Sometimes I can see forward a little clearer when I take a minute to look back.
30 years. Actually it’s more. Like 31 or 32 years.
I met my husband when I was 15? Maybe 16. At the time, I was dating a guy I had been with for a while, off and on high school sweetheart type of thing.
By my sophomore year, my high school sweetheart and I were together.
Let me just talk about him real quick. He asked me out in 8th grade. He was popular in our town, everyone liked him. His parents owned a local Harley shop, everyone knew him and his family.
We broke up every other day, until my sophomore year. We stayed pretty solid from there. His parents took me in and for the first time in my life, I saw what a family was supposed to look like.
His mom really wrapped her arms around me. At this time I was living with my foster family and she just knew I was a mess. There was nothing but pure kindness a love in this woman. To this day, I find that I often think of her and what a role model she was in my my life. I parent and wife much like her, she was the most amazing mom and wife I had ever seen.
His Dad? He was a gruff, gritty scary looking man. Handlebar mustache, tattoos on every inch of skin, deep scary voice that not a single person would try to go up against. He was biker through and through. He always wore black Harley tshirts that I swear he ripped the sleeves off with his teeth…. and oh, he was so kind. He would make me laugh till it hurt, and I loved watching the relationship he had with his son. He was in love with his wife and so gentle with her.
I had never seen a family that actually functioned as a family until I met them.
I do believe looking back, I stayed with S as long as I did because I loved his parents.
So anyway, S and I hung out in a small little town (which I now live in) with a big crowd that would gather in mall parking lots. It’s what you did in the 80’s.
S was in a band, and one night he told me he met a guy from the next town over who also played guitar and he was stopping by the lot to let him hear a demo tape. He was auditioning, I guess, to join S’s band.
This blue Chevy van pulls up and this guy gets out. Holy shit. I fancied myself to be madly in love with S and planned on marrying him. But my heart sped up and I couldn’t take my eyes off this guy.
His eyes. His hair. His smile. His hands. The tape he put in to let S listen to was amazing. He told S he wrote it recently after a break up. It was a heart wrenching ballad that pulled at the heart. He made that guitar solo sound like it was crying.
They talked for a while, I watched for a while.
From that point on, whenever we went to the lot, I looked for him. It was always a good night when he was around. Sometimes he would join us and ride with us. S had a single row ford pickup so that would put hair guy right next to me.
The first time that happened my leg had to rest against his and it was electric. There’s no other way to describe it. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t pull away, I couldn’t understand what was happening.
He didn’t pay much attention to me. I didn’t try to get him to do so. But the next couple of years, the friendship between S and hair guy grew. They ended up in a band together, they partied together, they became good friends.
During band practice or gigs or working on cars on the garage, there I was. Sitting there like the good girlfriend being supportive.
But whenever hair guy was around, I quietly watched him. I loved how his hands moved across the strings of his guitar. He would often take lead singer in some of the songs, and I would internally melt when I would hear that voice. He didn’t smile often, but when he did it would light up his eyes and I’m pretty sure my internal organs are still damaged to this day from witnessing those rare smiles of his.
I remember looking at him one night during a long practice, and thinking, “I’m going to marry him.” Then laughing and shaking my head, because clearly I’m meant to be with S.
During those years of hanging out in the band room, the mall parking lot, the garage and the local arcade, I watched hair guy date several of the mall lot girls. Never seemed to get serious with any, but he seemed to be having fun. He often told S of his current girl and S would relay back to me the adventures of hair guy. I think S was envious.
I graduated high school at 18 and had a great summer. Trip to Florida with friends, mall lot with the gang, long nights at the local carnivals, partying and being young. Hair guy was still around but there was a girl in his town that kept him away from ours. I didn’t see him much that summer.
But end of July rolled around and S broke up with me. Now, as an adult and looking back, S was definitely feeling his age, didn’t want to be tied down and my devastation of this break up most certainly was because I was going to lose his parents. I took it very hard.
I was also working at their Harley shop at the time. So I was going to lose his parents, him and my job. Asshole.
S then moved out and moved into a friends house. A married couple with a kid. S had an affair with the wife, that family broke up, S married the woman and they had a daughter together. S got heavily into drugs and that life created a world of crime and mayhem and he ended up in jail for several years.
So there’s that.
But that summer after S broke it off, I was lost. I just worked and lived my life. I was sad, I missed him and mostly his parents. I missed life at the lot.
I lost contact with most of the lot gang and I often wondered about hair guy.
Then one day, I was working at a convenient store, I saw his blue van pull in. My heart slammed. It was November, but he had on a tshirt. His hair was long, he was so sexy. I heard the bells at the door jingle but I acted like I didn’t see him. He walks to the counter and smiled at me. That smile.
“Can I get your number? I would like to take you out.”
I was shocked. But I pulled a length of receipt paper from the register and wrote down my number.
“What time do you get off work?” I squeaked out the time from my closing throat.
“I’ll call you around 5 then. Talk to you later.” And he leaves.
He did call. We did go out. I found out he asked S if it was alright. S evidently gave him his blessing and told him it would be a favor to him and good luck to him. “She’s crazy” he told him. Did I feel guilty going out with S’s best friend? Maybe. Sort of. It was the talk of our little town. I was evidently a crazy whore trying to break up a friendship. How dare I go out with S’s friend?
This November will be 30 years since that day he walked in and asked for my number. We have grown up together. Created a life, a family, a business. Each day that passes we create a past, a history. I have been with him more than half my life.
I still look at him the same. I love when he smiles, I still feel my heart race when that incredible smile reaches his eyes. I often reach for those hands that have held me for so long. Those hands that still fly up and down a guitar, that have held our babies, that can create deals that brings food to our table.
I know every member of his family, I know every friend he values. I know what expressions he has that indicate whatever thoughts go through his mind.
I know what to do to bring that rare smile to his eyes.
I know when he’s overwhelmed, I know when he’s bored. I can tune in to the energy that surrounds him.
But I do not know him. This man I have loved for so long. I do not know him.
I do not know him.
This man who would cheat. Who would leave his family during the holidays to be with another woman. This man who would call me vile names. Who would lie. This man who would leave my bed and go to hers. This man who would leave her bed and come home and look me in the eyes.
He lies. He blame shifts.
He lies. He lies. He lies.
I don’t know him.
I would rather spend the remainder of my days alone. At this time in my life, I’m actually craving that.
After all this time and all that I do know…I do not know him.
…and he does not know me.
Sadly, it seems he does not want to know me.
The other woman and her first husband were part of that parking lot crew. I knew her only through who became her husband. CB radios were big in that day and he was a very known personality on the radio. I even remember his handle. She never talked on it. She was just this quiet, extremely tall, weird looking girl that sat by his side. I never gave her a single thought. Who knew she would end up having a hand in wrecking my marriage 25 years later.
On another note, when my daughter was two, I had her in a shopping cart and we were walking through a Lowe’s. I was shopping for faucets for the bathroom. I turned a corner and looked at a couple heading towards me. We all froze for a moment and I broke instantly into tears.
I put my hands over my face and tried to stop the tears and get ahold of myself. I felt his mom putting her arms around me. I hugged back. I looked at his dad and he was smiling so big.
We all started talking at once and laughed. Dad was still a big scary looking biker guy, more tattoos than before and the mustache now silver. Still no sleeves on his Harley shirt. This big gritty looking dude reached for my daughters foot and wiggled it and made a silly noise so she would giggle.
We chatted a bit and never brought up S at all. I knew from rumors around town he was in jail. No need to talk about him.
They will never know the influence they have had in my life. I admired them, loved them and will always be grateful for what I learned being a part of that family for a few years.