Okay, so not long after Eric and I broke up, I met this guy named Jiro. We hung out a couple times – had a couple mutual friends. And it was a matter of a couple weeks and we were pretty much attached at the hip. Which, I know, is not necessarily a good thing. We became pretty secluded and focused on each other – but not to the point of destruction like it was with Eric. I worked the whole time we were together as did he. We weren’t entirely mature and some bad habits remained, but it wasn’t as bad as the previous few years. We were literally together every single day.

I made huge mistakes in this new relationship. It had the possibility of surviving once we grew up a bit…I mean, it was possible. We even waited a good 6 months before we were “intimate”. We were both very much in love. But his need for some playtime and freedom and my need for total control and possessiveness ran our 3 year rendezvous straight into a brick wall.

I was unrelenting. I was so afraid I would lose him that I gave him hell if he were to want time to himself or with his friends. In my mind, time to himself meant he did not want to be with me. It was this huge threat. And when he was able to break away, I was a paranoid freak. I would call and call until I reached him. I would interrogate him about what, where, who, etc. What a fucking pain in thee ass I was. I look back now and am quite frankly ashamed.

Its not like he was entirely perfect. I bailed him out financially (with help from my parents) a couple times. I drove his car as he delivered pizzas for a good 6 months when he lost his license. I caught him in a few lies which only gave my paranoia momentum. There were many things his mother didn’t like about me and us. She pretty much ignored me for 3 years. I know he allowed her to believe that his poor choices were somehow my fault. And he never once stood up for me. He would tell me it was just because I wasn’t Armenian. That she hated American women. I highly doubt that to be the case now that I know he is married to an American. He always told me that we wouldn’t be able to marry me until his mother passes away. He said it jokingly (his humor was almost as sick as mine), but I knew it was kind of tongue in cheek.

When I was 23, my father died. I hadn’t seen him in a year and before that visits were sparse if at all. Our relationship had been estranged for a long time. He would take off for years at a time during my childhood and often we wondered if he was even alive. My brother and I were treated very much like emotional yoyos. By the time I was 17 or so, I had given up and started to become angry. I stopped answering and returning his calls. When I did talk to him, it was a guilt fest and I certainly didn’t want to deal with that. He had been saying for years that he was dying and had all these terrible diseases. But I knew that even if that were true, his real problem was with drug addiction. I know at the end he was on methadone…who knows what else.

One beautiful September day I received a call after dropping Jiro off at work. It was my step mother and she said my father was not doing well and that we should probably come to the hospital. My brother and I were busy buying a home with his then fiancé. It was a flat – he would be living downstairs with her and I was upstairs – alone since Jiro could have NEVER told his mother he wanted to LIVE with ME. (GASP!!). Well, the three of us decided to go up to Milwaukee and visit him. We were not expecting anything major as we have been through this a number of times. In my dad’s thirties he had a quadruple bypass. He was always in and out of hospitals for one reason or another but he always turned out ok. Not well…by ANY means…but ok. We really always felt that his mentally created his own illnesses and misery; but that he would somehow live forever.

As we arrived we saw a man we didn’t recognize. It was horrible. He was kind of out of it…but still able to communicate. After a little while of visiting…he took his last breath. I was sitting next to him as he was in the chair finishing his dinner…drinking coffee actually. The others were down the hall in the vending area. I was alone with him when I watched breathlessly as he left his body. I have written about this before…so I won’t detail the hell outta ya. Needless to say, it was very difficult.

The day after, we had to go back up to Milwaukee to make funeral arrangements with my stepmother. I knew on that very day that Jiro and I would not be together much longer. I was a complete wreck. I could barely contain myself. I was just so incredibly sad and scared and brimming with guilt. My father, whom was only 46 years old, was gone forever. Anyway, I really needed Jiro to be there for me and with me. But he had prior plans to go to a Brewer game and decided to continue on with those plans. He tried to be there for me throughout the funeral and subsequent days…but I could feel the pulling away. He had lost his father when he was very young – 12 I believe. I do not think he ever really dealt with that and I am sure seeing me and my reactions were only bringing up emotions he had been able to hide away successfully for so long.

About one week after my father passed I was to start a new job. A good job comparatively. I even stopped smoking weed and everything. I know, that sounds bad…but it was a major step for me at that time. It was a job at the hospital. Patient Call Center Associate was the title and I was excited about it. The night before I was to start, Jiro was out with his friends much later than he said he would be. I couldn’t get a hold of him and that agony in my stomach was there in full force. THEN my sister in law tells me that he had lied to me about going to a strip club a few weeks prior. He lied up and down – swore on everything that he did not go. But in my gut, I knew he did. Anyway, as I am waiting and wondering I get this bit of info and I pretty much lost it. I was SO pathetically insecure. Finally he called at about 1am. He had just returned home. I confronted him about the news I had learned. Without hesitation he told me we were through. No arguments about it…there was no talking him out of it. It was over. And I was certain I would die. But while dying, I had to start a new job in several hours.

I somehow made it in…made it through training…made it through moving into our new house…made it through my grandfather dying 2 weeks later…made it through my mom and stepdad moving an hour away…made it through, but not easily.

Thought I didn’t realize it at the time, I really liked the new job. I felt for the first time in a LONG time that I wasn’t a complete loser. I made friends and we had a lot of fun there. I had my little apartment above my brother – it was small, cozy and ALL MINE. I truly loved living on my own – not having to answer to ANYONE. I even got a second job on the weekends at George’s tavern. And I went back to school at Gateway to work towards SOME kind of degree. I was gettin’ my shit together. But it wasn’t all roses.

I started having these episodes of shear terror. My heart would race, I couldn’t catch my breath, I would shake like a leaf and I just knew I was dying. I made several trips to the ER ending with a dose of xanax and a pat on the head. I began therapy and was diagnosed with panic and anxiety disorder as well as clinical depression. WHY?? Why was this happening when I finally started to live a real life?? The attacks started happening more and more. They affected every part of my life. And I was a virtual guinea pig for the prescribing docs. I cannot even count all the different drugs I have swallowed in the game of trial and error. Thank God I had some really good friends to help me through these times. Maureen, Gina, Kevin, Kim just to name a few…they were very helpful and I will never forget that.

During all of this I was still somehow convinced that Jiro and I were meant to be together and eventually would be. I would call him maybe once or twice a year. Even popped over at his house a couple times when my inhibitions were low. Nothing ever happened between us again…I couldn’t really face it then…but it was obviously over. I was just not willing to accept that. And up until I was married I still always thought that…maybe…someday…somehow…but nope. I had to say goodbye. I love my husband to death. He is so great to me and for me. Wonderful dad. And I am so grateful. But a part of me wonders if that one little part of my heart will forever remain broken. A little knick with his name on it adorning an otherwise love filled heart.

So, here I was. 24ish. 2 jobs, part time school, friends, fun, dating and a raging panic disorder. I was sure to fuck up a few more things along the way.  And that I did.

To be continued….(upcoming: A lot of first dates, Jack and Coke, George’s and another return to the folks)


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