No one in Jeff’s family but his parents knew about Nate and they had never seen him. Jeff was still with Lo until he told her about Nate on her birthday in January. I was still alone and AZ and I were still snarking at each other. I got a new job in June as a paralegal. Since Jeff and Lo had separated, I thought Jeff and I would start rebuilding our relationship, which went no where. We fought all the time. I would cry and go into Nate’s room and tell him how sorry I was that I couldn’t make things work out. My days were filled with work and Nate. I did nothing else. Then, two incidents happened that changed everything.
The first was that one Saturday, I had to go to the grocery store. It was a bad time. I was emotionally and physically a wreck. I looked horrible, I felt horrible, my eyes were red from crying and I just prayed I didn’t see anyone I knew, especially AZ. Nate was old enough to sit up by himself in the buggy, so it was between February and April. Of course, I ran straight into AZ. I inwardly cringed as I spoke to him. The look he gave me was one of, “What the fuck have you let him do to you?” Disgust, perhaps a bit of anger. I remember exactly what I was wearing that day. A shapeless over large, long-sleeved tan shirt, and a pair of shapeless, over large wine colored pants.
I threw those clothes away and started fighting the depression. I also started demanding answers from Jeff, which only escalated our fighting. I started getting hives when he would come for his once a month, 15 minute visits.
The second, definitely changed everything. I was on my way home from work, traveling down Rte. 25 toward the bridge over the river, when I heard on the radio that AZ was engaged. I burst into tears. I was crying so hard I could barely see, breath, or drive. I took a deep breath somewhere and said to the radio, “I don’t think so. He’s not marrying anyone but me.” Then I felt guilty.
Over the next few days, I knew that all I wanted for AZ was that he be happy. I gathered my courage and called him at the station. I told him I had heard about his engagement and I wanted to congratulate him. His response, “Yeah.” I said, “You don’t sound very happy for someone who just got engaged.” His next response was practically non-responsive. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what the problem was. That would take almost three more years. Let me tell you now, and then the incident where I found out I can tell about when I get to sometime in October 2000. He asked her, she said yes, then she said, well, maybe not. You don’t ever tell AZ yes, and then, well, maybe not, because the “not” is going to stick.
Regardless, AZ stepped up and encouraged me to look for help in raising Nate, as in babysitting and things of that nature, from the State. I wasn’t getting any child support and Jeff had given me about $150 for Nate’s first year of life. I could tell in the time that we had spent apart that AZ had changed. He was very gentle with me. Not snarky. I was surprised because before he could be pretty hard-line about things. He gave me something that weekend. He gave me hope. He also told me that he worked the early shift every Sunday morning, 6 to 10, and since it was so quiet, it was probably the best time to talk to him. He didn’t have to tell me twice.
Please stand by for an immediate update
* Nate asked me to buy him a scratch off lottery ticket last Friday. He won $200 and he has 40 something still left. He was soooo thrilled and one of the things he figured he should do with it was donate some to charity. Guess how many times we’ve been through the McDonald’s drive thru to donate to the Make A Wish foundation? I think I’ve gained 5 lbs.
* AZ is leaving for Boston either tomorrow or Saturday. Nate and I worked at the shop until about 11 last night. AZ has talked about just staying here and I have told him he is leaving. He is going to Boston, otherwise I will severely hurt his cranky grouchy bear ass.
* I had to cart one of my best friend’s home this evening. She recently started coming clean about being an alcoholic. I came clean about having boundaries when it comes to alcoholics. She called, said she was drunk, I told her to sit tight, I dropped Nate at T-Bird’s, I drove to where she was, got her keys, put her in the car, and drove her home. She wanted to come to my house to “sleep it off,” what I call, “avoiding the consequences of driving my parents’ car drunk.” She begged me not to do it. Begged me to turn around. Nope.
Remember how I JUST BLOGGED ABOUT CO-DEPENDENCY???? Remember it is a SLIPPERY SLOPE? We’re not 15 and 14 anymore, we’re 35 and 34. If I had allowed her to stay here, then I would have enabled her to avoid and lie to her parents and lie to herself. I just don’t do that anymore. I hated it, but I had to do what I did. Girl, I know you read this sometimes, but I’m not sorry for what I did. I love you, but I love myself, my sanity, and the place I am with the whole co-dependency thing too much to backslide.
Now it’s time for the MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT
My co-worker should thank Brighton for saving his life. I had to make an emergency phone call to Brighton today due to my co-worker’s idiotic remarks.
We’ll just call them by some nicknames, shall we? The Lass says she is going to a baby shower this weekend for a friend. This is the friend’s 2nd child in 3 years. Obviously, a trend is developing where peeps have baby showers for every baby they have, as opposed to just the first. The Italian says he doesn’t allow his wife to go to 2nd baby showers nor baby showers for illegitimate babies.
The Lass says, “Well, they’re the ones who probably need it the most.” The Italian responds, “Well, she can send a gift but she’s not celebrating some chick getting knocked up out of wedlock.”
That stabbed me in the heart. It really got to me. I half turned in my seat and I said, “Well as the mother of an illegitimate child, I can tell you that my child is just as special as yours.” The Italian looks surprised and says, “I know!”
The Lass says, “The baby shower is for the baby, to give things for the baby, not to condone or condemn the mother.” I’m paraphrasing since my second head was trying to push it’s way through my shoulder and I can feel my tongue splitting.
The Italian responds something of the nature, “I don’t think you should be celebrating someone getting knocked up out of wedlock.”
I turn both of my heads all the way around, pea soup flying everywhere, my forked tongue now flicking out of my mouth, eyes of red, and I said, “All life deserves to be celebrated regardless of the circumstances.” Or something like that, as by this time that red film had descended, there’s this roaring in my ears, and the distinctive sound of a snake’s rattle.
I guess, maybe, I said it with enough passion and probably a bit of, you know, venom, that he figured he wasn’t going to win this battle and backed down. Now, the reason I got so upset, besides the fact that he didn’t mention the schmuck who happened to help knock up this chick, was because that’s exactly how my family treated me when I had my baby shower. No one from my family was there because they didn’t want to condone my illicit behavior. I think you all can tell, this was no fucking cakewalk for me. I was not any happier about the situation than they were, but, I was carrying a child, LIFE, inside of ME! This innocent baby, who had nothing whatsoever to do with the shitty circumstances. Shall I wear the Scarlet Letter as well?
Navy Boy tried to egg things on, almost to the point of cruelty after the Italian left for lunch. I didn’t respond in anyway. I didn’t look at him and I didn’t speak to him.
I was so mad and upset, it took me an hour to calm down and that was only after I placed my emergency six minute phone call to B. (B’s response: Oh, Catholic huh, he probably has little dick syndrome.) No offense to my Catholic readers. I almost called my mother and confronted her about my baby shower. I wanted to know if it made her feel good, to know, that she will never, ever see her daughter pregnant again, nor will she ever attend any festivities welcoming said child to the world. See, not everything is water under the bridge. Sometimes that old shit, it rears its ugly head.
But you know what? I remembered I was there. I was at my baby shower. I was there for the birth of my son. I look at him today and I love him with such incredible intensity. I love his big heart and the way he makes funny faces. It no longer matters to me how he got here, it only matters that he’s here and he touches the lives around him in a good way. I had, and continue to have, every right to celebrate the incredible gift of this child. He’s made me a better, stronger person.
I love you, Natty.
The Fourteen Years War will continue tomorrow
Nate’s birth story is here. As you will note, Jeff called and bitched at me on July 7th because he wished I would just have “that goddamn baby.” Why? Because he had a trip planned with his other family around the time I was due. Jeff missed the birth but he did come to the hospital after his shift. He left on his vacation and called me from MD. It was barely a 3 minute call but it was enough to spiral me into a darkness of which I had never known. I was depressed, my hormones were going nuts, and Nate never slept. That day he and I cried relentlessly. I thought I was losing my mind. Nate nursed me dry, I was weak from my blood loss during birth, and I felt totally alone.
AZ did nothing to help that. I called and left a message on his voice mail that I had given birth, gave him all the vital stats, and tried to act like everything was okay. When he called me back, the first thing he said was, “You can’t call me at home anymore. Jean is living with me now and she was upset when she heard your message.” I was speechless. I remember saying something like, “I just wanted you to know that I had the baby.” “I know, but don’t call me at home anymore. Don’t call me at home.” Ohhhhhh… I see, don’t call you at home, but call you at work. Yeah, I got it. Whatever. Belatedly he said congratulations.
I wrote AZ off, for about two months. Out of spite, I called him at work. He knew I was just being spiteful too. I think he likes that about me. We were back to snarking at each other. Our conversations were far and few between, almost as far and few between as the times Jeff saw Nate.
I worked, I took care of Nate, I fought with Jeff. End of year.
I finally had to tell my parents in mid-January that I was pregnant with their first grandchild. Oh, the humanity!
Jeff and Lo were still together and Jeff and I were seeing less and less of each other. I remember going to the bar once to see AZ when I was pretty far along. I remember he frowned at me for smoking a cigarette. For the most part though, I didn’t have much to say to AZ. I was too busy dealing with Jeff. I felt lucky that T-Bird had come into my life.
In February or March, I had the ultrasound that would show what we were having and true to form, it was a boy. Jeff did go with me to find out and when I looked at the monitor and saw Nate’s face the first time, I told Jeff in elevator afterwards, “He looks just like you.” Jeff didn’t have much to say.
Most of the time, I was dealing with my family, and dealing with the fact that Jeff called more than he saw me, and never touched me. It was a very lonely time. I had virtually no support but T-Bird and my co-workers. I didn’t have much to say to AZ because although I felt trapped in my relationship with Jeff, felt that I should stay with him, felt that I should stay with the father of my child, felt that I should make everything okay, I missed him terribly. I also regretted a lot of things and those who mattered most, my family and Jeff, made me feel as though I was damaged goods.
On May 4th, Jeff called me late at night, around 11:30. His shift commander had confronted him about me and my pregnancy. Jeff denied the child I was carrying was his so he decided he would call and tell me about it. I cried and cried and cried after we got off the phone. Heaping, wailing sobs for at least two or three hours.
I still got up the next morning and went to work. Around 11:00 I started feeling uncomfortable. My Braxton-Hicks contractions were picking up, or so I thought, until I started timing them. I didn’t feel anything if I stood up and walked around but sitting down, I was starting to feel a burn. I called my OB’s office, which was just a street over. They told me to come in for a check. Once they got Nate settled down enough and got the monitor on me correctly, my contractions were three minutes apart. I called T-Bird and she came to pick me up. We went to the hospital where I called Jeff. He didn’t offer to show up.
I was dehydrated and had a bladder infection. They shot me up with antibiotics, fluids, and that crazy icy stuff that stops your contractions. My doctor came in later and checked my cervix (can I begin to tell you how gentle he is) and pronounced me fit as a fiddle or closed, which is better. I still had some residual contractions and took a day off from work and then a half a day.
Worse, I laid in bed at night and wished Jeff away. I wished AZ was the father of my son. After May 5th, it just got worse. I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “AZ would have been there. He would have been there for you and his son.” After all the writing I’ve done and remembering, I probably wasn’t far off the mark. It got me through.
Another Haunted Trail came and went. So did the due date for my period. My bronchitis came back, worse than ever. On November 3rd, I went to my doctor. Before prescribing any antibiotics, I had to have a blood test done since my period was late (and my boobs were sore and I was exhausted). As I walked to his office for the results, I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t pregnant. Right. The doctor broke it to me gently. He said I had options. I fired back, “I’m not having an abortion.” He smiled and said, “I’m glad.” He referred me to an OB-GYN.
I called Jeff when I got back to the office. He knew what was going on and he asked what the doctor said, “It’s not good,” was my reply. I think I cried for the next nine months. Jeff met me at my place as I took the rest of the day off work. He mentioned abortion and I shut him down too. I was fearful of telling my family especially, but more fearful of Jeff. He had always told me if I got pregnant he would push me down a flight of stairs and I took him seriously. To me, that was my baby and no one was taking it away from me. He looked at me and said, “It’s a boy.” I shot back, “I know!”
A little over a month after we found out, Jeff got ripped at an office party and showed up at my place. It was the last time we ever had sex.
AZ’s response when I told him about the baby was very controlled. He wanted to know if Jeff had moved in with me and I said, “No. He lied about that.” Then AZ wanted to know if I had told my mother. Somehow, he has a way of knocking me upside the head without ever touching me. “No, I’m waiting to make sure nothing happens to the baby. No use getting them all upset for nothing.” He was not amused. Frankly, neither was I.
So, I worked again and afterwards I went to the radio station and AZ and I hung out. Afterwards, we dropped by the post office and AZ convinced me I really did want to go home with him. Not like it took much convincing. We may have even had to the, “You can’t be very happy with her/him if you’re here with me” conversation. I do remember that as I was getting dressed, AZ came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. I looked at him in the mirror and he looked at me. I had seen this in my dreams a hundred times. I still have the jeans I was wearing that night, even though I’ve long outgrown them, I can’t bear to throw them away. It was the last time we kissed.
Even though AZ offered me a job, I knew my parents and Jeff would not approve, plus I needed a job with benefits. Two weeks later I went to Atlanta to see Jeff and we went sight-seeing at Stone Mountain.
I came home and got a job with a temp agency and eventually landed a full-time gig in the accounting department of a large construction materials manufacturer. I bought a small trailer from a girl I knew from college and moved out of my parent’s house into the city I live now. Well, it wasn’t in the city limits but close enough.
Honestly, I thought that when I moved, things with me and Jeff would get better. They didn’t. I moved in July of 1995, and by September, we were on the skids, big time. I was growing more and more disenchanted with the fact I was now autonomous and had my own place and Jeff and were spending less and less time together. I was tired of the excuses and bullshit. I can see now that not only had I outgrown my parents, I was outgrowing Jeff as well. He promised me he was getting a divorce and said he might need a place to stay, could he possibly stay with me. I said he could if he filed for divorce.
Around that time AZ called me. I told him what was going on and he asked if he could call me. I told him that Jeff may be staying with me. Understandably, he was not hearing any of that noise and told me to forget it. (I try not to regret these pivotal moments in my life because they brought me to where I am now and let us not forget, AZ was still seeing Jean.)
The bad feelings between Jeff and I persisted until October. I had a few vacation days at my job I had to use before the end of the year and I convinced Jeff to allow me to go to Knoxville, TN with him for an FOP convention to try and patch things up. Did I mention at the end of September I had had a horrible case of bronchitis and I had to take antibiotics?
Jeff decided while we were there that he would show me where he and Lo had gotten married. I sat there incredulous as he drove me by the church. Karma is a bitch. Nanner got knocked up in Knoxville. I think Jeff and I knew it the moment it happened. It put a pall on the remaining day we had. I questioned Jeff on the way back about the fact his elder son’s grandmother has passed away and how he was going to explain the fact he and Lo were divorcing.
“I don’t know!” I knew in that moment that Jeff had lied to me. He wasn’t really divorcing Lo and I hated the fact I had given up another opportunity to be with AZ because of his lies and my stupidity. I don’t know who I hated more at that moment.
1995 started out with Jeff going to Atlanta for polygraph school. I was unemployed and my parents were spending a lot of time at their new farm, which left me with a lot of time on my hands. I spent most of my days with my friend Markie (female), who was my neighbor and is deaf. We would drink coffee, smoke, and watch the O.J. Simpson trial.
With Jeff gone, I was free also to go out. I spent many evenings at AZ’s bar. He had purchased the bar with a friend of his (Mike). I didn’t drink much while there, I spent more time talking to the blind guy and reading a book. AZ was dating, well, I’ll call her Jean.
One night I went in and sat down as usual. AZ wasn’t there but the Mike was and he asked what I had planned, was I busy etc. I said I wasn’t and didn’t have any plans and he asked me to work because a couple of waitresses had called off. So, I threw on a t-shirt and started waiting tables.
AZ came in a little later and the crowd thickened. It was a busy night but around 1 a.m., AZ said he had to back to the radio station to do some work. He asked me to come down after we closed. I said I would.
After Mike and I finally shooed all the drunks out the door at 2:00 or so, we cleaned up. Mike was a very good looking guy but had a steady girlfriend. I liked him though and he liked me and we were somewhat attracted to each other. We ended up laying on the pool table together, not touching, talking about how he had his girlfriend (who I believe he actually married) and how I had Jeff and we shouldn’t even be contemplating doing anything at all. We laughed and I told him I had to get out of there so I could go see AZ.
Mike went ballistic. “No, no, no, no, you can’t go see AZ. I have to go see AZ and if he knew that you and I were here together this late he would be pissed (upset? jealous? – can’t remember his exact words). I stared at Mike and then laughed, “Mike, AZ is not going to be jealous. He knows if I’m going to cheat on Jeff, it will be with him. It’s not a big deal. AZ will not be mad.”
Mike persisted in a dead panic about AZ not knowing we were there so long together and alone. I finally relented and went home, while Mike went to the radio station.
The following evening the phone rang. It was AZ. Practically the first words out of his mouth were, “What happened between you and Mike?” My mouth dropped open, “Nothing! And if he said any different then he’s lying! We didn’t even touch each other. Didn’t kiss, nothing!” I recounted the entire evening after he left, including mine and Mike’s conversation.
There was a pause and AZ said, “What makes you think I wouldn’t be jealous?” My mouth dropped open again. “I, well, I don’t know, you just never acted jealous before.”
“Just because I don’t act jealous doesn’t mean that I’m not.” *Gulp*
Reminder: I’m seeing Jeff and AZ is seeing Jean. Jean is important later on.
“Can you work tonight?”
“Are you going to come and see me after work?”
By this time, I was in way far deep with Jeff. He had worked his magic on me. I say that because I was very co-dependent at the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still co-dependent, just not an active member of the Co-Dependent Society. I see co-dependency the same as I do alcoholism, you can slide down the slippery slope. This was around the same time I was in counseling for the sexual abuse and looking back, I can say I shouldn’t have been any new relationships. Sometimes it is hard to see your own vulnerabilities.
Jeff and I spent as much time loving as we did fighting. He was (and is) very jealous. He controlled me in much the same way Julie had controlled AZ, through fear and love. On occasion, we would go out to a remote camp, drink, fight, have sex, laugh, or whatever. I warned him that we had to be careful since he wasn’t actually divorced and the other officers were going to pick up on our relationship, which he 100% denied. Why he didn’t think anyone would notice is still totally beyond me.
One of our favorite meeting places was that same park where we had first met. There was one particular shelter that sat at the top of a hill. I became very adept at recognizing the distinctive sound of a police cruiser coming up that hill. Once, we caught a peeping tom up there. Guess who the peeping tom was peeping on? An off-duty police officer and his illicit girlfriend. It wasn’t his best day.
I got a pager and Jeff and I became very skilled at sending each other messages via numerical code. We could call from any phone and tell the other where we were and where we were going to be. I hung out at a local club where Jeff worked overtime. It was behind that club that Jeff and I kissed the first time.
The pager also became a convenient way for Jeff to break up with me. I would be driving down the road and out of the blue, boom, he would tell me he didn’t want to see me anymore … via pager. This would persist for a few days, just enough time for me to cry it out and attempt to move on when he would page me, want to see me, etc. I see now it was a cat and mouse game. He kept me off balance enough to keep me in line, which as you can probably tell, was a full time job. As Viggo says, “The nurse in me, won’t let me leave.”
AZ was often not far from my thoughts, and there were many times that I missed him. Although he and I fussed, it was nothing compared to the knock down, drag outs that Jeff and I had. It was nothing like dealing with Jeff and Lo reconciling for the kids’ birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas when Jeff’s older son would come in from out-of-state. My disenchantment waxed and waned. AZ and I still talked but kept a decent distant from one another physically.
By the end of 1994, Jeff had been promoted to the detective bureau and subsequently would be spending time in Atlanta, GA to learn how to run a polygraph. Oh, how when the cat’s away, the mouse shall play.
When Jeff and his wife separated, we started seeing each other on the sly. Oh Holy Hera! Did we ever! And then, he and his wife reconciled for a period of time and then they separated and then they reconciled, over and over and over. I have no doubt that Jeff didn’t love her but he loved his daughter.
Now, fucking fantastic, I was stuck between two men, both of which I loved, both of which were doing things to stay with “their children”. I totally understand that but some of it, I didn’t understand.
Eventually, I heard that AZ was having a remote for the radio station and as Jeff was off somewhere or mad at me or something, I went to see him. He was sitting at the bar like the world was sitting on his shoulders. I sat down with him and asked him what was wrong.
Julie, the horse ugly fat bitch? Yeah, she didn’t have cancer. Healthy as a fat ugly horse. I asked AZ, “So, who finally tipped you off?” He looked at me with death in his eyes. “My Mom. You don’t seem very surprised, like a lot of my other friends.” I told him I had suspected all along she was lying but it was pretty much confirmed when I saw her. He was furious. “Why didn’t you say something?” I told him that I wasn’t willing to risk our friendship over her, he refused to listen anyway, and that he knew I loved him and I was afraid he would have thought I was only jealous. I was jealous, not of the child, but of Julie.
He denied he would have thought any of those things. I hate to tell him, but I’m not sure he would have. Sometimes you don’t realize how deep you’re in until you’re out.
Oh, the reason Lex left? Because he found old tapes of when “Jenny” had called the radio station and compared them electronically to the voice tapes of Julie when she had called. He said they matched. He quit his job and left. That’s right. “Jenny” didn’t die because Jenny and Julie were the same person.
CAN YOU FUCKING IMAGINE?????
1994 found AZ back at his old radio station. They had rehired him even after his assault on their ratings. They figured it would be better to have the fox back in the henhouse. But not before he met a woman, I don’t recall her name, we’ll call her “Jenny.”
(This is the background as provided by Lex) “Jenny” used to call AZ and Lex at the other radio station. Both of them were very fond of “Jenny,” even though they never met. Obviously she called the station quite often to talk to them. I suspect it was often over the midnight shift, when all others are sleeping, that she did this.
“Jenny” was very depressed though and called either Lex or AZ one evening and said she was going to end it all. Her sister, Julie, called a few days later to inform them that “Jenny” had in fact committed suicide. Needless to say, AZ and Lex were both very distraught, especially given the fact “Jenny” had a small child who Julie took custody of.
Then Julie started calling and talking, especially to AZ. Lex found something very fishy about the situation and finally quit the station and moved to Ireland, not returning until his father was terminally ill with cancer.
AZ started talking about Julie and the child. When I saw photographs of AZ and the child together, I was shocked at how much they resembled one another, even though I could tell the child was of mixed race. AZ then informed me that Julie had leukemia and her prognosis was not good. Of course, AZ, having been very close to “Jenny,” now took over the father role to this young child, even taking him to kindergarten his first day.
AZ was like any other parent, consumed by his child. Julie began taking over more and more household responsibilities. AZ bought a house so that the child would have his own bedroom after Julie passed away. One time she passed out while cleaning snow from her car, so her condition was not getting any better.
It was around this time that I met Jeff again as a student rider for the police department. I can’t say again that sparks flew, as I was very cautious around anyone with a gun. However, after a few eight hour shifts together, it was apparent, something was happening between us. Jeff even knew about AZ and knew how much I cared for him. I remember sobbing in AZ’s kitchen about falling in love with Jeff.
Frankly, AZ quietly warned me away from the situation. I didn’t listen though and the reason I didn’t is because there was no way I could compete with Julie and the child. AZ pushed me away when it came to them.
I finally saw this Julie woman one night at the bar. I had stopped in for a beer and conversation with AZ when she brought the child in the bar at 11:00 at night. He could not have been more than 4 or 5 years old at the time. I saw my worst nightmare. A horse ugly fat bitch who looked nothing like a cancer patient, carrying the one thing AZ loved most in the world. I was stunned out of my mind.
AZ knew I still loved him. Any attempts to talk to him about Julie and the child went unheeded, the same as his speech to me about Jeff. I felt like I had lost him and I would never, ever have a chance with him, no matter how much I loved him. As I said, he was consumed and I became consumed with Jeff.