666 -or- How I Learned to Grow Up and Hate the Drama
The Aussie was the ex that I wrote about because well…it’s just funny. No, no…it’s all good…enjoy my pain. If you get a laugh, that’s hip. And in retrospect, I mean, it IS funny. Now. Sort of.
Several of my friends who read that post made the same comment to me. “Maddy was funny and a bit well, fucked up…but you know damn well which ex you need to post about.”
You wanted the best, you got the best. Settle in with a nice cup of coffee or green tea and brace yourself.
The Hum Dinger Blue Ribbon Winner for unwell woman that I have dated goes to, without a doubt (but with a run off vote conducted over the years by people who knew her) The Italian Princess. Hmmm…what sort of name do you give the face of evil incarnate? The woman that fathers warn their young sons about much like Kaiser Soze in the criminal element’s family unit?
We’ll go with Alyssa.
Alyssa Alyssa Alyssa…what can I say about Alyssa? She was brilliant. She had gone to an all female school of note and hung around with kids from the other well to do universities in the area. Her parents were from Italy and came to the US to make good…and did. They gave her everything. Private schools and an Infinity in which to get there. Clothes. Trips to Europe with her friends. But somehow when you met her she didn’t seem phased by it all. She would make off the cuff comments about Gstaad and sound totally natural. For real! I hate pretension, and I never heard it form her. She knew her lit and her sciences and spoke effortlessly to everyone around her. Alyssa ALWAYS said “May I please” and “thank you” to the waiters and never, ever condescended.
Alas, I was smitten within minutes of meeting her. Terribly. She was also a stereotypically beautiful Italian woman. Dark olive skin with dark green eyes and dark brown hair. Curvey…so curvey. I wanted to kiss her before I said “hello”. I think I waited about an hour, actually.
We started dating and almost immediately, the drama ensued. First there was the terrible *ex-boyfriend who had stranded her at the alter mere months before the wedding. Terrible, right? Just awful…of course, then you find out that she in fact performs in a choir with him…and it’s insane. And that’s followed up by her dating other people while we’re starting to date and me wondering what’s up…so there’s an ex, there are other guys, there’s me, and I’m thinking “this is just how Europeans are…”
I mean, really. I’m a small town boy. What the fuck did I know about Italian rules of dating?
So, we went back and forth like this for a while. We’d meet and go out for fabulous dinners with beautiful people she knew and we’d wind up in bed. The next morning she’d casually mention (for that was her thing; the casual mention) that she had a date later that day. And I would think to myself, “this is just a little fucked up”. But it wasn’t a big deal.
Well…it wasn’t a big deal until I met a smokin’ hot Russian and casually mentioned that I would be taking her to a show in town…
That, my dear friends, is the moment of demarcation for the next 3 years of my life.
At that point I was working in a satellite office for a rather large financial company and had a cubicle in line with the rest of the team I worked with…it was my first foray in to the real business world and I took it VERY seriously. In fact, I hit my yearly quota at the beginning of the second quarter. Oh yeah…I was focused. But after the Russian woman comment (OH did I make the wrong call on that) I would start getting phone calls at my office…aggressive, loud phone calls. And emails..PAGES of emails. This was only a short while in to our relationship and it was INSANE.
So, I did what any guy in my position would do…I took her somewhere public and broke up with her. I said “Alyssa, this just isn’t working for me. I can’t deal with the phone calls, the emails, and the accusations of cheating from a woman who dates other men…so this is it”
Alyssa proceeded to explain to me that she was sorry. That she wasn’t herself lately and she was sorry for being so selfish and such a bitch. (her words) There was a reason…a good reason…that she had been trying to save me from (her words again) and maybe it was time for her to let me know why she was acting this way.
“You see, INPY, I might be dying”
And at that point, I wasn’t leaving. I was shocked. I had never heard anything like this before in my life. She started telling me that she had been having tests…thought it was nothing…now looked like Ovarian Cancer. They couldn’t be sure. There were more tests to come. Many more. Long, painful tests. And this is why, INPY, I’ve been keeping you at arm’s length…but I can’t just let you go and I’m sorry I’ve been so unfair…
But. Don’t. Go.
How do you leave? Who walks away from that? Not me. That’s not how I roll. I stayed. It all made perfect sense.
The next year was a blur. It was insane. We fought. We had make up sex. She got better. She got worse. She would go to treatment after treatment and push me away and pull me in close and I felt like I was losing my mind. She wouldn’t talk to anyone about it. Not her family, not her friends. No one. And I really, honestly, truly thought I was going insane. Alyssa got jealous. She would show up at my apartment at all hours. There would be messages upon messages in my voicemail And then…fed up..
I left her. I told her NO FUCKING MORE. I can’t take the responsibility of being your only lifeline. You are exhausting me and you are KILLING ME and NOTHING is worth this but I’m sofuckingsorryyouaresick!!!!
And I left. I hopped in my little sports car and made tracks to Maine to see some friends. And I stayed away from her for like 7 months. I even dated **other people. I started working at a very cool start up and really enjoying my life. I was making almost double what I had been just 2 years before. I had a cool apartment that I split with a childhood friend. I was having fun…and most of all I could breathe again. But I kept wondering when I would get the call that she was dying, or that, God forbid, she had died. Sometimes I’d stare at the ceiling and curse myself for not being stronger…not being able to deal with it.
Then it came…
“It’s me. I’m really sick and I want to see you again.”
I had wondered if and/or when I was ever going to hear her voice again. Boston is a small city, and you’re bound to run in to your ex at SOME point. But I had taken every precaution known to man to steer clear of her. There were entire sections of the city I stayed out of JUST for that reason. And now she was on the phone sounding weak and desperate and I just could…not…say…no.
When I saw her she looked…well, terrible. They were going to perform a hysterectomy to try and root out the cancer, she explained. It was really the best option. And I remember going almost numb. Feeling like I’d been hit in the gut. She looked at me and said “I’m never going to get to have children” and then her eyes welled up and my dam broke and …
She disappeared for a few days and called me when she felt she could see me. I wound up telling the woman that I was dating that my head was somewhere else. She told me to fuck off. Overall, I think she was pretty succinct and more than fair about it.
And somehow…we ummm…
Well you see the thing is suddenly there was all of this emotion and I was sleeping on her couch to make sure that she was OK at night. No really..the couch. And then it just…
…what had happened was that we sort of…it was like…
We got back together.
And she started getting better. Really. I can’t explain it. Things were better. MUCH better. I got laid off from my job (as all the .com people did) and between the money I had saved and the severance it wasn’t a big deal. And things were so good that it just didn’t matter. And we decided that we were going to go to Italy together. Spend a few Summer months on the beach on her home town. It would be perfect…she could continue to recover and I could be there with her and that was that…plans were made.
I wish that I could say to you that this continued down a happy road. That we went to Italy and it was wonderful and then we grew apart and I came to DC and started falling for Aussie prostitutes.
That’s not the case.
Two days before we were to leave I was sitting in my apartment packing some things away when she walked in looking …well…kinda crossed between overwhelmed and overjoyed. And she said to me in a tone that I couldn’t convey here if I tried;
Now, I am not a Doctor. I wasn’t then and I am not now. But I am fairly certain that the surgery that Alyssa had just undergone that had brought us back together in the first place would preclude her from getting pregnant. I mean, I’d like to think that my swimmers are just amazing but ummm…that just doesn’t work.
You can imagine the fight that ensued. When I voiced my shock and wanted to know, how in the name of GOD she could pregnant after have a hysterectomy she looked at me, calmly, and explained;
“I never said that to you”
This is where, from this point on, it’s all my stupidity.
We went to Italy. There was a full physical wherein it was confirmed that she was indeed pregnant. There was talk of an endometriosis. All of the parts were still in all the right places, of course. There was talk about how far along she was and how there were some odd factors involved.
There was NO MENTION of cancer.
I did what I think any man in that situation SHOULD do…whatever had happened before that point was not really relevant. That was my baby. This was my baby’s mother. I stood by her and supported her. The complications however, were significant and she might have to be in bed for the duration…she had issues that would mean that she would have a rough delivery. We decided to stay in Italy for a while and then head home to Boston. I never mentioned the hysterectomy again for the duration of her pregnancy.
When we got back, for many, many reasons (first and foremost her physical health…my mental health was a silent #2) we decided that we had to abort the pregnancy. I was suddenly in a waiting room for something that I never thought I would be. I kept thinking “how did I get HERE?” and not coming up with an answer worth a damn.
Then it was September 11th, and we were in a daze on top of a daze.
And then we had job offers in DC…and suddenly we were here.
It was like a whirlwind. But I kept thinking “ALL OF THIS IS FUCKED UP”. And I also (due to the good advice of a friend, ***Supergirl, who reads this) started researching Ovarian Cancer. Actually, Supergirl started thinking she was lying and asking me questions… I’d never done it before, because I never had cause…
Did she have a port when she was getting treatment?
Do her arms look like she’s a heroin addict? With all of this chemo and treatment she had, something was wrong here.
So I started looking in to it.
None of medications were actually for Cancer.
All of the treatments she’d had were described wrong and the side effects weren’t present.
The timing and the order was wrong.
ALL OF IT WAS WRONG.
I figured this out in DC, and I called her on it. My exact words were “Either you arrange for me to sit down with your Doctor and he agrees to share your medical file with me and answer any questions I want answered, or we’re done”.
That obviously never happened. But she apparently thought that I was bluffing, because the amount of time that went by? Yeah…nothing. Until one day I sat her down and said “I’m leaving you”
I fucking kid you not.
When I left, Alyssa told everyone that I left her Cancer stricken and with child. I was the Asshole of the Year. Almost all of our friends couldn’t believe what I was doing…who would? All I said, without badmouthing anyone was; “Talk to me in 9 months”. My closest friends quietly stood by me. It was a shitstorm that you either dove in to and said things you eventually came to regret or you quietly stayed out of it…the few that stayed out of it are, to this day, my closest, dearest friends. I mean, standing by a guy accused of what I was being accused of? That’s love, baby.
And for longer than you would believe, she kept it up. Eventually, though, everyone started to get it…there was no baby. No cancer. No nothing. I started getting phone calls…apologies. I never blamed anyone. I mean, how could you? If you told me you were leaving someone in that condition, I’d think you were an asshole, too. If someone told you that they were dying of Cancer, you’d believe them. It was one of those things where it was all just so OVER THE TOP that there was no getting your arms around it.
She is still in DC. I see her every once in a while and I cross the street…or look away. It’s like knowing that the face of evil…the heart of darkness…is coming your way. You steer clear of it for your own good. There is NOTHING good to come from any conversation or confrontation. There is no redemption and no getting back wasted time. When we speak of her amongst my friends it’s usually with hushed tones and kissed crucifixes. Seriously. Event the Jews that know this story kiss the cross. When one of us sees her it’s whispered about, “You won’t BELIEVE who I saw today…no, shhhh!!!!” Usually we can all guess who you saw that day just by the sound of your voice. (I wish that I was overstating this)
The moral of this story? I have no idea. I keep looking back at it and wondering how I got so entrenched in something like this…how did I not see it and run? What I’ve come to realize is that I was desperate to do the right thing, and to be a good guy. This was a woman that I truly believed I loved because, as is often the case and the classic mistake made in our 20’s; I confused drama with love.
Fool me once…
* The ex Boyfriend and I, when it was all said and done, sat down over a beer and talked once. Just once. His story? Identical. I call him St. ExBoyfriend, the Patron Saint of Escape Artists.
**Including the 4th craziest woman ever. Starting to see why exFiance was so perfect in my eyes? Don’t lie to me about having Cancer, sleep with other men for money, or generally be psychotic? Marry me.
***Ahhh, Supergirl. She started saying “this is BULLSHIT” earlier on than it sounds like in this. She can smell a rat from a mile away and with good reason. She, Myself, and Paul McCartney are apparently all equally bad at picking lovers and significant others. Someday maybe I’ll get her to write out the “Chronicles of the German Invasion” for us as a guest poster. It’s right there with this and the Aussie.