This was the plan: Blue Eyes would return home with his parents after graduation. He was scheduled for intestinal surgery a few days later. I would stay at school and work my job. His surgery was scheduled for early in the morning with an expected surgery time of 4-5 hours. His family would call me at work during his surgery to update me, and then immediately after they would let me know how it went. I had a flight scheduled to arrive later, the same evening of his operation. I would stay in town for a couple days, spend the days with Blue Eyes and the nights at his parents’ house. I was worried, but I didn’t have enough money to fly there and stay in a motel near the hospital. I would be reliant on his parents for transportation and a place to sleep. I knew this could get dicey, but since their son was having major surgery, I really hoped they would play nice. They didn’t.
On the day of Blue Eyes’ surgery, I arrived at work at 8:00am as usual. Blue Eyes’ surgery was scheduled for 7:30am. His mother had promised to call me during and after the surgery. I waited four hours with no update call. I started getting antsy. I phoned the hospital for an update. They said the surgery was proceeding nicely but taking longer than expected. They had also started about an hour late. I shouldn’t expect to hear anything before 3:00pm. Well, 4:00pm came and went and it was almost time for me to get ready to head to the airport. There were no mobile phones back in 1986, so I couldn’t call the mother. Once again, I called the nurses station at about 5:00pm. They said they could actually transfer me to Blue Eyes’ room if I wanted and I could speak to him directly. I was so excited. He answered the phone! I could hear his mother in the background yelling, “DON’T ANSWER THAT.” I was so pleased to hear his voice, but he was a little groggy. I told him I was just happy to hear that he was out of surgery and doing okay. I asked him to please remind his mother to pick me up at the airport. He said he would.
About three hours later, I arrived at the airport and headed out to the curb. The agreement was, Blue Eyes’ mother would pick me up 30 minutes after my flight was scheduled to land, so I took my time getting out there. This was all scheduled between me and Blue Eyes’ mother. I asked her directly myself if she could pick me up and if I could stay at their house. No go-betweens, no chance for confusion. She said of course. It did all seem too easy. I got to the curb 10 minutes early and proceeded to wait for over an hour before I started getting angry. No one came to pick me up. I was worried about going back into the airport to phone the hospital as I might miss her. Maybe she was just running really late. Finally, after two hours of waiting, I hailed a taxi cab and had him take me to the hospital. It was a very expensive ride; I would just have to eat the expense. When I walked into Blue Eyes’ hospital room, there were his parents both in his room, his mother standing by his bedside, his father relaxing in a chair. Apparently they had just returned from dinner. I looked at his mother with what I am sure was a combination of hate and disbelief. She acted like she was so happy to see me. I asked her why she hadn’t picked me up at the airport and she said she had no idea she was supposed to pick me up. I asked who else she thought would be picking me up and she looked at me (her back to Blue Eyes) and with an evil smile on her face she said, “I have no idea, maybe friends?” I knew the war had commenced. She said now that I was FINALLY here, it was time to head to their house, they had almost left without me thinking I had changed my mind about flying there to see Blue Eyes. I said I wasn’t leaving as I hadn’t even had a chance to say hello to Blue Eyes. She said I would have to leave right then as no one would come back for me. I told her I was fine with that. I walked to the nurse’s station and asked what the situation was for guests sleeping in patient’s room. I would sleep in a chair if I had to. They said they could actually bring in a cot for me if I liked. I said that would be wonderful. I walked back to Blue Eyes’ room and his mother asked where I had gone. I told her they could leave, I wouldn’t need their ride. She became visibly upset and asked what I was trying to pull. WHAT I WAS TRYING TO PULL? I told her I had made arrangements to stay there, at the hospital, with Blue Eyes. She became hysterical and screamed, “I FORBID IT.” At this point, Blue Eyes is a 22 year old college graduate. I told her I was not her child, not even her family and that she could not tell me what to do. She turned to Blue Eyes’ father and started in on him, telling him how terrible that would be for Blue Eyes’ recovery if I was there in the room. How he wouldn’t get any sleep. How he wouldn’t heal. How I was ruining everything. I was not afraid of this bitch. She had pushed me past my limits of being nice. I am thinking my future father-in-law was getting the impression I had had enough. He said he would take the mother home and then circle back and pick me up after I had had a chance to say a proper hello to Blue Eyes. He said that would allow us both to get adequate rest and I could have a nice breakfast at their house before returning in the morning. I told him I wanted to discuss it with Blue Eyes. The mother had already left the room in a huff.
I decided his father’s offer was a decent one and I would take it. I know how difficult it is to sleep in hospital rooms and I didn’t want to be the reason Blue Eyes’ stayed up too late or tried to push himself too much. I went out to the hall and thanked his father for the kind offer and that I would take him up on it. He said he would be back in about an hour. By this time it was already approaching late evening. I went back into the room and gave Blue Eyes a kiss. He looked so tired. He wanted me to climb in bed with him. I did for just a couple minutes. Then, the phone started ringing. I picked it up and it was Blue Eyes’ ‘on again off again estranged’ older sister. I had met her the month before at Blue Eyes’ graduation. Her mother had guilted her into swallowing her pride (they hadn’t been on speaking terms since the sister uninvited her parents to her wedding two years prior–long story for a later day) to attend her brother’s university graduation. There was no doubt in my mind that the sister was in competition with her mother and had a huge inferiority complex. Anyway, she said she knew how difficult it must be having to stay with their parents and she was offering up her car to me for the time I was there as she knows her mother is a control freak and I would never get to the hospital if mother had her way. She would deliver the car to her parents’ house the next morning and I could just leave it there when I left to head back to school. I thanked her. I would later learn that Blue Eyes’ sister will do anything to thwart whatever plans her mother has for anything. I would also learn that no matter what happened between them, for decades, one or the other of them would blame me for their predicament, even if I wasn’t involved in any way.
Blue Eyes’ mother was pretty angry that I had a car to use and she could not control that part of my trip. I am sure her daughter paid a pretty price for that one. I spent most of the next two days exclusively at the hospital with Blue Eyes. We watched some movies on the TV, read a book together, the nurses were constantly coming and going. His parents arrived late in the afternoon on my second day there and insisted I go to dinner with them. I told them I was just there for a couple days and I wanted to spend all my time with Blue Eyes. That he would be at their home recuperating while I was back at school working and I wouldn’t be able to see him for weeks and I wanted the time. Right in the middle of watching Annie Hall, mother threw a temper tantrum because I would not go to dinner with them. I mean a real stomp her feet, clench her fists, yell at me, yell at her husband, temper tantrum. She doesn’t even like me, why the fuck would she care if I went to dinner with them. Control. That’s it. All she cares about is control. Controlling everything and everyone. No way I was playing that game. It was quite embarrassing and drew the attention of two nurses. One of the nurses even said this kind of behavior might not be good for the patient. Mother also seemed incredibly upset that I was lying next to Blue Eyes in his hospital bed. She thought the nurse was on her side, so she yelled “see, even the nurses don’t think you should be here with him.” WTF. The nurse promptly said that was not what she meant. She said she thought the yelling was not good for Blue Eyes and mother was the only one yelling. Blue Eyes’ Dad had to once again escort mother out of the destructive situation she had orchestrated. I could see the tension all over Blue Eyes’ body. I asked him if he wanted me to leave. He said, “no, of course not, I want her to leave, forever.” I felt bad for him, but it was HIS mother. At that time, I had no idea what he had already suffered through and how much it had affected him. It would take another nearly three decades to figure that all out.
I did return home to our empty apartment and it was incredibly lonely, and things were only going to get lonelier as Blue Eyes, per his parents’ wishes, had agreed to spend two years between his undergraduate education and law school working in Japan for a company his father was intimately involved with, as a matter of fact, his father was actually on the board of directors. This plan pre-dated me, and Blue Eyes’ parents were not letting him off the hook. He had made a commitment and he was damn well going to keep it and getting him away from me wasn’t going to be so bad for them either. Months earlier I had begged Blue Eyes to go to law school first. That would give me time to graduate and we could go to Japan together. He was unable to bring himself to consider the idea because it did not fit his parents’ plans. He applied to and got into law school and he deferred his enrollment. I was not in the plan. I knew he didn’t even want to attend law school, but none of that mattered, it was in his parents’ plan.
I spent some of my free time finding a roommate so I could better afford the two bedroom apartment Blue Eyes and I had rented six months prior. Even though we were on a month to month, I really liked the apartment. A girl answered my ad and when she showed up at the apartment, I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. She was a part time student and full time model. She really was gorgeous. We got along really well. She was gone a lot and when she was at the apartment, she was so easy going, or so I thought. One weekend a few weeks in, she was going to be home and she wanted to know if I wanted to hang out with her. She had grown really attached to me in just a few weeks. I told her I needed to go out to my Dad’s house and babysit his kids for the weekend. She became visibly distraught. I told her I would be back Sunday night. She immediately acted distant and even a bit angry. I was really confused. She had never behaved like this before. She left the apartment before I could say good-bye to her and I was going to tell her she could come out to my Dad’s and help me with the kids if she wanted. When I returned to the apartment, there was a note from the roommate. A very angry and aggressive note saying I was not the person she thought I was and her living with me was not going to work out after all. I looked in her room, and all her belongings were gone. That was it. So strange. I really had no idea what I had done. I am quite the chocoholic and often have chocolate treats around for when I get a craving. Back in college, my treats were of the inexpensive variety, maybe peanut butter cups, or chocolate syrup for chocolate milk, maybe chocolate ice cream bars, or chocolate chip cookies… or maybe all of the above as I never know what I will feel like in the moment. I went to have an ice cream bar and they were gone. Weird. I decided to grab a cookie instead, gone, peanut butter cups (Blue Eyes’ favorite–often my last resort) gone! Every single little bit of chocolate in the apartment, GONE. Even the chocolate syrup. Even my jar of DECORATIVE m&m’s, WTF. The girl had eaten all my chocolate, or stolen it, or whatever. Her mother’s phone number was on her rental application and so I called her mother to make sure her daughter was okay. The mother told me that her daughter was mentally unstable and she apologized for putting me through all that. She said she really thought it would work out this time. Years later I would watch ‘Single White Female’ and think, hey, I got off lucky.
We had agreed that Blue Eyes’ would spend two weeks with me before he had to leave for Japan. Blue Eyes’ parents were paying for his plane ticket to Japan, so they were in control of it, the date he left, what flight he left on, etc… Blue Eyes’ told his mother that he would be spending two weeks with me and she, once again, freaked out. She forbid him from flying to visit me. He told her she was no longer in control of his life (ha, joke was on him–not sure why he was not able to realize that). Even though the doctors had recommended he not travel outside the country for 12 weeks post surgery, to be on the safe side, she booked his flight eight weeks out thinking he wouldn’t have time to visit me, or she just wanted him away from me as quickly as possible. She was willing to put her son’s health at risk just to get him out of the country? Years before, when Blue Eyes had had his first major surgery, the doctors had recommended the parents not leave him alone for at least 4 weeks post surgery because hemorrhaging was a real worry. At three weeks, Blue Eyes’ mother decided they had waited long enough and they decided to go out to dinner with friends. They left Blue Eyes and his younger brother home by themselves. Blue Eyes suffered internal hemorrhaging right in the middle of their dinner. His younger brother figured out where the parents were and was able to get ahold of them so they could rush home and take him to the ER. I guess she will never learn that her needs are not more important than anyone else’s. Once his plane ticket to Japan was set, I purchased him a round trip ticket to come visit me for two weeks, leaving him a week with his parents to prepare and pack for his trip. When Blue Eyes told his mother that he was still coming to visit me, she became very angry. At one point he was on the phone with me in the evening and she picked up the line and told me that Blue Eyes would not be visiting me, that she was forbidding it. Blue Eyes asked to her to get off the phone immediately. And then she said this (while still on the phone), and it will be seared into my memory FOREVER, “if you plan on going to see Kat and spending two weeks fucking her after you have just had surgery and you are supposed to be preparing for your move to Japan, I will not pay for the suits you will need for your job.” I kid you not. She said those exact words. I couldn’t believe my ears. Blue Eyes and I had known each other for 2 1/2 years, we had dated for nearly 2 years, and we had been engaged for nine months and that is how desperately she wanted me not to see her son. She had planned on taking him out the following week to purchase him three suits so there would be plenty of time for alterations. She was now pulling the plug on that. Over the time we had been together, Blue Eyes had depleted his meager savings account paying for my hospital visit nearly two years before and also other incidentals that his parents wouldn’t cover. He didn’t have enough money for the suits. He had been a college student for four years. He didn’t own a suit. He thought she had won. I told him not to worry about it. I couldn’t wait for him to visit me and we would take care of the suits together.
When I moved away from home for college, I left behind nearly everything except my car, and my clothes. When Colleen and I rented our first apartment together, with her being a music performance major and me wanting to continue piano lessons, I had my mother and father ship my piano to school. I had the piano with me through three college apartments. I purchased that piano for myself with money I made during my first year of working, back when I was 18. I sold the piano the following week for $1500 and we used the money to pay for suits, shirts, ties, belts, and shoes for Blue Eyes for his job in Japan. I knew some day we would have a piano again (and we do). I wasn’t taking piano lessons anymore and the piano was the absolute worst thing to move around. I was alright with selling it. I wasn’t heartbroken. I was pissed that I had to sell it because some narcissistic bitch was being unreasonable, but other than that, it was okay.
When I finally did have to say good-bye to Blue Eyes, I was heartbroken. I couldn’t believe he was leaving for a foreign country. I had no idea the next time I would see him. I had no idea how expensive the phone bills were going to get over the next few months. I had no idea I was just four short months away from traveling to Japan myself.