Did you think I forgot about those of you waiting anxiously for the next segment? If you’ve read some of my other random posts, you’ll have deduced that I had a computer crash a few years back…which resulted in the loss of many precious pictures.
So after I wrote most of this post today, I was on a manic hunt to try to find one picture in particular that I wanted to include on this post…and I finally found one! Not the greatest in quality, since it was a back up of a back up of a copy of a copy…did you follow all that? 😉 So without further ado, here’s the next segment in my Journey:
This is the fourth segment of my ‘series posts’ catching everyone up on my Journey to my Miracle Baby. If you want to start at the beginning, feel free to go read them here: The Beginning, here: The Journey Continues…Segment 2 – Rebound Relationship: Abusive Hubby #2, here: The Journey Continues…Segment 3 – Kissing Some Frogs. Thank you all for your kind words, I appreciate the support!
For quite some time I decided to swear off all men and just enjoy life. I had a great job, great friends and was slowly getting back to my optimistic happy-go-lucky personality that had been squelched by the abuser. I was still nervous about running into him, so I was still looking over my shoulder constantly.
Unbeknownst to me, he was still communicating with several of my family members, sort of keeping tabs on me. I had never really filled my family members in on the whole story about him, so they still had in their head that he was a ‘nice guy’. There was an odd vibe whenever I’d get together with the ‘old crowd’, which included my brother and his wife – I felt I was being held at arms length, and wasn’t included in a lot of their activities/parties that I had been included in before I left the abuser.
Not knowing what the real story was behind their ‘attitude’, and not being forthcoming on the actual details of my abusive marriage, a ‘distance’ started to form. My only regret is that I didn’t have the courage to tell them all the gory details, because it would be years later, and only after I moved far, far away before I finally filled them in on what really transpired during that marriage. It ended up being one of those ‘If I knew then what I know now’ kinda deals…we’ll cover that later… 😉
At any rate, life was good, I got a promotion and buried myself in my job so I didn’t really have time for a social life, but it was a good time to reacquaint myself with ‘me’. My best friend moved to Pensacola, Florida because that’s where the Navy wanted her and her hubby…which was a bummer, since she was the one I confided everything to. Everyone around me was either married or seriously dating, so I ended up being the third or fifth wheel on outings. I dated a cute bodybuilder for a while, but he was in the middle of a nasty custody battle with his ex-wife over their small child. He lived in Canada, but since Vancouver was less than a 2-hour drive, it worked for a while, but I didn’t want to be his ‘rebound girl’, so we parted ways.
Then I started noticing there were dating sites online – they weren’t as popular then as they are now, so it was definitely a new frontier. Of course there were a lot of morons ‘duds’ on there, so I figured I’d keep it mellow and just have fun. Then I ‘met’ a cute bodybuilder who lived on the East Coast. We exchanged multiple emails, talked on the phone constantly, and finally, after a few months of getting to know each other in that venue, he offered to fly me out to meet him.
I was nervous about doing so – what if he were a serial killer or something? I expressed my concerns, so he decided that instead, on the next ‘long weekend’, he would fly me to Florida (since my best friend lived there), and he’d meet me down there – it was an excuse for him to pay a visit to his friends in Key West as well. My best friend was going to meet me in Miami for the weekend, so Mr. Bodybuilder booked 2 rooms – one for him, and one for me and my best friend. Scoring some points there, he was! 😉
My best friend called just before I was to head to the airport – she couldn’t make it. Her son was sick, poor thing! So we quickly made a plan – if he turned out to be a jerk, I could always hop a plane from Miami to Pensacola and still have a great weekend. The flight from Seattle to Miami seemed to take forever – and I was of course over dressed for the humidity that greeted me at the Miami airport. I have enough hair on my head for 2 people – so I was hot and sweaty by the time I collected my bags from the baggage claim.
Now it was time to wait at the gate for Mr. Bodybuilder, whose flight was arriving in about half an hour. He alighted from the plane, and I had to do a double-take…he looked similar to his picture, but much, much older. Hmmmm…okaaaaay…no biggie, salt-and-pepper hair can be sexy. I calculated that the picture he had posted (and one he had mailed to me) was probably a good 10-15 years younger than his actual age – but I didn’t hold that against him, his voice was familiar from all the hundreds of phone calls we had been on, so at least there was that.
We got to the hotel and retreated to our individual rooms to freshen up. I changed into clothes that would be much more conducive to the Miami heat, and we headed off to grab some lunch. We had a nice conversation, talked about the friends of his we would be meeting later that evening for drinks, dinner and dancing, he said that they were all looking forward to meeting me. We went for a walk and talked some more. It was pleasant, he seemed nice – he was overwhelmed that I had hauled several bottles of Washington wine with me as gifts for him, along with a cool Washington sweatshirt. After our nice walk, I wanted to take a shower before meeting his friends – I kept thinking I smelled like the airplane I had spent so many hours on.
We retreated to our individual rooms to shower and get ready for dinner…I had forewarned him that it takes me about an hour because of dealing with my thick head of hair, he thought that was funny, but was fine with it. When I emerged from my shower, the sight that met my eyes caused my heart to sink and my stomach to contract. There, sitting on the dresser, were the bottles of wine I had brought with me, the cool sweatshirt, and a little scrap of paper with scribbled writing on it. He was nowhere in sight.
I went over and picked up the scrap of paper, my hand shaking and read the words: “You deserve better.” I looked around thinking maybe it was just a joke, checked the closet to see if he was hiding. It took a minute for me to process, then I called his room…no answer. I called his home phone and left messages on his voice mail. I was kicking myself for not finding out where he was meeting his friends that evening. I called down to the front desk to find out if there were any messages for either room – there wasn’t, but he had checked out of his room already – then the realization struck me…I had been abandoned on the first day of my 4-day weekend in Miami!
All the old feelings of rejection reared up as I had an official panic attack. I called my friend in Pensacola – she told me to find the next flight out to where she was. I tried, but there were no more flights that evening. I called my aunt in Seattle in tears – she calmed me down, helped me get to the ‘angry’ stage a lot faster than I would have and told me to at least enjoy my night there, if I didn’t feel like going out on my own (which I didn’t, since I wasn’t familiar with the area at all), to order up some nice room service. So I did. I ordered the most expensive dinner they had, followed by succulent dessert, and the most expensive wine they had. I didn’t eat much. I couldn’t. I enjoyed the wine, though. And everything was going on his credit card bill for the room. Hell hath no fury, right?
The next day I discovered that my room had been ‘checked out of’, too, by a simple phone call. Coward. Moron. He ditched me in Florida and then canceled my room on me? Ass. I checked with the airport to find out about flights to Pensacola – since it was a ‘last minute’ thing, the tickets were a lot more expensive than doing a change of ticket and just going back home to Seattle. Changing the ticket was also cheaper than paying for the hotel for the next 3 nights, so I decided I might as well just go home.
I spent the next 7 hours at the airport waiting for the next available non-stop flight back to Seattle – the ticket agent at the airport was sympathetic to my predicament and was able to cut the ticket change fee in half because I was willing to fly on the red eye. Lots of time to think, lots of time to promise myself I’d never get myself caught in that kind of a predicament again!
About a week later, I received a package in the mail from Mr. Bodybuilder – he had sent back all the pictures and gifts that I had sent him during the 3 months we were getting to know each other long-distance style before the bazaar abandonment weekend. A week after that I got an angry phone call from him – one, to complain about his hotel bill, and two, to complain that I didn’t send him back all the stuff he had sent me during our uncommon courtship.
For some reason he was specifically interested in the gold hoop earrings he had sent me that he had purchased from Nordstrom’s. I flipped him off in my mind’s eye and told him that I had burned his bogus pictures since they weren’t current, and was keeping everything else – especially the earrings. Just because. And he wouldn’t have such a big hotel bill if he hadn’t abandoned me in a strange town where I knew no one, then I hung up on him. Never heard from him again. Buh-Bye Mr. Loser Bodybuilder! 😉
Once again I enveloped myself in my work, kept really long hours, but did at least go out once a month with my girlfriends for ‘Girls Night Out’. I completely forgot about the online profile until I got an email from someone in San Francisco. The message intrigued me, so I replied. He emailed me back. I had sort of a flippant attitude towards anyone online at that point, because of Mr. Loser Bodybuilder, so I would let days lapse before replying. He still emailed me. I was still intrigued. But I was still wary. We emailed back and forth for about 3 months before I finally decided it was OK to talk by phone, but even then, I’d screen my calls and if I didn’t feel like talking to him, I’d let my answering machine do the talking. He still called. He still emailed. I didn’t scare him off with my aloofness, I didn’t scare him off with my ‘could care less’ attitude. I figured either he was a glutton for punishment, or maybe, just maybe, I had finally met my match.
I strung him along refused to meet in person for a good solid six months. I wasn’t in any hurry to have a repeat performance of flying to another city and taking my chances, though I’d been to San Francisco several times before, and would have been fine playing in the city solo if it came down to that. Instead I subjected him to limited emails and phone calls. He kept trying to convince me to fly down to meet, offered to fly to Seattle if I didn’t feel comfortable flying down there. I kept telling him no. He didn’t get scared off.
We had thousands of phone conversations, gazillion of email exchanges, and still I wasn’t giving in. We talked for hours about my past experiences, I left nothing out. I figured if that didn’t make him run for the hills really, really fast, then maybe I should finally meet him. I learned that he was an only child, and that he had lost his mother to cancer when he was 18. His elderly father lived thousands of miles from him, and while they had a falling out when he was a teenager, as an adult they had become close once again, albeit by phone and the occasional trip out there for a visit. About 8 months into this phone/email ‘relationship’, he had to go in for hernia surgery. I felt bad that he had no one to help him, he took a cab to the hospital and took a cab home. My heart started to melt. I was finally ready to meet him in person.
When I finally agreed to fly down for a weekend in sunny San Francisco, he could hardly contain his excitement. He had a female roommate who I also spoke with on the phone, who assured me that he was a great guy, and if he treated me wrong, she’d kick his butt. Something told me that she would and could… 😉 So arrangements were made and off I went. When I arrived in San Francisco, he was waiting at the gate with flowers. Nice touch. He looked exactly like the pictures he had sent me (no 15 year difference! *snicker!*). We went back to his townhouse and met his roommate – she was an interesting person, very boisterous and I believe if she wanted to, she could kick his ass… 😉 He had a bottle of wine chilled, so we went out onto the balcony to drink some wine and take in the view and chat. It felt like we had known each other forever.
It was a whirlwind weekend full of fun dinners, sailing on a friend’s sailboat and just enjoying each others company. His roommate was hilarious; she kept making sure he took me to all the fun ‘tourist’ places like Haight-Ashbury, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square and Chinatown. We had dinner with his business partner, a charming if not cantankerous Frenchman whose wife made us the best meal.
At the end of my long weekend, I didn’t want to go home – so I didn’t. I called my boss and asked for a few extra days of vacation, I had plenty saved up, and he was more than happy to oblige. So I stayed for an extra few days and enjoyed playing tourist in San Francisco. The connection was almost instantaneous – who knows if I hadn’t held him at arms length for more than 8 months getting to know him in that unconventional way if we would have still had that same ‘connection’. I’d like to think we would have, but I was glad that I had put him off for so long – his persistence paid off. He had won me over. I had finally met my soul mate.
Join me next week when the Journey continues…the move to Pennsylvania, the rocky start to ‘forever’, and the ultimate Miracle Baby.