I was so sad to leave Blue Eyes in Japan that hot and humid July, 1987. I had no idea at that point whether we would stay together. The thing I knew was that I needed to remain true to myself and the promises I had made to me. I have always been a nurturer, a caregiver who thinks of others before herself. When I left for college I had promised myself I would put my needs first and it seems, for a while, I did.
My car and belongings were back at my old university, so I flew straight there from Japan. I reconnected with Colleen and other friends, had some fun, then headed for home, my real home. I was thrilled to see my family again although at this point the sister with borderline personality disorder had just graduated high school and she was wreaking havoc on the household with her temper and her indecision about what to do with her life. She had been living in my room on the lower level (as far away from our parents as she could manage) since I had left the house four years prior. I moved into her old room, which I much preferred as it was on the main floor of my parent’s home and much brighter and warmer in the winter months than my previous room. After having lived on my own for a few years, it was a bit of a transition fitting in back home, but I wasn’t lonely. School started up in September and I was quickly swept back up in the frenzy of commuting to downtown and transitioning to a full load of classes.
Blue Eyes and I talked periodically. He had made me the promise that he would indeed return to the U.S. before the end of the year. I wasn’t holding my breath. It would mean his giving notice at work and since it was mid school year, he would need to figure out what he would do between January and the start of Law School in August. Where would he go? Where would he live? Would we even be able to afford to live together? I mean if we weren’t going to be together and he was going to, for example, go back to his parents in Los Angeles, what was the point? There were so many unanswered questions. He had deferred his law school admission in Southern California for two years now. At this point I wasn’t even sure if he still wanted to go to Law School. I couldn’t sit in my room all day and pine away over Blue Eyes. I am a friendly person. I love to talk and get to know people. One of my classes was mandatory Physical Education. I met a man in PE class who asked me out on a date. I thanked him, but told him I was engaged. He enjoyed walking me to my next class. Nearly every day he did this. He was divorced with three little boys. His wife had abandoned them shortly after the third boy was born. He was living in a tiny little dorm room with two sets of bunk beds. His boys went to daycare and school near campus. He had been in the military, but was now seeking a non-military career. He was set to graduate after that term. He was a sweet guy. He was funny and had a great smile. He kinda reminded me of a young, thinner John Goodman. I couldn’t believe how resilient he was after being dumped with three small children. I liked being his friend. I have always known that I could be friends with a man, platonically, but I have not always felt the reverse were true. If Blue Eyes and I hadn’t been together, I would have dated this man. As it was, we hung out, a lot. Not romantically. He was a gentleman.
As the months wore on, Blue Eyes became more and more frantic and unsettled. He was procrastinating and I really believed he would choose to stay in Japan. At a certain point I had resolved myself to it. Going back through all this, I am not sure my asking him to return to the states was the proper thing to do, but I know it was the only way I was going to remain engaged to him. The alternative to his returning home, was his staying in Japan, indefinitely. Blue Eyes doesn’t necessarily like change and he had carved out a nice little life in Japan even if he was living in a company dorm with no heat and limited hot water twice a day. Not manning up, making a decision that didn’t include “us,” taking the easy road and staying where he was, was a choice that would have sent me the glaring neon sign it was time to move on.
On December 22nd, 1987, Blue Eyes returned from Japan. He moved straight from Kyoto to Portland. He had requested a transfer to one of the company’s local subsidiaries. He would work for the company near Portland until July of the following year, at which point he would move to southern California and attend Law School. I still don’t believe he really wanted to attend Law School. I can only assume it was the compromise he made with his parents to be able to leave Japan. Yes, he was still that attached to what they thought, and their money. They had a plan for him and they were not to be ignored.
I was excited, and I was also apprehensive about Blue Eyes’ move back to the states. We celebrated Christmas together with my family, on the mountain, in the snow, and it was very romantic and I was happy. We picked out the cutest old brick apartment where we would live together. The interior courtyard was a gorgeous rose garden. I still drive by that apartment complex periodically, with the fondest memories of our time there. I commuted downtown to school and Blue Eyes commuted across the river for work. We had each evening and weekend together and I no longer questioned whether we were meant to be. For Valentine’s Day, Blue Eyes purchased me my first Himalayan Persian, just like the ones under the train station in Kyoto. I named her Sabrina. She hated everyone but me. Cats!!!
Blue Eyes and I had a ball exploring my home town and just being a couple again. It was fun to be back living in the states together and for him not to have the pressures of school on him. He didn’t love his job, but he knew it was temporary. I think he will always feel guilty for leaving Japan technically before his promised two years were up, but I don’t think he regrets committing to our relationship. A relationship we both anticipated would last our lifetimes.
Over the months that we lived in Portland together I did some research on transferring to southern California. If I stayed put, I would need to spend one really dedicated term (five upper level business courses–OUCH!!!) in order to graduate. If I transferred I was looking at an additional two terms for the same degree at an equivalent university. I opted to stay and finish as quickly as possible, which of course meant Blue Eyes and I would again be separated and living a long distance relationship. Neither of us wanted it, but it was practical and it was only five more months of living apart.
This time we parted with a plan, a together plan, one we both wanted and agreed upon. I couldn’t afford our beautiful brick apartment, so I moved back in with my parents. After 12 years in the same house, they had moved to the suburbs, so not only did I have a long commute every day, I also no longer had a room. My “room” was a rented twin bed set up in the family room. That was okay with me as it didn’t cost me a cent and that meant fewer student loans and it was only for a few months.
Blue Eyes and his father chose a one-bedroom apartment for him a few miles from campus and he moved in and started Law School in August 1988. Our lives were still very disjointed with me making my own decisions in Portland, and Blue Eyes letting his parents dictate large portions of his life in California, because they were now paying his bills again and they were now physically much closer to him.
What I didn’t know at this point was that my engagement to Blue Eyes would be tested at least one more time. Blue Eyes had not strayed since that one fateful night when we first started dating almost exactly four years prior. Back then I wouldn’t have even called it straying. Now that I know it was with a very dysfunctional ex-girlfriend whom he considers his first acting out partner, yeah, it was straying. Since then, however, he hadn’t been flirting, he hadn’t started his grooming behaviors, he hadn’t dated anyone, and he certainly had not had inappropriate sexual contact with anyone. His sex addiction was still young, as was he, and relegated to masturbation as a coping method and most of that was done while we were apart, and he says he was only thinking of me (and I believe him mainly because I had sent him naughty photos of me while he was away in Japan and there was no internet yet, so no easily accessible porn and he wasn’t the type to purchase girlie mags at the convenience store). There were no signs that Blue Eyes was a sex addict (not even hindsight 20/20 ones at this point), but that doesn’t mean that when we were apart I didn’t have my doubts about his being able to mature enough to separate himself emotionally and financially from the destructive hold his parents had on him. His being able to manage his relationship with his parents was always the nagging doubt in the back of my mind and my instincts were good ones.
From the moment he started Law School, I could tell that Blue Eyes was stressed out. He started to change. He no longer had time for phone calls with me. He had to study 24/7. I would just have to understand how important this was to him, to do well. First year of Law School was a bitch, come on, everyone knows that. When he wasn’t studying or in class, he was sleeping. Meanwhile I am a very organized person and even with my five extremely difficult 400 level courses including Business Finance, Applied Statistics, and Business Strategy, a computer simulated program we had to learn the language for and run in order to manage an airline, I was able to have a social life, get enough sleep, and want to talk with my fiancé at least a couple times per week. Half way through the term I even decided to take a part time job at a book store at the mall that would take me through the holidays and provide me some spending money. It’s about organization people, some of us have it, some do not. Blue Eyes did not. I was frustrated that everything we had built in the months we had been living together was being abandoned. He felt like he could ignore me and my needs because, you know, fucking Law School.
As it turns out, there was another student who was on the same track as me. He (I’ll call him Jay) also had five difficult classes and three of them were with me. Two of those classes included group projects (ACK, I hate group projects because I am an overachiever and most people aren’t!!!) and we were paired together. We were both organized straight A students and determined to ace the semester and get the hell out of dodge. We were meant to be together, forever, or so Jay thought. We spent so much time together during those months, we were bound to get close. Sometimes we were up until all hours together in the computer lab programming that damn airline business. He desperately wanted something more and after about month two, he begged… I mean literally BEGGED me to “go out” with him. I liked Jay a lot. I am not going to lie. He was handsome and well built and driven and his father owned the largest construction company in the city. He was determined not to work for his father, even though they had a good relationship. He wanted something different. He was destined for a career in finance. I had dinner at Jay’s parent’s house (mansion) with him a couple times, and they were super nice people, or at least they seemed to be. They didn’t look at me funny, or give me dirty looks, or threaten me, or make rude comments, like Blue Eyes’ parents had done the first time I met them.
By the end of October, I had about had it with Blue Eyes. I had obviously fallen to the bottom of his very short priority list. Jay was all over me. I decided I would fly to California for Thanksgiving, even though I knew I would have to be with Blue Eyes’ parents as he had committed to spending the holiday with them. I was dreading the whole weekend. Not to mention, Jay and I had a huge presentation the following Tuesday post Thanksgiving and he was livid that I was going out of town and not staying in town with him and finalizing our presentation. A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, Jay showed up in the computer lab with an absolutely gorgeous auburn haired girl with amazing green eyes. If I could have waved a wand and magically wished to be the perfect girl, I would have looked like her. She was beautiful. He introduced her to me. I still remember her name, it was Kristen. He said she was his new girlfriend, and she was a model. I remember what I said, “wow, that’s a good job for you. I bet you are quite successful.” Jay was so angry with me because I wasn’t jealous. He sent her away and we talked a bit before getting back to our project. I told him I was not going to be jealous because I was engaged and I wanted him to date and not wait around for me. He expressed his dislike for Blue Eyes and how he treated me and that Blue Eyes didn’t seem like he would be a very good husband if every time something important came up, I would be left behind. Jay begged me to give him a shot. I told him he wasn’t being fair to Blue Eyes. That he didn’t know what Law School was like and also, he had never had a long distance relationship. He yelled at me, “and I would never want one” and stormed out of the lab. It seems I have been making excuses for Blue Eyes for a very long time. Jay returned an hour or so later and apologized. He was a nice guy who wasn’t getting what he wanted. These things happen. I wasn’t exactly getting what I wanted either.
I flew to southern California and Blue Eyes and I reconnected and of course the sex was great, it always has been, but other than the time we spent driving to his parent’s for Thanksgiving, he spent most of the weekend studying. Thankfully I had a huge project to prepare for and I spent a lot of my time on that and on the phone with Jay. Blue Eyes didn’t even notice. When I returned home and Jay and I got together to prep for our presentation, he seemed overjoyed to see me. I asked about Kristen and he said they weren’t really dating. She had agreed to try and make me jealous. I told him he didn’t know me very well. I am not the jealous type. Jay said he was super hungry and wanted to know if I would join him at dinner at a nearby restaurant. I said sure. At dinner he didn’t want to talk about our project at all. He admitted that he was the jealous type and that all weekend he couldn’t get the picture of me and Blue Eyes together out of his mind. I was sympathetic, but reminded him I was not his. He just wouldn’t let it go. He said he didn’t understand and he wanted to know what was wrong with him. Of course there was nothing wrong with him. I had just met Blue Eyes many years before him and we had history, and an engagement. Before I knew it, Jay had my face in his hands and he was kissing me. I have to admit, he was a great kisser. I reminded him he could not do that. It wasn’t right. He just wouldn’t let it go and I was at an extremely vulnerable point in my relationship with Blue Eyes, again… If I could have looked into a crystal ball and seen how the next couple of years would play out for me, and Blue Eyes, and fucking Law School, I would have run away with Jay right then and there and not looked back. As it was, it was difficult enough keeping Jay away. This was the one time I really tested myself and my loyalty to Blue Eyes. I participated in a few things I should not have, but I had to know for sure. I had to make sure committing to Blue Eyes for the rest of my life was the right thing to do, I had to feel it in my gut, and he wasn’t making it easy on me. As a matter of fact, for a solid week, I couldn’t reach Blue Eyes at all.
In December 1988, I graduated from university on the Dean’s List with High Honors. So did Jay. I spent Christmas with my parents, said good-bye to my part time job, and to Jay, and I boarded a plane to southern California to be with Blue Eyes, and I never looked back. Well, almost never…