So, there I was…working full time for All Saints, working weekends at George’s and taking a couple classes at Gateway. I was living by myself and liking it quite a bit. I could eat peanut butter straight from the jar without giving a shit, I could walk around naked wearing only socks not worried about looking ‘bad naked’. I could turn the TV on at midnight without bothering a soul. Though, I was lonely very often. My brother and his wife at the time bought me a hedgehog to ease my loneliness. Too bad the damn thing wanted to kill me and he was too sharp to pick up. Oswald (aka Ozzy) did provide me with some strangely entertaining moments however. Anyway, things were going ok. For a minute.
Racine has this benefit every year called Thoughts for Food. Many local bands play at several bars throughout the night. It was always a huge event and George’s was always packed shoulder to shoulder. It was A LOT of work, but the tips were good. I was cocktail serving and I noticed someone standing in my server station at the bar which was clearly marked off with big old bathroom stall looking bars. I nudged my way into MY space and as he realized his intrusion, he apologized. Very gitty and quite the charmer off the bat…I met who was to be my next boyfriend.
Tony and I were not together long. But unfortunately, the damage was big for such a short relationship. After a few dates and a weekend trip, we were ‘together” and shortly after that, I decided to move in with him and his roommate since I was already there all of the time. He seemed to be so enamored with me. As though he was REALLY into the relationship. Looks were deceiving. I was;t used to guys like this.
He was older…maybe by 6 years or so?? He was divorced with 3 children. He was very much the Peter Pan type you often hear about. Even though he was older, he clearly lived as though he would never grow old. He was very athletic and had many hobbies I did not share with him. Skiing, biking, guitar…I didn’t know about any of it. And let’s face it…I was never going to be that athletic type. He was also very suave and you could see how women would be attracted to him. VERY flirty.
But it was the father in him which attracted me the most. Not sure why…I was still young and was not ready for my own kids. But I grew very attached to his children and when the relationship ended, I was heartbroken. Never saw them again. I swore I would never date a man with kids again. (teehee)
He worked 3rd shift and would come home as I was leaving in the morning. I called him one day while I was at work. He got pissy with me for some reason…I think maybe he was sleeping. (boo – fuckin’ – hoo, right?!). Well, he was cranky enough to say “see ya”. Yep. Over the phone while at work…I was dumped. I just dropped. I was bawling and had no clue what to do. I had signed off on the house with my brother and someone else was already living in my apartment. I had no where to go. Well, except back to my parent’s – which was now 45 minutes from Racine. What a fucking blow. I never really found out a reason, but I am pretty sure he met someone else.
I was done with the semester and I didn’t go back to school again for a few years. I was still working in Racine and had to drive in each day. I was depressed as all hell. My parents were pretty overbearing when it came to many things. Many rules, lectures, etc. It was a goddamn nightmare. Which is probably why I starting enjoying Jack Daniels a little too much.
Since I worked in Racine and didn’t want to go home until the last possible minute, I would go to George’s after work most days for a few drinks. There was a group of regulars at that time of day whom I really grew to care about. One of them was a gal who I considered my best friend – she was the bartender during those after work hours. I made some wonderful friends at that tavern. Most of them are barely in my life now…many I miss…some I do not LOL…but they all made quite the impression on my life during those years. It was just this misfit like group that reminded me so much of my childhood love, Cheers. I felt accepted there. I felt I was at home. Good conversation…just being myself…I loved it. But while sitting at the bar chit chatting for a few hours…I sure wasn’t leavin’ the place sober.
Jack and Coke was my drink and because of that, I made MANY poor decisions. I would drive home (again 45 minutes…way out in the county at high speeds and no light) quite buzzed, if not drunk. A few times I became loaded enough to say something embarrassing or make out with someone I shouldn’t. Seriously, I almost WISH I had blacked out…some of the memories are just so humiliating and down right shameful.
My job changed…twice actually within these few years. And I managed to always have a full time job – making more money at each subsequent job. I did stop working at George’s because the money was shit and it wasn’t worth the long drive on a Saturday night. I finally got another apartment – living alone. I adopted (from someone’s garage) my kitties – Bob and Brian. They were like my children. I even had to bottle feed them because they had been abandoned so young. My lil furbabies 🙂
I dated here and there. There was David who was a soccer player in Milwaukee. Mark was an on and off thing when we were both single and bored. Chris, another soccer player (what the hell is up with the soccer heads…they are so attract rive to me). Patrick, an actor from Milwaukee (now in L.A.). Rob, a nice guy from the Journal Times who wanted to move WAY too fast. And some other ones which never made it past the first date. I was becoming very particular about with whom I wanted to be in a relationship. I once went on a date with a guy whom had never seen an episode of Seinfeld. I just couldn’t go on another date with him. I mean, who – in the 90s – refused to watch Seinfeld?? Wacko. Anyway, I was becoming increasingly picky. One night my mom said that maybe I was going to have to give different guys a chance – that no person is perfect and that I may have to settle. She doesn’t admit that she said this but she did.
One week in the early Spring of 2001 I believe…I had a strange experience…or experiences:
On a Saturday night I went to a wedding with my “friend” Mark. I guess he asked me because with me, there was no expectation of any kind of ‘relationship’. Or there was just no one better who was free at the time. It was such a fun night. His family was so cool. I danced and drank…we smoked some pot in the car. Food was great and it was just a really fun, fun night. I went to his place for the night and he dropped me off in the morning. That was the last time I saw him (until very recently) and I never realized how much he had meant to me. I missed him a lot. But I have to say…if our little friendly romance was to end…it ended perfectly.
The very next weekend I received a call from a Madison number. Chris was the only one I knew in Madison…but I hadn’t heard from him in forever. But sure enough, it was him and he was in town for a soccer match. He was already on his way to my house! I got that little balled up tummy feeling. He stopped over for just a little while. We unknowingly said our goodbyes as well. That was the last time I saw Chris.
There are very few men I have really loved in my life. Mark and Chris were two of them even though I never had a real relationship with either. Eric and I had said our goodbyes long ago and he was off and away onto his new life, wife and children. But there was one more with whom I had never had much closure. Jiro. It was so strange, but I got a call from him around this same week. He wanted to just get together to hang out. Sounded very innocent and we had never messed around after we broke up years prior. But I still felt very strongly about him. So, of course, I jumped at the chance.
I was house sitting for my friend Erin. So, he met me there and we ate food, watched TV, played a game of Scrabble on fell asleep propped against each other, yet sitting, on the couch. He suddenly woke up and realized it was so late. I know he was starting to date someone at the time and perhaps he was worried about getting into ‘trouble’…I don;t know…but he grabbed his stuff and was on his way. Now, in this situation…I do wish I had known it would be the last time I would see him. We never truly said goodbye and to this day I feel so much was left unsaid. But in a flash – Jiro was off to his new life as well.
The next day I decided to stay home from work. And I realized my phone wasn’t working. So I called Ameritech (at the time) with my brother’s cell and they were to send someone out. Who did they send? My future husband, that’s who. But let me back track for a moment.
While I was living in the county with my parents, I met Charlie while out with friends one night. We had gone to the same schools, but never once met or spoke to one another. We went on a couple dates…and had several very long phone conversations. One night he called to tell me that his ex girlfriend just informed him that she was pregnant. I had the feeling he wanted to continue dating, but there was NO WAY I was going to go through that nonsense. I never returned his calls after that. Not very nice, I know…but I had been hurt enough and I simply didn’t have enough invested at that point.
So, a knock at the door wakes me up at like 8am. With a cigarette hanging out of my mouth, my hair looking like Don King on a good day, and eyeliner smeared like a 10 cent crack whore…I answered the door. Just my luck, it was Charlie. A good year and a half later and THIS is how I present myself. “Oh shit, ” was all I managed to blurt out. While he was in the back working on the lines, I quickly took a shower, dressed and attempted to at least make myself presentable. He came in after that and I noticed that he wasn’t wearing a ring. I asked him about that since I had known he had gotten married. He said they were in the middle of a divorce and that he had a 13 month old daughter.
As he left that day he asked if he could call me and I said sure…and that he already had my number (hardeeharhar…get it…because he was the telephone guy??…ugh). The very next weekend he asked me to go to a wedding with him. I felt weird about it…but I said yes. We were together everyday after that. Not many dates…most of the time was with his daughter or grocery shopping or something domestic. I quickly fell into the instant family and I moved in several months later. He was certainly not meeting my list of criteria which had me being so particular for those past years. Many things were very wrong with that picture. But I fell in love with him and his daughter…and even more, he clearly loved me – which was something quite new to me. He WANTED to be with me. Finally, it was a guy who was as much into me (probably even more for a while) as I was him. I had so many years of the whole “he’s just not into you” scenario. This was different. And we’ve now been married for 7 1/2 years.
I cannot help but to think that nature provided me with those last moments with the men who had meant a lot to me throughout those dastardly 20’s. A last hurrah, a chance to say goodbye…as though the universe knew I was moving on. I never went back to George’s after that. Everything was different. I became a completely new person.
I am now 36. I still make bad choices, irresponsible decisions and certainly have my issues. But I am now a wife, a mother, a stepmother…and I do not feel – deep down, anyway – that I am still squandering. I AM still learning. I AM still teetering many days. I AM still unsure much of the time. But I am not squandering. And thank God, the Universe, Mother Nature or even just my own spirit got me through those times without any serious damage. Most of my parts still work. The body has some need for repair and the paint is a little rusty…but I’m still runnin’.