Construct Undone

As he drove that huge truck away, I was trying to reconcile the man I'd known and loved since I was 12 years old and the man who was walking out on me, most likely going to another woman.

Three weeks before our wedding, he walked out the door and I never saw him again. Ever. He said, “The best thing I can do for you is to get out of your life before I ruin it.” As far as I could tell, he was ruining my life at that moment. I felt like I was in one of those scenes in the movies where the actor is zoomed in on and the whole background is moving at the same rate, creating a whooshing effect that lets you know really bad stuff is happening. The camera trick that says, “Everything is seriously fucked right now.” I had no idea why he was leaving—well, I had a suspicion he was leaving me to go to the mother of his child, but I didn’t understand why—what had changed? My head was spinning and I wondered how I went from almost being a married woman to single one in a few hours time. I wondered why my world construct was suddenly being shattered.

The week before, he’d arrived in Arizona from Colorado and unpacked a huge U-Haul truck, completely filled a garage-sized storage unit, and he brought his Harley and jet-ski. We planned on marrying and living in Flagstaff until I finished my second year of graduate school.

Now, seven days after he got to my apartment, he stood in my living room, with everything packed into a new U-Haul. I had just finished organizing my place to make room for him and all his stuff. It takes at least a week to get settled in and yet, in three hours, he was all packed up again. I helped him out a bit by throwing anything he’d forgotten onto the porch, one thing at a time—a shirt, a book, his gun. I thought about keeping the video camera we had just bought since it was on his credit card, but I decided against it. I didn’t want anything of his in my house.

The wedding bands were at the jewelers--newly engraved with our wedding date and our names. My seamstress had just stitched the last of the alterations on my dress the week before and it was hanging in the walk-in closet--the closet he had just emptied—the closet I just had the biggest temper tantrum of my life in. I was screaming my head off and naked because the “talk” started in bed. I knew I looked like a maniac, but I didn’t care. “What the hell are you doing? You think you can just leave without giving me a reason? Our fucking wedding is in 3 weeks! You can’t just leave! We have a LIFE together!” I was throwing all the clothes he was trying to pack everywhere. I knew it was really over when he left and came back with cigarettes. We had both quit smoking in order to start our healthy new lives together. Smoking said it was over. The dream was dead.

As he drove that huge truck away, I was trying to reconcile the man I'd known and loved since I was 12 years old and the man who was walking out on me, most likely going to another woman.

The first time I ever saw Scott he was standing at the counter talking to the dispatcher in the police department where my dad was chief of police. He was the code officer, a.k.a. the dog catcher. He was 19--too young to be an officer, but he was off to a good start. He'd be a Lieutenant years later when he was fired. Scott was married the first time then. He was young, so I forgave him that marriage later on when I had to forgive all his marriages. I fell in love with him immediately. Don't think a 12-year old can't feel love. I did. It was real. But, although Scott cared for me, too, he didn’t “care” in a creepy and illegal way. He was respectful and we were friends. He knew I was crazy for him and he didn't mind. Maybe he was even flattered.

A year or so later, my dad resigned as Chief of Police in that small town and we moved to Denver. I'd see Scott every time I went back for a visit. When I finally had my car and I’d go visit my friends and family, I'd always stop at the police department to say hi. When he'd come through the door to the waiting area, his eyes would light up and he'd have a huge smile on his face. We’d hug and catch up. By then he was divorced. Later, I found out he had a girlfriend named Paige. He said, "Don't let that stop you". I’m sure he meant, don't let that stop you from writing me and visiting me and loving me. It really didn’t mean much more until I was just shy of 18 years old.

He was living with Paige at that point and I knew that, but I didn't care. I knew I loved him and wanted to be with him at any price. I'd already waited 6 years. We spent the night together while he was in Denver for training. He said to me, “God, I do love you—I really do.” Not much changed though; life continued on. I went away to college. I dated other people. I wrote to him often, sending mail to his parents' house. We'd sit in the police car and talk until all hours of the morning when I'd visit. Eventually, our contact diminished some. I had serious relationships with other people and he stayed with Paige.

When I was 26 and moved to Arizona for grad school he started calling me. Essentially his life was going down the shitter and he wanted support. He had had an affair. Paige was divorcing him. Come to find out they were common-law married. Okay, so common-law isn't a real marriage—just a paper marriage because she needed his health insurance at work. Later that's how I would forgive marriage #2. Paige took half of everything.

About this same time, he was busted for driving while intoxicated. He lost his job. But, the real kicker? The young 21 year old girl he had an affair with was pregnant. He was depressed and he wanted me to save him. I used to always be in the business of saving people, so that was a good angle for him to play. In my defense, I knew what was happening. I discouraged it. He wanted to come visit--I told him no. I was busy with work and school. I kept putting him off. One day he called and said, "I'm 60 miles outside of Flagstaff." I wasn't really happy. He'd got himself into this mess and he needed to deal with issues, not come escape to my world for comfort. But, he stayed with me for 10 days and somewhere in that time, I fell for him again. The connection I felt with him was indescribable. Later I'd read Linda Goodman's description of soul mates and then I could finally put words to what I’d felt all along. It was spiritual to me. I'd felt like I'd known and loved him for lifetimes.

After we were engaged, I heard from someone that he had married Kristi (the woman that was now pregnant) in Las Vegas while he was still living with Paige. I confronted him. He said he did marry her, but immediately had to have it annulled because otherwise, he was a bigamist, already common law married to Paige. What had I gotten myself into? But, I was committed and I forgave that marriage, too. It didn’t really count after all.

Now, he was leaving me to go to Kristi. Only in hindsight could I piece together that she had threatened him with legal action and to avoid it, and avoid me finding out that he’d been seeing her all along, he went to her. They were married in the courthouse 9 days after our wedding date was supposed to be. They only stayed together a year. Now he’s married to a holy roller with 5 kids. How he gets from me to a holy roller, I’ll never know. How do you leave a path of destruction wherever you go and then find God? Maybe he’ll stay on marriage number four (plus an annulment and an engagement), but I’d watch out world!


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