I Still Look For You - PART 1
There is a song by Bon Jovi titled, "ALWAYS" This is my always. It will appear here in chapters or sections as my heart allows it to be released.
update: since this Hub seems to be the current favorite of what I've written so far, I'm continuing this and have now linked each part to the next. Thank you to all who read and reading in order is the only way you will understand the whole of this.
There's no reason I should be thinking of you tonight ... or any night. It's been too many years. We made our choices, or rather life made them for us. Another time as they say - oh God, another time.
I met a young man at a time in my life when literally everything I did was for someone else; my children, my husband, my job, aging parents. My marriage was as bad as they get. The abuse from an empty souled alcoholic was physical occasionally but constantly psychological and I now believed there was no way out. Maybe I didn't deserve what I got but it was what I had and surviving each day spent what energy I had left.
He came to my office with a social worker, to find housing for himself and his two brothers that he was raising though he was barely a man himself. His mother, in rehab for the fifth time, had lost custody of the boys and the courts had seen fit to entrust their care to this man whose eyes told the story of way too much and never enough. I was able to get them into an apartment with a government subsidy that took into account his part time job as the sole income and made a note to myself to check on them after a few days to make sure they were settling in and to give him the extra set of keys he had requested.
An hour after he had greeted me with a smile and an offer of freshly made coffee I noticed the time and my stomach twisted with anxiety. I would not arrive home in time to have supper ready when my husband got home and I would be late picking up the kids from the babysitter. I said a hasty goodbye and told Bobby, my new tenant, that if he had any questions or needed anything to stop by the office. I doubted he would as he seemed to know more about parenting than I and his worker had put him in touch with a few agencies that might be able to offer some household items and badly need furniture. He had apologized as he had served our coffee on an end table and offered me a spot on the carpet, complete with a chair cushion.
A couple of weeks later I was at my weekly Al-Anon meeting where I escaped as much to have time for myself as I did the serenity the program offered the families of alcoholics. I had arrived a little late, slipped into the first empty seat and focused my attention on the person speaking. I didn't have anything I felt like sharing that week certainly nothing uplifting for the other members and was content to follow the line to the coffee pot when we took a break. "You take it black," a hand extended a cup toward me. I looked up into those eyes again, those electric blue seeing clear into my soul eyes. "Bobby?, I truly never thought of him attending these meetings although it made perfect sense. He laughed and told me not to be embarrassed about being there as anonymous was the key word. Before we could say anything else a pretty girl whom I'd seen at the meetings a few times came up and introduced herself to him and started a conversation. I moved away and saw him look as I took my seat again.
Soon enough the Serenity Prayer said and well wishes for the coming week being shared gave me opportunity to slip out unnoticed. I literally jumped when he knocked softly on my car window as I was letting the car warm up. It was a huge favor to ask for a ride home he had said and almost too quickly, too willingly, I'd agreed that it was in fact very cold. As we drove the short distance to his apartment he told me he had found a job that offered more hours and a little more pay. He had a Parent Teacher Conference that next week and would have to miss a couple of hours on a new job and expressed concern. We discussed the kids, his - mine and laughed at the similarity in the challenges we faced with them. At his apartment I parked and our conversation continued as easily as that of two friends of many years. I had left the car running meaning to drop him off and go home although both of the kids were spending the night with friends and I knew what awaited me. After awhile I had shut off the engine to make sure I didn't run out of gas. An involuntary shiver shook me and Bobby had his jacket off and over my shoulders. "Oh, a gentleman too," I'd quipped and his laugh warmed me far more than his thin jacket.
On the drive home I remembered the feel of his arms around me after asking if he could give me an Al-Anon hug. It was a friendly gesture, a thank-you for the conversation, the ride home. I laughed in the quiet of the car remembering our conversation and realized I had done a lot of laughing that evening. It had felt good, an almost forgotten expression, but then my laughter wasn’t encouraged at home. I didn’t have conversations with my husband any longer. I replied in agreement when he spoke to me and he belittled my comments and never missed an occasion to point out to the kids “how crazy Mom is.” My mistakes were magnified and any successes were treated as obligations, nothing more.
Our sex life, once passionate and loving, had become a ritual of punishment and humiliation. So drunk he couldn’t perform, I was the fat disgusting whore that prevented his satisfaction. His hate grew for me during these failed attempts and more often than not left me with bruises to my flesh and, far more damaging, my self image. I knew on a conscience level that I wasn’t the vile names he called me and I certainly knew I had never been unfaithful as he constantly accused. But after years of having my dignity stripped away one layer at a time I felt that somehow I had become disgusting and repulsive.
I saw that his car was not in the driveway as I turned the corner and thanked God out loud for this chance to get into bed and fain sleep when he did come home. I had grown to hate his touch, his kisses that left my face and my body slopped with his foul smelling saliva. On the nights he left me alone and fell into bed,unconscious and snoring within seconds, I was assaulted with the smell of the woman he had just left. I used to cry silently, as I had learned to do, but lately even my tear ducts had no more to give.
As the weeks passed, Bobby and I spent more time together by design or accident we would meet and share our lives with each other. Being new in town he hadn’t made that many friends and neither had his brothers so I suggested them joining my kids at the skating rink one Saturday. We dropped them off and drove in silence for a couple of minutes then both let out a huge satisfied sigh. “Freedom! Three whole hours of not having to referee those two,” Bobby clutched his chest. “What do you want to do? I usually get groceries and maybe go to the library,” I said, feeling ignorant the moment the words came out of my mouth. He asked if I was up for a little drive and asked me to pull into a gas station when I agreed. He had me pull up to the pump and jumped out as soon as the car stopped. “I got my check yesterday and had a little overtime on it … my treat today!” he smiled that wonderful relaxed smile at me as he returned from paying for the gas with two sodas … a Pepsi for him and a Coke for me – our only disagreement to date. I had slid over into the passenger seat and nodded for him to drive.
Fall in the Midwest is a magical time when everything is transformed to a spectrum of color. The trees, of course, bursting orange then gold – a burnished red and royal purple appeared to compete for your gaze. Even the fields, just full of dark green corn stalks higher than a grown man now displayed its golden harvest dried and ready for relentless farmers and their John Deere’s. The sky is not blue – its azure as blue as the ocean appears in travel catalogs and the clouds puffy and proud with their whiteness. We drove, singing to the radio, two kids playing hooky. The leaves crunched beneath the tires as Bobby drove into a little parkway along the river. I had been to this spot alone many times just to sit and watch the water and soak in the calming but I didn’t let on. He had presented his find to me as a present, a bouquet brought from behind his back and I accepted it with surprise and true delight. We got out and walked down the rocky slope until he proclaimed the perfect spot, a river worn fallen tree that had settled half in half out of the water. He pulled off his shoes and socks and held his hand out to me, daring sparkled in his eyes. I followed, kicking off my shoes like a three year old ready to splash in a puddle but took his hand none the less. We sat sipping our sodas, making them last as we did with this time of complete liberty. “Look!,” he pointed into the sky just as a flock of ducks flew silently above us. As I lowered my head his arm went around my waist and his lips came to mine at first tender then almost fierce from the waiting of this to happen. We sat, the sun warming us, the breeze, with just a hint of weather to come, blew across our faces. Neither of us spoke, neither had to or could.
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I STIIL LOOK FOR YOU - PART 2
- I Still Look For You - PART 2
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