July 10, 2000
Yes, I'm okay. I know I haven't written in forever...there's been so much crap going on! After I met Steve, which I've already told you all about, things at home, which were hardly bearable in the first place, became completely unbearable. The stress of having to take care of every little detail of Clint's life grew enormously huge. The disgust I felt at seeing the disarray of the drug-house I lived in turned my stomach every time I walked in the door. The constant boom of techno music from the turntables in the living room, the drama that the other roommates forced me to live through...all of this stuff was pushing me to the edge. I knew I had to get out, but I had no idea where I was going to go.
Then my sister came to visit with all four of her kids for the weekend. She took one look at the apartment and was like, "No WAY are we staying here. Let's go get a hotel." So I told Clint that we were getting a hotel for the weekend and left. By Sunday, after talking with my sister about it and clearing up some of the stuff that had been rattling around in my head, I knew that the best thing for me would be to move out. So my nephew and I went to the apartment and started packing all my stuff up. I put it all in a U-Haul storage facility nearby and drove to Denton, the town my school is in, to stay at a friend's house.
For the next two weeks I couch-surfed between two friends' places. I was so freaked out about not having a place to live that I was having constant anxiety and panic attacks. I couldn't concentrate and I totally blew my finals. I was taking prescription sleeping pills every night and even missed one of my finals because I had a really bad panic attack in a coffee shop and someone had to drive me to the emergency room.
Anyway, Steve, the guy from the tattoo parlor, was telling me the whole time that he wanted to help me out, and he did every once in a while by giving me gas money to come visit him in Dallas and stuff. But he was living with his parents because of a bad roommate/girlfriend situation from before, and waiting on his mom to set him up with an apartment, since his rental history is shot (like mine). Then he called to tell me that he had an apartment. He told me I could get all my stuff out of storage and put it there, and while I was moving it all in he said I was free to stay there if I wanted. Of course I said yes, considering I had nowhere else to go.
Now, we most certainly had not had sex by this point. We did an even more interesting thing. We decided that we wouldn't have sex for a while, even though I had moved in. I don't think either of us felt that we really KNEW one another, you know? We had a discussion and both of us acknowledged the fact that we had NEVER really known anyone the first time we had slept with them...and that was one of the most compelling reasons to go through with this little experiment.
It was agonizing. I've hardly ever had a sexual dream in my entire life, and there I was having them night after night. But I stuck to my guns, and so did Steve. He didn't have quite as hard a time as I did, though. He had been doing Valium for the past three months, and it had completely eradicated his sex drive. When I moved in he quit the pills, but he had at least a week of pretty crappy withdrawal. He wasn't mean or anything, but it made him somewhat moody in his own weird way. Steve, as he puts it, "crawls into a cave" when he has things on his mind. He wasn't very affectionate and basically just kind of lay around, drank a few beers, and went to sleep every night after work. It hurt, but you don't mess around with people's coping strategies.
After about a week and a half we wound up having sex. Because Steve was still in his cave emotionally, it wasn't exactly fireworks. Although neither of us said anything, we both noticed it and neither of us made a move to repeat the action again for at least three or four days. By this time, though, we were learning more about each other, and Steve had actually begun to make a few affectionate comments and caresses. I was sort of distressed by this at first, because I had become used to him as this iceberg-like character. But I was excited by it nonetheless, and it made me like him all the more.
Apparently I was doing something right: every day he seemed to be more open with me and touch me a little more. The passion came, and boy did the sex get good! Steve told me one day that he likes me more and more every day, that all the guys he works with love me, that I'm the nicest person he's ever met and the best girlfriend he's ever had. He tells me every day that he thinks I'm beautiful, and that his mom desperately wants to meet me because she's never seen him so happy.
One day, as we sat watching TV, he shyly traced little patterns on my knee and asked, "You know how I feel about you, don't you?"
I didn't exactly, but I didn't want to put him on the spot when he was probably doing all he could just to get that far at this point.
"Yeah," I said, and kissed his forehead.
"Okay," he said with a sigh of relief and a hug.
We're moving in the right direction.
Yesterday was his birthday. Thirty-two! (He had lied to me in the beginning about his age, thinking that I wouldn't go out with him if I knew he was twelve years older than me.) I know he hates the fact that he's getting older and didn't really want to "celebrate" the event, so I simply got him a card and wrote on it how much I appreciate him and that he makes me such a happy girl. He read it when I gave it to him and thanked me. Later on, as I was doing my homework, I caught him reading it again. When I was done with my homework, he pulled me close and told me something sweet that I can't remember now.
"You're so sweet! How come you're so nice to me?" I asked.
After mumbling something about there being no reason NOT to be nice to me, he looked at me and said, "I want someone to share my life with...and that's you."
How completely unexpected! I probably blushed until I was purple. "Do you mean that?" I asked. He nodded yes.
So we haven't made it to the big "L" word yet, but it's lurking. I had decided at one point that I wouldn't say it first, but what if he made the same decision? I think the best strategy is not to make any sort of conscious decision about it, but just to wait until it pops out on its own. When it comes out of one of us without the person even thinking about it, then it will be truly felt and meant, and that's the way it should be.
So that's where we stand now. I haven't talked to Clint in three weeks, and he's been keeping an online diary which lets me know that he thinks this is hell, but I think it would be worse if I were to keep in contact with him. More about that next time.