After the wedding, and the honeymoon, and the other wedding reception, and a long drive back to southern California, we settled in to what would be the most hellish two years of my life, prior to d-day that is.
Even though Blue Eyes was in law school, and he technically had another month of summer break, we were both working. It was a better routine than during the school year as we had regular work day jobs and could theoretically spend nights and weekends together, and money wasn’t as tight. Shortly after returning to our apartment, however, my sister asked if she could move in with us. The first big mistake of my life, was saying yes.
This would be my only full blood sister, the one who had recently turned 21 and had been struggling back home to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. When she wasn’t attempting to make house with one of her abusive boyfriends, she was home fighting with our mother. She begged and begged to live with us in southern California.
As we would find out over the next few months, she was heavily addicted to over the counter medications, you name it, Nyquil, other sleep aids, plus caffeine pills to wake her up, and then, inevitably alcohol at some point in the day. Our normal working-couple honeymoon was cut short by a flurry of negative energy and anger from my sister and a revolving door of suitors. She showed up with her bikini body and bleached blonde hair and took over the guest room, which was right next to our bedroom. And by took over, I mean TOOK OVER. She brought her big alley cat, Punky, with her and he was a holy terror and at first fought day and night with our Himalayan Persian, Sabrina. Later they became the best of buddies and spent all night running up and down the long hallway driving the neighbors below us crazy. My sister unpacked box after box of her clothing and paraphernalia and hung her skimpy bikinis on the wall as art.
The third bedroom, which was at the front of our large and beautiful Spanish style apartment, had a gorgeous set of louvered windows and a view of palm trees out front. That room was dedicated to Blue Eyes. To his law school studies. My sister wanted the room, badly. It was larger and farther from us, but since it was off the living room, it was a great environment for studying, and I really didn’t want her mess out near the main living space, I told her no. In the end, nothing I did or said would have changed the outcome of the disaster that would be a newly married couple inviting an unruly and high strung substance abuser, a beautiful yet mentally disordered person with the emotional equivalent of a 12 year old, into the snare of a budding sex addict. Maybe some of you, a lot of you, can see where this is going to lead. But the truth is, I couldn’t. I didn’t know my husband was a sex addict. I didn’t know my sister had a mental illness. I knew she was a difficult human, and I had spent my life taking care of her. I knew my husband, a man who had been in my life for more than five years, had just the month before vowed to remain faithful to me. That is what I knew.
Blue Eyes went back to Law School in the Fall, and my sister procured a job at a local travel agency as their receptionist. She never had trouble getting those kinds of jobs. She was young and beautiful and full of energy (and drugs). Soon she was sleeping with her married boss at the office (this would begin a long line of married boss sexual relationships for her) and spending her evenings picking up guys at bars. She also briefly dated The Traveler (they were enamored with each other after their time spent at the beach on our wedding night). That ended very badly as The Traveler struggled with his own demons, was roughly a three hour drive away from us, and was often late for their “dates.” By the time he finally arrived, she was always drunk. In between seeing him, she slept around, a lot. One weekend afternoon while she was out and Blue Eyes was studying in his office, a young man in military uniform came to our door. He held his hat in his hand and nervously asked for my sister. He was so young, maybe 20 and he looked at me with big, sad eyes. I had never seen him before. He said he had met my sister in a bar a few weeks before and they had spent a lot of time together the first few days after they met, and then they had seen each other less frequently over the past two weeks, but he was in love with her. He wanted to ask her to marry him before he had to leave for service, but he couldn’t get a hold of her. He had called a mutual friend, but the friend was noncommittal. I invited him to the living room and explained as best I could that he did not want to marry my sister. I could tell from looking in his eyes that he did not believe me. He didn’t know me. Truth is though, he didn’t know my sister either.
He eventually left and when my sister came home to change clothes for the evening, I told her about the visit. She went nuts, totally unglued. She yelled and stomped and swore and said she had told him she never wanted to see him again. How could he possibly want to marry her? I came to realize, many years later, that the better they seemed, the kinder, the more generous, the more loving these boys were, the faster my sister ran from them. I don’t believe she could not see their value as a boyfriend or husband. I really feel she knew she could never be a proper girlfriend or wife and she needed to cut ties as quickly and brutally as possible for fear they would follow her forever. Once she cast her spell, they were hooked, and only anger, bitterness and abuse on her end would sever the bond. I know there are women who stay with abusive men, and people cannot understand it. Well, there are also men who stay with abusive women. We all have wounds.
Months passed and things were not better. One day I came home early from work as I wasn’t feeling well and I found Blue Eyes masturbating in our bedroom. I was devastated. I had never really thought about whether Blue Eyes masturbated when he wasn’t with me. I guess I figured he didn’t need to. When I was home, I was always available for him. I never turned him down. Of course we weren’t as active as we had been when we met or for the first couple years, but he never went without. I cried to him that what he was doing made me feel undesirable. I told him I couldn’t understand why waiting for me to get home so he could have “the real thing” wasn’t worth it. He said he had always masturbated and that it had nothing to do with me. He didn’t say it in a mean way and he was very loving and nurturing about it. He said he considered making love with me and his masturbating to relieve stress as two completely different things. I told him I kind of understood even though that was not something I felt like I needed, but we were different people with different needs. I never thought twice about it after that. And as Blue Eyes and I struggled to find some semblance of sanity in our lives, my sister became more and more unreasonable and unmanageable. Blue Eyes buried himself deeper and deeper into his studies and spent almost zero daytime with me unless it was a planned trip to see his parents for a holiday or another event. I spent more and more time at work and with friends.
I desperately wanted to move from my skirt-wearing desk job in the catering department, to a uniform wearing floor supervisor position in the events department. The catering department was fine and I had mastered every aspect of it, but it was all about the planning stages. Chatting up the clients, scheduling meetings, events, and menus. Although I loved going underground to the kitchens and chatting up the Japanese chefs and helping plan elaborate menus, it wasn’t very exciting the rest of the time. It was a nine to five job. I wanted to be on the floor, setting up the events, running around during the parties, making sure everything was perfect. I am a great organizer and manager.
My hours were totally flexible with Blue Eyes studying 24/7. I wanted something that was more interesting. There is a method to the madness in these large hotel chains. Generally speaking, you have to be willing to move locations in order to move up. Well, I couldn’t move because my husband still had more than a year of law school to go. We had been separated enough. I was passed by for the floor supervisor position. I was told I would not get it unless I was willing to move. This hotel was a training ground for many other hotels. The reason the job was open so often was because people were trained and moved out rapidly.
Blue Eyes was interviewing for summer law clerk positions back up in Portland. Neither of us wanted to live near his parents and so we planned to move back to my home post law school. He received a summer clerkship offer at the largest law firm in Portland at the time. We were both very excited. I quit my hotel job before his summer clerkship began. We ended up living with my parents for the summer and saving the money from his job to pay rent back in California and for rent and other expenses while I was looking for a new job. He still had one final year of law school to go. We had one car and since Blue Eyes was working downtown, I drove him into the office every day and picked him up every night. It was such a relief to be away from my sister. We had a great time that summer, which just confirmed that I hadn’t made a mistake marrying him and I knew our life would be better once he graduated Law School. The law firm planned numerous events for the clerks and significant others. Many of the summer clerks were not from Portland, so a lot of activities centered around getting to know the area. It was fun.
What was not so fun, however, was returning to California. When we arrived back at our apartment, it was a disaster. My sister obviously had not cleaned once during the three months we were gone. Things were broken and missing. The living room furniture was stained. Our old Japanese futons were saturated in cat urine (we had our cat with us). I just could not take it anymore. After a couple days of cleaning and asking what had happened to this, or that, and more of her belligerent and general alcohol-induced behavior, I said we needed her to move out. It was too stressful having her live with us. Of course she went berserk. She started yelling at me about what an awful person I am (I had been hearing that for years). We were standing outside Blue Eyes’ office in the living room and eventually in her screaming fit she said, well, “maybe you should ask your husband whether he wants me to go or not. He’s the one that thought I was good enough to have sex with.” She knew she had hit me hard. She just stood there with her arms crossed. I mean seriously guys, my sister turned heads. She was hot enough for any heterosexual guy to want to have sex with, but she was talking about Blue Eyes now. I believe I said, “did you have sex with him?” She looked at me like I had stabbed HER in the heart and she said, “oh, I knew you would blame this all on me.” I told her I wasn’t blaming anything on her, I just needed to know what happened.
So, the story goes like this. One day while I was off working and Blue Eyes was theoretically studying for exams at the end of the term before we left for Portland, my sister was in bed, most likely sleeping off a bender, and Blue Eyes approached. She woke up startled to see him there. She asked what the hell he was doing in her room. He asked her if she would give him a hand job. She said she screamed at him, “hell no, get the fuck out my room.” He then asked if he could masturbate in her panties. Yeah, this is painful to write but time to get it out here. She became even more angry and started yelling and throwing things at him. This story was added to by both my sister and Blue Eyes at the time and both stories matched. Later when she was more awake she said she went to him and told him that if he didn’t get some kind of help, she was going to tell me what he had done. He begged her not to. He said he would see a school counselor. He said he was under so much stress and he was sorry. What neither he or I knew at the time, was that my sister had been sexually molested and raped, by more than one person, one a family member, one a friend’s father, by the time she was 12. When I found this out many years later, it broke my heart that my husband had added to her already tumultuous history and fragile self worth.
After my argument with my sister post returning from Portland, we agreed that she would move out and that Blue Eyes and I would also move apartments. As much as I adored the place, I couldn’t live there anymore. It was closer to a job I didn’t have anymore than to Blue Eyes’ law school and we both needed a change of scenery. Blue Eyes went to a school counselor a few times and she told him that he was just stressed out from the pressures he was feeling all over the place and that was why he acted the way he did. Pressures at school and from his parents, pressures to get a lucrative job post law school, pressures as a newlywed, pressures having my sister living with us, etc… etc… etc… Poor poor Blue Eyes. She suggested he figure out a healthy way to de-stress, which he never did. During the time I was searching for a new apartment, I also procured a job at a University in the area working for two epidemiologists writing and editing grants and accumulating data for their large medical research projects. It was fun working on a college campus in a sunny climate. A real mood booster and I made new friends. Many of my friends from the hotel had moved on, mostly to other hotels in other cities over the time I worked there. Blue Eyes and I agreed that the apartment we would rent would be closer to my job since we had one car at this point and my day would be longer. He would drop me off and pick me up this time.
I guess if I was reading this about someone else, the question I would be thinking is… why wasn’t she more concerned about her husband’s behavior? I am sure what Blue Eyes did would be a deal breaker for some. I am going to be bluntly honest. I don’t know. We were 26 years old at this point. We had been together for more than five years. My husband had serious coping issues, and I knew this. I know people make mistakes. All people. I think I thought he had gone temporarily insane from the pressure. He apologized so convincingly and absolutely. My sister forgave him and just said, “Blue Eyes is an idiot.” If my sister could get over it, so could I. I was never jealous of my sister. I never believed my husband wanted to be with my sister. I always instinctively knew Blue Eyes had serious issues, but again, I thought he would mature. In the end, I guess he never matured, but in fact just managed and honed his addiction so that he could hide it and partake in it when he needed it without me being suspicious.
Moving into the new apartment was fine, but I still had so much time on my hands even after working all day at the University. I took an evenings and weekends job at a toy store in the mall, just a stone’s throw from our apartment. I was around people all day and night and barely had a day off. Blue Eyes continued his final year of studies. Things were fine with us. I was busy, but really just biding my time. We didn’t have the stress of my sister. The final year of law school was much less intense than the first two. Blue Eyes wasn’t nearly as stressed out all the time, and then, exactly 25 years ago yesterday (on my father-in-law’s 56th birthday), the condom broke and I just instinctively knew, I was pregnant.