons and
Paul left us eight times, for varying lengths of duration, during the first
marriage, which lasted 15 years. The
last time when he left for good, supposedly, I was so hurt and angry that I
started a relationship with someone that I perceived to be his polar opposite,
my friend who was younger than I was, carefree, gregarious and self-centered.
We will call him The Renaissance Faire Bunny or “RFB” for short.
My friend, the RFB, was leaving his long term girlfriend at the same time
Paul was leaving me, so RFB rented a room in the only house available for me to
rent, which I, unfortunately, could not afford. His contribution a month helped me to make the rent.
It didn’t take long. Shortly
after our relationship moved beyond friendship, I realized that the taking up
with RFB was a mistake. I hadn’t
had the time I needed to get to know myself as a person, rather than a
collective. I hadn’t explored why my relationship with The Goat had
been so toxic and painful to both of us. I
hadn’t sufficiently detoxed, so I repeated the same patterns again, looking
for comfort in the familiar. RFB
would NOT work. Not only would he
not hold down a job, but he would not even help keep the house clean while I
worked. He did nothing but play
computer games all day. Nothing. He was a pathological liar.
He was just trouble from the word go.
Worse, he was *dumb*. I
never thought intelligence was a big issue for me, but boy, did he ever teach me
that lesson. Unfortunately, he
lived in my house and proved hard to extricate.
I told him the end of October, two months after he moved in and a month
after we started our “relationship,” that he had to find somewhere else to
live before I killed him in his sleep. Months
ticked by and he became the most obnoxious human to ever suck air.
To make matters worse, in February of 1992, February 14th, to
be exact, I found out that The Goat had told me a GIANT lie about a nasty little
welfare queen that he’d been banging away at and in a fit of fury, I had
revenge sex with the RFB for the first time since October.
Pow. Despite a condom and a sponge on the last day of my period, I
was pregnant. RFB was sure that the
pregnancy not only sealed his rental lease, but his place in my life and my
heart. Unfortunately for him, it
had the opposite effect. Since he
was quite the guppy who had procreated and swam away from a few others, I knew
he’d have little interest in the baby beyond his own ego, so it expedited the
process somewhat. In May, my
youngest son at that time, Josh (who was then eight), mouthed off to RFB in a
particularly fluorescent way. RFB
threw a paperback book at him and popped him in the nose.
The nose exploded and blood went everywhere. A friend of ours who was visiting at the time said that
he’d never seen anyone NOT live somewhere so fast in his life.
RFB was out the door within fifteen minutes of letting the book fly.
That fifteen minutes gave him plenty of time to wreck the house, bash in
a few cupboard doors, tear the garage door off the hinges and break some dishes
(what a guy). He came back about a
month later to pick up his crap when I moved.
I’d packed it in boxes in the garage and to this day I regret not
having a giant yard sale with it. I
was just too nice back then.
That was the last and
only relationship I had after that until The Goat resurfaced.
He’d volunteered for a base in Japan (he was Air Force) and so he was
gone for two years. I gave birth to
my beautiful Delena in November and moved out of the area.
Never saw RFB again, being the guppy he is.
I did speak to him in another moment of weakness some five years later
and sent him pictures of Delena. He
let me know how beautiful she was and beyond that, was only interested in when
we could get together. (ewww AND
still dumb) From what I hear now,
his evolutionary process has not hit a growing spree in these nine years since I
last saw him.
After dismissing RFB, I
set about awaiting the return of The Goat.
He assured me, very long distance, that it would not happen.
I assured him that it would. I
put my wedding ring back on and despite divorce papers in my underwear drawer,
waited. January of 1994, it paid
off. He was coming back in March,
his girlfriend had dumped him and he wanted his family back.
Score! He asked me to marry
him and for once in our relationship, *I* got to be right.
We married again on March 21 and I wore black since white hadn’t seemed
to do me much good. Here me now and
believe me later: There are very,
very good reasons why people get divorced.
It was a struggle from
the word go. He was pissed I had
gained weight. I was pissed that he
was still an asshole. He was pissed
that I had strangely developed a backbone and refused to let him abuse me, the
kids or our pets any more. It went
downhill from there. We lived in
Mountain Home, Idaho, the sorriest environment on the face of the planet.
I hated it. He hated it.
The kids hated it. The good
thing was that his job required that he travel a lot, so he was gone about every
other month for a couple of weeks at a time.
On one of his trips, to Nellis AFB in the Las Vegas area, he kept on
driving to Edwards AFB, knocked on the door of a woman he’d known from work
when we were stationed at George AFB and went straight to the couch to nail her.
When he got back from that assignment, he announced that he was in love
with her, leaving us and it was not negotiable.
I was well beyond shocked. He
had SWORN to me and the kids that he’d NEVER leave us again.
I had asked him THE DAY BEFORE he left for this trip if he was happy, if
there was anything I could do to make his life better. He smiled and assured me that he was happy and I was a great
wife . The thought of being a single, impoverished parent of four again
terrified me and I fought like an Irish sailor to keep my marriage.
He had sworn to the boys that he’d never leave them again and here he
was dumping them. He’d been a dad
to Delena for two years and here he was dumping her, all for a piece of tail.
He’d even gotten a tattoo while he was gone:
a shark. How appropriate
that it was a predator. He’d
taken his new woman to meet his family before he ever came home to tell me.
I was literally the last to know.
Long story short, he won
(I still think he did this just to prove me wrong about the one thing I was
right about in our whole marriage) and we divorced. The kids opted to live with me, but David and Josh wanted to
finish out their school years in their current school, so they stayed with Dad
for a while longer.
I told you that story so
I could tell you this one, because we were talking about true love stories and
the first half of this was not. It
was a true dysfunction story and tells you how I got to a point that I lost the
idea of true love, unconditional caring and having your heart leap EVERY time
you see someone. There’s a lot
more to it and it would only bore your eyes out of your head if I went on about
it. There were good times, don’t
get me wrong, but there were more bad than good.
So with The Goat having set his sights on finishing up his tour of
Mountain Home so that he could get to California to proceed frequent copulation with the
She Goat, we now move on to Chapter Two, in which our intrepid heroine is
stunned to find what she thought was nothing more than an urban legend:
true love. More elusive than
the unicorn, I didn’t think it existed, much less could ever come my way.
Being that I am a good Witch and not a bad Witch (though swaying dangerously back and forth on THAT fence at the time), I could not do anything nasty to the Goat couple like make all their hair fall out or have them lose various targeted body parts. Sighing over those blasted ethical restraints, I looked at my Tarot card spread one more time to be sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Yep. The man who was going to change my life forever was on a direct collision course with my life, targeted to hit on September 6th, 1996, exactly one day after my 35th birthday, twenty-eight days from the date of the reading. Shit. I didn’t feel ready for anything more to change my life, so I scooped up the cards, thought about free will, thought about the ethical constraints again and then decided to put it all in the hands of the Universe and have faith that it was for everyone’s greatest good, no matter what happened.
But let me back up a bit
to explain why The Goat’s foray into the search for a She-Goat *might* have
actually been initiated by me. In
March of that year, The Goat and I went to a production of “The Sound of
Music” put on by my son’s high school drama class.
Before the play began, there was a show put on by a group (will never
forget this) called, “The Swing Kids.”
They were a dance troupe of about 30 kids who wore period clothes, big
smiles and did swing dancing. While
I was watching them, not a clue that anything other than the usual could be
wrong with my about average marriage, I took in their smiles, which really came
from their hearts rather than being plastered on for the show.
These kids were having a blast kicking it up, jumping, jiving and
wailing. I felt the first tear slip
out before I knew it was there and soon, I was bawling my eyes out.
I took me a few minutes to figure out why I was reacting so strongly.
It was because they were filled with joy and it had been so long since
I’d felt joy in my life, if ever. This
realization really shook me up a lot because I was climbing up on half way
through my life and joy was not a common commodity. I vowed that day to end the joy drought in my life.
THAT is when I felt everything turn around and The Universe picked up my
life and shook it like a snow globe.
When I did the reading
that showed Sept 6th as the operative day, I again got a clear image
of those kids dancing with joy in their hearts.
I hated, absolutely
hated, the man I met on September 6th. He was the RFB in every way you could imagine except that he
was actually in the Air Force and had an income.
Otherwise, he was a cookie cutter RFB clone. They looked alike, had the same mannerisms, same habits, same
outlook, same speech patterns. Both
were double Gemini’s. Both were
leaving their long term relationships. Since
I was 200 pounds, had four children, was 35 and was alone again, I didn’t have
any better offers and none seem forthcoming.
He was definitely wanting a relationship, so I followed the cards’
advice from a month before and went for it.
It was horrible. He lied
incessantly. He disliked my kids
and the feeling was reciprocated. He
moved into a room in my house and history proceeded to repeat itself.
The Goat was absolutely gleeful that I was screwing up so righteously
while he was eagerly planning his new life with his beloved She Goat.
The man who would change my life forever was going to give me an ulcer
first or else I’d kill him. How
could this goofy little obnoxious man ever change my life in a positive way??
“My friend is coming
out from Sacramento to visit us. You’ll
love him.” That was probably the
only true sentence RFB2 spoke to me the whole time I knew him. I did love his
Deeply. Through oceans of
time and until I drop dead will I love this man.
When he arrived on my doorstep, despite the presence of the man who was
my current relationship person, my first words to Eric were, “Hello,
Destiny.” I’m so glad I said
something cool. We connected
immediately and talked all through the night.
Poor RFB2 tried his best to follow the conversation, but he just wasn’t
equipped for the job. It was like a
mo-ped trying to keep pace with a couple of Porches.
We never acted on any inclinations other than deep friendship…not even
for a moment. The click had
happened and I knew what RFB2 had been sent into my life to do. Eric stayed in our house for 3 weeks. My kids liked him immediately and a good time was had by all.
When it was time for him to leave, he and I were both in tears as he
drove away. He called me every
night for almost two months. That
was when he asked me to marry him. My
divorce from The Goat had been final in December and in January, we decided to
risk all. He said I was the Yin to his Yang. : Ţ I set up a
move to Sacramento and prepared to get the hell out of Idaho. About two weeks before Martin Luther King Day, January 19th
of that year, he called to say he couldn’t go through with it.
He hadn’t lived enough life yet and couldn’t settle down with one
person. His mom had given him the
talk he needed (thank God, in retrospect) and he was backing out.
Everything else was set up for the move, I just had nowhere to go.
Damn. He didn’t call for a
couple of days after that, so I called him back and he was thrilled that I was
still speaking to him. I told him
that Joe (my son who was coming with me) and I had talked and that I was still
coming to Sacramento on my own. I
had other friends there and they would help me get settled.
He was overjoyed.
No one told me that when
you drive from Idaho to California in January with two adults, a four-year-old,
two cats, two turtles and a cockatiel in a giant cage (or even when you
don’t), that there is something called “the pass” in between point A and
point B. On “the pass” there is
a huge amount of white stuff called “snow” and slippery stuff called
“ice.” You are supposed to have
these tire wrap thingies called “chains” in your trunk before you leave.
It should be in a travel guide somewhere.
A night in a hotel, $80 for a pair of chains and a 360 degree turn down
the mountain later, we finally arrived in Sacramento at the home of my friend,
April. It was great to see Eric,
who arrived within minutes of my call to let him know I was there.
I also got to connect with April and Mystic, friends of mine from Apple
Valley, California who had relocated north (separately) and it was great to see
them again after 5 years.
We found a house in the
ratty part of town, walking distance from the base where Eric worked and lived
in the barracks. He came to visit
2-3 times a week, fixed things around the house and with the car, ate the food I
made and kicked back to talk and laugh and have fun. I told him everything. He
was the best girlfriend I ever had. Because
he had been absolutely adamant that there would never be a relationship between
us (I was too old, he was too young – he was 15 years younger than me), we
could talk about anything without threat of it ever interfering with our
relationship. He’d still call me
at 2am to talk for hours, sometimes after he’d just left at 11pm or so.
He dated a few girls, all Barbie dolls and almost got serious with one.
It was hard to see that, but I knew it was best for him. I didn’t date.
Instead, I worked on me and healed and walked backward down the Goat
Path, rewriting history in my head now that I could see things more objectively.
I had always taken The Goat’s word on authority on how things were, who
I was and who he was to the point that I’d never bothered to formulate my own
opinions. It was an arduous task to
go back through all the years and figure things out for myself. As far as Eric went, I realized that, with the major
bargaining chip of sex being taken out of play, I still had something to offer
as a person. I knew Eric wasn’t
hanging around for sex and I knew he could get good food in the chow hall on
base, so I was happy to see that he was there for me, for my company.
He was handsome, strong, caring and he wanted to spend time with me.
His girlfriends, of course, never liked our friendship, even though he
assured them it was strictly platonic. That
was probably because he stood them up a few times to come hang out with me.
Yeah, that’d do it. I
continued to heal, realizing how long I had seen myself through The Goat’s
eyes, who saw me as nothing more than a dumb, fat little country girl that
he’d rescued from Kentucky. A
strong, independent and vibrant woman, such as I’d begun to emerge into during
the first divorce, was utterly terrifying to him.
He liked me better when I was afraid of him.
Too, too much pain to walk through and work hard to understand, but I did
I could barely hold the
phone, my hand was shaking so hard and I made him repeat it again.
Eric had orders to Saudi Arabia and would be leaving in a month,
September. He’d be gone for four
Months. Four months without
my friend. We waded the countdown
admirably and I drove him to the airport. It
was all I could do to keep from throwing my arms around him and begging him to
stay. Instead, we did our usual
hug, pelvises a safe distance apart and kiss on the cheek.
He’d call me. He’d
e-mail me. It’d be over soon. Hadn’t
the time flown by since I’d come to Sacramento? Almost a year now! This
would go fast too.
It dragged. He called me as
the airplane was reaching cruising altitude and told me he missed me already.
We phoned and e-mailed like fiends, many, many times a day.
I worked night shift and he worked days, so across the world, our
schedules meshed perfectly. One
night, when we were going into our second hour of talking, I got a horrible
thought and asked him if it was this hard now, what would we do if he actually
got ORDERS to another BASE?? Yikes!
We talked about how horrible it would be to end up just being Christmas
cards that one day stopped. “That’s
it,” he said. “When I come
back, we’re getting married.” “Yeah,
right,” I thought. “I’m not
falling for that again.” “No,”
he said, “Hear me out. I can
still date, we can live together. I’ll have my own room and we can hang out
together all the time. It’ll be
great! It’ll be just like it always has been, except we can hang
out together all the time!” I
thought about it and figured it would be a pretty good deal having my friend
there all the time, plus, if he did get orders, I could automatically move with
him without having to foot the bill myself.
He had no interest in marrying anyone else soon and I agreed that if he
found someone who could offer him what we had, plus was in his age range, I’d
give him a divorce immediately.
He was home less than a
month later, more than two months ahead of schedule. He spent another night in the barracks, then moved his things
into our house. He decided he
didn’t want to oust Joe from his room and make him share with one of his
brothers, so he took the couch until we could figure something else out or get a
bigger house. We drove to Reno five
days later on November 13th, his birthday.
All the way down the aisle, to the last filing of papers, I was positive
he was going to back out and I was OK with that. There were worst things in life than friends going to Reno
and losing our asses at the slot machines after an abortive stop at the
Candlelight Wedding Chapel. To my
shock, we came away married. I am
probably the only women who not only walked down the aisle with a man that
she’d never kissed (OK, once, but we were drunk and it was when I first got to
Sac), but also spent her wedding night with her new husband on the couch yacking
with his new stepson, who also was his best male friend.
Five days later, the
truth came out. We had both married
the other with a secret agenda to get the other one to fall in love with them.
It was a tense moment, worthy of any soap on the tube, when that came
out. The first kiss was electric
and all those feelings that had been walled up for a year flooded out.
Age difference be damned! We
were off and rolling and never looked back.
That was almost four
years ago. We have two beautiful
little boys. Dylan is 3 and Nathan
is 17 months. He is dad to Delena
and she adores him. All of my sons
love and respect him and he and Joe are still best friends, even though Joe
lives in Canada now. It has
been…magic. I’m not saying it
hasn’t been hard at times. Anyone
who has a really good relationship after really bad ones knows how you
automatically overlay the bad one over the good and treat the new, good guy like
he’s every dud you ever made the mistake of taking up with.
Eric was gentle and forgiving enough to take my face in his hands in my
midrant and say, “I’m not Paul. I’ll
help you through this, but I will not let you punish me for what he did.”
He had his lessons to learn about being a husband for the first time and
he weathered them admirably. My
heart still leaps when I see him. The
sight of him just takes my breath away. I
will always know that he didn’t marry me for sex and certainly not for my 220
pound body. We fell in love in our
souls and are still the very best of friends.
There have been challenges, that’s for sure.
For the first three and a half years, we lived on a little less than
$20,000 a year because we both believed deeply that we wanted our children
raised by one of their parents, so I quit my job to be a stay home mom and we
rolled with the financial punches that resulted.
My pregnancy with Nathan was extremely hard and he had to nurture me
through months of barely being able to move.
His mother got better and we now have a good relationship, although it
took some adjusting. I inherited a
wonderful family and my kids have the best Gramma and Grandpa in the world.
I love the way my husband looks at me with so much love and devotion.
I never thought it could be like this…but I’m glad it is.
It really is out there and is NOT just a fairy tale.
For all of you who
haven’t found this yet, I beg you to hold out for it because it is well worth
the wait. I think people tend to
treat marriage as the 2am last call for alcohol and start frantically looking
around for someone, anyone to go home with for the night. Don’t sell yourself short.
Figure out what you want and claim it from the Universe.
Accept no imitations and be sure and find out what makes YOU tick before
you take on a passenger. Until you
know yourself, you don’t have a clue what you can offer anyone else and will
just keep repeating the same mistakes, over and over (read:
RFB). Speaking of the RFB2,
he really did change my life forever. It doesn’t always happen the way you
Oh and for a quick
update, The Goat family got orders to a base in Turkey and will be out of the
area for two years (everyone together:
“Awwwwwwwwww”). While I am losing inches like a champ, The Goat has
grown quite a gut and is seriously balding, looking about twenty years older
than he is. OK, so maybe I slipped
off the fence a little bit (not really). I’m
leaning more toward The Universe working out karma in this life instead of the
next. Have not doubts, my loves,
what goes around, comes around and, as Danny Laruso says in The Karate Kid,
“It’s coming around!” Just
make sure that what’s coming around to you is something you want!
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Me and My Sweet Baboo
December 16, 2000