When I was 19 I got married for the first time to a 9th grade high school drop-out, pot smoker who’s biggest aspirations in life was to become a rock star. By the time we were 26 years old, he left me on New Year’s Eve after a seemingly innocuous argument over a ceiling fan we had just received as a Christmas gift. As he packed his things into a cardboard box and I stood in the doorway to the bedroom door of our trailer home and watched, he summed up our life together saying, “I don’t want to be a dad and a husband anymore. You have been holding me back from becoming a rock star.”
Of course, one paragraph cannot sum up ten years of a life with somebody; it started out when we were 16 years old, when I was a junior in high school and he was working at McDonald’s, already living on his own with some friends in an apartment. We had the typical relationship of a rebel teen and a straight A student. My parents hated him and thought I could do better, but it mattered very little to me, he was my way out of the hell that was my home. He cheated on me, I cheated on him, but we were drawn to each other in a dysfunctional way.
When we got married, it was on a whim, no big plan with a fancy wedding… I was hundreds of miles away at my sister’s house and had just come back into town. He asked me on a Friday, we made the arrangements on a Saturday and were married on Monday. My mother was not even certain if she was going to be able to attend. The day of the ceremony, my father offered him $2000 if he would just walk away; to this day, I am not certain why he didn’t.
In the back of my mind, I always knew I would never grow old with him. I am a person who dreams a great deal; every morning I wake up and can recall very vividly what I have dreamt about the previous night, and I daydream and fantasize… he was never there in my future, not even the next day. So, when we broke up less than a year after our wedding, I was not surprised.
However, as is typical of these types of relationships, we got back together for the last time; but this time, I got pregnant immediately. That solidified the relationship a little more, made it a little more real, required us to grow up a bit, but it was no more loving or caring than it had ever been. And, six months after our daughter was born, I was pregnant a second time.
We went through the motions of marriage for several years. Or rather, I should say, we were parents, no real marriage. I loved my children, hugged them, told them I loved them, did arts and crafts, took them places, did everything I thought I technically should to show them that I loved them. But somehow I knew it was fleeting, that we did not have a family.
And, I was right, that New Year’s Eve when he packed his box and left all three of us. I learned a few days after he left that he had a 17 year old girlfriend that was pregnant.
Was it then that I started to have no affect?
Or was the fact that I had no affect the reason for him cheating?