I took a lot of wrong roads to get me to where I am today. I must've made the right turn at some point ... because I'm with someone who makes me smile every day ... someone I love with all my heart and soul. I wish I could go back and change some of the stupid decisions I made. But if those decisions brought me to the man who kisses me every morning ... and loves me, despite my innumerable flaws? Then I'll take those bad decisions ... because they got me here.
So, in the spirit of Mike Judge's "Tales from Tour Bus" ... I give you ...
Tales from ThirtyWhat - Episode One: Why Didn't I Drive Myself???
In my early 20's, I dated a man who was older than me. Not crazy older ... eight years, I think? Maybe ten. Who knows ... and it doesn't really matter. For some weird reason, I decided this was the guy. Maybe because he was older? I don't know. We make stupid decisions when we're young.
I excused so much bad behavior ... because he was the guy. His mom loved me ... I mean she loved me. She'd call me and ask for Christmas present suggestions ... always ask him to bring me down with him when he came to visit ... requests that, in retrospect, must've really pissed him off.
There were numerous red flags that I willfully ignored. Mind games that were outright cruel.
For instance, he asked me to look at houses with him. This baffled me. Our relationship was on again/off again ... him breaking it off every few months whenever he said it felt we were "getting too serious." So I was, understandably, confused at this invitation. I asked him, "Why would you bring me along? Why ask my opinion?" He casually said, "Shouldn't you should have a say in where you're going to live." Cue starry eyes. I believed him. What can I say? I'm an idiot.
We easily toured at least a dozen properties ... and finally found one that clicked. A big two story home in a neighborhood close to the park we always walked in. It had so much natural woodwork and a big old-fashioned kitchen. It even had a pool with a gorgeous deck. He said something along the lines of, "I can see you here." I believed him. What can I say? I really am an idiot.
But within a few days, hell, maybe within a few hours, he was backing off once again ... acting distant. Our phone calls became less frequent ... our walks in the park sporadic. I knew he was still talking to the realtor, so I finally told him on the phone, "Do me a favor. Don't buy that house." When he asked why, I said, "Because that's my house ... and if I'm not going to be in that house with you, I don't want you to get it." He quietly said, "You're right ... that is your house."
Not only did he not buy it, he immediately stopped looking at houses all together.
Now, a normal, sane person would look at the situation, recognize the enormous statement this made and say fuck this shit.
Why start now ... when there was a hundred different times I should've said fuck this.
Like when he offered to buy me a whole new wardrobe if I lost weight. Or when he took his sister on a vacation to the Bahamas and when I asked why he didn't ask me to go, his answer was, "I didn't think you'd feel comfortable on a beach."
But the straw that broke the camel's back was a trip to a music festival up in Milwaukee. We met three of his friends in Chicago and drove up to the festival for the weekend. It should've been so much fun. Instead, he drank non-stop until he heckled Rob Schneider, threw up uncontrollably, and blacked out naked in the hotel bathroom. We were sharing a room with his best friend, Mark. Mark looked at me sadly and said, "I love him like a brother ... but you deserve better than this."
And he was right.
The next morning, I went to the roof of the hotel and sat by the pool studying for a class I was taking. He came up a couple hours later and apologized ... profusely. I told him I was taking a train back to Illinois ... and that we were done. He said he understood ... but that he would drive me home. Couldn't I just spend one more day with him there? I think his exact words were, "Don't embarrass me in front of my friends." Even then, I remember thinking, "Passing out naked in front of the toilet ... so that Mark had to straddle you to piss? That wasn't embarrassing?"
But instead I said alright ... and I spent an awkward day with the guys, walking around the glorious city of Milwaukee, and continually asking myself ... why didn't I drive myself?"
And I wouldn't change a thing
I'd walk right back through the rain
Back to every broken heart
On the day that it was breaking
And I'd relive all the years
And be thankful for the tears
I've cried with every stumbled step
That led to you and got me here
Rascal Flats - Here