human, being


Bad Boyfriends: Joe part 2

The second in a series of stories about the many bad boyfriends I’ve chosen throughout my life. The story of Joe is a long post, but then it’s a long story. So, I’ve broken it up into three parts.  Read part 1 here. Here’s part 2, below.

If Joe was addicted to booze and pot, I was addicted to him. He brought out the worst in me. I became possessive and suspicious. I’m that girl who enjoys long, deep, meaningful looks. The fact that he could never look me in the eye drove me crazy. He would disappear for hours and sometimes days, triggering my fears of abandonment and making me feel even more desperate. Clingy. Needy. He lied to me about where he was, probably because he was off with his drug dealer and that group of friends. I certainly didn’t fit in with that crowd.

When I bought my house, I stocked my liquor cabinet. I’m not a big drinker, but I wanted to be able to offer guests pretty much any drink they wanted when I entertained. Within a week, Joe had drained everything but the gin, vermouth and kirsch. He promised he’d replace it all, and he did, only to drink the liquor cabinet again and again.

He never had any money for food, so I fed him. He did his laundry at my house. He ordered pay-per-view feature films and porn on my dime. He’d occasionally throw $50 my way, but at that time I was living as if I were still making the money I had when I was married. In truth, I was working 24 hours a week and had started to pay some house bills on my credit cards.

A few weeks after we met, Joe decided to take a menial job doing security work on the 16th Street Mall. He made $6 an hour. When I met him, he had a car, an atrocious minivan that had come in handy in his film work. But soon thereafter, he wrecked it driving drunk. He got hurt but walked away. He found a roommate and a basement apartment on the west side of town, on a bus route.

After about two months, he was basically living with me on the days that Lauren wasn’t with me–three days one week and four days the next. I began driving him to and from work. My own work began to suffer.

I was so wrapped up in him, I was doing things that were far outside of my boundaries. In a way it was good to let loose. It was fun. The sex was great, kinky, fun. I was taking risks like I never had done before. I wasn’t worried so much about what other people thought about me. I was too busy trying to fix him and to distance myself from the pain that would certainly overwhelm me if I got close enough to it. We’d have a great time together, and I’d feel very close to him, and then he’d freak out and disappear into a drunk or into the night. The time with him was a rollercoaster, filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

I continued to spiral downward. I self-medicated my winter depression with alcohol. By the time the sun came out again in March, I was getting tired of it all. But I was still addicted to him. He made me crazy, but I couldn’t give him up.

At the end of March, I took myself on a week-long vacation to a little resort south of Playa del Carmen on the Mexican Riviera to recharge my batteries. I wanted Joe to come with me, but he didn’t have money and I didn’t want to pay for him. I wound up going alone. During that week away, I had no access to a cell phone, and I had minimal Internet access. Being away from Joe made me crave him. I distracted myself with bodywork, yoga, salsa dancing and sunshine. I worked on my novel, writing about 10 pages each day. I spent hours shopping for the perfect gift for him, settling on a gold chain. Prices were cheap and I was charging everything anyway. By the last day, I was feeling energized and alive again.

A month later, the rollercoaster had me exhausted again. I stopped drinking as much so that one of us would be sober. I started counting his drinks. I stopped talking to my family, because I didn’t want to have to explain my relationship to them. I’m sure Laurel got sick of my bitching and not doing anything to fix the issue.

By June, I was telling him he needed to clean up his act, get a better job, buy a car and stop drinking or we were done. He’d make promises and not follow through. I put up with it for a while. And then, one day, the stress and depression and anxiety and craziness of the previous year caught up with me. I had stopped taking care of myself. In May, the pharmacy accidentally filled my Synthroid prescription with the generic, and my body revolted. My thyroid levels got all out of whack, unbenknownst to me, making the depression and agitation worse.

In mid-June, the organization I worked for held a big concert fundraiser, and I decided to take Joe as my date. We had fun when we were together, when I wasn’t doing the whole codependent wife gig. We had a come to Jesus discussion, and he agreed to behave.

As I stood in line at the VIP bar, he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette (yeah, he also smoked like a chimney). I started talking to an older colleague when she wrinkled up her nose. “What’s that smell? Is that MARIJUANA? Oh my god, it is! Who’s smoking pot?!” I must have blanched because she asked me if I was OK. Two minutes later, Joe sauntered back into the tent, his pupils this size of pinheads.

I confronted him and he denied smoking a joint. He lied to my face. I was pissed and embarrassed. We left about 20 minutes into the concert. We argued all the way home, but that didn’t stop me from getting incredibly wrecked that with him night at my house.

Then, he disappeared for almost a week. I couldn’t get him on his cell phone. I couldn’t get him at his house. His roommate didn’t know where he was. He never showed up there, or at work, or at my house. I was in a panic. On the fifth day I took off from work, feigning sick. I waited for him at the downtown Denver RTD bus station and confronted him.

Tomorrow: Joe, part 3

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Haha. Man, just reading about Joe wears me out!

Comment by DOMINO

Yikes! This brings back some similar memories. My current boy is a little disappointed I used up all my bullshit tolerance before I got to him.

Comment by Derende




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