Paul’s journey, part 6

I am going to skip ahead a little today…to when I met Paul.

Paul had settled down considerably since his college years when I met him.

We lived in the same apartment building. My bedroom was right above his. We met in the laundry room. I remember the day well. My cat puked up a hairball on my blanket. I was irritated that I had to make a special unplanned trip to the laundry room. But if it wasn’t for my cat, we wouldn’t have struck up a conversation.

Later that night, Paul invited me out to drinks with some friends. That really didn’t go well either. His friends were fine, except for one girl who dominated the conversation with Paul. She spoke and sputtered loudly looking only at Paul and frequently put her hand on his knee. I didn’t like her.

He kissed me that night out in the parking lot.

From that night on, I was hooked. He told me his story about growing up with a single parent in the inner city of Chicago…that was all it took. Paul played hard to get and I chased him relentlessly. There was a point when I thought that perhaps he wasn’t interested and decided to walk away. That was all I needed to hook him.

It was time for Paul to meet my parents. I instructed him on what to say and what not to say. My mother asked point blank if he believed in God. Paul said that he did not believe in God. In fact, he said that he believed in evolution. He went on and on about Darwin and natural selection as I kicked him under the table.

The following week, my mother set me up with my ex-boyfriend Brad. She came to my apartment under the guise of going out to eat. When we got to the restaurant, Brad was sitting there waiting for us. Brad cried the whole time telling me how much he missed me. I took him back to my apartment after lunch and gave him back everything that I still had of his. It took a long time for Paul to forgive my mother for this.

I believe that my mother started praying harder after the dinner date with Brad. At the time, Paul was in graduate school and was approached by the campus ministry with a Bible. Also, a friend of his who became a missionary came back into his life. Eventually, God wore Paul down. God knew I wouldn’t be interested in chasing a nice church going guy. I wanted a bad boy.

After I was already hooked, God changed the direction of Paul’s life.

Ta(l)king f(l)ight

When Angel found out the news that her grandma passed away, she was on tour with her college choir. Then she came down with the stomach flu the next day.

I thought that maybe she wouldn’t want the lifestyle of being on the road after all of this happened, but she seems to want it more than ever.

Then there was this guy who took compassion on her while she was down when many of her other friends turned away….he bought her ginger ale when she was sick..he listened while she was crying…

Angel’s boyfriend Mitch was out at the movies with friends when Angel needed to talk…

Just like that, a 3 year relationship over..

I feel like the last thread of Angel’s childhood had been severed when she broke up with Mitch. It is really hard to let go because I miss her being my little girl.

Without tethers, she is soaring away like a songbird in flight. It will be exciting to see where her dreams will take her. It makes it easier to let go, although it leaves an empty place in my nest, to see her fly so high.

Mitch and Angel were going in different directions anyway. Perhaps it is for the best. Angel eventually wants to be an opera singer in a big city or preferably in Europe. Mitch wants to be a teacher in a small town.

This weekend Angel is performing in her first opera. Mitch bought tickets before they broke up to surprise her and still intends to go. He wants to get back together.

There is some talk of a confrontation between the new guy that Angel is not dating but likes and Mitch.

Once again, it seems like there is more drama off stage than on.

For a moment it took me back to ’91 when I was 16. At that time I was going out with this guy named Timmy T. Ironically, ‘our song’ was One More Try by Timmy T. It was a warm night in June when Timmy T and I gave it our last one more try. I picked him up and took him out to teen night at a local club. Once his friends showed up, he left me sitting in the corner alone.

That was the night I met Bobby. When I told him what happened with Timmy T, Bobby took him out to the parking lot to fight. They reminded me of a nature show when the young bucks would ram their antlers into each other. It was nerve wracking yet exciting that someone would fight over me, the damsel in distress. Oh please! Timmy T’s friends talked to me and asked me what was happening as if I knew a lot about boxing.

After the fight, Bobby and I went for a long walk and talked in the park. When I went back to pick up Timmy T, he had already left. The next day he called upset saying that his mom was going to buy me a promise ring from him. How could I ignore him?? Blah blah blah..he wasn’t half as nice as Mitch…and now my daughter is going through it..

I do remember Bobby asking me why I was hanging around Timmy T’s friends while he was fighting for me. Hello, I just met you and didn’t know your friends.

So I sit around and wonder…will there be a guy in costume with full makeup fighting in front of the school cathedral with Mitch over my daughter? Whose side will I take?? Is that how I will meet the new guy for the first time??

I certainly hope there isn’t any off stage fighting or drama.

Who knows? Maybe the whole weekend will be uneventful.

But if not, I’m sure you will be hearing all about it..

 

And so it begins…

It happened this past weekend. I was hoping with my last child I would have just a little more time..

Angel has been dating her boyfriend for almost 3 years.. Alex has had a girlfriend for the last 4 months…Thankfully, I approve of their choices!

I imagined Arabella staying single and living at home forever….hmmm… Maybe this type of thinking is an irrational coping mechanism?? Why can’t time just stop for a little while??

My friend Cindy was over this past weekend. One of her son’s is two days younger than Arabella. A group of neighborhood kids decided to go for a bike ride. One of the boys admitted to Cindy’s son that he has a crush on Arabella. Or maybe it was more of a ‘stay away I like her’ kind of thing.

Cindy’s son told Arabella that this boy has a crush on her. Arabella confronted this boy about his feelings towards her. The poor guy got so flustered that he steered his bike right into the ditch. He was crashed, crushed, hurt, and full of dirt calling out for his mother.

Arabella only likes him as a friend.

And so it begins…

Old new years

Do you remember what you were wearing 20 years ago today? For some reason, I seem to. I was wearing a red and beige plaid leotard shirt that had snaps in the crotch. I don’t remember if I was the original owner of the shirt. For some reason, I think that someone gave it to me. Probably because the snaps were really uncomfortable. If it was a fashion, I don’t think that it lasted long for that reason. I did like the shirt design and it fit like a leotard so that part of the shirt was comfortable. I decided to wear that shirt to the New Year’s Eve party in 1995.

The party was held at a cabin a couple of hours away. It was hosted by Paul’s frat buddy. The cabin was owned by his friend’s parents. The party was attended by Paul’s fraternity friends and an ex-girlfriend. The host of the party was a rather eccentric fellow. He had a brilliant mind with bizarre thoughts and behaviors that others at times would find offensive. He was the one who would get lost in complex philosophical theories. His responses were always atypical and hard to understand. But he had great taste in music and people seemed to like him.

I remember that his parents kept a cabin journal and that night I wrote in it. I think that it was a tacky love letter to Paul as we had met a couple months earlier. This was the first night that I heard the band Rusted Root.  I went home and bought the CD. But the real reason that I remember the night so clearly was because it was the night that Paul said he would quit smoking. Smoking was a deal breaker for me.

Paul’s mother was a smoker. She smoked while pregnant with him (it wasn’t as big of a deal in the 1960’s as it is now), she smoked during his childhood, and she finally quit smoking when Paul was in college. Paul came home from college with his new habit the day his mother told him that she quit. Before he met me, Paul had smoked 7 years. When we met, he was in the process of quitting. So at the time we met I did not know that he was a smoker. Then he started back up and then quit again several times over the process of several months until New Year’s Eve in 1995. He said that when the clock struck midnight he would have his last cigarette and throw it into the bonfire extinguishing his habit forever. And that is just what he did.

Since that day, many years have past, a decade went by, and now it has been exactly 20 years. Years of New Year’s parties have flown by, but for some reason that year has stayed etched in my mind down to the clothes I was wearing.

Christmas (pet) lover

Many, many ages ago when I first met Paul, he performed a quick thinking pet rescue. Christmas time can offer new dangers for pets.

Paul has always been a dog lover. When I met him he had a dog. I have always been a cat lover. When I met him I had two cats. If I didn’t marry him, I may have been destined to be the crazy old cat lady. So we struck up a compromise after marriage, he has one dog and I have one cat. It is a good arrangement and with 3 kids we do not have any more openings for pets or people.

During the Christmas of 1995, Paul and I were in his apartment when across the hall we heard cries for help. There was a desperate pounding on the door of his apartment followed by hysterical screams from the neighbor lady. She was crying and shaking as she grabbed us into her apartment. Her little dog was wrapped in the Christmas tree lights. He was trying to free himself but was becoming more and more tangled in the process. The cord wrapped tightly around his neck.

Everything was happening so fast that I too began to panic. Paul, however, ran back to his apartment to grab his scissors. He held the struggling dog down while he cut the cord that was wrapped around his neck. Time and time again, Paul has acted in situations where most people freeze. This makes me feel safe because I know I can’t seem to control my inaction during those times.

On that winter day, my Christmas lover became a hero in my eyes. Paul the Pet Rescuer. I knew that I had to keep this guy.

 

Old school stalking, part 2

After the horrible first date, Mac talked me into going out with him again. The first couple of weeks were great. He became totally obsessed with me. He listened to all of my stories. Laughed at all of my jokes. At first this was all very flattering. He showered me with time and attention making up for several years of being ignored by my dad. He made me feel like I couldn’t live without him. So after a couple of months of being Mr. Wonderful, when he asked me to marry him I said “yes”. It was probably around this time that the problems started. You see, he didn’t have good enough credit to buy me an engagement ring. So I bought my own.

That was not all that I bought. I bought new tires for his car that ended up getting repossessed. He did buy me a nice word processor to type up my college papers on. But he was so jealous that I was in college that he turned it off on me when I was almost finished writing a paper for a 4 credit class. I had to start all over and ended up just turning it in before the class ended that day.

Then there were other things. Like the time I stopped in after work at 7 PM and he had stayed out all night gambling the night before. He woke up at 7 PM thinking that it was 7 AM. He thought I was kidding. He missed work that day. He started taking my prescription drugs.

Then things got really bad. He started to push me around. He grabbed me by the neck and threw me against the wall. He threw me around enough for me to get pretty bruised up. He lost his temper and punched his fist through the bedroom door. When I threatened to call the cops, he told me that he would accuse me of stealing from him after a couple of times that he had me cash his checks for him.

When I threatened to leave him he got very manipulative. He found my diaries and said that if I left him he would send them to my family members.

The final straw happened about this time of year. Mac was very obsessed with his appearance. He dyed his hair blonde and permed it. He even wore foundation to cover his ruddy complexion. One Thanksgiving, I picked him up to go to my grandma’s house. He forgot to put on his foundation and demanded that I stop at my parent’s house on the way so that he could borrow my mom’s makeup. I was appalled. No fricken way was I going to do that. So he was upset with me and during the prim and proper family meal with all of my extended family, we got into a huge fight. Swear words riccoched across the table. He ended up walking out. I wish I could say that it was the end right then and there.

He relentlessly pursued me over the next couple of months. There were times when I had to hide my car when I was at home. I had to have my friend drop me off at work so he wouldn’t see my car there. When he called, my mom told him that I wasn’t there. Once he left a rose under my windshield in the early morning with a apology note asking to get back together. It freaked me out because I lived an hour away from him.

When I lived with a roommate, he charmed her into thinking he was a great guy. She told him everything that he wanted to know about me. That is how I ended up having my name broadcast over the speakers half the night while I was at the county fair with some friends and another guy. “Alissa, please come to the information desk, Mac is looking for you”. I am so glad that I didn’t marry that guy. Had I known, the first date would’ve been the last.

Old school stalking, part 1

When my friend, Kristi, set me up on a blind date with Mac she told me that he was going to school to be a lawyer. That really wasn’t accurate. What she should have said was that Mac was a high school dropout that had issues with the law. But what did Kristi know? She was a horrible judge of men. She was asking me to stand up in her wedding while her fiance was asking me to sleep with him. He was a big time cheater, marriage did not fix that.

I decided to go out on the blind date anyway. I had just gotten out of a long term relationship with a great guy who was in the military. He was going to be overseas for a year. It never would have worked out anyway because we were too much alike. We had the same personality, both were firstborns, and we both were left handed.

Kristi did set me up with someone previous to my relationship with the military guy. She set me up with her fiance Ted’s brother. He was a pretty nice guy. On our first double date with Ted and Kristi, they were in the backseat making out the whole time. That, I might mention, makes for a very awkward first date. It didn’t work out.

Mac and I decided that our first date should be a double date with another couple that I didn’t know, not Ted and Kristi. We were going to go bowling. About halfway to the bowling alley, the driver and his girlfriend pulled out some drinks. Apparently, they had been drinking on the ride to my house and needed to stop at a gas station to drop off their empties after almost getting pulled over. Okay, that was not cool at all, but it was not as if I had a cell phone and could call for a ride home. When we got to the bowling alley, it was closed for tournaments.

We stopped at another gas station, this time for gas. The driver went in to pay for gas while his girlfriend started rummaging through his things. She found another girl’s phone number in his checkbook. This is when she got into the driver’s seat and took off with tires squealing in a rubber burning jealous rage. She pulled into traffic without looking and cut off a guy in a Corvette. Cars in both lanes slammed on their brakes and honked at us. She pulled onto a side road, got out of the car, and while screaming tried to break the car windows with her purse. Mac sheltered me with his coat in case she succeeded and got glass shards on us. After what seemed like an hour of screaming and car battery, she took off into the early evening dusk on foot.

Mac drove the car back to the gas station to pick up her boyfriend. We literally spent the rest of the evening looking for her. We stopped at random phone booths to call her family. We drove up and down the side roads. Nothing. Finally after several hours of looking without finding, the driver took me home. Best first date NEVER! If I had known the future, I should have had the first date be the last date.