Reborn, only to keep living the pain

To understand how this loss of memory from this time gets to me, you should know I remember things. I remember when my mom was out with her ‘boyfriend’ and dad was driving us around drunk saying he was going to take us kids and “go AWOL”. I remember looking out into the dark dessert night and wondering what AWOL meant. Wishing he would stop scaring us and let us just run and play, even if it was to make ‘sand angels’ in the sand under the stars. Something to be happy.

I remember Mom’s wedding day. I’m pretty sure she went to the courthouse to sign the divorce papers and stayed to marry her boyfriend. We were left with some people we didn’t know and watched “The Fog”. I resented not being included, being left behind for someone else to take care of me.

In retrospect, I feel like that again about the night P. left me to fend for myself.

And like my other memory, I reverted to childhood play. Late the next morning, I found myself outside in the drizzling rain, making fairy houses from twigs and leaves. Sometime later I called MrJJ’s father as I guessed MrJJ would be there. He wasn’t. I called his mom and remember being thereto visit with her. She’s two hours away. I don’t remember the drive there or back.

MrJJ came home, I think he was gone two nights. That first one and another. Just said he had been with friends. I can’t remember…was he loving? Was he cold?

I had classes, he had work. I asked to ride in together. I remember the song “How do I live” came on the radio and I started crying.  MrJJ reached over and turned it off with a snap.

It was real early but I planned to wait until the campus counseling center opened up. But I couldn’t wait. I was falling apart all over again. I desperately called my old boss, Patience She was the owner of the Christian daycare I worked at for years before I decided to move on to teaching high school. She comforted me, prayed with me and led me to Christ. I had to know that even when everyone else in my life left, there was Someone there for me. I can’t even remember the prayer we prayed.

I went in and was assigned a counselor. I found it disconcerting, she had something wrong with her eyes, I couldn’t tell if she was fully blind or just very vision impaired. A seeing eye dog sat at her feet. I wish she had addressed the issue as I felt it would be rude to ask. I don’t remember getting much help out of those sessions. They had to end when the summer ended and I was not longer in school. I really needed more, but I couldn’t afford to go anywhere else. I could have gone to the county mental health center but Sorry was the receptionist there. Any appointment would have to go through her.

My peace came from Patience She gave me the number to her pastor and he agreed to do marriage counseling. MrJJ and I went in, it was actually good and we felt closer. MrJJ kept talking about resentment for what I had done in ’97, pushing him out. I had worked hard at pushing the shameful memory into the deep recesses in my mind, so I was just aghast that he resented me for insisting he leave or stop hurting me. MrJJ also said that the fact I was agnostic until recently disturbed him. He had been confirmed Catholic in boot camp yet I had gone to Mass more than he had. I worked in a Christian daycare, he had an emotional affair with a woman that would say “G-d Dammit” and laugh just to see her husband flinch. And he was mad at me for seeking a religion that accepted me as a woman like he was accepted as a man.

The Pastor G eventually became our pastor. The first thing he did was assert we were both willing to have Christ in our lives and our marriage. The second was to create a list of the wrongs we had done each other and forgive each other. I knew there was something to say about Creep’s visit in ’97, but I held back to see what MrJJ said about Sorry There was ‘nothing’ so I said nothing.

I was doing my best to show MrJJ how much I loved him. Little notes, small gifts. I couldn’t help but cry though whenever MrJJ came to me with something he had talked about with Sorry. At one point he sternly told me to stop with the overt affection and the show of pain. It was manipulative apparently. So I journaled, not even daring to write the words in my secret thoughts. Even now, reading the notes and entries from that time can bring back to a sinking heart and breath that catches in my throat, threatening to choke me.

We went to counseling. At one point our pastor mentioned that Sorry and Jerk had come in. Apparently Sorry sullenly told them that she wasn’t planning on working on the marriage. MrJJ nodded and said he knew. He had told her if there was a chance for them, she had to try to work on her marriage first so he wouldn’t feel badly about ruining a marriage. Even though she refused, MrJJ continued to talk to her.

One night while we were kissing and talking under the stars by a local pond, MrJJ mentioned that he had jokingly mentioned to Sorry that the solution was the “Chasing Amy” solution. As I recoiled from the thought, he told me that Sorry had eagerly said, “Yeah, I could do Jem!” MrJJ gave me a look, realized I was disgusted and played it off like it was a joke.

Another night MrJJ casually mentioned that Sorry had offered to help me. Help me? How? By helping to teach me how to keep him of course. Funny, she didn’t “have him” so just what lessons was she planning on teaching me?

Quite a few times he tried to talk me into turning to Jerk, who was going through the same pain I was and needed help…could understand. Why would I want anything to do with either of them? MrJJ seemed somewhat relieved I refused to talk and would either cuss and fume when either of them called or just hang up.

Eventually, I heard less and less about “Sorry said…” and it became more and more about us. One day, MrJJ got a phone call. He had finally been hired by the company he wanted to work for. He would begin as a federal police officer, but it meant getting his foot in the door and moving up. He told me, “You know what this means? This means I stay with you.” I was relieved to finally have an answer one way or the other. MrJJ told me that he had been praying and he ‘told God’ that getting the job would be a sign that he was meant to be with me.

MrJJ told Sorry that we would be moving. That it was completely over between the two of them. She got upset and demanded money for the cell phone she had purchased him. MrJJ came home and told me that we had to pay her over $200 and why. I was flabbergasted. He had a cell phone this entire time and I didn’t even know it. I went to search for it in his car. I found a shirt that she had bought him. I found a CD of 98Degrees “The Hardest Thing” and I found pictures of her. One with her lounging on the bed in short shorts…on her honeymoon. And a couple of her from her high school cheerleader days.

I demanded it all be thrown away. He told me he had to give her back the pictures, that she had asked for the CD back when he gave up on them and he was keeping the shirt. “Why?” I cried, “When you don’t even wear the shirt I bought you?”

“Because this is more my style.” MrJJ replied, “She knows me better than you do.”

The shirt I bought him was just the same, except a thin line across the chest. Nearly the same color even.

So we drove to her apartment and he went in to give her the check for the money. He insisted, saying it was the best way to get her out of our lives. He also returned the pictures, but not the CD. He said that would just be thrown away. I still wish he had given it to her, so she knew it was over, like she requested. Of course, the lyrics are awful if you are the wife that feels like a second choice. A choice by chance.
“I can’t let you see what you mean to me
When my hands are tied and my heart’s not free
We’re not meant to be

It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever had to do
To turn around and walk away
Pretending I don’t love you ”

At her apartment, I stayed in the car. He was up there for maybe fifteen minutes, but it felt like forever to me. MrJJ came back and told me that she cried and asked if I would talk to her. She knew she couldn’t have him, but she missed our friendship. Of course I refused and MrJJ looked relieved.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. lisarguyer
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 21:46:26

    Thanks so much for sharing that. My husband and I have been through a VERY similar situation as you. However, our roles were reversed. We, too, have started sharing our journey in hopes that Christ can use it to heal other marriages. Thanks again for sharing.


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