Loss makes you look at things in a different light. I thought of my parents like every one does, as parents. I didn’t see them as people. Now that they are gone, I have the ability to really see who they were. I wish I had seen them as they were before they died. I wish I could have seen them the way they saw each other. It might have given me some insight to myself. When I was 15 my mother asked me who I would live with if they divorced. I knew she was not happy, I heard them argue. I was invisible. However, she didn’t leave. It was just 3 more years of not being a family. Three years of trying to figure out what to do after I turned 18. I didn’t let my friends know. They thought my parents were cool. They didn’t know. Hell, I thought it was normal. I was so wrong.
It wasn’t until I was grown and had 3 kids that my mother had an affair. A chance to have happiness. I wasn’t surprised. I was angry with her for not ending it with my dad. I was angry for her betrayal. I didn’t see why you would hurt someone intentionally. I didn’t see her as a person , I was still seeing her as my mother. Regardless, of how my father made her feel or treated her, I didn’t understand. I couldn’t process the situation. I couldn’t agree or make it okay in my own head.
I have reached a point that I can see them as people who were making decisions trying to navigate life while trying to their best to raise kids and do right. I’m sure that decisions that they made were as difficult as some that I have made. I am sure that mine are not always perfect , right, or even proper. One thing is certain. I hope that I am not dead before my kids realize I am a person just trying to navigate water and some days, just trying to survive.
Back to work at the walmart. Another day another dollar. After school I headed to work. Off to fix the worlds problems, or at least their watches. Maybe pierce an ear or two. After all they are usually done two at a time!
It was middle of the week when he showed up. just cruising through with his half cocked smile and beautiful features. He approached the counter and began asking about jewelry. Mostly the necklaces and bracelets. He had this fascination with Herring-bone necklaces. He wore one with his shirt slightly unbuttoned. He wasn’t all Italian with the hair hanging out and dancing in the wind. In fact he didn’t look to have any chest hair at all. I attributed that to the blond hair . Everyone knows blonds have less body hair.
He chatted and distracted me from work until I was reminded as security passed by that I still had work to do. He went on his way , flashed a smile and made note that I would see him again.
In fact I did, for three weeks, see him again, and again, and again. I saw him so much that security asked me several times if I needed assistance. I assured them I was fine, he was harmless.
He approached me several more times over the next few weeks asking about going out. I put him off because I still had an uneasiness that I could not place. I had an uneasiness that would not go away, but I carried on with my day to day life. After all, I was in my senior year and still had grad-night, prom and graduation to get through.
Imagine being only 18 and working your first real job. Now imagine being an 18 year old girl working your first job and approached by a handsome much older man. Yes, that is how my story began.
I was just 2 months from graduating and had just turned 18. I was at the age where I considered myself grown just because another year had rolled by. It had absolutely nothing to do with my understanding of how this roller coaster called life works.
I didn’t know it then, but I was about to get on a ride that forgot to post the warning signs: caution do not ride if you know what is best for you! Instead, as the cart arrived I found myself not even waiting in line. I entered , and no one pulled the emergency brake, no one.
It was April and I was standing at the jewelry counter of my first real job. I was working to pay the insurance on my 1979 Ford Pinto. It was the first car that my parents could afford to by me. It was a whopping $300.00! It doesn’t sound like much, but to them it was more than they wanted to pay. Somehow my mother had managed to get the money out of my dad. I didn’t ask questions, I was just glad I finally ranked up there with my sister. Her first car was a 1979 ford fairmont for which they payed a grand. They said she needed reliable transportation. Funny, I don’t remember that in any of my pleadings for a car. Keep in mind, this is just a teenage kids perception of events. It wasn’t until 6 months later that I would experience life and the harsh realities it had in store.
I had worked for 2 weeks and during that time a nice looking guy had come buy three or four times to purchase jewelry. He had golden blond hair and deep blue eyes. His jaw line was chiseled with perfection. He had wide thick shoulders and smelled incredible. I am sure that he was wearing Eternity. He began to circle more frequently. I assumed he was just flirty, the security asked me at one point if I needed them to intervene. The red flag never went up. Not once.
He managed to get the nerve to ask me out. I said yes without hesitation. I did gulp a bit at the prospect of what my parents would think. I mean he was 31, which was much older than anyone my age should be dating.