After returning home from the Thanksgiving trip from Hell, we both had to focus on the final few weeks of classes. I tried to forget all about Blue Eyes’ parents, but it was difficult. By the time we hit the end of the term, we had some decisions to make. First, Blue Eyes had started staying over at the apartment regularly, basically every night. That meant, eating our food, using our hot water, creating garbage, and in turn, creating a rift between me and my roommate. Blue Eyes was on a very tight budget with the measly allowance his parents afforded him. They paid for his fraternity housing and food and then gave him a small stipend for incidentals. That left him almost no money to help out with the apartment bills. I talked with Blue Eyes and told him that if he wanted to continue to stay with me in the apartment, he needed to 1) pay rent, and 2) commit to helping us find and move into a bigger place. He told me his parents would not agree to him living with me. I expressed my concern for his inability to step up and stand up to his parents. His parents were paying for a room he wasn’t living in, and food he wasn’t eating. As it turns out, Blue Eyes not being able to act like an adult around his parents would be a conversation we would have ad infinitum for, well, forever. He still has not stood up to his parents for the most part, he just stopped talking to them.
In December 1984, we started discussing winter break plans. I told him I really wanted to go to my parent’s house back home for the holidays. I wanted to live in that comfortable place for just a few days, to recoup, to reenergize. I asked him if he wanted to meet my parents. He thought that a splendid idea. We agreed to split our time, half at my parents and half at school, relaxing. I would have to work, but neither of us would have classes or homework for a few days. Well, best laid plans and all… one of the rituals that Blue Eyes was required to participate in with his parents was a weekly Sunday phone call. I often was there in the room when he would call his parents. In the beginning, he would make the calls from the fraternity. But then, he was never at the fraternity so we agreed he should just make the calls from the apartment. And you actually had to pay for long distance calls way back then, so add that to his monthly bill. The phone calls were painful to overhear. His parents (mostly his mother) grilled him about every little thing he was doing. How much was he studying. When was he going to bed. When was he getting up. Who was he seeing. Was he drinking. It was a laundry list of are you doing this to our standards, and then a litany of put downs, and then his mother would go on and on about her social schedule. Really, nearly every single phone call with Blue Eyes’ mother includes her talking about herself about eighty percent of the time. As winter break approached, his mother was like a dog with a bone regarding his plans. How long would he be home, when was he arriving, what should she purchase at the grocery store (which is a joke because the woman is so ritualistic she always buys exactly the same thing, every single time she goes to the store). At first Blue Eyes ignored her inquiries for the most part and told her he wasn’t sure of his plans. Eventually he realized he needed to tell her something. So he told her the truth. He would be joining me at home to meet my mother and father and then we would return to school, together. She blew a gasket. She went berserk. She freaked out about him meeting my parents. She freaked about him being in a “cold” climate. She absolutely refused to contemplate the idea of him not being home during one of his breaks. I truly believe it had nothing to do with seeing him, but really just the thought of her not having control over him for those few days. And then, the inevitable happened, she threatened him with pulling the plug on his money. If he did not come home for break, she would cut him off. He hung up frustrated and scared. I suggested he compromise with her. He would spend the first week of break with me in my home town, and I would spend the second week of break with him in his home town. It was a HUGE compromise for me as it meant spending more time in that horrible place, but compromise is the name of the game in relationships. He called his mother and explained the new plan. She said, NO. She said he would come home by himself, or not to come home at all. Wow. I said, “call her bluff.” Tell her to shove her money where the sun don’t shine, etc… etc… I knew that was not going to happen, but after a couple days, he did call her back and tell her we were not changing our plans. We would be going to visit my parents and then returning to school. She came back with her final offer in her sick game of negotiating for control of her children. He could go with me to my parent’s home, but I was not allowed to come home with him. He would need to spend the second half of break with his family, at home. I was floored. This is where you say, okay, you turned and ran for the hills never to look back, right? Well, we know that did not happen. I honestly could not believe what I was hearing. He said he would just defy her and do what he wanted and hope for the best, but I could tell he was not at all comfortable with this. We had only been dating for a handful of months. I didn’t feel I had the right to get in this knock down drag out fight with his family. I told him I thought he should keep the peace. He would fly from my home town to his own, and I would fly back to school, because I needed to work in order to pay the bills on the apartment, not to mention pay for the following semester of classes.
Shortly after finals, Blue Eyes and I flew to my home town together. My parents welcomed us with open arms and immediately treated Blue Eyes like a member of the family (and have continued to do so ever since). Even I was a little shocked by my parent’s liberal attitude in letting Blue Eyes and I share my old room, but I guess they figured it was silly to have us sleep apart since we were basically living together back at school.
We had a great Christmas break and my parents even booked all of us a hotel on the coast for the weekend. We bundled up, walked on the beach, ate clam chowder, and had a lot of fun. This was an especially exciting time for me as our room was separate from the rest of my family and Blue Eyes took the opportunity to show me one of his skills, oral sex. I had shied away from it in the past thinking I would be uncomfortable. He did not take no for an answer this time, and I reaped the benefits. I guess I just thought no guy would really like doing that sort of thing, but Blue Eyes did, and does.
I stayed on at my parent’s a little longer than Blue Eyes. He flew to his home to spend the rest of the break with his family. We met back up at school a couple days before the new term was set to start. As it turns out, while Blue Eyes was home his mother had tried to set him up on dates. Yes, more than one. He kept telling her he was with me and not interested in other girls, but she ignored him. He refused to go out. His Mom even had the nerve to have one of them show up at the house to try and encourage him to go out. He said no. As the break wore on, Blue Eyes started suffering from his arthritis pains. He had been diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of six. Most often the pain settled in his knees and his groin. It was debilitating. By the time he returned to school, he couldn’t really walk. His mother blamed it on him visiting me at my parent’s house in a “cold” climate. But when he was with us, he was fine. It was not until he was alone with his mother that the symptoms emerged… days after having left the cold.
Because Blue Eyes couldn’t really get around and our University was spread over a very large campus, I agreed to go to both of our classes until his symptoms diminished. For nearly two weeks, I went to as many of both of our classes as was possible, gathering syllabi and books and notes. I also encouraged Blue Eyes to call his father and explain the situation, that he was living with me and he needed to pay for rent and food and utilities. Blue Eyes’ mother got wind of the conversation about us living together and she went crazy. She yelled and screamed and said Blue Eyes was forbidden from living with me or she would pull the plug on his education. Not sure how many times she actually threatened this, but it was a lot. Well, he was already living with me and he could barely even walk to the bathroom. I could not see how these people could not understand the situation and why they wouldn’t be happy that someone was taking care of their son, but of course, I will never understand them. After a few days of Blue Eyes’ Mom calling him all throughout the day to chastise, belittle, and threaten him (as he was couch ridden), she finally eased off and stopped altogether, but nothing had been resolved.
Then, a couple weeks later, Blue Eyes received a check and a typewritten letter from his father, most likely signed by the secretary, stating that he would be sending the room & board checks that had previously been going to the fraternity, directly to Blue Eyes at my address and he could do with them as he wished, but to please not bring the conversation up again with his mother. A week later I received a gift of perfume in the mail, again with a typewritten letter on Blue Eyes’ father’s law firm stationary, thanking me for helping his son in his time of need, and signed by… the secretary.
It was time to start shopping around for a new apartment.