I’m no angel. I try to be good, but I am weak. I am always true here, and this is my story – good and bad.
After college, I moved to New Jersey for a fresh start from the Midwest. I applied to the East and West coasts – I needed to try something new. Seattle, New York, Portland, Boston… it didn’t matter to me. Rewind a couple of months and my girlfriend had given me an ultimatum of sorts – be with me and and I will go wherever you go, if not, fuck off. As a guy who was drifting, I decided to stick with my life raft (of only about 6 months) as opposed to going it alone. What was maybe a hedge-betting move at the time, was probably the best move I made in life.
I graduated a few months ahead of Holly (who switched majors 2/3 of the way) so had a head start in New (fucking) Jersey. It was an adventure. I subletted with a few dudes from Rutgers, got a new puppy, started my job, and all was fucking good…in the sense that riding a whitewater rapids was good. Life was an adventure. Alone. Starting out. No money. I was grasping for anything of anything. My roommates sucked, but were fun. I met Ruthie from the Real World at bar about 1/2 mile from my apartment (she was a Rutgers grad and regular there, circa-1999).
My life is always pretty serious, and despite the fact that there may have been a few joints passed around in NJ, my goal was to get established in my first job, get my new pup Buzz pottytrained before Holly came on the scene, and generally try and act like I knew what I was doing in a crazy new world. I faked it ’til I made it, and the pottytraining did occur (after a long time, on lawns about 10′ by 10′ in size – crazy for this midwest dude), and Holly did arrive after graduating… on her own life raft – no job, just a dream of being with me. WTF. Is this how others started their life? Looking back, there is no way this should have worked.
She got a job at a hair-stylist (despite her degree – where she makes more than me now), and we moved out of the apartment with the 2’x2′ shower you could knock down with your fist. But for awhile there we were on two different planets. I had already connected with the crazy lifestyle my coworkers (and New Jersey in general) provided, and she was still the innocent midwesterner.
One night, we went out to one of those crazy clubs. One I had been to before. With the black lights, techno music, and people getting fucked up. I had never done anything crazy during such a night before except drank a little too much and had a Fat Sam off one of the Grease Trucks. This particular night, either Holly didn’t go with me, or wasn’t feeling it, so headed home early. I don’t really remember. The black-light club wasn’t really too inviting so it wouldn’t have surprised me either way. And since I was (am?) an asshole, I still stayed or went out without her.
I hung out and stayed out with a guy I worked with, along with a skank I worked with (I think she liked me, but skanks have a wide variety of dudes). At some point the three of us (skank, work dude, and me) left the goofy black-light brigade with the express purpose of DRUGS. Probably having too much to drink, and generally being down for most fun times, I went along. We went to skank’s apartment. We had a beer, and then work dude or skank brought out the coke. I had never even seen it before, while they were at least somewhat familiar with it. After tasting my gums, I tried a line, maybe two. Then Holly called. I was feeling good. Totally fucked up. After talking only a few moments with her, she knew something was up (despite my denials) and came right over. She basically dragged me out of there. It was embarrassing, and saved my life in so many ways.
I’m no angel. I’m weak. Me and my whole family (dad, brothers, and others) have an addictive personality Who knows what would have happened that night, or subsequent nights if she never showed up. I’m eternally grateful for her intervention and have never done hard drugs like that again. After she undressed me (verbally) that night, we never have, and probably never will, talk about that night again. She made it very clear about what it meant. Even as a life experimenter, I agree. Pot and softer things (which we both did together, many years ago in college, and before the story in question) is a different path than what I partook in…As an aside, I’m still friends with the dude (though have no idea on the skank), who has a great life and wife, and presumably has also found purpose without drugs.
This isn’t an anti-drug message, just a story that helped cement my personal bond with my wife. With no friends and likely intimidated by mine, she was able to cut through the bullshit and come to my rescue – at least that’s how I see it. For that, I feel indebted to her and feel in many ways she built and saved my life. We, like nearly everyone, don’t have a perfect life, but we have a substantial one built on navigating the pitfalls of the past. Hopefully, you – like me – won’t throw that away for stupid mistakes that sometimes occur. Marriage is a mine field. Hopefully you can navigate it and make it out together since it’s hard to make it out alone. Fight for your partner through the times that you could easily let you drift away, and hopefully, they’ll do the same for you.
That’s a brief snapshot of one of our stories. They aren’t all puppy-dogs and ice cream, but that is life. Live yours and find your story. Hopefully love and forgiveness is part of it. Peace.