Well, it’s been a while, but I feel that urge again to dip back into the memory banks of mine and Blue Eyes first years together. The years that would shape our eventual married life and impact decades of moments as a couple and as a family.
After Blue Eyes returned from his winter break trip home, and recuperated from his bout with arthritis, we settled into a familiar routine. He and I slept on the sleeper sofa in the living room of the one-bedroom apartment we shared with Colleen. It was not ideal, but we had a one-year lease on the apartment, so we would have to wait until summer to switch. And, there was always the chance that Colleen wouldn’t want to live with us anymore and she would find alternative arrangements. I was fine with the three of us, but she was constantly bitching, so I assumed she would find herself a better solution. I was the only one of the three of us that had a full time job and a full time school schedule. By this time, Colleen was barely attending school. She was still working with and fucking her married boss, but since he was married, she was not part of his life on eves and weekends unless his wife was out of town. Her only really annoying habit to me was stumbling into the living room of our apartment in the middle of the night, drunk, with her friends and waking us up. I had given up partying after I got pregnant. After the miscarriage I realized I wasn’t a kid anymore and I wanted to finish school as quickly as possible. Social life at the university was full of distractions and temptations. I was done with all that. Blue Eyes had never been a big partier in that sense of the word. We made a fine and boring pair, unless you think having sex 2-4 times a day is fun, in which case, we were a blast.
After Spring Term, Blue Eyes decided to stay at school and take summer classes. His parents weren’t thrilled and I am sure there was more arguing and threats, but Blue Eyes did, in the end, take an accounting class and an entrepreneurship class. I decided not to take any classes so I could focus on making money and spending the free time with Blue Eyes. We thoroughly enjoyed that summer. I assumed Blue Eyes was attending both classes and doing homework while I was at work. I was an accounting major, so I never thought twice about him being able to pass an accounting class. From everything I knew, Blue Eyes was a really good student. All summer he complained about that accounting class although he loved his entrepreneurship course. He hated the accounting instructor, he hated the class. I was kind of confused by the whole thing. I mean seriously, we all have to take classes we don’t like, buck up Blue Eyes. Finally, his classes were over, but he did not seem relieved. When his grades finally came through, he did get an A in entrepreneurship, but a D in intermediate accounting 231. Wow, I was shocked. Remember, I was a super overachieving straight A student. Blue Eyes was angry and depressed. Well, it was what it was. I suggested we get out of town for the weekend and try and forget about the stupid class. We drove a couple hours to a little resort town and stayed in a motel on a creek with a jacuzzi tub in the room. I have never seen a jacuzzi tub outside of a bathroom before (except of course outdoor hot tubs). Blue Eyes was thrilled with the idea of the tub. I sat down on the motel bed and turned on the TV. ‘The Way We Were’ with Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand was just starting. While Blue Eyes was fidgeting with the jacuzzi, I got comfortable and started getting into the movie. Even though the movie was more than 10 years old at the time, I had never seen it. Blue Eyes did not want me to watch it. He wanted to have fun, now, in the tub. I pushed him off and told him I wanted to finish watching the movie. By the end, I was bawling my head off. I couldn’t stop the tears. Blue Eyes looked at me in astonishment. He told me he knew he shouldn’t have let me watch that movie, now it had ruined my mood. He couldn’t understand why I was so upset. I told him Hubbell (Redford) was a shallow, insensitive asshole who would have always been better off with Katie (Streisand) if he hadn’t let his own insecurities and ego get in the way, and that he was weak. He was a cheater. He broke her heart and he abandoned his child. Blue Eyes said, “it’s just a movie.” And I said, “yeah, I get really into movies and I can’t help it if I feel like they are real. That real people have those same real emotions.” I thought the movie was a tragedy. Last year Blue Eyes walked into our bedroom as I was having a bad day and flipping the channels on the television. ‘The Way We Were’ was on one of the channels. He looked at me and said, “please don’t watch that movie.” Then he left the room. I did watch a couple minutes then all the feelings came flooding back and I turned it off. I hate that movie and don’t even get me started on the SONG!!! “What’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget.”
The more disturbing part of that trip will always be the hot tub scene in our own story, which is real and not a movie and was our first time “doing it” in a water situation. Blue Eyes filled the tub full of very warm water. We got in naked together and starting making out, if you will. We were passionately kissing and all that jazz and then Blue Eyes tried entering me. Well, the water in the tub was washing away all my natural lube, and the lube on the condom. I told him we needed to be out of the water if we were going to make love, at least at the beginning. So, we did get far enough out of the water to get him inside me then back in the water we went. As Blue Eyes was going at it, there was really no good leverage, and I was slipping further and further down into the water and eventually I was submerged. I couldn’t hold my breath any longer and it was not any fun any more. I was flailing my arms and trying to get Blue Eyes attention. Finally, I had to shove him hard off of me. It was almost like he was in a trance. When I finally got my breath, I whimpered, “you are going to drown me.” And then, he snapped out of it. He pulled me towards him and apologized and said he didn’t realize I was in distress. Really? We ended up completing our love making session on the motel bed, but that whole afternoon still leaves me with very bad feelings. The rest of the trip went well. I didn’t turn on the TV again. We went down to the creek and hiked along it. We visited an old church with a gorgeous view, we visited galleries in town and ate great food on our measly budget. There were no other awkward moments and Blue Eyes seemed to have forgotten his bad grade situation.
After returning home, we shopped around for a two bedroom apartment with Colleen as she was clearly still wanting to live with us. We did cover her rent and expenses a lot. I am sure she was worried about any other roommate being understanding of her irresponsible ways. As it turns out, that summer would be the end of Colleen’s relationship with the married man. His wife had come home that very weekend and confronted him with her fears about his cheating. He told her he was having an affair, but he would not tell her with who. She immediately left him, moved back to her home state to be with her parents and never returned. They had been married for less than a year. Once his wife left him, Colleen’s boss broke up with her. He said he just couldn’t do it anymore. Colleen had to live with the fact that the only time she “turned him on” was when she was forbidden. When she was a dirty little secret. I really think, like most mistresses, she believed that if he was just rid of his wife, she could live happily ever after with him. Well, we know how that usually turns out. She ended up continuing to work for him for months and watch him go out with other women. It broke her heart.
We did find a really nice 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath apartment on two floors with a garage. It was a little further from school, but well worth the commute. Blue Eyes and I thought we should take the larger master bedroom with big bath and tub (and pay more), but Colleen explained she would be getting a roommate and they would need the bigger room. We agreed on the stipulation that she found a roommate within a month. Colleen was able to find a roommate, but that roommate quickly bailed on her after just a month. She was never able to find another roommate. I constantly talked to her about switching rooms, but she kept promising. Blue Eyes and I should have been in a place of our own. This apartment would be the one where a drunk Colleen climbed into bed with Blue Eyes while I was off staying with my Dad’s seven children. This was also the apartment where they shared their kiss. I am glad that I was unaware at this age just how cruel and selfish “friends” can be. It might have changed who I am. Eventually we all decided it was best if we found separate living arrangements.
During this same time, Fall 1985, Blue Eyes and I got engaged. We decided this thing we were doing was real. We wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We really loved each other. There wasn’t a big elaborate down on one knee proposal with a ring. We talked about it on Blue Eyes’ birthday, exactly one year after the miscarriage, and in early November we went shopping together for a ring. It was a very modest ring as we were two college students and although Blue Eyes’ had a moderate savings, he did not have his own income at that time. Blue Eyes would be graduating college in the spring, and things were going to change drastically for us, one way or the other, and we wanted the commitment between us. We both wanted it, we both actively engaged in the conversation discussing it, and we both committed to purchasing the modest ring together. Our first real purchase as a couple. We easily made the small ring payment out of our regular budget. When we traveled to Blue Eyes’ parents house for the second of many Thanksgivings we would spend together, the ring was a big topic of conversation. It was the first thing Blue Eyes’ younger brother noticed when we arrived at the house. He went running to his mother saying, “mom, I knew it, what did I tell you,” Blue Eyes’ mother wanted to hear a big elaborate story of how her son had proposed to me, but there wasn’t one. Neither Blue Eyes or I really wanted to talk about it. We wanted to be left alone. Frankly, I should have just left the ring at home, but it also represented our commitment to each other. I think I thought that she might back off a little now that we had made a serious declaration to each other. Nope, as it turns out, she did not back off at all and to her, it WAS a declaration… a declaration of war. It fueled her fire to want us apart, but I would not find that out until later. We returned to school having endured another miserably long weekend with the family from hell.
During the time we lived in the apartment with Colleen, it was Blue Eyes’ senior year of college, and his health was deteriorating rapidly. Blue Eyes, on his 5’9” frame got down to 128 pounds. It should have been obvious to his mother at Thanksgiving that he was struggling, but she had her narcissist blinders on. No one should ruin HER Thanksgiving with talk of illness and intestinal problems. We spent one very difficult night in the emergency room in December and then at winter break, Blue Eyes ended up needing to go to his home town for surgery. During the surgery, Blue Eyes’ would have more diseased intestine removed and while they were at it, they realized that the operation that had been done approximately five years previously was failing. Once he graduated from college, he would go home and have major surgery to have even more of his digestive tract removed.
While Blue Eyes was off with his abusive family, recuperating from surgery, I stayed home and worked in order to support myself. I decided during the time that he was gone, that living with Colleen was too stressful on both me and Blue Eyes. In January, we moved into a beautiful two bedroom apartment a little further from school. The further away from the university the better the apartments and the more you got for your money. Blue Eyes was on heavy doses of Prednisone when he returned to school for his final term. The surgery and the meds were a stop gap measure. He would have his permanent surgery as soon as he graduated. He was eating and putting on weight like a champ. I was so thankful that he was feeling well enough to eat. Unfortunately, I also put on about 20 pounds. I am a stress eater and it is kind of funny to look back at Blue Eyes’ college graduation photos. He looks like a chipmunk with the puffy cheeks, I just look chubby. When Blue Eyes’ mother saw me at graduation, she was visibly horrified. Prior to that point, she had seen me a few times, but I was not overweight. She had no idea I had battled with a weight problem since I was 14. I am not in the majority of Blue Eyes’ graduation photos.
Directly after graduation, Blue Eyes jetted off back home with his family to prep for and have his surgery, and I was left at school, alone, in our two-bedroom apartment.
I am going to end this post here because it is getting long, but I am in a writing mood, so I will continue…