Friday, January 23, 2015

about that bathrobe

It all started when I was scrolling through my news reader and came across a Jezebel feature titled, 'The Engagement Ended. What Did You Do With The Ring?' There were more than a couple of replies stating that the ring was returned and the ex-fiance immediately re-engaged to the woman he was cheating with. I resemble this, I thought.

I wasn't really engaged though. We made it as far as a hike into Friedrich Park where he had once erected bat houses for his Eagle Scout project, up to a hill, and then he started talking about our future. The problem was that it came with a lot of rules. Who begins an engagement by laying down restrictions? We had some rather significant problems at the time and as immature as I was at 23, I was not so immature not to recognize that getting married was not going to solve our problems. I asked for an extension. He didn't take it too well.

A month later it was his birthday and we had plans for dinner but when I phoned him, he never picked up. I called and called for several hours, getting increasingly concerned because it was not like him not to answer his phone. For some reason I stopped myself from driving to his place, thank goodness because I later found out that he was in bed with his colleague.

And just like that, he was in a new relationship, his confession a week later having sufficed as reason to end things. Except that I still had things at his place. I was not interested in going back there and meeting the new girlfriend so I called him and told him that he could trash my stuff, but I wanted only two things: my bathrobe and a pair of carved stone wine bottles that my friend Dan had brought back to me from a trip to Korea.

Joe, the ex, told me that he really liked the wine bottles and asked if he could keep them. Joe, the cheating jerk. I told him that I really liked my present as well so, no, I wanted my stuff back. He kept them anyway.

As for the bathrobe...well, he explained, the new girlfriend thought that the bathrobe was his and she had started wearing it. You wouldn't want it back, he explained, because it was now covered in makeup stains. So apparently he cheated on me with Tammy Faye Baker.

I was haunted for many months with the thought that the bathrobe had two different users and probably had not been washed in between.

In the end I am grateful that Joe cheated on me. It was a horrible experience, through and through, going from the devastation of being betrayed on by someone I loved, to finding out months later that he were married, but from failure came realization and clarity. Joe, who went to Texas A&M, didn't support me going there and thought that I should finish university at the local school to be close to him. It was one of his pre-engagement stipulations. Freed from Joe, I applied to A&M and went on to thrive in College Station. I did so well that my school chose me to be the gonfalonier and I had the honor of leading my class into the arena for convocation. I did so well at A&M that I was accepted into the Cornell M.Arch I program, and I thrived even more in Ithaca.

Meeting SB hit me like a thunderbolt, how right it was. It was as though all of my life experiences had been preordained to set me up for the moment that I would meet this man. We met as I was unpacking my suitcase from a prior adventure and as he watched me, I felt as though I was unpacking my life and laying it out for him: this is who I am and these are my experiences. Six months later we were packing together for Hong Kong. Just like that.

So thank you Joe H, wherever you are (probably still in San Antonio), because without that hardship, I would not be who I am. And I am loved.

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