Most people that I know don’t have photos of the moment they met the love of their life. I do, it was the most amazing moment of my life, if only I had known then what I know now about that man who wrapped his arms around me, kissed me lightly on the lips, and then turned to smile for the camera. All while lifting his eye brows up and down to tell those who came with me that he was going to get laid, but this was just one moment in a million that happened that day.
Let’s start with the morning of, it was a Sunday, my kids were with my ex and would be home that night. I stayed awake cooking and decorating until I saw the sun come up. I was excited yet exhausted when Lori rose from her bed. The butterflies in my stomach were keeping me going, the idea of meeting my best friend for the first time in person kept me fueled. Lori took my spatula away from me and told me to go sleep. She warned me that she wouldn’t let me go with her if I didn’t get some kind of sleep. She had become the most amazing friend to me.
I went to bed and soon I was out like light. What was supposed to be a short twenty minute nap turned into three hours and I shot up out of bed like a flip of the switch, I was sleeping and then I was ready to run a marathon. I yelled at Lori for letting me sleep only to realize she wasn’t there, she had ran out to get more groceries, she was paying for the food for the homecoming from her own food stamps because I was close to being broke and there was no way I was asking my Myspace Mistake to pay for anything for his homecoming.
I ran to the bathroom to take a shower and when the mirror caught me I turned and looked in horror. I was meeting the man of my dreams with a pimple on my forehead surrounded by the flour that was still on me from all the cooking. I took a deep breath, told myself it would be okay. I dealt with it, took a shower, brushed my teeth, and put on enough makeup to turn make a horse look like a zebra, but in this case it hid my horrible mini flesh mountain surprise.
I put on this pink sweater that fell off my shoulder, my Myspace Mistake had told me time and time again it was his favorite. He had seen it in a photo of me with my daughter and told me he saved that picture because of it. I paired it with jeans and boots. It was November and chilly outside, but it wasn’t overly cold so I grabbed a jacket and was ready to go, but we still had two full hours before we could leave to head to the base, so when Lori got back we put groceries away, decorated a bit more, headed to the Class Six to get alcohol, and then Lori and I had a conversation about my soon to be man. I told her I was worried about sex with him coming from the background I had with it. She assured me that she had been in the house with him when he had sex with Anita, the woman before me, and that there was no violence. She told me he spent nine hours one night with his head between her legs and the only thing she heard were shouts of ecstasy.
I know… I know… NINE hours? I had to wonder at this point if curiosity was in fact going to kill my cat. Before you ask, this was an extreme over exaggeration. He has collectively spent that much time in it, thinking about it, or tasting it over 30 years, maybe, but no he is not that guy. His appetite, or should we say his longevity was not always his friend… The point is that I took her at her word that he wasn’t a violent person, I trusted him when he told me he would never rush me to do anything I didn’t want to do, and soon we were ready to head to the airfield to get my Myspace Mistake.
The entire car ride I was bursting at the seems with excitement, but fear followed. What if I’m not what he wants, what if I do something wrong, what if he’s too good to be true, what if he hits me like my ex, what if… Lori reached over and placed her hand on mine as we went through the gate, almost like she could read my mind, and said “He loves you.” Three simple words eased some of the anxiety. I was still ready to rocket to the moon with the adrenaline, but three words and I knew that even if we weren’t meant to be, I had a new best friend and that meant more to me than anything else.
We got to the airfield and waited. People kept walking up to a podium with this announcement or that. When they announced they were running late I thought this is what hell is like. To see all these families waiting for their happiness to return, to see new babies waiting to meet their other parent, to see women barely holding on to children who couldn’t contain their happiness and frustration that their dad was coming, but not fast enough. Hell was waiting for happiness and every couple minutes someone would say it was another five to ten minute wait.
But, then Heaven found its way into the hell and a large white plane was coming down the runway toward the hangar we were in. People cheered as I pushed and shoved to try to get toward the front. I wanted to be the first person he saw when he was getting off the plane. We had signs, but more than that, I remembered our conversation and I wanted him to see, to know, that someone was there for him.
I watched as I was pushed and shoved from people trying to see, screams echoed in my ear, my PTSD from the previous relationship was being tested as I stood there and tried to stay focused, but I couldn’t see him. I turned to Lori with tears threatening to cascade down my cheeks, she knew. She had seen the trauma I was still healing from, she knew about the nightmares, she knew how much it was taking for me to be where I was, and like a mind reader, she knew I couldn’t find my calm in the storm. Lori pulled me from all the chaos and pulled me over toward a fence and said “look ahead, the one walking like a football player. That’s your guy.” I looked as the men walked in to get inside so they could begin the ceremony and there was one guy who walked slightly different than the others. I don’t know why she thought it was a football walk, but I saw him.
We went inside and took a seat, we listened as they brought the men and women in, the Chaplain gave warnings about PTSD and road rage. They were cautioned not to drink alcohol and to behave. Then they told everyone they had ten minutes before they would load the soldiers on the buses. Once again, I couldn’t find him. I climbed to the top of the bleachers we had been sitting on and in the midst of the crowd, there he was. Our eyes locked and I smiled as he waved me down. Without hesitation I went straight to him. I launched myself against him and hugged him as tightly as I could. Those tears threatened to escape once again, because there I was hugging the man who had virtually held my hand and captured my heart.
“Hi,” he spoke as he laughed. Lori’s voice was behind me saying something along the lines of “she couldn’t wait to see you.” Then he asked if I could let him go long enough to go outside and smoke. I let go, but he wrapped an arm around me and we walked side by side out the side door. I stood by and we all made small talk as he smoke his cigarette. I longed to hug him again and he knew. He put out the cigarette with a flick of his fingers, putting the filter in his pocket and wrapped his arms around me. Then when he started to pull away I looked up and he smiled. Those gorgeous bedroom eyes of his were looking into me like he could see what was in my soul, and he leaned in and kissed me.
Lori broke the moment when she told us to smile for the camera.
We didn’t have a lot of time as they loaded the soldiers up and headed back to their units to turn in this or that. Lori and I followed in the car and waited and waited. Their flight had come in at 11am, but we didn’t get to go to the trailer until 2pm.
My Myspace Mistake brought home a friend, a soldier we will call Moose, who Lori kept entertained as I sat on the bed and my guy took a shower in the open bathroom that was in his bedroom. We talked through the shower curtain about this and that. Then he walked out, drying himself with a towel, and I turned away. He dressed in civilian clothes and we headed out into the living room. Everyone was ready and we headed over to a friends house where his truck had been moved to. I had spent hours decorating his truck as well. It took hours to weave red, white, and blue flowers into the crevices, and then his friend left the message on his windshield.
We ate food, we had some fun, but then we headed back to the trailer where I could just spend some time with him before we went to get the kids, plus Moose was drunk at this point. Falling down drunk. Once we were back at the trailer, my Myspace Mistake sat down with a little notebook and immediately started tallying bills. He sat Lori down and told her how much she had to pay him to stay there, he told me what I would need to contribute, and then he watched some tv and talked while holding my hand, until it was time to go get my babies.
“You will never get the truth out of a Narcissist. The closest you will ever come is a story that either makes them the victim or the hero, but never the villain.”― Shannon L. Alder
Now, bear with me, this is where it gets a little confusing. During our conversation, I noticed a little discrepancy. He had stated that his first wife, Laura hadn’t paid a house payment the entire time he was deployed (during his first deployment, not this one) and instead the money went into a savings account. He stated that she tried to claim the Soldiers and Sailors Act meant that they didn’t have to pay it and the house was going into foreclosure. He stated she had $15K in the account, and that she would steal this money and give it to her mom and leave him. This is the story I got while he was overseas, but now that he was home it was definitely different. He stated that his best friend, the one I was purposely staying away from, bought him the truck as a gift if he would leave his wife because he was miserable with her, and so he did because it was a dream of his to have that truck. So, at first we have she left him and stole money, now he left her for a truck, but there’s also another story, a twist in one of these stories, and a mystery surrounding the first wife, but they come later.
about the first wife.
This is another red flag.
I thought about questioning him, but I am an abuse victim. I had specific triggers that would have me cowering or hiding behind furniture. When facing confrontation I immediately expect the worst and avoid making anyone mad. I also avoided waking people up, that’s how you get smacked in the face. He had told me and I had been assured I would always be safe near him, but this small inconsistency made me wonder if I knew him at all and I didn’t want to risk something happening, or pissing him off, with the kids coming home. A little voice in my head also wondered if he changed the story because his battle buddies were around when he said it. Was it all to save face?
Picking up the kids:
The time came when we needed to go get the kids. We made a plan that Lori and Moose would ride in her car behind me and my Myspace Mistake’s giant truck. Lori and Moose planned to park across from the police department and observe. They would only come close if we needed them. My ex was familiar with Lori because she had been with me on every drop off and pick up since I met her in the ER that night, but seeing my new guy was playing with fire. While my ex was already married to someone else, there was a no one can touch her if I have discarded rule that he lived by. It’s why that police officer I had been dating no longer felt it was safe. It’s why the Budweiser Delivery man who was a friend kept his distance. When the officer would be off work and stayed the night I would wake up to notes on my door, voicemails, and damage. He would call me a whore, tell me I was worthless, tell me how he was going to use and abuse me before discarding my body. It was all documented and saved, but there was nothing anyone could do or wanted to do to help me except for my family and my new guy. I warned my Myspace Mistake, I tried to explain this could go very badly.
When my ex pulled up in his black SUV, my Myspace Mistake climbed out of his truck, walked around, opened the door, and helped me out, and then we headed over to face my ex, hand in hand. When we got close enough my Myspace Mistake dropped my hand and walked over and got right in my ex’s face.
“This shit stops here! I’m home now, I’m here to stay, and you aren’t going to hurt her or those kids ever again!” My Myspace Mistake’s voice was low and it was everything and nothing. It was a merely sentence or two and yet that simple act of speaking had me melting. My ex continued to look at his feet and refused to meet me or my new guy’s gaze. When words had gone silent, my ex reached over for my daughter who had become anti-male and held her as a friend in his vehicle and I worked to get my son out of his car seat. My daughter looked at me, but I was trying to get her brother out of the car, so she lunged for my Myspace Mistake. He gladly took her and her tiny little arms wrapped around his neck, she hugged him tightly, and said “please don’t let me go.” I watched him rub her back and promise “I’m not going to let you go, Booper. We are going home together.”
At this moment, I was over the moon. Here was this guy who had come into my life because of a simple glitch and yet he had taken the time to become my best friend, he moved me in so I didn’t have to worry or risk my life staying home. He stood up to my ex without hesitation, and my daughter, who didn’t know him, had never seen him, felt comfortable enough to go to him after everything she had been through. At this moment, it was like Fuck the Red Flags, he is everything I ever wanted. After all, at this point, it’s remembering that no one is perfect, but the two flags that I had noticed paled in comparison for everything he had done and was doing for me.
That first night
When we got the kids back to the trailer that night they had already been fed and had a bath so they got to play before bed. Moose was up and letting them climb all over him. He got on all fours and they pretended he was a horse. Everyone was laughing as they watched my babies be kids. Before I knew it, my Myspace Mistake was asking if he could use my phone. I thought he wanted to call his dad because he said he was going to and he did. He let him know he was home. I had a few choice words for the man who was going to let his son come home alone, but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to rock any boats considering this was my guys first night home. This was his family, even if they didn’t show up for him.
Then he chose to call someone else. I knew he had a sister, we had talked about her, but instead he called his mom. A woman whose name never left his lips. A woman he never spoke about. A woman I didn’t know existed and when he called her he told her he was coming to visit. I had no idea he already had a plane ticket and was leaving in just a couple days. I was a little rattled because I had just gotten him and he was leaving again, but if I could wait all those months to spend a few days with him then I was sure I would wait a lifetime for him if he was the right one. When he spoke to his mom he told her about me. He told her I had been there all along, just when he needed me and I needed him. He told her he didn’t want to leave me, but had promised he was going to spend a week with her. He expressed how quickly he had fallen in love with my kids, even nicknamed them Booper and Goober. He let me talk to his mom so she could meet me. His mom and aunt lived together and they were the most amazing people. I adored them right away and couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t mention them before.
His phone call led to a silly string fight, that led to more laughter, and late night hours. I finally got the kids to bed and headed to his bedroom where he was waiting for me. I walked in and closed the door and nervously stood behind it. Part of my PTSD was that I didn’t sleep next to people. I would sleep near my kids or an exit. Otherwise I would wake up in a fright. I moved into the room and sat on the bed next to my Myspace Mistake and explained that I knew he was just coming home from war, I didn’t want my nightmares to affect him. He claimed he was fine and made me feel at ease. He made me laugh and I gave him a facial and a massage. It was nice just to be with him, to feel that ease with him, like no one in the world could hurt us. He made me feel like I was enough for him where I was never enough to others. No one had ever allowed me to be with them the way he did that night. To let me take my time, to do whatever I wanted to do, and let me find my way, my comfort in moving into an intimate direction.
Being with him was easy. He never raised his voice, he was extremely charismatic, I truly believe he could have charmed a nun into leaving Jesus, he was that good. So, while I was wiping the remnants of warming moisturizer off his face I leaned down and kissed him. Then I deepened it. He let me control how fast or slow we moved. The floor and the way I was bent over was a bit uncomfortable, so I reached for his hand and we got up off the floor. I took the two steps backward to and felt the bed at the back of my legs and told him “I’m scared.”
He lifted my hand to his lips and kissed the palm, then said “I won’t hurt you. I’d never hurt you. You saved me. I was shooting 5.56 rounds into a photo of a woman who cheated on me at 50 meters, when you found me. We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, but trust that I will never hurt you.”
On shaky legs, with every voice in my head saying to run, I nodded and began to take off his clothes. By the time we were undressed I was shaking all over. I couldn’t control it and tried to cover myself, but he wouldn’t let me. He told me I was beautiful and kept asking if I was okay. I gave him a nod and we laid on the bed. I closed my eyes and waited for something violent to happen, but instead he had moved off the bed, put my legs over his shoulders and waited, waited for me to see that no one was going to hurt me. You all can guess what happened next and out of respect for my family, this particular scene will end here, but watch for stuff later on. Cues to stop and start again will be present.
I know I’m a romance author, and I should give you all the details, but this particular moment, and the ease he took with me, there are no words to express how he took me from terrified to feeling like I was no longer living in fear of sex or men. There are some moments in life that don’t need to be written out and instead they are kept in a box inside your memory so that when you think of moments that meant something you can pull it out. This was one of those moments for me. But, for the record, no, it was not NINE hours. It wasn’t even a half hour for it all to begin and end with periodic stops to ensure I was okay. I didn’t expect the grand overture that Lori had expressed because I wasn’t just some person to screw, I was damaged and I thought maybe he wanted to help heal me… I was so very wrong.
We went to bed, I was curled up in his arms, both of us asleep, when I heard the pitter patter of toddler feet running for the bedroom door. I was used to this, but my Myspace Mistake was not. He flew off the bed, tried reaching for a gun that wasn’t there, as my baby boy opened the door. I was torn between going to my guy who was obviously suffering from PTSD and my baby who had a nightmare. I knew when I had my own flashbacks that it was best if no one touched me or talked to me for a few minutes at least so I went to my baby and removed him from the room, I carried him back to bed and turned on cartoons. I let him tell me about his bad dreams and stayed until I knew he was okay. Then I returned to the bedroom where my guy was still in the floor, eyes wide, and to be honest. I was terrified. Once again I thought I might get hurt, so I lowered myself to the floor and crawled across the carpet. I sat close to him, but didn’t touch him out of fear.
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered as he focused on something in the room. Then he leaned over and his head rested on my chest. I wrapped my arms around him as he hugged me tightly and he sobbed. “You’re safe with me. No one is going to hurt you here. No one will get through me to hurt you,” I promised him and I meant it. We had only been together a day, but had known each other roughly 6-9 months and I loved him and no one was going to hurt him. In my eyes (at this moment) I saw him as my hero and I would have fought for him no matter what.