Black Carpets and Absolute Stupidity

Posted: December 1, 2009 in True Story

(WRITER’S NOTE: I removed the names of my ex and all her family members. Instead of using made up names I went the pronoun route. I apologize if this is in any way irritating.)

1994 was a great year for me, I had lost nearly two hundred pounds, I finally broke up with my overbearing controlling psycho girlfriend of three years and I was working in a comic book shop. The comic book shop was a huge part of my life at this time, I ate there, I slept there and I pretty much lived there. I had full access to the place 24/7 and I used it to my full advantage. I had made quite a few new friends, 90% of which were guys of course; this was a comic book shop after all, and we would sit up all night playing Magic the Gathering, eating junk food and talking about “hot chicks”. The few girls that did come through there were usually being dragged around by their comic geek boyfriends, and YES, comic geeks CAN find women who will talk to them. It turns out all most of us really need is a little self esteem and the occasional shower.

There was one girl who came in every Wednesday (new book day for you not in the know) with her boyfriend. They were both pretty cool and we spent some time together  not only at the comic shop but also at Ultrazone, a local indoor lazer tag arena where we would go after the shop closed almost every night. In the fall I spent a lot more time at Ultrazone.

Over the summer the owner of the comic shop had been embezzling money from his partner and I sort of got caught in the crossfire. After a stupid mistake on my part that could have easily been fixed, I got pissed at the owner because he accused me of stealing money from him so I threw my store keys at him and said “fuck it, I quit! I’ll be damned if YOU will call ME a liar!” After that I took my little box full of Magic cards with me and sat around Ultrazone all day for three months. I turned my little box of cards into a virtual store that I ran from the lobby of the lazer tag arena making and selling decks for the most part and trading cards for food and games of lazer tag. I got a spoiler list of the cards that were to be included in a new set, basically destroying the secondary market value of over half my “money cards” so I sold off everything I had for about six hundred bucks and set out to get a real job. Of course to me “real job” meant working at Ultrazone.

Around this time the girl I spoke about earlier had started dating my friend Larry. Keep in mind that this girl is seventeen and a senior in high school and my friend Larry is thirty something with a wife and two kids. Larry was a player before being a player was cool. He QUICKLY grew tired of the high school games she was playing and told me no piece of ass was worth that many headaches. The next thing I know I’m in the parking lot talking to her for about two hours and then her sister showed up to take her home. I told her to give me a call and I would talk to her some more if she needed a friend. After she left I had no less than three people tell me “stay away from her, she’s still with her boyfriend.”

We talked for about five hours on the phone that night and decided we should date. She told me that she broke up with her boyfriend New Year’s Eve (it was early March at this time) and all the things Larry had said about her were lies.  Here’s what I should have thought: “Larry is my friend and if there’s one thing he’s never done is lie to me, even that time he was going to hit me in the head with a baseball bat for fucking around with that chick he was dating that I didn’t know he was dating. (That’s called a point of reference) What I thought was this: “Wow, she likes comics.” I swear to GOD, it’s your hobbies that kill you.

We started dating and after a week she told me she “loved” me. It was a little too soon for me and I told her that. She said she understood because I had told her about my high school girlfriend who would break up with me once a month just to see if I would take her back. She liked to say “I love you” in the middle of arguments as if that would magically take away the fact that chickens were allowed INSIDE her house. Try waking up to that. After two weeks of dating we’re in my room (still living with mom at this point) and she asks where my mom is. I tell her “out of town for the weekend.” This is where she starts to peel off her clothes and says she wants to get jiggy. Ok, so those aren’t the EXACT words but you get the idea. Two weeks into the relationship and not ONLY is she saying “I love you” but she’s putting out. In hindsight I should have known better but hell, I was 21, she was 18 and all I was thinking about was getting her pants off. It wasn’t too long before she says “I hate condoms, they don’t feel as good.” Again, hindsight is 20/20 but I was a fool.

After a month she tells me she can’t have kids. I was devastated. I was the result of a broken home and all I ever wanted was a family of my own and now my dream girl tells me she can’t reproduce. Even though I was deeply saddened by this unforeseen turn of events, it did make me feel a bit better about the unprotected sex. This was when I stopped caring if I came inside her or not, up until this point I had always made sure I didn’t. (The rest of this paragraph has been removed due to nobody needing to know that much about my sex life.)

My mom was having a lot of financial trouble at this point and she needed me to pay the bills for her. Ok, let me rephrase that, she was blowing all her money on stupid shit like figurines and flannel shirts for my nephew and didn’t have any moolah to pay the bills. One night we were talking about finances and the topic turned to my grielfriend and where the relationship was going. I told mom that I had found a girl who was everything I wanted (I didn’t mention the no grandchildren part) and I was extremely happy. Her eyes got a little teary and she took me into her bedroom and opened up one of her jewelry boxes. She handed me three rings, one a diamond solitaire and the other two matching wedding bands. She said these hadn’t brought her much luck but I was more than welcome to have them since I seemed so sure of this. I kind of stared blankly at her and the rings and back at her. Up until this point I hadn’t even begun to think about marriage. We had only been dating a couple of months but standing there with my mom’s bottom lip quivering, looking at those rings I knew what I needed to do. The next day I took the rings to the jewelry store and had them cleaned properly and since I was a smart guy, I had my lady’s class ring with me so we got her rings sized. About a week later I went back to pick up the rings and I began that slow death march to married bliss.

I kneeled down on the sliding board as she sat at the top with tears in my eyes and asked the question, “Will you marry me?” She looked at me and took the ring from my hands and just stared at it for a minute. Those few seconds felt like an eternity and finally she said “yes!” and started to cry. She had told me about a million times how much she loved to go the her old elementary school and just play on the playground equipment and I figured since it was right down the street from her house and it was a beautiful late May evening. We went back to her house and told her parents who were extremely happy about it to my complete surprise. Her mother was one of the sweetest ladies I had ever met, she ran a daycare from her home and her husband, an intolerant racist with emphysema helped her out as much as he could. She had two sisters, both younger but not by much and a little brother. Even though he was only 12 at the time he was like a soul mate. He was a smart kid with a quick wit and an opinion on everything. I miss him more than my ex, always have.

When my mother’s monetary woes worsened she decided to let my older brother, who had just gotten married for the second time, move into our house. The problem there is my brothers’ two kids, his new wife’s two kids and the three little bedrooms in my house. No sweat, I’ll just move in with my fiance. Her parents loved me (because I tucked my shirts in) and I was doing great at Ultrazone and was actually up for a promotion pretty soon. Everything was decided and I moved in with a minimum amount of my personal belongings. My brother Rick put a big ass barn sized shed in the back yard of my/his house so me and my mom could store most of our stuff. I hadn’t been there but maybe a week when I get a call at work, it’s my bride to be.

“Ummm… we need to talk.”

“Why, what’s wrong?”

“Nothings wrong, I’m pregnant.”

My heart skipped a beat. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard over the phone and I just sat there in the office at Ultrazone with a stupefied look on my face. That’s when the assistant manager Patrick walked in. He looked at me and asked the million dollar question, “Are you all right?” That’s when the goofy grin slapped itself on my face and didn’t let go for days. “She’s pregnant!” We all had a happy day that day, mainly because I was in such high spirits nobody could bring me down. Her mom immediately started the campaign to get us married as soon as possible as she was one to worry about what the neighbors might say. I was all for it, I figured the sooner the better. I was with “the one” and had no problems pushing up the date. She gave in and I chose my friend Rob to be my best man and we were set. I called the courthouse and set up a time to have our private little ceremony later in the week. The day arrives, we have a four o clock appointment to get married and around noon she says, “I don’t want to get married.” I had a fit, I couldn’t understand why in the world it should matter if we did it now or later. I figured cold feet syndrome and her mother assured her she would feel differently after the ceremony. At three o clock she finally gave in and said, “Ok, let’s get married.” Again, hindsight.

Rob was supposed to be there at two thirty but I had talked to him earlier in the day and told him what was going on, he said to let him know and I took that to mean “I’ll be there at 2:30.” I was such an idiot. I finally track Rob down at Ultrazone about 3:15 and tell him to move his ass to the courthouse, “but dude, I’m not really dressed for this.” I told him I didn’t give a shit; get his ass to the courthouse. We arrive about the same time as the very large, very black woman who was to marry us met us in the lobby of the courthouse. That’s when I noticed what Rob was talking about. He was wearing jean shorts with a big hole ripped out of the ass and a t-shirt that said “slacker”. Classic Rob. I actually thought it was pretty funny. My mom, grandmother niece and nephew were there already and when my mother saw us she started to cry. Not the “I’m so happy for you” cry either. I’m talking “I’m so sorry you died” kind of cry. She cried like that through the entire ceremony and afterwards she just left, no hug, no congrats, no “go to hell” no nothin’. My grandmother told me not to worry about it and I didn’t. To hell with her if she didn’t want me to be happy right? Riiiiight.

Around this time I met some of my new wifes sisters friends.  Her middle sisters best friend was this quiet blond named Amy.

Over the next two weeks we moved out of her old bedroom into the upstairs room with twice the space because the baby was going to live in the room with us. Her mom told us to get whatever carpet we wanted and she would order it from somewhere, I forget. My new wife wanted black carpet, not surprising as she was a big fan of dark music and such and had a strange fixation on Brandon Lee and the Crow. The day came when the carpet and a few other pieces of furniture were to arrive and I left work early as I had planned to set up the room. I had a few friends who were coming over to help and I wanted to get there first so I would have a plan. I walk in the door and see one of the items we ordered. “Where’s the carpet?”

“They’re out of stock.”

This was not going at all how it was planned. About that time the guys showed up and “the old ball and chain” came home. Her mom quickly explained the situation and my buddy Paul decided we WERE going to get some black carpet dammit! He grabbed the phone book, the measurements of the room and the phone and went into the kitchen. After about fifteen minutes he emerged victorious. “We have to go to southside.” We took the in-laws van and the two of us went to the Haynes warehouse on the other side of the city, literally. We go in armed with a blank check and a look of determination. We head to the front desk and get directed to the carpet section and start our quest. There was one very tiny woman in this gigantic loading dock full of carpet and she was helping a very rude couple who obviously had more money than sense. While she dealt with the happy folk, Paul and I found the perfect carpet. It was thick and jet black, just what she wanted. We were happy men. That’s when the nice lady tells us, oh I’m sorry, the guy who cuts the carpet is already gone.” I thought I was going to cry but Paul is a born salesman and saved the entire situation.

“Awww, c’mon. My man just got married and his brand new wife really wants this carpet. Tell you what, we’ll cut it ourselves.”

Damn he’s smooth. Long story short, we walk in the house hero’s and five of us heft this rolled up carpet up a flight of steps. Once we got the carpet into the room I came to a startling revelation. I don’t know jack shit about installing carpet. Luckily my friend Chris has done everything known to man and he asked for some kind of tool that looks like a two by four with little nails sticking out of it. He went to his truck, grabbed his tool belt and told us all to leave. While the rest of us are enjoying our pizza, Chris is banging away upstairs and after about 45 minutes he comes down, dripping with sweat, “There damn well better be some pizza left.” Luckily mom-in-law had gotten one pizza for each of us so he chowed down while the rest of us went upstairs to look. It was beautiful and there was enough left over to carpet every closet in the house (we never returned the stuff we didn’t pay for, we’re cheap bastards like that). The next day I went out and dropped $600 on a sofa and some other stuff she wanted for the bedroom.

This is where I started to notice things were a little off. We hadn’t had sex in a week, a very odd thing for us and she never wanted to touch or kiss or even sleep next to each other. I had gotten her a job at the other Richmond Ultrazone so we worked for the same company just on opposite sides of the city. Now the Zone closed at 2:00am on the weekends and one Saturday night we were both closing, I got home a little after 3 (after hours games, staff only) and I decided to wait up for her. Four o clock rolls around, she’s nowhere to be found. At five her dad came upstairs and asked if I had heard anything, I told him no so he went out looking for her. At almost six she rolls in, mumbles something to me about “after hours games, some guy hit me with a lazer, talked to Trey in the parking lot all night.” What the fuck? I demanded she tell me what happened and she got pissed. I left for work that day about five hours early while she was still asleep. I figured some asshole hit her by accident, Trey (who happened to be a friend of mine) stood up for her and they lost rack of time talking. Not an unusual thing as I had done similar things myself while working there. I played some games, let off some steam and thought about the week in Myrtle Beach we would be spending in just about a week. Honeymoon/family vacation. All expenses paid, a room of our own and basically whatever we wanted.

I got off early one night and came on home, as I was tired. I fell asleep about midnight and figured she would be home kind of late as she had told me about after hours games they would be playing. I told her she should quit playing because of the baby; she gave me a dirty look and basically ignored me completely. I woke up around two hearing voices. That’s right, voices, plural. I woke up to see my brand new wife pulling out the bed part of the sofa I bought and there was my good buddy Trey getting his Magic cards out attempting to teach her the game. Something I had tried to do on a bunch of occasions but she told me “that game is stupid.” Ooookay. Now I was awake. We all sat up for a few hours talking and playing Magic and when we finally went to bed she was extremely cold towards me and wouldn’t come anywhere near me. Not a difficult task as she had a king size waterbed. The next morning when I woke up she was on the floor; sure she was on the opposite side as Trey but it still pissed me off quite a bit. I asked why she was in the floor and she told me it was because I took up the whole bed and she wanted some space. I said ok and apologized. I actually apologized. That was just the beginning of the end.

The trip to Myrtle Beach was one of the most painful experiences of my life. She didn’t speak to me the entire ride there and she would not tell me why she wasn’t speaking to me. Her entire family was pissed at her; they were all on my side. About halfway there I traded my spacious van seat for the cramped confines of the backseat of a Mustang as we had taken two cars. The rest of the trip I talked to two teenage girls and a 50something woman about my relationship problems. They all had some good insight and a few ideas on why she was acting so insane. If only hormones had been the answer.

We get to the hotel and head up to the suite. It looks like an apartment, there’s a kitchen, a living room, a dining room and four bedrooms (I think). My wife decides she’s going to share OUR room with her sister and I can share the room with her little brother. I didn’t argue, I didn’t act mad; I just said ok and took my stuff in there. He was glad to be sharing a room with me instead of his sister but he knew something was wrong and he was a really good friend to have that day. We were there about an hour when the girls decided it was time to hit the beach. Bridezilla didn’t want to go and they pretty much dragged me out the door with them. There I was with two sixteen year olds, a fifteen year old (girls) and a 12 year old boy. I looked like the older brother, not because our age difference was so apparent but because they were all laughing and happy and I had that “somebody stole my puppy” look on my face. We had a pretty good time. I bought two t-shirts; one said “Mean People Suck” and the other one had a vampire on it with the tag line “Love Bites.” Can you tell what kind of mood I was in? Johnny and I stopped to check out this airbrush place and I saw a really cool Spider-Man license plate. I almost bought it but the thing was like twenty five bucks so I passed on it.

That night she disappeared. We all went out around 11:00pm looking for her and unfortunately I was the one who found her. She was sitting by herself in a vacant lot and she told me horrible things. She told me she didn’t want me around; she wanted me to go away and never come back. She wanted me out of her life. I walked back to the hotel with tears streaming down my face, ashamed of myself for letting her talk to me like that but terrified that she meant it. I composed myself and went inside where the adults were playing Scrabble as they did every day. They saw it on my face and I cried some more as I recounted the story and the things she had said to me, intentionally being hateful and hurtful. I told her mom I was going home. I was taking whatever money I had and getting as close to Richmond as I could with it.

At 6:00am her mom laid a ticket in my hand at the bus station, gave me a hug and told me she hoped her daughter would come to her senses during the trip. My honeymoon in Myrtle Beach, one day of sheer hell, but at least I got a couple cool t-shirts right?

Twelve hours later I’m at the Richmond bus terminal looking kinda stupid. I hadn’t really thought this out very well because nobody knew I was coming home early. There was no way in hell I was calling my mother, she wasn’t going to give me the “I told you so” speech. I called the one place that I figured there would be a friend, Ultrazone. Sure enough, Rob answers the phone, I don’t remember the conversation but it went something like this.

“Rob its Tommy.”

“Dude, are you crying?”

“I’m at the bus station… in Richmond. I need a ride.”

“Somebody will be there in a few, sit tight.”

About twenty minutes later my good friend and co-worker Jess showed up in a borrowed car. She’s still one of my best friends in the world.

That week I decided not to work and since I was employed by Ultrazone I got all the free games I wanted to play and play I did. My average score doubled that week and I actually started to make a couple of people worried about my mental state. Over the course of the week I had been talking to her mom every day and I’d been staying at their house, well, because that’s where I lived. She told me my bride hadn’t changed her mind and I said I was going to move out. She told me that might snap her daughter back to reality, coming home and finding all my stuff gone. I agreed but I had a dilemma, should I take my $400 sofa or leave it. I asked mom-in-law, she said “take it; you’re going to need someplace to sleep.” Chris, the guy who had installed the carpet came over with his truck to get my stuff. One of my coworkers, Jacquii, had offered me her living room until I could find a new place. So there we were, moving my pitiful amount of belongings into this little one bedroom apartment. The bright side was Jacq lived within walking distance of Ultrazone.

They came home on Saturday evening and I got the call at Ultrazone. I was sitting in the lobby, hanging out with my friends, knowing that at any minute she could call and shatter my entire world. I picked up the phone and tried to keep my voice from shaking. This conversation I remember pretty well.

“We need to talk.”

Shaky, “Yeah.”

“Meet me in the Denny’s parking lot in an hour.”

“Ummm… ok.”

An hour later I show up in the parking lot, and there she is, sitting on the trunk of her car with Trey right next to her. Now I was no longer upset, I was fucking pissed. I hadn’t seen Trey the whole time I had been back and I really was wondering if there was something going on.

“What the FUCK is he doing here?”

“I wanted him to be here”

That’s where shit gets’ all hazy, I remember me yelling a lot and Trey sitting there completely calm. I remember Jana telling me she wanted to “just be friends” and I asked what she wanted with Trey, she replied almost without thinking “something more.” I went back to Ultrazone and played some of my best games ever. After the Zone closed for the evening we were all sitting around in the parking lot like we normally do but everyone’s attention was on me. My friend Chris who had helped me move, the guy who had laid the carpet for Jana because she was my wife said something profound.

“God damn my brother’s an asshole. You want me to kick his ass?”

The months went by and she told me she didn’t want me around for anything to do with the baby. She did let me go to the first ultrasound where we found out it was a boy. Other than that she made no contact with me whatsoever. I was still friendly with her siblings but it wasn’t the same. I sank deeper and deeper into a depression and my friends really didn’t know what to do.

Back in 1993 I had a gastric bypass (stomach stapling) surgery, the same one the fat chick from Wilson Phillips had. That’s how I lost the 200lbs. The doctors told me that alcohol wasn’t absorbed into my system normally now and after one beer or shot, I’m drunk. After two, I’m passed out and IF I make it to the third one, I’m pretty much dead.. At this point, while living with my friend Jacquii and her two ferrets I started to drink. I wasn’t drinking heavily or anything because I really didn’t like the taste but it seemed like drinking helped me feel numb and at that time numb felt good.

I was still reading comics and my favorite, Spider-Man, was of course the one I kept up with religiously. At this time in the comic Peter and Mary Jane were expecting a baby and even though parts of the stories were a little painful to read, I loved the character so I continued to do so. One evening after a trip to the comic shop Jacq was watching some TV and I was sitting at the dining room table reading the newest edition of Spidey. I got about halfway through the book, stared at the page blankly, closed the book, opened back to the page and re read it. I then balled up the book in my hand and walked out the front door, grabbing my bicycle on the way out. I rode for hours just clearing my head and trying to figure out where my life was going. I kept seeing that one page of comic book in my head. There was Mary Jane, very pregnant looking so incredibly happy as Peter lays his hand across her stomach. The word balloon above Peters head read simply, “I can feel it moving.”

After having been an extremely sensitive person who was deeply affected by the emotions and pains of those around me, being the guy who would cry at a movie or when a friend needed the comfort, I did not shed another tear for three years. That night I turned off my emotions and I decided to become the bastard women seemed to enjoy being around. I couldn’t do it; I can’t be a mean guy so I basically just became a jaded guy who had been dicked over pretty badly.

Remember the sisters best friend Amy? One night after I got off work we sat in the back of my friend Chris’ truck and talked for about three hours. We bonded that night and quickly became friends. A short while later I moved into a new place, my very first real roommate ever? Chris, the brother of the guy my wife cheated on me with. I swear to GOD, if I saw that shit on TV I’d say it was too unrealistic. Amy’s talks were proving quite informative and this was when I learned just what a big fucking stupid ass loser I really was. Amy and my ex went to the same school and even though they didn’t hang out together she got all the good gossip from the sister. It turns out she NEVER stopped dating her boyfriend, the guy she was with when I first met her. She told him her engagement ring was a “friendship” ring and we were just friends. I couldn’t believe she was able to pull this off but then I thought about it. In May we went to see a concert, the three of us. He was always around; they even went to prom together. I couldn’t believe, after hearing all of this, what a big idiot I was. It also turned out she was still fucking Larry when we started sleeping together as well as the high school sweetheart. And really, there’s no telling who else. I learned from her mother that the whole “I can’t have kids” bit was a complete lie. Of course, by that point I had already figured that out.

A couple months went by and I had heard nothing from her. Amy and I had started dating and I was doing pretty good. I still had a good job, good friends and a girl to call my own. I hear from one of the regulars at Ultrazone that she has had the baby, OUR baby about a week earlier. I was stunned but the stun quickly turned to anger and I immediately called to see what the deal was. Her mother gets really shitty with me and says my ex doesn’t want to talk to me and I decide fuck that and demand to talk to her. I tell her I’m coming over and I go to see MY son. I get there and her mother tells me about how hard her delivery was and how she went through it alone to which I replied, “well that’s her own fault, she told me I wasn’t wanted remember.” Smooth eh?

I didn’t spend very long in that house. I saw the kid for a couple of minutes and agreed to a divorce. I did stipulate that since she’s the one who cheated SHE would be the one paying for it. It took another three years before I got the finalized papers in the mail. I haven’t spoken to her face to face since that day in her mother’s living room.

A year or two ago I ran across her on MySpace. I sent an e-mail saying a few things that I felt I needed to say and got a terse response back. I then sent another e-mail wishing her well. She has a couple of other kids and a husband now. They look happy. I wish them the best.

The young lady who filled me in on all the juicy gossip she learned through high school and being my now ex wife’s sisters best friend became the most important person in my life. We have two beautiful children and have been happily married for the past nine years. But that’s a story for another day.

  1. homeslice says:

    holy crap tommy. whoa. i’m stunned. one question – do you have any sort of relationship with your son, or was it just too difficult having to deal with her?

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