This is an absolutely true story Book Index
“When I remember my family, I always remember their backs. They were always indignantly leaving places.” John Cheever
(Click on Video to turn music off)
Mom and Mary quickly left Spring Texas. But not without leaving their trademark oppression.Mel and I did not miss a beat. We and I were in the honeymoon stages of our relationship. Mary and Mae were quickly forgotten in the din of 2am lovemaking, me rushing to work in the earlier morning hours and Mel in the early afternoon.
I would return home to Devon and Billy, cook their meals, review the events of the day and see Devon off to bed, Billy off to his “gigs”. This may be the reason things worked out so well between Mel and the children. She barely ever saw them.
I would then prepare something special for Mel. This was a difficult task. As I said before, Mel came from a family where gravy is a beverage. But I did what I could in spite of the constraints. I followed with a long bath and dressing in one of the gowns Mel (or Crawford) had purchased, watch a little TV and then go to sleep. Occasionally I brought work home with me and spent the evening “marking up“ drawings. Overtime pay. Mel worked the 3 to 11 shift in the operating rooms of The Methodist hospital. There were incidents where she would run late and hit the roof. It was up to me to change her thinking.
“Mel, you need to be on the other end of all of this” I referred back to my experience waiting to see if my father lived or died after his lung transplant.
“All you can think of is, I am going to have to stay late.” I explained “There are family members who are in emotional pain, waiting for the outcome. If the best happens, it is still going to be difficult, if the worst happens, well, I don’t need to explain, do I?”
“You are their only connection to the outcome” I continued.
She seemed to understand yet no one can really know. This was Rule 2.
Mel and I implemented a set of rules and we stuck by these rules rigidly:
1. You can never say “You’re the One” or YTO
Meaning you can never say “You’re the one that wanted…” This included “I am not the one” and “It wasn’t me..”
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Meaning ALL OF IT. If Devon’s room is messy (made her nuts) If Billy ran up the phone bill (Also made her nuts), if someone left something laying around like a dryer sheet or piece of clothing, or a car….
3. You only have 24 hours to register your complaint.
Meaning, if you have an issue that’s pissing you off, better get it out immediately because at the 25th hour if you say “Ok, this is what I am pissed about …” too bad, so sad. Closed for discussion. You wonder how does one know if the other is angry. That’s just a given. If you truly love each other, you should know when the other is pre-occupied. And most issues, you can date stamp them. If you were to spend money on something the other doesn’t like, you would know when over 24 hours had passed…correct?
4. Never lie, you cannot unscramble eggs.
I lived by this and made Mel crazy because I would admit the absolute most “lie”able occurrences.
It’s just easier. The truth needs so little rehearsal. Mel did not embrace that.
5. You never air your dirty laundry.
I had no problem obeying this rule. Mel on the other hand? This will develop in the story line later on.
These rules were the foundation of our relationship and I have no doubt this was the structure that kept us together for so many years.
Two am came again and my heart was lifted. Higher and higher every time I saw her. Most times I would be asleep, try as I may, it was difficult to stay awake. I needed those hours of sleep.. I cherish the memories waking and finding her lying next to me, her head perched on her right fist. I would pull out of a deep slumber, my eyes peeking out from a dream to see her watching me.
"I want to show you that love should not hurt" Mel whispered, while shadows from the trees outside crawled into the far recesses of our bedroom, lit by nothing stronger than the moon.
I knew it was forever. How could it be any less? She was truly special. Mel was everything and anything I could want. She was gentle spirited, a wonderful lover. She knew how to talk, and we would for hours. Mel was a wonderful lover, even though she said it was me that made it so. That is untrue. I believe the souls of two people in love creates the ground work.
A true lover always feels in debt to the one he loves. (Ralph W. Sockman)
I always had her dinner prepared and waiting with all the accoutrements she desired. She would eat while we talked and watched TV, but I needed to sleep in order to be 100% for my work. I was now an Electrical Designer as well as AutoCAD Manager, IT person and computer programmer. Mel would watch TV for another couple of hours, which was not conducive to a full nights sleep, but I felt since she worked an undesirable shift, and she worked hard, I could make that one small sacrifice. I will admit, there were times I questioned her lack of respect for my work ethic. I made almost twice as much as she did. When I worked contract, it was three and sometimes four times her salary. Mel was getting spoiled.
I would come home at 5:30 and find that she did nothing after she woke in the morning. And she left dishes in the sink, a full ashtray of cigarette butts and clothing cast willie-nillie around the bedroom. I ignored it. When I would say something she would get uber defensive and it just wasn’t worth compromising our relationship (rule 2). However, there came a situation that both perplexed and irritated me. After many conversations where I would carefully brooch the subject of her maybe doing a little more than she had, she finally agreed. To clean up her own mess. After this agreement, I came home that evening and yes she picked up her own mess, but my end table still held the glass I had put there the night before. Now, yes, we agreed on her cleaning her mess, but, common courtesy, and the need for a positive home life should have dictated, “maybe I should take this glass in the kitchen for her.”
We had a beautifully decorated home with all the treasures I had collected over 20+ years. I did all the groundwork for a pleasant home life. The dishes, laundry, floors, toilets, polishing the wood. Mel would help on occasion. Not often. Mel said she resented having to clean up after me. Yes, that’s what she said. That was her excuse for not taking one single, solitary glass from the bedroom, where she was going to be anyhow, to the kitchen she was going to anyway.
That should have been my first clue she was not vested in this relationship as much as I was.
This is my first and foremost flaw. I give 100% of myself. I will jump through hoops to make a relationship work. I do everything their way. I make their lives perfect. They lack for nothing. And I do not expect anything above and beyond certain courtesies. It isn’t my sexual prowess, or my external offerings that make my relationships so passionate, it is my servitude. If you think men are advantageous of submissive women, try living with a woman. They are ten times worse.
I realized from that confession forward, things were lopsided. But I chose to ignore it.
Ignore…Ignorance.. That disregard of a glass did to a greater extent, considerable damage
Sigh. When will it be as I imagined? These were the times I missed Debra the most. In spite of everything that happened, I yearned for her idealization. She never would have said such a thing. It would never have been brought up to begin with, because, it would never have happened.
But Debra was gone and Mel was here. To stay.
By the way IISTG means If It Seems Too Good to be True