A series of ex’s and the debacles, er, relationships which helped shape my deranged look on life.
The Ghost a.k.a. The Good Doctor a.k.a The One I Married
(read Chapter One here)
My skin is persistently damp and permeated with the divine aromas of enchilada’s, smoky fajitas, tangy fresh limes, and salt. I catch a buzz off the lively throngs of folks who descend daily on Baton Rouge’s favorite Mexican restaurant; they come to divulge in the best margaritas and food, to listen to local live bands; this place is a breeze to work in. My only worry is to ensure I keep the servers content with how I seat their customers. A coveted job handed to me by one of the managers while I sat at the bar for the first time a week prior, it was flattering he sought me out and wanted me up front of one of the busiest places in town.
The Ghost materializes next to me.
He is handing me menu’s and I’m taking them from unknown hands, but he holds the menus for a half second so I look up. I’m frozen, his mega-watt smile lights up his eyes and sends a shock of WHADAFUCK to my heart. Are the words coming out of my mouth coherent? I remember to breathe as he walks away, my eyes track him as he heads to the bar. Holy hell, he works here. He is twenty feet away from me, this man who in five seconds has made me feel… amazing, more beautiful than I ever have in my 22 years. The Ghost walks me to my car at the end of each of my shifts. My southern gentleman. I write notes on restaurant napkins, “You’re so cool.” We go dancing. We kiss. Then we never let go.
I thought the sun rose and set with The Ghost. My family agreed. We were enamored of him. We put him on a pedestal. He was brilliant, witty, and everyone could see how much he adored me. A man who wanted to become a doctor wanted crazy, fucked up me? It was beyond any of us why. But he did.
I knew him as the student, the bartender, the guy who seemed to have his life in order. It was hard for me to think of him as a to-be doctor. Despite his brilliance he struggled with getting into medical school. This only perpetuated my hesitancy to see him as such. It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to succeed. It was the nagging thought I wasn’t good enough to be with this man. Perhaps it was foreshadowing. Or self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way I ended up being swallowed by my fears.
We were passionate, loving, fun, hard-working. We dated a respectable 2 years before he proposed to me on a beach in Mississippi. We worked our asses off to pay for the big wedding he dreamed of and the honeymoon I dreamed of. A year later we bought a house closer to New Orleans with hopes he would be accepted into the LSU School of Medicine program. We each worked two jobs and I took classes online when I could. We had totally different schedules and we rarely saw each other during that year.
One year in the most perfect start-up house, in the most perfect artsy small town. Then that fucking Katrina came along. I find it easy to place that bitch as the scapegoat for all that went wrong.
Me and the Ghost, our four dogs, rabbit, hamster, plus three puppies from the animal shelter I worked at stayed with his family who lived in a small town outside Lafayette during the mayhem. Stressful? No shit. A continuous deluge of news reported the devastation and horrors of humanity, not knowing if our town let alone our house still existed, I lived with a family who had a weird stilted dynamic, not to mention they didn’t like animals or drinking…yeah, a tad stressful. I tried to talk to my family, who lived 800 miles away, as often as the phone service let me. But I had nine animals to personally tend to and I continued to write stories. I was focused and strong. Then the Ghost found out he got into medical school, on an island in the freaking Caribbean of all places, effective the next semester. We put our house on the market. It sold within 2 weeks.
The hurricane was a nail head sticking from the framework of our carefully planned life; it snagged us and began the unraveling process. Within the month of October we packed up our lovely home, decided he would go to school for a semester and scout places to live on the island, and I would move back to the Midwest. There was no way I was going to stay in the south alone, in the midst of chaos, two hours from his family and twelve hours from mine.
Living part time on an island in the Caribbean – dream come true, right? The Ghost and I had our moments for sure. We were the golden couple. But I was sick. And without him physically by my side much of the following two years my mental state declined quickly. It isn’t normal to sit on a beautiful unpopulated beach, gaze out at the ocean, and think, “I could just swim out. Let the tide take me. Be swallowed by the waves.” There was a cliff on Maho beach I stared at with yearning; I could jump into the ocean from there and be slammed against the rocks below. It would look like an accident.
God, I loved my husband though. I loved him beyond anything I can describe. He deserved better than a fucked up wife. He deserved a beautiful, intelligent, non-crazy wife. I tried so hard at being perfect. I dropped weight, I studied hard, I wrote, I fostered dogs, I volunteered, and I worked. I went to his med school functions and maintained a shroud of perfection. His classmates would come up to me and say with envy how amazing a couple we were, how our dedication to each other was an inspiration. I smiled and laughed at the right times, I engaged in conversations, I befriended his friends. I drank a lot to get through those events, lucky for me I was with people who, when they had time off from studies, wanted nothing more than to get ridiculously drunk and have fun.
My husband was never mean to me; he always told me I was beautiful, remarkable, creative, and smart. When he introduced me to people they acted like they already knew me he spoke of me so highly, so often. He was my best friend.
There was another voice, one much louder and persistent than the Ghost’s. It was the voice that curled up with me at night when I was alone in the Midwest; it whispered on the island breeze among beautiful bikini clad women, it tapped me on the shoulder when anything seemed to be going my way. Poems published? Not good enough. Ranked in writing competitions? So what. Dropped 20 pounds? No one cares, you’re still fat.
I just wanted to silence that voice forever.
The Ghost moved back to the states after he completed his first two years of medical school. He would study for exams and begin clinicals the next semester. He moved into our pseudo house. Only not all of him came “home”. And not all of me welcomed him.
Next in this series, Chapter Two: The Ghost a.k.a. The Good Doctor Part II