The Cliff’s Notes on the Torture Years
After contemplating rehashing a rather lost part of our lives, I have decided to use laser-like precision and just cover the important parts…
DFM had to propose to me three times before I got it. It was obvious to everyone that we belonged together, but I was the last to realize it; I take full responsibility for my stupidity. The first time he asked was shortly after the original b.f. and I split up, just before my 21st birthday. We were walking across a big grassy field near my house at night, and I asked with characteristic tact if he loved me. Per normal, he answered honestly, and told me how he felt about me. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I know I didn’t handle it gracefully or with the tenderness he deserved. Strike one.
Shortly after this, I began to date another friend of DFM’s, who I shall just say was a youthful and folly-struck waste of time. My brothers refer to this particular boyfriend as “Genius-Boy” and for Dumb and Dumber to give someone this moniker speaks volumes. Genius-Boy had problems with honesty, substance abuse and basic humanity, but I thought I could Fix him! Three years later, with DFM pulling me through, I dragged myself from that wreckage, and got into a 12-step program for co-dependents and finally began to figure out who I was. Once again, who was there for me? Could I be any denser? So came proposal #2, in my front yard one night. I freaked out at this one. I was fresh out of a bad place, and just getting it together, living right and taking good care of myself, and I could not fathom getting involved romantically with anyone, let alone someone I loved so much. Call me crazy. Strike two.
DFM moved away. Far away. I don’ blame him. I won’t speak for him or where he was at, but it shocked me that he wasn’t there anymore. I missed him with all of my heart, and he would only sporadically take my calls, so I wrote him letters. It killed me. This was the first time in my life that I was single and alone for a long stretch of time, and it was probably one of the best things that could have happened; I grew up, finally. I learned to have boundaries, to look out for myself, and to take care of me, not always look for fixer-uppers. I highly recommend a period like this for many women. I began to date, but only to date, to keep my morals and to be choosy and selective about who I spent time with. The focus was on my career, my friends, my spirituality and my search for answers. This was new territory.
About this time, I was coming home from a particularly obnoxious date, and an old Bob Dylan song came on the radio. “To Make You Feel My Love”. I started to cry on the off-ramp near my house, and didn’t stop until I was home. It was like the clouds parted, and for the first time in my life, I could see what was right in front of my face. I called him right then. I do vividly remember this conversation. I was shaking, so nervous, because what if I was wrong, or what if he changed his mind, what if I was too late, what if, what if, what if… I told him about the song, and said that maybe the reason I could not find anyone who was right was because no one measured up to him. Everyone I dated I compared to him, and they all fell short, and I have no idea why I never saw that. I felt scathed, and suddenly all of the pain I must have caused him over the years came rushing in on me, and I felt so selfish and scared. He could reject me, it had been 9 years since he fell in love with me, how could I expect him to still be waiting? I had put him through hell. There was a very long silence on the end of the phone line. I waited (probably my first true adult moment in this life) for him to say whatever he wanted, prepared to accept anything. I owed him that.
Know what he said? He said “You better mean what you are saying”. Never in my life have any words carried such weight as those did. I was 26.
Up next, the conclusion, The Hand of the Lord in the Fog.