"So your step-sister pulled me aside after dinner," Scott began quietly as I drove us home from my father's Thanksgiving.
"Oh yeah, I meant to ask you about that. What did she say?"
"She wanted to know my intentions. She said you've had a rough time of guys not treating you well, and that she doesn't want to see you hurt again. She thinks we look good together and that she can tell you really like me, so she wanted to make sure I wasn't going to hurt you."
"Oh." It was the typical speech from movies and magazines, but one that's never been applied to me before. Despite being the youngest, no one has ever really watched out for me. Tears fogged my vision and I confusedly turned on the wiper blades for the windshield.
My throat choked up over the validation of being victimized in my previous relationships. Always second guessing myself, having the confirmation from an outside source made me grieve once more for past heartaches. My chin quivered at the idea that one person loves me enough to make sure I'm okay. And then the tears fell when I realized that person was not my mother, my father, my biological brother, or my best friend, but my step-sister.
I love her like any other family member, but I was angry that the people closer to me weren't as considerate. She and I live miles apart, but she's now the mother of two and we see each other a handful of times a year. And we don't call each other. What my step-sister did should have been the job of someone else. But no one else in my life has ever looked out for me.
"Why are you crying?" Scott asked.
"It just really means a lot to me that she did that," I trembled.
"I know. That's why I told you." Scott paused, "I've been thinking about what she said."
"That you've been hurt before."
I nodded and changed lanes on the highway.
"You never really talk about it."
I don't. I can't bring mine up to him. My alcoholic boyfriend and cheating boyfriend totally get trumped by Scott's wife who put his baby up for adoption. My hurts sound too trivial compared to his. If I ever reveal anything about me, he always responds, "Well imagine how I felt when she decided not to keep my baby." No amount of emotional abuse I've suffered compares and I always feel silly.
"So what did you say after she said that to you?" I asked, changing the focus.
"I said I was going to marry you."
~Thursday, November 29, 2007
"So your step-sister pulled me aside after dinner," Scott began quietly as I drove us home from my father's Thanksgiving.
~Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I was standing in Harvey's kitchen when it hit me. We were having a "Friendsgiving." Harvey went to the grocery store the day after Thanksgiving and bought a 16 lb turkey for a whopping $4.00, making me wonder why we don't eat the day after every year. Helen had just walked in from the garage carrying a clear plastic container holding the complete series of Friends on DVD. "There's enough Thanksgiving episodes on here to watch," she chirped and I laughed at her ingenuity: Friends on Friendsgiving.
None of us seemed to mind the extra meal. With this one we at least didn't feel guilty when we got drunk on wine. No tension with mothers or brothers or something-in-laws, just good food, alcohol, Friends on DVD, and the newly released Rock Band (like Guitar Hero, but also has a drum kit and a microphone that measures both the accuracy of your words and the tone of your voice. It was karaoke meets Guitar Hero, which in my world is bliss.)
Harvey handed me another glass of red wine, "So how many Thanksgivings is this for you?"
I laughed. Scott and I are the only couple who both have divorced parents. "This makes three. We went to Scott's mother's for lunch, then we drove my mother's for dinner. Now we're here. We got so tired that we combined our fathers since they live in the same city. So when we get up early tomorrow to do Thanksgiving— again— Scott's father is coming over to my father's house."
"Have they met before?"
"No and... OH SHIT!"
Both Scott and Harvey turned around, "What?"
"Argh! Scott's dad knows we live together, but my dad doesn't!"
Harvey doubled over laughing at my anguish. "Can I come tomorrow? And can I bring a camera?"
In the car on the drive home, I meekly asked Scott if his dad would be cool if he asked him not to bring it up. He said it wouldn't be a problem. Only when his dad had been talking to my dad for a few minutes during Thanksgiving dinner #4, I asked Scott if he told his dad, and of course he forgot. "If you think my dad would be angry about cohabitating, you just wait until he finds out from a stranger at Thanksgiving!" I hissed.
Scott got up and took his dad and step-mom aside and the crisis was averted. For now. My father is expecting an invite to see my apartment before Christmas. Not telling them is one thing, but sneaking around like this—this isn't good. It's not that I'm opposed to sneaking around; I'm just not very good at it. I would totally be for it if I knew I could pull it off. Not to mention that I'm rapidly growing tired of the schemes. I'm resolved to tell them he's moved in.
You know, after I get my presents.
~Monday, November 26, 2007
While I was in my jammies opening my Christmas boxes with Christmas Vacation playing in the background, Scott was getting ready for work and coaching me on my answers.
"And what are you going to say when your mother asks if we're living together?"
"More often than not?"
In typical fashion, my mother didn't listen to a word I said. When I said, "I'm getting up early to decorate and clean. I'll call you when I'm ready for you to come over," she heard, "Come. Whenever you feel like it. Seriously. And don't call me and let me know you're on your way. Call when you're outside my building."
I was still in my jammies, which consisted of an old Eve 6 concert t-shirt with "Tie me to the bed post" written across the front and boxers. I ran into the closet and switched t-shirts and threw everything Scott owned on the closet floor. All of his jackets and shoes? On the floor of the closet. All of his bathroom products? On the floor of the closet. That picture of his mother on his nightstand? On the floor of the closet. I pushed the closet door closed until the latch clicked and opened the front door for my mother and grandmother.
She said my (mostly) pink tree wasn't as bad as she thought it was going to be. "You know, for Scott's sake," she quickly added when I raised an eyebrow. "When you told me last year you bought all this girlie stuff, I knew it would turn out like this."
"That you were wasting your money. He'll never let you keep this stuff."
"Mom, this is the first Christmas stuff I was able to afford. I've been using your 25-year-old plastic tree all these years. So many needles had fallen off that it looked like Charlie Brown's tree. It's my stuff I bought to make me happy and I'm proud of it."
"I know," she compensated.
I looked around the apartment and realized that I didn't have to worry about her noticing that Scott lived here. You can't tell. Not just the tree and the garland and wreath--it's all my stuff. When I was using my paychecks to furnish my apartment over the years, Scott was in a different place in his life--namely rehab. When he moved in, he brought his dresser and an entertainment center that I now use as a bookshelf in the bedroom. He doesn't own anything. He seems to be okay with my things; he knows I have plans to replace my hand-me-down couch and my hand-me-down bed. He knows he'll have a say in it.
My mother never asked if he lived there. I did notice later, however, that she pulled a magazine out in the bathroom: Scott's Motor Trend. The address label peeked out from the stack. Luckily for me, it was from his old apartment.
~Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It's kind of hard to break it to your parents that you're living with someone when that someone completely overcompensates for it. Scott must have had a change of heart when I explained to him why I haven't told anyone yet, because at Sunday dinner with my mother, he made no less than seven references to me living by myself.
Mother: (Starting trouble) So, has Sarah told you about all her Christmas decorating yet?
Sarah: (Hissing) Shh, Mom. He's upset enough as it is when I told him I don't get real trees.
Scott: (Completely overcompensating) I keep hearing about Sarah's Christmas decorating, but she won't tell me what's up. Doesn't matter to me though, it's her place by herself and she can do what she wants with it. It's not my tree. It's not my apartment. Nope.
Sarah: (Groans, but takes in secret pleasure that he verbally stated that he won't care when he comes home and discovers that all the Christmas decorations are red and pink. Mostly pink.)
T minus two days until my mother comes over and sees for herself.
~Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So... I still haven't told my parents that Scott moved in. He was giving me until Christmas to tell them (or else? He'll tell them himself?) and I sort of figured I would say something like, "Scott and I are talking about him moving in in the new year," and feel it out from there. There's no real plan.
Scott is one of the many people who wants to know what the big deal is. The big deal is I'm the youngest of my family. In my mother's side of the family (one might want to read the beginning of my 100 Things to get an idea about my family), this is unchartered territory. I am the first person on this side of the family to ever live with someone out of wedlock. I don't even have an eccentric aunt to back me up in this. My brother married right out of college and continues to do no wrong, and then there's me. I don't even feel the need to elaborate on that statement: and then there's me. On the flip side, my mother is so desperate for me to settle down that she might be okay with this. Might. I sort of feel like I'm poking a sleeping bear with that one.
Then there's my father's side of the family. They actually went through this once before with my step-sister. Her story is pretty much the same as mine: he moved in at four months and they hid it for about six months. And when my step-mother and father found out, they didn't speak to her for about a year. When they did finally speak to her, every conversation contained some cow and milk reference.
The end story for my sister is that they married and have two kids together. A couple of months ago, I sat on her couch and visited her new baby while I prodded for the details about her living situation that I couldn't remember. She was a full proponent of Scott moving in even when she had yet to meet him and I was still unsure if he should come over or not.
When Scott and I drove out to my father's house for dinner, we were surprised to see my sister just leaving with her family. I squeezed her hand, "Scott moved in," I mumbled.
"Don't tell your father," she mumbled back. "I asked that since you had a bigger apartment if Scott was going to move in, and he got really angry and said, 'He better not!'" She poked the bear and the bear growled.
So that's the big deal.
Technically, I have six more weeks to figure out what to do. But then I realized that next week is Thanksgiving. My mother is driving to pick up my only remaining grandmother and bringing her back here, and my grandmother has been talking non-stop how she wants to see my new apartment. Scott doesn't have a lot of stuff and I could probably fake it for her, but I could never get it past my mother. I have a week to tell my mother, and then it's just a matter of time before my father finds out.
Now where's the Tylenol?
~Wednesday, November 07, 2007
~Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Nightmares for me come and go in spurts. I can't have one without having a week's worth following, and I seem to be in that rut right now.
The other morning I shook awake, dazed and with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I looked to the other side of the bed and Scott wasn't there. I knew he was probably sleeping on the couch, never making it to bed, but I wanted him next to me. I wanted to be comforted.
I got up out of bed and padded into the living room and found Scott on the couch with my afghan tucked under his chin, elbows, and toes, making him look mummified. My head knew it was just a dream, but it didn't feel like a dream. It felt real. I sat down on the floor next to my mummy and awoke him from the dead. "Baby, I had a nightmare."
"Another one?" he mumbled. "Shh, it wasn't real," and he patted my head like he would to an attention-starved puppy.
"It feels real; it hurts," but Scott already fell back asleep. I got on my knees and laid my head on his chest for comfort. I began to sob.
"Hey, hey, hey," he said, waking back up. He began to stroke my hair, "Don't cry. What was the dream?"
Describing your dream that has moved you to tears doesn't always sound logical when you say it out loud. With each detail, I felt more foolish, knowing he wouldn't understand how deeply it affected me:
"We had been fighting recently, and you went out of town for some reason. On a phone call, you told me you were seriously reconsidering our relationship. I wanted to fight for you, so I dropped my plans and went to whatever city you were in. By the time I got there, you had buddied up with some Amy Winehouse-looking girl and she said you would be perfect for this game show they were taping.
"When I found you, you were sitting with her at a card table and interviewing other contestants for the game show. I told you I wanted to speak with you, and she suggested that I audition for you like the other contestants. You laughed and agreed. I began to cry, pleading to you that my feelings weren't a game and our relationship wasn't a game, but you made me go through the audition. And I didn't pass."
Scott was fully awake by now. "That's just your own insecurities," he said. "If you think that has any grain of truth to it, you're wrong."
Obviously Scott's right, but his response startled me. I didn't actually realize I am insecure about the relationship. Or that he knew it too. I'm actually a little horrified he knows--insecurity is not an attractive quality to possess; it leads to other traits like jealousy and mistrust. And he already complains about my trust issues.
And then V had to go and write about working out emotional issues in your sleep, which startled me just as much, reminding me of the whole ordeal all over again. I am in the most stable relationship of my life--I am living with him--how can I still be insecure? Will I ever get over my fear of being abandoned?
"Just don't go auditioning for any game shows," I sniffed, still laying on Scott's chest. "And stay away from any Amy Winehouse-looking characters."
~Monday, November 05, 2007
I spent most of the week cooing "You have a friend!" to Scott.
This is a big deal, at least to me. When I first met him, he didn't have any real friends. When he got out of his previous lifestyle, he realized he had to give those friendships up as well. Consequently, he spent a lot of time alone. When he wanted companionship, he'd knock on a neighbor's door or stay late at the bike shop with a coworker. But when it came to real friends, he didn't have any.
He's buddied up with a neighbor and they planned to go camping this weekend. Just the two of them. And because of their upcoming trip, they've been spending a lot of time together.
And that's when I realized I don't like this guy very much.
There was the time this summer when he decided to pour a beer down my head for no reason. He asked if I had any single friends, so I invited a girl over to the pool with us one afternoon. And to impress my friend, or whatever crazytown reason he had in his head, he poured a fucking beer down my head. Needless to say, my friend was not impressed.
And then there's the time when I invited him out with my group of friends to the bar one night. The same girl was out with her new boyfriend. And when she and her new man got up to dance, my neighbor stood against the wall, balled up paper, and threw it at her. While she danced with her boyfriend. Multiple times. I was horrified and embarrassed. Did I mention this guy is 34?
Then this guy started calling all the time. He'll call Scott two to three times a night. "You have a friend!" turned into "Your boyfriend is calling" any time Scott's phone rang.
Next he started borrowing money from Scott. Scott doesn't have any money and is barely keeping his head above water, but he's so generous that if he has the opportunity to help someone out, he will. Scott gave his bill money that he owed me to Annoying Neighbor. So it was like I loaned him my money, which I certainly never would have done.
After having dinner with my father a couple of nights ago, I called Scott on my way home. "Annoying Neighbor wanted to come over and play the new Guitar Hero you bought," he said.
"Just I worked 10 hours today and spent time with my family. I'm tired and I don't feel like being social."
"Point taken, loud and clear."
So I thought when I got home, Annoying Neighbor would be vacated from my apartment. Only when I opened the door, and literally was halfway in, AN shouted from his fat ass on my couch, "Yo, your game sucks."
"Fuck you, AN. No one said you had to play it!" And I stomped to my bedroom and changed and turned the TV up to drown out the video game and went to bed. I can't even remember the last time I said "fuck you" to anybody, but this guy got it. When Scott found out what happened, he flushed AN out and then I cried for cussing at someone. Now I'm the horrible person.
During a fight Scott and I had this week, he told me what AN really thought of me to strengthen his argument: "Even AN says you're picky! And hard!" After we were done fighting and making up, Scott said, "AN says we won't make it past six months. But he's wrong. I know he's wrong. He's just jealous because he doesn't have what I have." So that was supposed to be sweet, but in reality it made me done with Annoying Neighbor.
This guy is not going to pretend to be my friend to my face and then bad-mouth me to my boyfriend. I drove across town to pick his drunk ass up last Saturday night because he couldn't afford a taxi home. And then he's telling my boyfriend that our relationship is not going to work? I. don't. fucking. think. so. I want my money back that he borrowed. And I don't want this asshole in my apartment ever again. And hell if I drive across town and pick him up, or go to the store and buy him a case of beer ever again.
I feel partly foolish. Like when he invited himself over when I was home alone watching football. He acted like he was my friend. Then he takes bets on my relationship behind my back.
But he's Scott's friend. He's Scott's only friend. And I fucking hate this guy. I used to feel like I should make an effort to be nice to him, but after I found out what he said about me, I'm done. I told Scott I don't want this guy in my house. He and AN can be friends and go camping, just not around me. I don't want toxic people around me. And once again, I feel like the horrible person.
Love, Sarah at 12:00 PM|