Do you remember when “Titanic” first came out on VHS and it had two VHS tapes and you would put the first one in and watch the love affair unfold but never watch the second simply because it was so chaotic and we all knew everyone died except Rose, Rose’s stiff uppity bitch of a mother, and Kathy Bates? I’m going to now detail for you my relationship with my soul mate. (If such thing exists.) This is a very long tale, like the fucking movie, but a valuable relationship lesson indeed. I’m going to detail it like the VHS movie. Tape A. Tape B. This is Tape A. The love affair. And this weeks post.
Bob (let’s call him Bob. I feel a need to protect identities as much as possible as to not defame anyone. However, Bob has done enough to defame himself. You can find him on the state’s felon registry..) happens to be a very pivotal person who has been a part of my existence for 26 years. We have a very sordid love affair that has been woven and spoiled many times over with love, accusations, hatred, loyalty, animal magnetism, humor, and distrust. It should be stated that at this current place in my life, my hatred for him burns steadily and I physically can feel it in my gut and in my bones just thinking about it. But alas..if he plopped on my doorstep today, I don’t think I could turn him away so easily. Because I can’t. Because we happen to be fools for each other. Maybe me more so than him.
I was six years old when I first met Bob. (We joked in our adulthood (when we were in love with each other ) we would get one of those license plates like old people have that say “Bud and Karen ‘62” except ours would say “Bob and Samantha ‘86“.) Bob would do all the things little boys do when they are in love with their young object of affection. He teased me mercilessly, chased me, and sought me out continuously from grade school on up.
In middle school, Bob started flourishing by being known as the class clown. Our relationship changed then from one of total hatred (on my end) to a friendship which we both treasured because we understood each other. It was quickly becoming evident to me Bob had this charisma about him that drew everyone to him. He was funny, but he was also funny at his own expense. At the end of our 8th grade year, a kid dared Bob to light a match in the library. He did. And he set fire to books. Since this wasn’t his first offense, the school board elected him a lost cause, and voted to expel him from public school. This would be where his public school career ended and his decent into a convict lifestyle began.
His parents (the crazies they were..and still are) decided any contact for Bob with the outside world was prohibited to him. They put him on lockdown. Rebelling against their oppression, Bob would call me everyday before his parents got home from work. His mother found out about our afternoon chat sessions, and called me one evening to ask me to not contact Bob. This prompted her to start bringing the phone with her to work so he would have no way of contacting anyone while he was home. My mother was appalled by this. She bought him a phone to hide in the house so he could have some sort of normality in his existence, and our afternoon conversations commenced. Things became increasingly interesting once we received our drivers licenses. We became best friends. If he was Clyde, I was Bonnie. When he was able to sneak out of the house, he would always come get me. A few memories:
One time, we went grocery shopping, and I was fiddling with some stupid toy from the toy section, when the cashier asked if we had paid for it. I was about the put it on the conveyer belt when Bob said “No she brought it in. She takes it with her everywhere. She’s handicapped”. The cashier looked at me, then back at him, and shrugged. We left the store with it, unpaid.
There was the time he lied to his parents to get the car and told them he wanted to go to church. Pleased, they consented and he headed straight over to my house, explaining where we were going, and I had to pretend to be his cousin, Beth. So as cousin Beth I went, and we played it off quite nicely until we sat down for the sermon. All it took was 10 minutes. 10 minutes of being told the earth was going to end and I was so freaked out by what was being preached, I demanded we got out of there immediately.
Bob got his first job at the local grocery store, as did Charlotte Grant. They worked together and were mutual friends with a girl who Bob actually started dating. To appease Bob and his girlfriend, Charlotte would punch them in and out if they were taking extended lunches so they wouldn’t get in trouble. Their luck ran out when Charlotte got caught and admitted to the whole dirty scheme. They all got fired. As Charlotte likes to tell it, Bob got her fired from her first job. (Let’s just say she does not have the personal wishy-washy feelings I do. She hates him through and through.)
On a day I was visiting, his parents came home earlier than expected. Freaked out, Bob decided it was best that he hide me by locking me in a room over the garage so he could try sneaking me out without them seeing. When they pulled up and got out of the car, right away they started asking who’s car that was in the driveway. And since I was curious as to what was going on, I went to look out the window. While his dad was grilling him about my car, he looked up and saw me, completely awestruck by (a) Bob had locked me in a room and (b) his parents actually did exist in human form. His dad marched upstairs and let me out. That was awkward. Very, very, awkward.
We tried dating then, however it didn’t last very long and soon after we broke up, he impregnated a 15 year old girl who already had one and now another on the way. His parents, always the ones to fly in and fuck everything up, felt the right thing for him to do was marry this girl, and marry he did. By 18, he was married with 2 kids to take care of. And our friendship, although still there, took a turn where I wasn’t interested in hanging out with a married man with kids.
When I was 19, I started working for a local financial institution and worked my way up very quickly to personal banker in less than a year. Bob came to me to open a checking account, and quickly started kiting checks. I was contacted by risk management of the situation and was told if I didn’t get the money back, I could be terminated for opening the account. Extremely pissed off, I did the only thing I could which I knew would render the desired results. I contacted his mother and told her if Bob didn’t pay the deficiency in the account, the bank would look to press charges. Always the sucker for her delinquent son, his mom wrote me a check for the deficiency, which I applied to the account and closed. I was so pissed he would take advantage of me in that way, and I ended our friendship at that time. If only I would have held on to those pissed off feelings for what waited down the road of life for us.
End of Tape A. For next week, Tape B. And believe me, this titanic also had a shortage of lifejackets.