The next day, I took a long lunch to clean my house because I had scheduled a “home visit” with a local animal shelter that had a kitty I wanted to adopt. D and I went to our favorite spot—California Pizza Kitchen—had lunch, and headed home to clean.
I passed the inspection and the kitty, Blanche, would be on her way over that evening.
That evening D was heading an hour away to a second restaurant location. He was joining a server, the other manager and the chef to see if this server wanted to come on as a manager. The Server drove them, they ate a free meal, I’m assuming they had lots of drinks, and left.
Around 1:30 a.m., D calls me, excited to tell me that him and The Server got in a fight and roughed up about 9 other guys.
According to D, him and The Server left the restaurant and it was The Server’s idea to step into a nearby bar where they saw an Arab sitting alone. Because The Server and D both know Arabic (a fact I didn’t know), they decided to talk to him.
Again, according to D, they didn’t say anything offensive, and out of nowhere this guy pulls a knife out and holds it up to D’s neck. D then flipped him over the table, causing a group of other guys running to the scene and joining in.
D and The Server were kicked out of the bar, and D was trying to tell me just how “cool” it was when he flipped this guy over the table.
I told him I didn’t think it was cool at all, that it was actually quite trashy, and he didn’t need to be out getting in fights. He is a dad and was just arrested two weeks before.
D was drunk, at a Waffle House, and couldn’t even tell me what city he was in. I told him we needed to have a serious talk later and hung up.
I couldn’t sleep.
My head knew this was over. I couldn’t date someone who was constantly drunk, always in trouble. How did I find myself here?
I walked into the bathroom where Blanche was, laid on the floor and cried myself back to sleep.
The next day, I told D that the only thing I could think to say or do was to give him an ultimatum. Any more drunken antics and I was out.
In my mind, the DWI was strike one, and I’d lumped together the Sunday night drama and the fight to count for strike two. Rationale was not a part of my thinking.
He said he didn’t want to lose me and that was that.
The next day (a Wednesday), I didn’t hear from D all morning, which was incredibly out of character. He was supposed to be at work by 10 and I usually got at least a “Good Morning!” from him.
I started to worry.
I wondered if something went wrong. He was supposed to take his daughter to camp in the morning, so surely he’d be awake? Did he drink too much? Was it an Amy Winehouse situation and his body shut down from all the drinking? I drove to his house.
Turning onto his street, I looked to see if there was an ambulance. No dice. His truck was in front of the house.
I jogged up to the door, seeing his daughter’s bare feet on the couch. She let me in after I knocked.
D was laying on the couch in his pajamas.
“What’s wrong? I thought you were dead,” I said. “Why aren’t you at work?”
“They told me I didn’t have to come in until later,” he said, pulling me onto the couch. He seemed tired, or out of it. I stayed for just a little bit, told him I just wanted to make sure he was okay, and that I needed to get back to work.
During my drive, D sent me a text:
“The guy from Monday night went to [the restaurant], [the owner] called me and said the shopping center threatened to close down the restaurant. I’m scared I’m going to lose my job and everything. If you want to leave, I will understand.”
I told him I wasn’t with him because of his job, but that my ultimatum still stood. He understood, and told me he loved me.
The next night, I had plans with D’s ex-wife for dinner. Since I’d met her before, I wasn’t as nervous as I could have been. We had margaritas and sushi, and talked for a few hours.
It was really pleasant. I was really thankful that we could be friends and communicate about issues regarding her and D’s daughter. We both wanted the best for her.
Despite us getting along so well, I was still rocked from strikes one and two, and I really wanted to ask her if their divorce had anything to do with D’s drinking—but I didn’t want to ruin such a fun evening.
She did mention that she was happy her daughter met me, happy that I cared about her, and happy that we seemed to get along.
“I wouldn’t let D introduce her to his last girlfriend,” she said. “I don’t even know what he was doing with her.”
“Yeah, who knows,” I said.
“[My daughter] met her as their waitress, but never as his girlfriend,” she told me.
“Yeah she works at [the restaurant], right?” I asked.
She shook her head, furrowing her brow.
“No, no way,” she said. “She works at Las Palmas. She’s not classy enough to work at [the restaurant].”
Why had D lied about that? I would have rather heard that she worked at a different restaurant, obviously, so why lie about something irrelevant? I thought it was weird, but I didn’t say anything to D about it…yet.
That weekend, I cooked breakfast for D, for Father’s Day:
Steak and eggs, with a beer and molasses reduction, served with home fries. Yeah.
The following Monday, we had our usual “Family Night” with me, D, and his daughter going to dinner and the movies—we saw “Superman.”
D was in a foul mood, taking every chance he could to get a jab in. Upon entering the movie theatre, we walked past an XD theatre entrance.
“Have you ever been to a movie in that theatre?” I asked. “It’s so cool.”
“No because no one’s ever taken me,” he snapped.
“What’s with all the digs?” I asked. He said nothing.
Despite his daughter asking to come back upstairs to my apartment, D insisted they go home. It would be one of the last times I saw her.
I felt uneasy about the evening. Things just didn’t seem right. I texted D about it. He said he felt like there was distance between us, but he didn’t know why. He said he thought I was scared of his daughter.
I didn’t think that was it, and I wanted to resolve the issue. But D wasn’t interested in solving anything, leaving me hanging for the night.
The next day (Tuesday, June 18), I had the toughest time getting ahold of D, and my anxiety was rising. What was his problem? Around 5 p.m. that evening, he told me to call him when I was finished teaching my class.
8:13 p.m. D: How’d class go?
8:14 p.m. ME **calling D**
8:14 p.m. ME—You never answer!
I then called my mom and cried to her, finally telling someone everything—the DWI, the fight—and was left with little resolve. I decided to just get into bed. When I hung up with her, the text conversation continued:
9:26 p.m. D: I passed out.
9:51 p.m. D: Guess you did as well. Sorry
9:53 p.m. D:
9:55 p.m. D: Goodnight
9:57 p.m. ME: Goodnight
10:01 p.m. D: You ok?
10:02 p.m. ME: No.
10:02 p.m. D: Talk to me tell me.
10:03 p.m. ME: I’ve been trying to call you, text you for 24 hours and I feel like you are pushing me away. I don’t know what I did but I can’t guess on how to solve the problem.
10:04 p.m. D: I’m sorry I’m not trying to
10:04 p.m. ME: I feel like you hate me.
10:04 p.m. D: I don’t hate you.
10:05 p.m. ME: Yes, it has been distant but its been a rough few weeks. I am someone who likes to work things out if they are worth a try. we’ve been in a great place before so I don’t feel like it’s a lost cause but ignoring me is not the answer. I just had a freaking meltdown.
10:07 p.m. D: I’m so sorry. So much has been going on with work and what not. I’m trying to deal with it.
10:07 p.m. ME: D, I understand that. But you have to tell me stuff, I cannot just guess. The person I love tells me he’s not happy in the relationship…that is the worst feeling. I can’t even get my boyfriend to talk to me.
10:10 p.m. D: it’s not you. I’m unhappy with my situation.
10:11p.m. ME: Well, would you be happier without me around.
10:12 p.m. D: Noooooo I would never say that
10:12 p.m. ME: Well I have to ask because it feels that way
10:13 p.m. D: I’m so sorry
10:14 p.m. ME: I understand you’ve got stuff to deal with. But we are in a relationship. You can tell me stuff. I will always do what I can to help you, even if you need a night alone or whatever. we are both in this and we are supposed to be able to count on each other
10:15 p.m. D: I know
10:28 p.m. D: sleeping?
10:30 p.m. ME: No.
10:31 p.m. D: I can’t say sorry enough.
Thursday, June 20, 2013, I went to my monthly visit with my counselor. I told him everything—the DWI, the bar fight, our distant relationship—and my counselor sat in silence until I shut my mouth.
“D is an alcoholic,” he started. “I hate to tell you this, but it’s going to end for him 1 of 2 ways. 1, he is going to die or kill someone, or 2, he will get help and be sober.”
I was not expecting to hear this.
“Usually the first DWI is a sign that there might be a problem, second DWI is a sign of a definite problem,” he continued. “A lot of my patients are in AA and that’s unfortunately just the way things end for them.
So, you can either stay with D and watch your life go to shit, or you can tell him to call you when he is 6 months sober.”
I left his office in shock, not knowing where to continue. However, a big part of me knew the damage had already been done.
I went to dinner with my girlfriend and told her that I was thinking about breaking up with D.
“What?! Trouble in paradise??” she asked.
She was right, on the outside things appeared to be good, great even. We were together all the time, had exchanged “I love yous” quickly, and had already met each other’s families. But something, or perhaps somethings, just weren’t right.
I went home, and told D how I felt. He called me from work, sniffling back tears, and told me that he didn’t want to lose me. He came over after work, giving me one of the best kisses we ever shared, followed by… (don’t make me say it).
The next day (Friday, June 21) (I promise these dates are here for a reason), D picked me and my friend up from the bar, before coming over to talk. I laid everything out on the table, telling him everything, and leaving nothing out. I figured I had nothing to lose at that point, since I already felt like things were over.
He apologized, telling me that he was sorry he hadn’t been the man I deserved, but he was going to be.
Monday would be our final Family Night. I packed up a picnic for the three of us, full of food I knew his daughter would love (I asked his ex wife for help), and I even made pink lemonade.
We ate in near-silence, flew kites, and came inside to watch movies. Superman movies. I was sick of cartoons and texted my girlfriend all evening. Once his daughter went to bed, he put in a movie I brought.
We watched it from separate ends of the couch. Well, I watched and he texted on his phone. As soon as the credits rolled, I grabbed my keys and went to my car.
“I love you,” he said, giving me a kiss goodnight.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, D was still distant. The day before, his phone (supposedly) broke, leaving him to just email or Facebook communication. I was trying to be sweet, so I sent him a picture of me and Blanche, who he sometimes called “our daughter.”
The email said, “We miss you, daddy!”
A few hours later, D replied with, “Who is we and why are you calling me daddy?”
Seriously? I was about to crack.
I went to bed, waking to alerts on my phone. D was messaging me on Facebook.
June 27, 2013—3:47 a.m.
I had one question: who the fuck was Megan?
TO BE CONTINUED…
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