When you cried I’d wipe away all of your tears
When you’d scream I’d fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me
You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
Now I’m bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts
My once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away
All the sanity in me
Evanescence, My Immortal
But back to the story. We got our apartment, and I worked a job that I loved. We went out too much, we drank too much, we fought too much and we challenged one another constantly. Davey quickly came to a double conclusion…. that Eddie wasn’t good enough for me, and well, I really ought to be taking care of him instead. By the first week of July, he was out of our apartment and we were no longer speaking. I would have liked things to go differently, but when he asked me too choose, he asked too much.
Around the same time, Eddie finally met a long time online friend of his. She was an active participant in the local BDSM community – as a 24/7 submissive. He was intrigued by the idea of a subbie, curious about the community itself, and still very much believing that we were more friends than anything. (We did then – and do now – have an open relationship.) So they became lovers. She and I became friends. The three of us quickly became almost inseparable. Mostly, for both Eddie and I, friendship was the key to our relationship with her. We found out later that perhaps she had different priorities.
She took us to a local, BDSM club and we met others in the scene. We quickly decided that the scene was a bit more than we were interested in, although some of the people we met were fascinating and intelligent people. Meanwhile we came to know her better… her life was as tragic as they come – her son having died just six months previously and she facing open heart surgery for a congenital defect at the end of the summer. She had been on medical leave for months, living with friends, but that relationship began to sour… so we did what was then obvious to us: we invited her to stay with us for the last few weeks before the surgery, and immediately after while she recovered. It seemed like the obvious thing to do… but it was the worst individual choice either of us have made in recent history.
Only a week after she moved in, we realized that she had been planting doubts in both of our minds – about each other – for months. Once she moved in, she accelerated her plotting and suddenly we could see it for what it was. She still had her old place to go home to, so Eddie asked her to go. Not this second, but we told her she needed to make other arrangements. She ignored him and appealed to me. I told her I thought it was best if she moved on. She ignored me as well. After a week or better of this, Eddie had enough and told her she had to go NOW. Her response was to wander down the street to our local hang out, go running to our friends, bawling her eyes out and claiming that Eddie had tried to kill her. One of them chose to believe her. I guess it was better that we found out sooner rather than later, but it hurt that not one, but two of the people we had met and considered friends were so much not that.
A few weeks later, a knock on the door, and we discovered that she had taken her story to the police. Eddie turned himself in a day or two later, wanting to clear things up, expecting them to question him, investigate even a little, something that fit into the so called american standard of “innocent until proven guilty.” But yet one more thing let us down. It took me twenty days to come up with bail money AND, more importantly, find a bondsman that would accept my money when I had just moved to the state, just started my job a few months earlier and had no physical collateral to offer. Eventually I got him back home, but his anxiety levels, after being caged for almost three weeks hit an all time high. And, of course, while he was gone, I made some bad choices, went in directions that I should not have done, which only made things worse.
I lost my job while he was gone. It was inevitable, I think: I had a boss that I could not respect, so it was only a matter of time before something happened – but of course it happened at the worst possible time. I got a new job, but the money was undependable, and we spent the fall scrapping for our dinner. I got a second job, just in time for the first to lay me off because business was off. The money was a little better, but I continued looking. Good thing to… over Thanksgiving I started a new “second job” and a few days later I went to the first only to find the restaurant boarded up with “For Lease” signs in the windows. Meanwhile, Eddie had started working at a Ski/Snowboard Tuning shop. So we made it through.
In December, his court date arrived. It was a bit anti-climactic in a way. We spent all day at the courthouse, me waiting in the hall for them to call me to testify. I did. She did. Our erstwhile “friend” did as well. They claimed that she was Eddie’s live in girlfriend in the apartment that I shared with him, during the period that we lived together. The jury was out just long enough to vote and came back with “Not Guilty.” So the system didn’t work, but it did not fail, in the end, either.
As December rolled to a close, we thought things were finally ready to smooth out for us. We were both working, we were starting to look towards the following summer, to getting out of Denver and beginning our new lives in earnest. But the world wasn’t quite done fucking with us yet. The first of the year, Eddie got laid off. The tuning shop neglected to tell him that they only needed seasonal help. If we had known we could have prepared just a little… he could have continued to look for a permanent position during the pre holidays hiring blitz. But instead, one day he went to work and then sent him right back home again and that was it.
But again, we survived. My new job was no where near as lucrative as the original had been. But it paid the bills. And I had the respect of my co-workers and my boss. And if I wanted to work, I always could. So, as we had done repeatedly in the fall, we curbed unnecessary spending and kept going.
By this time, our relationship was finally starting to fully come into its own. After months of biting my tongue and telling Eddie only as much as I thought he was ready to deal with, I began to feel that he was strong enough and stable enough to take everything at face value. At the same time, he was becoming comfortable with the idea that our relationship was so much more than he had feared, or hoped… really both at once. He was standing on his own once more, having become the man I first loved… and yet, in some ways, more than that.
Yet as true as that is, it wasn’t the whole story either. Several other women came and went in his life during these months. His girlfriend from the VA program time period surfaced again and again, always with the same result: he was drawn to her, to try and help her get it together, he was drawn to the romance of their relationship, and within a couple of days of them seeing each other again, the situation would explode and she would tear of for points unknown leaving him worried and angry and hurt all at once. (She is a diagnosed bipolar schizophrenic with delusions of a normal middle class life. The delusions being as much about Eddie giving her that kind of life as about herself being able to have it.)
These episodes, of course, created tension between Eddie and I. Partly because I was hurt by his desire for the life she pretended to offer, partly because I worried about the drama and anxiety he was creating for himself. I think, in the end, the worry always won out. That is probably why we survived together, or at least a good part of why – that and the simple fact that we do honestly love each other very much.
Besides the episodes with his ex, another woman that we both knew from our teenage years, (another ex lover), tracked him down and got in touch over the spring. He was thrilled to hear from her – had actually talked with me about her in the previous months and wondered how she was and what she was doing with her life. Turns out she was engaged in the post separation, mid-divorce, mid life crisis. And, of course, she just knew that Eddie could fix it for her. That seems to be a running theme in his life: women imagining that if only they could conquer Eddie, then everything else would be cake. Their lives would make sense and they would never be unhappy or incomplete again.
She tried. Hell, she’s still trying. But for Eddie and I, her bid came and was rejected last Spring and we continue on. At moments it wasn’t pretty – again, the same old thing for me: alternately hurt that he was flattered by her attention and drawn to the possibility and angry that he let himself get all wrapped up in things that were detrimental to his self professed goals and aspirations.