They're not just a band that I love. A band that I was introduced to through him, the man I like to pretend never existed. To this day, when I mention past loves or past boyfriends, I don't mention him. It's like there's a spot in my life that never really happened & the only reason I'm (sort of) putting pen to paper about it now is because writing about all these past loves is super cleansing- at least, it has been so far.
It all started with an email. Probably a joke here or there, or a request for some dental supply that only I could procure. At the time, I was the Supply Petty Officer for the largest Navy dental clinic in the Northwest. I was stationed in Bangor, WA. He was also stationed there but worked at a different clinic. He worked admin for the command.
He was married. I knew this from the beginning but he fed me a string of lies that I so desperately wanted to believe & in my young mind, although I knew the truth, I refused to see it.
I was 22 years old. He was (if I remember correctly) 31. He was on his second marriage & he already had two children from two different wives. He told me he was legally separated. I pretended I believed it.
He could write the most beautiful letters. Poetic, lengthy, that made me feel SO incredibly good. For a girl with a low self esteem, he lifted me up in ways I've not seen since until I understood REAL love years later & the love I have now for Tony & our children & most importantly, Jesus.
He'd come to my office from Bremerton & sneak to the back of the supply room & kiss me. We talked music at length & he helped me discover bands like EBTG, Chris Isaak, & Jack Johnson.
We ended up living together. I gave him my entire world, traded myself for secrecy to all my friends & quite possibly missed out on a number of awesome opportunities for lasting friendships or career enhancers. I forgot who I was so that I could receive love from him, or something that I thought was love.
He was one of the first dental technicians in the Navy to be chosen for the hospital corpsman IDC program. It was a big deal & he was headed to San Diego for school. I went with him on the trip, a beautiful trip down the coast that also showed me where he grew up. I thought so much that he & I were going to last forever. I'm sure I knew better.
My few family & friends that knew tried to warn me. They told me that it was silly, that the last thing my young heart needed was this incredibly damaging relationship. I didn't listen.
The one thing aside from music that he provided me was the strength to apply to be a Master at Arms. I had been increasingly unhappy as a dental tech & I knew I needed a change. Being an MA offered something new & exciting (or so I thought). He pushed me to route my package & once it was approved, I headed to San Diego for school (& to be near him!).
We'd spend our weekends together, staying in hotels & doing things together. It was always very hush hush & I was always sworn to silence when he called his "ex" wife & kids. He promised that just as soon as school was over, or this & that changed, or a thousand other things happened, we'd be free to be us & we'd be able to be together for real.
When it came time for orders, I was given two options: a year in Korea or two years in Japan. I asked him what I should do. He told me to choose Japan since he had a better chance of getting there, too.
So I received orders to Sasebo, Japan, & never dreamed that he & I wouldn't FIND A WAY to make it work.
But hearts are fickle & we change our minds often, don't we? Especially when distance interferes & threatens safety & the hope you cling to.
Shortly after I got to Japan, I'd like to say I saw the light. I'm not sure if that was truly the case or if I'd just been tired of living like I'd been living for the last year & a half. Maybe my heart hurt & I was done.
I ended our relationship. I cried hysterically as I did so, thinking that not ever in a million years would I find someone even half as good as him & I knew I was destined to live alone for the rest of my days.
Looking back, I only remember bits & pieces. I remember how I thought he was lifting me up & making me stronger when in reality, he was pushing me down. He never physically hurt me & he wasn't emotionally abusive, but his demeanor & his way had a way of making me hide myself. I tried hard to act like I was so much more mature & so much older & be exactly who he wanted me to be instead of myself.
It only took about ten or so years, but NOW as I'm writing this, I can see that up until him, & even for a long time after him, in relationships I was quick to put the guy first & not take care of myself. Even now I find myself doing that- only in my current life it's give & take. I'm married. & not in the kind of way he was. I value my marriage & I know that sometimes I'll have to give up some of me for the better of my family. & so will Tony.
So I guess I learned something from him. Well, maybe a few things.
1. When you meet Chris Isaak, it's perfectly acceptable to NOT remember your name so he can sign your t-shirt. Meanwhile, your jerk boyfriend will roll his eyes & spell your name for Mr. Isaak- thereby giving you a chance to stare at the good looking man drawing a heart next to his signature.
2. Married men are NEVER an option for a relationship. Prior to my new(ish) relationship with Christ, I'd done a few things I wasn't too proud of. This is one of them.
3. It's true what they say about not being able to make someone else happy until you make yourself happy. It took me YEARS to figure this out.
4. A 22 year old has NO business being with a 30 something year old man. True story.
I have no idea what happened to him, & I can't say I care. I'm BEYOND thankful that it didn't manifest into something more, like he & I stayed together or I couldn't get over it. I'm also thankful for the life I found in Japan, because it led me to where I am now.