I did see the proverbial “red flags”. I didn’t care. They were hardly noticable through my rose colored glasses anyway. I was sure they would fade even more once we got married.
It’s taken me months to want to write this first part of my story.
Through the telling and retelling of events, I can feel myself coming to terms with it and sluffing off the weight of the dead skin that was my old, shriveled, scared self.
But I see the eyes of my close friends and family members shift between lifeless sad eyes to enraged. Angry people who I don’t recognize. I remember that I’m very used to these sensational stories and unbelievable occurances – I’ve been living them for years with my ex husband. These lucky people live normal, quiet lives where their biggest concerns are what to make for dinner again or how the schools will make up for their children’s snow days this year.
When I first met Alex, he was sweet and genuine. I was living in Portland, Oregon, my dream city, and he was in town for a seasonal job. We met through a mutual friend and she told me what a great guy he was. On our first date, he was quiet and kind. He seemed to talk an awful lot about his ex fiance, which didn’t thrill me but I understood how it’s hard to let go of an old flame.
I left the date completely ambivilant about him and even recall telling my roommates that he was a “dud”. I shrugged it off as yet another bad date and continued my dreamy life in Portland with days of hiking and nights filled with friends and music.
I dated other people that summer, one guy in particular that turned out to be one of my best friends even after we parted ways romantically. As fall approached, Alex’s seasonal job was coming to an end and for whatever reason, he asked me out on another date. For whatever reason, I accepted. We ended up watching movies and talking late into the night. We had stars in our eyes that evening and I couldn’t believe I had over looked some of these great qualities in Alex before! Wow!
At this point, I really can’t blame my past self. He was nice, complimentary, humble, and cute. No red flags! I jumped in with both feet. I begged him not to leave after his job ended. We talked about what I would do when he left to go back to college in his home state. I panicked. How unfair! I had just gotten to know him! What was I doing messing around with those losers all summer when Alex was right under my nose!
On the day he had to leave, I stood in my townhouse garage and watched him drive away. I cried. It was an awful heart wrenching feeling seeing so much potential sail out of my driveway in the little black car. He promised he would call and we would talk for hours on the phone every night and, we did. My hand would cramp and I would be seen draped over armchairs, upside down on my bed – always talking to Alex. My roommates cooed and teased me about how much I loved him. I wasn’t even living in my dream city of Portland anymore. I was always on the phone and my dream started to morph into being Alex’s wife and starting a life with him wherever he was – I didn’t care.
It was all fine, until all of a sudden, it wasn’t. We blamed the distance but we became increasingly terse with eachother and felt the strain of a typical long distance relationship. I went to visit my sister in Florida and remember vividly the conversation in her garage late one night with Alex on the phone and the questions he began to ask.
This is the point where I should’ve run far away.
Part II Did You See The Signs…
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