D was a musician. We dated through my senior summer and long distance when I went to Germany on scholarship during my Senior year.
When I got back from Germany, I went back to work at McDonald’s. My mother immediately (as she always had) demanded my entire paycheck. I offered to pay rent for my room and utilities, but I was working over 40 hours a week and felt I shouldn’t have to give her my paycheck, especially when I wanted to save to move out and go to college.
College. Another story for another time.
I first met him when I was dating a guy named Brian and he had a girlfriend. The next Summer, he started coming through my drive-thru (God, I know). He was my second musician. He had a brunette mullet and a car. He was in Brian’s heavy metal band. He loved my singing, and I started to sing back up in the band. When I had to go for the Summer, he gave me a Candlebox CD. It’s still one of my favorites. He introduced me to heavy rock, and had a real passion for his music. He was an incredibly talented drummer.
Over the year I was in Germany, I thought we were broken up. I didn’t hear from him for a long time, and even thought he had forgotten about me. I saw someone else. Then I started getting long, long letters, expensive phone calls, and cassette tapes with music and talking, which he preferred to writing.
When I got back from Germany, my parents gave me until the end of the month to move out. I LITERALLY MOVED NEXT DOOR THE NEXT DAY. I’d had a horrible blow up with my parents. D’s parents let me spend the night in their guest room. I mentioned it to my neighbor who said I could live with her for $50 a week and housework. I made about $1.50 over minimum wage, so the price was right. D recruited his band, and while my parents were out of the house, cleaned out my bedroom and carried everything over. I’ve never been back. One month after graduating high school and I was effectively disowned, so I thought.
I got a second job. I worked at 2 different McDonald’s because it was my only marketable skill. My parents had an old car and they lent it to me. It was a 1981 Ford Fairmont in horrible condition. My friend Kevin taught me to drive in a day, and then he found me a better job coding mail at Lockheed Martin. It had insurance. I got on the pill. I was having sex with passionate, muscular, 18 year old male. IT WAS AWESOME.
My roommate decided she was going to leave Tennessee, and so I needed to find a place to live. So I made the first major mistake of my adult life. I moved in with D.
It was okay at first. I worked my two jobs. He worked a job with a lot of overtime, so we bought furniture and painted our little duplex. I got him a ferret, then a second ferret.
Then things started getting weird. I was working night shift at Lockheed Martin, and would be mad that I slept during the day. He started acting really weird.
Valentine’s Day came. I bought a silky nightgown and snuck into our room to surprise him. He literally threw me out of bed, into the wall. He broke up with me right then and went to work. A few minutes later, my glasses broke. I was so humiliated. I called my mother for help because I couldn’t see and she took me and got me new glasses.
My mother also called a local radio station and told them her darling daughter had just been dumped and could they please find me a date for Valentine’s Day? I BECAME A RADIO SHOW CONTEST. The radio station decided to have their producer come and take me out. His name was Larry. He had buck teeth and chewed and spit. He had a mustache and the tobacco juice would get stuck in his mustache.
I went out with Larry, came home, slept, and went to work the next day for evening shift. I was resigned that DB and I were breaking up. HE THREW ME AGAINST A WALL.
When I got home, all of the furniture except for my bed and a dresser was gone. All the lightbulbs had been removed from the sockets (I used to be afraid of the dark). The fridge was gone.
He thought he’d left me in the dark, but I still had a lamp he’d hated, in a closet, light bulb intact. I plugged it in, and resolved to change the locks the next day. He’d left me a note saying he didn’t want the ferrets I gave him. I couldn’t believe this was the boy who’d sent me songs and letters while I was in Germany. It was so wrong.
I was in a panic. I’d been paying all our bills while D paid for furniture because he got a discount from work. I called my Grandma and she wired me $500. A girlfriend helped me pick out a couch at GoodWill, cheap dishes, and groceries. My landlord had a really old fridge he brought by. It was old, but it was cold. The stove I’d bought from another friend, and he hadn’t taken it. He had also left A SOUNDBOARD, which I promptly took hostage so he could not take anything else.
I moved on. I lost our washer and dryer, because we’d bought them from D’s parents, but I started using a laundromat. I had kept my second job, so rent wasn’t a problem. I took a trip home and was gifted with a TV from my Grandma H and a load of canned food that weighed down my car. I started going to poetry readings. I learned about Tori Amos. I got a cat and named it Easter.
A woman I knew from some of D’s shows stopped me one day and told me she thought I should know she’d been sleeping with my boyfriend and she had an STD. Ashamed, incredibly ashamed, I went to my doctor and found out he’d given me an STD. Fortunately, it was chlamydia, and curable, and early. My doctor was incredibly supportive, but as he was my pediatrician, he then referred me to an adult provider and a GYN. I got tested for everything else, and was negative.
I felt so awful. I’d finally had sex without a condom on, because my partner was supposed to be monogamous, and he wasn’t. I was young and naive. I never made that mistake again.
I got a better job. I met someone new. I moved on. If only I’d learned more.
A decade later, I was on my computer, on AOL (oh, the days), when a message popped up. D had tracked me to Denver with a private investigator.
He informed me that while I was on nights, he’d gotten into drugs with his band. Nearly ruined his music hopes. Gotten into rehab. He needed to ask me for forgiveness for his behavior, for the STD, for everything.
I gave it to him. I finally had an answer.
I love Buffy. That year, the Buffy website had a competition for some video tapes. The contest? Worst Valentine’s Day ever.
I fucking won that shit. I love me some Buffy.