I met him the year my dad died. I was 17. It was August. I was with my friend who had stopped talking to me the previous year, our rift repaired.
We hit it off. He graduated from the rival highschool. He was tall, dark, handsome. He smoked pot, lived in a really tough part of town. He was a bad boy. I was the girl who always did what I was supposed to do to make her happy. I lived vicariously through his rebellion.
That first night, I let him get to third base. Then I made him stop. If you ever do that again, I won’t stop, he said. I should have taken that as an ominous sign. I ignored the voice of reason coming from my gut ( I think it was the Spirit of God, but I wasn’t speaking to Him anymore).
Ours was a tumultuous relationship from the beginning. He drank too much, smoked too much, bragged about being involved in a highschool gang rape (all I did was stop her from getting away, I didn’t actually participate, he rationalized). I was so young, naive, needy.
I didn’t even break up with him a year later when he confessed to sleeping with another girl because she was more fun, more spontaneous than me, I was so desperate to hang on to anyone who would “love” me.
He was a drifter, never keeping a job for more than a few months at a time, living with his parents who’s only rule was to be good inside the house. Outside the house was no holds barred.
1983. I talked him into military service. He actually went for it. He thrived for awhile.
While he was gone, I began to thrive too.
Despite loud alarm bells clanging in my brain, I married him in 1984.
To be continued…