How I fell, part fifteen.
“What? I never said that,” I told him. I knew I didn’t say it.
“Yes, yes you did,” he said. “But it’s cool, I’m fine with being mediocre.”
Here we go! Welcome to the show I like to call, D is wasted and passive-aggressive and insecure, who’s up for round 1?
“Alright, I never said that,” I said again. He wouldn’t accept my answer, and I was done with the conversation.
“You know, sometimes you’re really mean,” he told me. “Like when we had lunch with my parents, I don’t know if you’re just trying to be funny, but it’s actually really rude.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, shocked.
“If I hold your hand or try and kiss you, you’re reluctant, and it’s important to me that my parents see how much I love you,” he said.
Part of me thought it was sweet, but part of me didn’t quite understand.
“Honestly, I’m not used to someone wanting to kiss me in public or in front of their family,” I said. “I’m really just trying to be respectful of them.”
The next night, a Thursday, I had my usual “Girls Night” with my friends, and tucked myself into bed around midnight. On Thursday nights, it was an unspoken agreement that D didn’t have to “check-in” with me after work because it was so late (usually 1 or 2 am)…trust me, this was a former fight I just gave in to. However, I always kept my ringer on, just in case.
On that morning of Friday, May 31, 2013, I received a call from D around 4 a.m.
ME: Hello? Yes.
D: Can you come pick me up?
NOTE: He sounded sober as hell, I thought he had car trouble.
ME: Of course baby where are you?
D: I’m at Troop A, do you know where that is?
ME: Yes. I’ll be there.
ME: I’m going to get out of bed, put pants on, and leave, okay?
D: Okay, hurry.
I had no idea what was going on, but I assumed it was something to do with his drinking. I put on the rest of my pajamas (a matching set of pink plaid button ups from Victoria Secret) and jumped in my car. He told me to call him when I got there.
I did and he told me the cop would come outside to get me. I waited, nearly shaking, as the cop came and escorted me into a room that looked like a classroom. D was sitting on a bench that had cuffs attached to it; he was still wearing his suit from work.
“I just need to wrap up his paperwork and then you all can go home,” the cop said.
I sat on the bench with D, my boyfriend, who was obviously in some serious trouble. He talked to me like everything was normal. He was drunk (surprise, surprise).
When the cop finished his paperwork, he needed D’s signatures. I heard the charges: improper lane usage, a DWI (he blew a .217), and had expired plates (they were a year overdue).
The cop then told D that he had a drinking problem.
“I don’t know what is causing this problem, but you need to figure it out. This is your second DWI, if you get a third, you go straight to jail, no matter if you blow or not. Since you blew over a .20, I would advise you to bring your toothbrush when you go to court—you’ll probably spend 48 hours in jail. Drinking and driving does not mix. Do I need to show you pictures of accidents caused by drinking? Because it’s complete mayhem.”
“No sir,” D said.
“Okay, well I’m letting you go home tonight, but please do not consider this a free ride,” the cop said.
D promised that he knew it wasn’t a free ride, and we were free to leave.
We got in my car and D, still drunk, started rambling on about, maybe he does have a problem, maybe he should try to get help, maybe he should just move to China, etc.
“If you were looking for a reason to get out, now would be the time to do it,” he said.
“I’m not looking for a reason to get out,” I said.
“Do you normally pick up your boyfriends from the police station?” he asked.
Truthfully, no. But, as I told D, everyone makes mistakes. The question is, are you going to learn from it?
“Wanna know the worst part about getting arrested?” he asked me, as we pulled into my garage. “Getting cuffed.”
I said nothing. I didn’t see the point in setting a hierarchy classifying the moments of getting arrested. To me, all of it fucking sucked (I’ve never been arrested, mind you).
D pulled out his phone and started scrolling.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“You don’t want me here,” he said. “So I’m getting a ride.”
“Seriously? I just got out of bed and picked you up and you’re looking for a ride?” I said. My nerves were shot, and I started to cry.
“You know what you need to do?” he asked. “Stop crying. If I say I’m getting a ride, then tell me to ‘Fuck off and get a ride.'”
I walked toward the elevators. It wasn’t the thought of him leaving that made me cry. It was that my efforts were never recognized. Like so many relationships I’d had before, I felt like I was giving, giving, and giving, only to have the other person take everything.
We got to my apartment, D ate, and we went to bed after 5 am.
My alarm went off a little more than an hour later. I got ready for work, told D I’d be home for lunch, and that I loved him.
When I came home for lunch, D was worried about how his work would handle the DWI. After all, he’d been drinking at work before driving home, and then getting pulled over (complete with a styrofoam cup of Crown and Coke in the console).
I told him I thought he should go in with a plan, tell the bosses that it won’t happen again, perhaps look up some AA meeting times to show just how serious you are.
By the time D had to go to work, his mood changed.
“Are you nervous?” I asked him as I drove him to pick up his truck.
“No,” he said. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Actually, yes, you did, I was thinking, you got hammered at work and then drove home while drinking…but hey, what do I know?
“I got pulled over so far from work,” he said. “And it was so late that they won’t suspect it.”
I nodded, ignoring the knot in my stomach, and told him goodbye.
“Let me know what they say,” I told him.
I didn’t want him to get fired, but I did want him to get in trouble—I was hoping he’d get a reality check. I felt like maybe our relationship could be saved if he stopped drinking.
Hours later, D sent me a text saying everything at work was fine.
In the morning, he told me the owner of the restaurant said he would “take care of” D’s charge, and pay for him to get the best DUI attorney in the state.
I was crushed. D was going to learn nothing from this. I didn’t know if I could take any more of our drunken fights.
So I Googled.
“Drinking problem,” “Signs of alcoholism,” “Boyfriend drinks too much”… Like anything you Google, what I read revealed my worst nightmares. There were checklists that fit D perfectly, accompanied by stories of women stuck in relationships with alcoholics that were in jail.
One story stood out to me above the others. It was a girl about my age (28) dating someone she thought just liked to drink. Until he got arrested. Then they fought. Then he was involved in a car crash that left him paralyzed from the waist down. She figured that would be his “rock bottom” and that he’d stop drinking. But even in his wheelchair, he was a drunk.
I started to cry.
I sent D a text, telling him that we needed to talk and not via text.
So he called me from work.
“What’s up?” he said.
“I’m sorry, I know you’re busy at work,” I said, sniffling. “But I’m just really worried about you.”
“Aw, don’t be worried,” he said.
“I hate when we fight and you’re drunk,” I said. “I don’t want you to get in a wreck and I don’t want to be that person that tells you to stop, but I don’t know what else to say.”
“I am going to cut back, big time,” he said. “No more drinking at work, no more drinking and driving. I know I was drinking too much, you don’t need to be scared.”
“Okay,” I said. “I was just Googling and I read all of these scary things and I don’t want that to be us.”
“Stop Googling,” he said, letting out a little laugh. “I am cutting back, it’s okay baby.”
“Okay,” I said. “See you tonight?”
“Yes,” he said. “I love you.”
I hung up, relieved.
That night, I took some brats and peppers to D’s house for us to grill. He was sober. He put our food on the grill just as a light rain started, forcing him to hold an umbrella over himself as he cooked.
This was the relationship I craved. This was the man I loved.
He was a guy I could laugh with. I told him my darkest secrets. We shared amazing kisses and intimate moments. I did see us getting married. I saw us as a family, with his daughter, and children of our own. It happened so fast, and we’d been through a rough ride. But this was it.
We went inside, poured glasses of wine, and watched a movie, falling asleep on the couch.
The next day, I got to work in my kitchen, baking a cake for D’s birthday. His birthday was on a Wednesday, but since he had to work, we were celebrating on Monday and Tuesday.
I made the cake D requested, red velvet, with homemade cream cheese icing, and topped it with Sixlets, just for fun.
I’d taken Monday off work so we could spend the day together. We saw a movie (The Hangover III…how fitting), did a little shopping, and then got ready for dinner.
I treated him and his daughter to a birthday dinner at Fleming’s, where we enjoyed a bottle of wine, and delicious steaks.
During the meal, D was glued to his phone—one thing that especially got on my nerves. He was always texting. When I called him out on it, he always said it was people from work, which I never understood.
He ordered the peppercorn NY strip, and told me he wanted to text someone about it.
Or you could just fucking eat it and text about it later, I thought.
Honestly, I was crushed. Here we were, the three of us, all dressed up, and my boyfriend-supposed-future-husband, can’t get off his phone during dinner.
I paid the bill, a mere $265, and we went home to eat cake. The next day, I gave D his gift, a “Royal Shave” from The Art of Shaving. While he was getting pampered, I took his daughter to Justice.
She immediately made a pile of clothes to try on, asking me which outfit she should buy, when I asked her if she brought her money.
“No, but you have money,” she said.
I laughed. I wasn’t playing this game. We got out of Justice and waited outside for D to finish, while his daughter tried to play hide-and-seek with me. I told her no, I was in my work clothes and wasn’t going to chase her around outside.
She didn’t listen, and random strangers were helping me find her. I was pissed.
D returned from his shave incredibly thankful, and I went back to work.
The next day, his birthday, I got up early to put a card on his truck before he got up to leave for work. It was a funny card, but inside I wrote him a letter telling him how much I loved him. I also mentioned just how much we’d been through in the last few months—I thought we could make it through anything.
On my drive back home, I snapped a picture of the sunrise.
Since it was a Wednesday, I assumed D would come over after work. But he was complaining to me that he didn’t feel well. He decided to just go home and sleep.
I thought it was weird. He didn’t want to see his girlfriend on his birthday? Have a drink? Here was a guy who lived every day like it was a fucking kegger, yet on his birthday, he was going to sleep?
I tried not to let it eat at me, and told him I hoped he felt better.
The few days following were fabulous. D really had cut back on the drinking, we didn’t fight, and I felt a huge weight lift off of me. Things were as they should’ve been.
That Sunday, D had to work unusually late, and said he wanted me to come over. On my drive to his house, he sent me a text saying a co-worker, one of the waiters, had hit his truck, so I shouldn’t be alarmed if I saw a huge dent in it when I pulled up to the house.
What the hell?
I pulled up to the house, didn’t even look at the truck, and went to the patio to find D and The Waiter having drinks from styrofoam cups. He’d drank at work.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I had a few cocktails at work,” D said. “And I was scared to drive, so I asked The Waiter to follow me home.”
I looked at The Waiter. He was plastered.
“So we turn onto Bluebonnet and he drives off the road, overcorrects, and hits my truck,” D continued.
“The Waiter is drunker than you are,” I said.
“I didn’t realize that,” D said.
“What happened to ‘Not drinking at work?'” I asked.
“I just had one cocktail,” he said. Funny how it went from two to now one…
“Holly, I feel so bad,” said The Waiter. “Every time I see you, I’m so drunk.”
Before I could answer, D jumped in.
“It’s cool, she had to pick me up at the police station the other night,” he said.
“Oh yeah!” said The Waiter. “By the way, how is that going for you?”
“Oh, [the restaurant owner] is supposed to take care of it and that’ll be it,” D said.
…Like it was no big deal.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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Posted on August 26, 2013, in The Squeeze and tagged alcoholic, dating, drinking, ex boyfriends, fighting, heartbreak, Holly A. Phillips, How to Make Lemonade, life, love, relationships, sex, single, The Bitter Lemon, twenty-something. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.