I’m sure some of you are thinking he did me a favor when he turned down my marriage proposal, that the whiplash of good and evil from him should have been enough to turn me away, but as I sobbed my feelings out on his bed I realized just how deep I was in.
He came into the bedroom and curled up behind me and held me as I cried. He said nothing, but he was there, holding me, watching me, softly kissing my shoulder, my neck, and my cheek. I believe he was trying to comfort me, as my heart shattered. I cried myself to sleep that night with him surrounding me. He only ever moved, to pull a blanket over us, but even with that he always had one arm around me. He didn’t let go.
The next morning I woke to him texting on his phone with one hand and the other still holding me tightly. At that time you had to hit the buttons a million times it seemed to get one sentence written. Then he closed the little flip phone and he snuggled in closer. I closed my eyes and relished the feel of him. I knew the moment I got up, the moment I climbed out of his bed and got my kids ready for school that it was over. I think he knew it too. I knew we had been together a short amount of time, I knew what both his good side and his dark side were like. I thought he was a lot like me, broken. The people who came before us had damaged us and yet through all the ugly violence and betrayal we had found each other. I didn’t want to marry him tomorrow even though I would have, I wanted the promise. I wanted the commitment. I wanted him.
I stayed in bed trying to find the courage to get up, but I didn’t want to leave his embrace. I laid there long after I should have. I was there long enough to hear Lori getting my kids ready for school. I went to pull his arm off and get up when he tightened his grip.
“I have to get the kids to school,” my voice rasped out every word, proof of all the tears I had shed the night before.
“Lori is taking them,” he answered as if this was some common occurrence and we had the luxury of staying in bed all day.
“I’m going to take them,” I stated as I tried to get up again but he wouldn’t let go. Instead, he pulled me until I was turned over facing him and when my eyes met his I wanted to cry all over again. He placed a kiss on my forehead and wiped the few tears that escaped.
“Lori is taking them to school, you and I are going to see our house,” he responded as if last night didn’t happen, as if my heart didn’t break.
“You can’t honestly think…” he cut me off.
“I am never going to say yes when a woman proposes. That’s not your job, it’s mine.” I wanted to object to the gender role projection he was putting out there, but he put a finger on my lips and continued. “If the time comes, I will ask you, but I will talk to your dad first. I will get a ring. It will not be some moment in time where it is spontaneous, it will be planned, and we will both be sure this is what we want forever and not what we need for now. After all piss poor planning leads to a piss poor performance.” His last statement earned him a slight smile because he said it all the time.
“I’m sorry I asked…” he put his finger back on my lips.
“I’m not. I just want to be the one to do it, and I want to do it the way it should be done.”
I understood what he was saying, even if I didn’t agree with it having to be the man who asked. With a band-aid covered heart we made love that morning and then we went and met the realtor to look inside the house and make a final decision.
That night, I thought I had an inside view into my Myspace Mistake, we decided to curl up and watch a movie as Lori took the kids to go play. We watched a movie that hit close to home for reasons why we were having revolving deployments and there on the couch my husband cried. He leaned over and put his head in my lap and he cried. I thought, here’s this man who is broken by these events, damaged by what he witnessed overseas, and I am getting upset over silly things. I decided at that moment that I would be stronger for him, I would be there for him, always. Even if we didn’t work out romantically, I wanted him in my life.
From the outside looking in you would have thought things were better than ever. He held my hand as we headed over to meet the realtor, he was full of praise and love. He opened doors for me and even picked me up and carried me in and out of his truck. It took a little bit to shake off the sting I still felt, but soon we were having tickle wars in the front yard as the realtor and my mom pulled up.
This was a great house. It was close to the kids school, and close enough to the Fire department that my Myspace Mistake could still respond to fire calls. There was even an extra bedroom for his daughter or my oldest whenever they wanted to come and stay with us. It had been a few months and his daughter was a subject that got shot down a lot. He told me that her mother wouldn’t let him see her and I was like then let’s fight for her. He claimed his job took up too much time and he couldn’t. I let it go, so many times, so many different answers that I let it go, but we bought this house so she would have a room here too anyway.
The court date was upon us as we waited to hear back on our offer of the house. Lori and my Myspace Mistake came with me. I wore the clothes he picked out, I fixed my hair the way he wanted. He put on his Class A’s and told me that by standing next to him in his uniform the judge should see that he wouldn’t let me step out of line again. I understood what he said, but it went over my head exactly what he meant.
The judge ruled “Fact, no finding fault” on what happened to my daughter and since my ex didn’t show up to push the charges on the warrant they had taken out on me and the police officer stated the warrant was taken out in haste, the judge just shook his head at the blurry photo and dropped the charges. I was free.
We left the court room hand in hand, my guy was so proud of me that I didn’t care that he turned down my proposal anymore, I didn’t care about the fights or the omissions that had concerned me, all I cared about was the fact that he made me happy when he was like this. No relationship is perfect and I didn’t know what a healthy relationship was like, but I knew from the way he looked at me as we walked down the corridor to the elevator that whether we were married or not I wanted him forever.
When we climbed in the elevator, we went down alone as Lori went to the bathroom, and there in that moment, like a scene from a book or movie he dipped me and kissed me deeply. The elevator dropped to the lobby entirely too fast for my liking, but when we came up for air, he looked me in the eye and said “I’m so proud of you.” My heart melted and I was back to being over the moon for him. That afternoon we put an official offer on the house and the next morning the offer was accepted.
After getting the house, I finally sat down with my Myspace Mistake and had a conversation about his daughter once more. I offered to talk to his ex to see if we could at least see her, but then he told me why he didn’t think that was a good idea. He said that when he met her the world was talking about war, when he was with her he found out he would deploy. He explained that the only reason they had a child together was because he thought he was going to die overseas and wanted his lineage to live on, not that he wanted the responsibility of a child. The mother would later confirm that he asked her to have his daughter so his family name, his blood line, could continue without him. She agreed because they were together and she saw the happily ever after in their future. The same future I was hoping for with him. He told me he had only been allowed to see his daughter twice, and the last time he took Anita with him to meet his daughter and that he only got to hold her for five minutes. This broke my heart on so many levels. I couldn’t imagine not being able to see my child, hell, I didn’t even know his daughter and it broke my heart thinking we would never get to spend time with her or that she would never know her dad.
We set a closing date and began packing up the trailer. We had about a month before we had to move, but I had to pack up my house and the stuff in the trailer in order to combine it into one moving load. My Myspace Mistake continued going to work and we talked about me going back to school or work, but he told me to wait until we got settled into our new place. That saying, when you make plans God laughs, that hit us hard. As we were packing, my guy got hit with a summons for child support. The mother had asked the state for assistance with the Families First program and because they gave her help they were coming for him to be paid back. To say he didn’t take it well was an understatement. He was loud, angry, he trashed his ex for wanting money, he was even violent toward objects, not people. He even said he didn’t want his daughter, that he shouldn’t have to pay for someone he didn’t want and didn’t see. I took all of this with a grain of salt because I knew he was mad.
I sat down with him and we talked about how the hearing would go, we went over the calculator worksheets, and it was basically going to eat him alive. With zero visitation, he would be required to pay $971 a month, it was $220 more than our housing allowance and with his debts we couldn’t afford to live so I tried talking to him again. I said to fight it and get visitation set up. Truthfully, I wanted him to know her, but in this moment I had to be a salesman. I explained if he saw and spent time with his daughter they would lower the amount. I told him I was a mom of little ones, that I could keep her on weekends and do fun things with her if he didn’t want to. Even expressed that if we worked it out, the weekends with her and mine could be the same, and then life would continue as it was and it wouldn’t change anything except that his little ray of sunshine would be with us. He didn’t even want to discuss visitation. He didn’t want to discuss any of it at all, he stormed out of the trailer and took off in his truck to the fire department. I couldn’t understand. I had been in his exes shoes, I knew where she was coming from, but I couldn’t understand why he fought so hard to not be part of his daughter’s life. You can’t make someone be a parent, but I was trying to understand why he could be that person for my kids and not for his own. It didn’t make sense to me.
The time was coming to close on the house. We were signing on Monday of the following week, but by Friday (the 13th) he had orders to report to Fort Hood, Texas. We once again sat down and had a conversation. I believed that any relationship could last whether together or apart as long as there was mutual respect, open communication, and love. At this point in my life, I thought we had that, so we talked about what would happen. I didn’t want to leave because leaving would mean leaving behind my son, my family, my friends. We had a long conversation where I heard yet another story about his ex wife.
Another story about the ex wife.
He told me that he wanted me to go to Texas with him. He confessed that when he met his ex wife, Laura, that she too had children, three of them, just like me. He explained that she didn’t want to leave them either and was willing to let him go to stay with her kids. He told me he was young and immature, so he threated to go AWOL if she didn’t go with him. He manipulated her into leaving her kids behind out of love for him, but then when they got to the new base it wasn’t enough. He wanted her to marry him, but she didn’t want to, she missed her kids and thought about going home a lot. She would have been at the duty station alone because he would deploy. He confessed that he threatened to kill himself if she didn’t marry him, that he didn’t want to and wouldn’t live without her. She surrendered and married him, but the story doesn’t stop there. He admitted he had been cheating on her and was prepared to leave her for Anita. He said he felt nothing for her and when he told her it was over she passed out on the floor. He blamed her and said it was fake because she didn’t hit the coffee table on the way down, but he still had to go to the fire department and get smelling salts from EMS and go back to her. He said she was silent, there were no words to say.
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up with every word he spoke. He was telling me he was a bad person, but he was explaining it as if he knew it was wrong and had changed. He told me he had done these horrible things to her and yet he made me believe he wouldn’t do that to me. That somehow I was different. He held my hand and looked me in the eye and stated that he would never do that with me, that he never wanted to hurt me, but he did want me to go to Texas with him. I asked for time to decide, he would punish me once again for not choosing him right away, he took away my intimacy. I had come to realize that when he didn’t get his way he would take a shot at me by withholding the one thing I was still trying to heal from.
I blamed myself for this reaction from him because it wasn’t that long ago I wanted to marry him, I wanted to stay with him. Here he was asking me to stay with him and follow him and I was asking for a moment to breathe. I loved him, but I had to be a responsible parent first. We talked about it some more and I told him my dreams included living abroad and exploring the world. He held my hand and pulled it up to his lips and kissed it, then he said “I’ll make you a deal, you follow me wherever my job may take me and when I am done, and I retire, I’ll go wherever you want to go and we will do whatever you want to do, let’s just get me to my finish line first.”
I talked to my mom and dad, I sat down with my exes new wife and talked to her to find out if there would be backlash. I talked to my grandmothers who told me that if he was the one then I had to go and everything else would work itself out. My mom said that they would come visit me in Texas and I could come home on weekends as it was only a days drive. My son told me we could talk on the phone every night and whenever we started to miss each other we could meet in the middle and go to Fazolie’s which was his favorite. Everyone told me it would be okay to go with him, they all saw him as this amazing person because he came across that way and I never told anyone about any of the negative things I had seen, so I borrowed money from my mom to call a lawyer to set up a parenting plan with my ex that gave me permission to leave the state with my two youngest kids, but he wouldn’t sign. My lawyer wasn’t concerned by this, with all the domestic violence reports the judge would welcome any separation between us, even if it meant I would leave the state.
The Second Proposal
We moved into our house the next week and we set it up even though we would only be there a few months. I talked to my brother and his roommates and they agreed to move into the house, pay rent, and take care of it in the time we were away. They stepped in knowing one day we would be back for our home. Our garage became a smoking area because I wouldn’t allow smoking in the new house. Just because we smoked didn’t mean our kids needed that in their lungs. Things were good, we were getting along, we were fighting each battle as they came together as a couple, as friends. I couldn’t ask for a better partner when we had challenges.
I was preparing dinner one night for the kids, my guy, and his bestie and his wife. My aunt and uncle were in town as well, so this was a big occasion, an important weekend. I had met the best friend a time or two, I really liked his wife, but the friend kind of made me nervous. I think it was all the pressure I had heard about, having to pass through a crucible to get to my Myspace Mistake’s heart, but if my guy loved him like a brother then I would too. My Myspace Mistake had a million questions for my uncle (let’s just say he was higher ranking and that piqued my guys attention). I made barbecue chicken and my kids wearing their little aprons helped me with the prep and then helped make a mess and then helped lick my batter bowl clean from the brownies. It was a great day, we were all laughing and having fun. My kids disappeared as I started the broccoli and then they came running back into the kitchen all excited.
“Say yes, mommy!”
I laughed and asked what the question was and my youngest pulled out a box from behind his back and handed it to me. I took it in my hand and opened it to see this little yellow gold ring with a tiny diamond in it. The kids shouted and jumped up and down begging me to choose him.
“Marry him, Mommy. Let’s keep him!”
The kids were over joyed when I said yes and I slid the ring on my hand as my future husband, my Myspace Mistake, sat across the room in his recliner with a smile on his face. I walked over to him as the smoke alarms went off, climbed into his lap without a care in the world, and kissed him. I poured all my love, all my pain, my everything into this kiss as the world faded to black and he absorbed it all and gave me back love and acceptance. It was everything I had hoped for, he was everything I had been hoping for. Sure, he had his flaws and I was wearing rose colored glasses, but no one is perfect and I was in love.
That night we announced our engagement to everyone. He would tell me that my mom bought the ring for him because money was tight and we were preparing to get hit with the child support for his daughter. He had gone to my dad and asked permission. My dad made him promise that he would never hurt me and that when the time came, he would take care of my oldest son too. My Myspace Mistake agreed in exchange for his blessing, but he would break both those promises.
With the coming court date, the child support hearing, a huge move, and a wedding in our future my wolf in sheep’s clothing would show more of himself with each event.
Story continued here