During the quick drive from the church to their home, D called his parents asking if they needed anything.
“We are going to stop at Walmart because Holly needs a case of beer…” he told them (Baptists are anti-alcohol).
I gave him the evil stare.
He laughed, hanging up the phone, telling me to lighten up, that his family knew he was kidding and that they were big jokesters. Still.
D kept warning me that he “doesn’t come from money” and that his parents lived in the ghetto. Upon reaching their driveway, it wasn’t what I would consider the ghetto. It was an old house that needed some work, but I’m no one to judge—it was the house they raised three boys in, and now took care of several grandchildren.
Inside the house, dinner (a large pork roast) was cooking. There were Easter treats piled onto the kitchen table for all 5 grandkids. I found a spot on the counter to put my purse and parked myself there, answering questions as they were fired my direction.
“Holly, you okay?” D asked me.
“Yeah, why?” I said.
“It’s going to be okay if you move from that spot,” he said.
It was awkward. It wasn’t my house, and everyone kept telling me not to be so quiet.
“But I am quiet!” I said.
“Ha! Yeah right, if you are dating my son there is no way you’re quiet,” his dad said.
When the kids asked if grandma would hide eggs for them, I said I would help. I jumped at the chance to get outside for a minute. So I took a bag of eggs (filled with Jolly Ranchers) and ventured into a leafy yard in my 4-inch gold high heels.
“Did you hide them really good?” D asked.
“Meh, some,” I said.
“You know if they can’t find them, you’ll have ruined Easter,” he said.
After lunch, D proceeded to fall asleep, the kids left, and there was just mom and dad and me…
While I was worried at first, this actually poised a great opportunity for me to talk to them without the chatter of the others. We talked about my family, my job, and they told me how they met, how they got their house, and just how much they love D’s daughter.
While I didn’t walk away feeling like it was a home run, I felt I did a good job considering it was Easter and I was thrown into quite a mix, and it was just a month into our relationship.
We drove back to my apartment and it started to rain. We made it inside, opened the windows, and sat in the dark drinking wine and watching a marathon of “Extreme Couponers”…it was quite perfect.
To be honest with you all, part of me thought that jumping into this fun and very sweet relationship would fix a lot of my problems—make me feel better about myself. I wondered if I would even have stuff to talk to my therapist about.
Well, as you can probably imagine, it didn’t fix me, and I still had plenty to talk to my therapist about.
I told him that despite things going well with D, whenever we parted ways (after seeing each other, or leaving for work), I felt this heaviness on my back. Like I could not hold my head up.
It’s not like we fought, or that I was scared he’d cheat, it was just a heavy feeling for reasons I couldn’t quite pinpoint just yet.
I shared with my therapist a piece of my past that I hadn’t yet: 2 boyfriends I had years ago “dumped” me by simply not talking to me. Ever.
The first was a boy named Adam. He was my best friend, and we fell in love one summer during college. We decided to stay together when school started, despite living states away. In October, I flew to visit him for a few days. We had a great time, but when he took me to the airport, we were both really sad.
When I landed back at school, he was weird on the phone. Eventually, he stopped answering my calls, texts, emails… and I never saw him again. I knew it was over when he started posting pictures of him with a girl (his now-wife) on Halloween, just weeks after I saw him.
That was about 8 years ago. I dated someone two years later, who drove me back home so he could meet my parents. We had a great time and laughed all the way back home. But when I dropped him off at his house, I felt the weight.
In the days following, he didn’t answer my calls or texts. I knew it was over. I cried during my walks to class.
When I told my therapist this, he paused.
“You’re reacting to something that was very traumatic,” he said. “It’s like you have PTSD.”
TO BE CONTINUED…