Yesterday was the thirty-sixth non-anniversary of my marriage. My ex and I were married for eleven and a half years, legally. It was maybe an hour or so in reality.
No one wants to hear on a two day honeymoon that their beloved thought about not showing up for the wedding. He was the last member of the party to appear. The timing of that statement being uttered is thankfully lost in time. It seems it was the first night of wedded bliss but I’m not entirely certain. The wedding ceremony was in the evening so it didn’t take him long to take off his mask.
There is a television show now that is called, “Who the bleep did I marry?” I think I’ve only managed to see one episode. I did not know who I was marrying. Not at all. The show is about people who marry without truly knowing their mate. Respect for my son has kept me from auditioning for the show. Of course, he wasn’t a mass murderer or armed robber or anything so my story would probably not be worthy of airing. He was just a sociopathic, bipolar, alcoholic con. But that’s just my personal opinion.
I will never regret marrying him because out of that union came a pretty great son. But that event was among a very short list of things for which I am grateful about that marriage.
I should have listened to my instincts and never even gone on that first date. We were supposed to double date with the couple who lived across the hall from me. The man was my ex’s client. My ex was a traveling salesman. My neighbor set us up. Things would have been different if I had listened to all those jokes about traveling salesmen. He could have been the poster boy.
The date was set up almost a month prior. I was told that my ex was going through a divorce and would like to meet someone. His divorce became final about a week before we met. I didn’t even give a thought to the idea of “rebound“. Big mistake. BIG
He did not confirm the time he was supposed to meet us. There was no word from him prior to that evening. I assumed he was not going to show. (Strike one) An hour past time I left my apartment for some fast food. Another forty- five minutes past that there was a knock on the door. Instead of five o’clock it was closer to seven. I opened it and saw my neighbor with a young man standing behind him.
The very first action my ex took was to start gazing at my head, down to my feet, and back up again. You know the look. The one which mentally calculates if someone is acceptable. (Strike two) I know my eyes narrowed but other than that I ignored it. My first instinct was to slam the door in his face. He already had two strikes against him.
I am too kind for my own good. I didn’t want to embarrass my neighbor since he had gone out of his way to fix me up. I decided to go to dinner with them.
My ex explained more to the neighbor than to me that he had forgotten. He was having drinks with my neighbor’s secretary when he remembered. (Strike three) Now if this were baseball, the game would be over. Oh, no, it was just beginning.
The four of us got into the car which my ex was driving. Before we even left the parking lot, he started cracking what used to be called “blue jokes“. I felt my neck reddening. I couldn’t even look at my neighbor’s wife. In the meantime the two men were laughing hysterically. (Strike four)
We arrived at the restaurant where my neighbor and ex start taking business while his wife and I just sat there mum while being ignored. To talk over the two of them would have been talking too loudly. (Strike five) My ex examined the waitress and made an extremely inappropriate remark about her derriere or maybe it was her breasts. Again, I can no longer remember the exact utterance, but I remember hoping she certainly didn’t hear it. (Strike six) I played with the steak and tried to eat some of it but I was full of fast food hamburger and was filling up even more quickly with disgust. Much of it went home in a doggy bag. My ex didn’t care. He filed the date on his expense report anyway.
We finished the meal and headed back to the apartment. When we got upstairs, my neighbor invited us into their apartment to chat. During that eternal time, my ex decided to educate my neighbor on the quality of ties. (Strike seven) He assured my neighbor that the more gold threads in the lining, the finer the tie. At that announcement, my neighbor proceeded to bring out every tie and together they examined the linings. Turns out, my ex did not know a thing about the quality of ties.
Finally I faked a yawn and explained I had to prepare for school the next day. It was almost ten. By this time my ex had had time for some of the buzz to wear off. He walked me to my door directly across the hall. I was about to walk inside without even saying good bye. He asked me if I would like to go out to have a drink with him. I was shocked at the audacity of him to think I wanted to spend another minute in his presence. I swear my first thought was, “I have had such a horrible evening with you I feel like I need a drink. You OWE me.” My roommate and I partied pretty hardy back in those early days of the 70s but we never kept any alcohol in the house. I NEEDED a drink. I have anger issues. I don’t let myself express it. Alcohol helped.
That’s about the end of the story. I took him to the local place where my friends and I usually hung out. There were a few guys there who I knew. They started talking to me. I ignored my ex. That was enough for him to decide to turn on the charm. I swear he became another man. We drank. We danced. We laughed. I melted in his charm. I found myself enjoying his company. We left the bar and drove to the most romantic place in town to park. We sat and talked and I didn’t get home until 4 o’clock. By that time there were as many stars in my eyes as there were in the sky. He had me feeling so sorry for him when he recounted how his ex had cheated on him. He talked lovingly about his young son. He talked about the course in life he had laid out for himself. He tallked about the fact we were of the same German Lutheran background. He talked about his family. He created a picture of a wonderful man. Charm and empathy…I erased all the strikes. Namaste. Attic Annie