Friday, August 3, 2012

If you say so, "I do"

  So, there I was, sleeping in another strange place. In someone else's bed. It wasn't so far from normal for me. I was awoken really early, like 6:30 early. I heard the door open and then came a voice "Some one has been sleeping in my bed and she's still here". Oh crap...oh crap...oh crap! I peeked out from under the covers and there he stood. I knew his name from a previous meeting, but I didn't know him and I was wishing that God would take me whole. Right there and then.  He laughed and left the room so I could get dressed. We talked for hours. my friend and I made breakfast for the guys and we spent the day, like so many others before and yet to come, laughing and playing cards and of course drinking cheap beer. We fell into a relationship so naturally. He picked me up on his way home from work. I  stayed for hours on end and then sneak my way back to J's. I felt I was important and was wanted by someone,  I was in love. He was reserved, which to me was safe, he was funny. Four years older than me and light years ahead in life experience. It was thrilling.

    He would come into the restaurant, where of course, he met my mother. She liked him immediately.  He asked me to marry him in October of my seventeenth year; I said no. I wasn't ready. I wanted to go to school. We didn't talk of it again.  I thought it was decided. I didn't know mother put their heads together, but they did and soon she was asking me to lunch. I went. Looking back, it's like I never learned. I hoped that I was good enough; that she would be happy with me, and hope of all hopes that she loved me. She wanted to talk about my future. I told her my plans, which she was already aware of and I tried to sound sure of myself and firm. I tried to stand my ground. I knew she was not happy with me spending time with my grandfather. She had a way of letting me know when she disapproved of my choices.  She made some off handed comment about how I might want to rethink that and then let it drop. Things went along very easily into December. Then again, my mother asked me to lunch. This time someone else was with her.  She came into our lives about the same time as my grandfather did. I didn't know her well. I had no opinion of her one way or the other.  I didn't think she and my father got along, but she and my mother were close. We met at a small eatery in Seattle. She  didn't believe in preambles. She jumped into what she had to say in a matter of fact way. She wanted me to know about my grandfather. In graphic detail she laid out her own story of abuse. I remember feeling numb. My heart was beating so fast and there were tears trying to make their way out. I sat rigid and listened to them both. "They only wanted what was best for me.They were worried for me." She had wanted to tell me long ago, but had tried to spare me. I didn't know what to believe. I didn't want to be there. I hated them both in that moment.  It was too much for me to take in. I said I had to go; I left quickly to get away from them; to put as much distance from their words as I possibly could.

  Broken, alone, again. There was nothing left to take from me. I felt adrift in a sea of pain. I skipped my grandfather's usual visit. I didn't call. I didn't know who to trust. I knew I couldn't bring myself to ask him. I knew I wasn't going to stay with him.  I wasn't going to college. I couldn't take the chance. I would rather die than know the truth.

   In the first part of my senior year, the career counselor called me to her office, asked why I was still in school. Apparently, I had more than enough credits to graduate and while, I could continue to go to school, if I wanted, they weren't going to give me more credits. It was suggested that I transfer to a nearby school, where I could graduate early. And so I did. I loved high school, loved my friends and the teachers. And I was leaving them all behind. Why was there so much leaving in my life?

   I was at my boyfriend's house when my Mother called, he had left for work hours ago. I had been lazing around enjoying the quiet. We had been spending as much time together as possible because his ship was leaving the shipyard and going back to Long Beach. He too, was leaving. My mother said she was coming to get me. That we had a wedding to plan. I asked her whose wedding, as I knew of no one even contemplating marriage. Her response was classically my mother. She said we were planning my wedding and to get ready.  And that is how it happened. My life changed. Everything changed. In three days I was married, in one week I graduated, and in two I was in a new state, I had lost the last threads of what I had imagined my life was to be.

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