....has now occurred. And it's a doozy.
I actually started to write this post while it was going on. I was in a tailspin and came here to think it out. When I get upset, my hands and fingers go cold. They were freezing when I started writing, when the first disaster happened.
It started with Ranger's ex-wife. She got mad and wrote him an email, letting him have it for a lot of things. I was sitting there when he opened it. He uses his big HD screen as his monitor. His computer is integrated with his entertainment system. So, he sees it, the preview pane shows part of it, and my eyes come to rest on a particular sentence before he closed it.
"I know you slept with my friend Barb when we were first married...."
Okay, he's told me the story several times about how Barb hit on him, but he refused her and told his wife what her friend had done. So, this sentence stuck in my craw a bit.
Later, he told me he'd gone back and read the whole email. He was mad about it and read excerpts to me. One of them was that same sentence, but he changed it. He said, "And get this. She writes, 'I believe you slept with my friend Barb when we were first married....'"
I said, "Isn't that the same one you told me hit on you, but you said no?"
"Yes, the same one. I even told my ex about it and she got mad at me and didn't believe me."
Okay, so I checked the story again. But why would he change that sentence? I was sure that in the email she made a statement and didn't say "I believe you did this." I tucked it in my brain.
See, dear Diary, Ranger and I have had many discussions about my trust issues. Old BF lied about so many things, and it was when I caught him in a fudge that I'd find the rest of the iceberg. Ranger has reassured me so many times that he's an open book, that he'll always be honest with me. I've fallen into a very comfortable trust with him. My fears of something hidden have been going away, at least with him.
Anyhow, so Ranger got mad at his ex and responded to her email. He called and told me last night about his response. He answered line for line, disputing all of the fabrications and insults that were in it. He pointed out where she wasn't taking responsibility for the pain she caused him. He told her he was happy now. And he told her that enough was enough, that they needed to communicate in email only unless it was an emergency.
"I really stood up for myself," he told me. "You'd be so proud of me! I didn't let her get away with the stuff she usually does."
So, he sent it and his phone started ringing at 4:30 AM. And kept ringing. She's not leaving voicemails. "Oh, she's pissed!" he said. "But I told her email only, so I hope it's not an emergency!" I said she would have left a voicemail for that.
Later, I'm sitting at my desk, thinking about how he finally told her where she could stick it with this stuff. I understood that he also mentioned us. I was curious. So what did I do?
The thing I should know better than to do. I used the password information he gave me. He knew Old BF did this to prove his trustworthiness to me, so Ranger said, "But I mean it, where he didn't. I want you to go look whenever you want, so you know exactly what's going on, at any time. I'm completely open to you."
Why do guys do this? And why do I use it? It always bites both of us in the ass.
So, I read his message to her. Stupid, stupid Blogget.
He did change that statement she made when he read it to me. Why? Because he actually did sleep with her friend Barb. He admitted it in the response to her. No flirting then turning her away. He actually slept with her.
Why did he lie to me about it? I chased that around in my head for awhile. I kept coming up with the same thing. He lied to me. My extremities went cold. My chest hurt.
See, it's not the fact that he cheated once, twenty years ago, that bugs me. I won't judge that because I know I was a different person, in a different situation, twenty years ago. It's the lying to me about it that chaps my hide. Well, it does more than that. It hurts me. And it hits at all those bad feelings from Old BF -- all the lies I found out about by accident.
I texted him because he can't talk on the phone during the day. I told him that I knew, and how I felt. It took five texts, but I told him.
Soon, my phone rang. He heard my voice and said, "What's wrong, baby?"
"You haven't seen your texts," I said, the tears were spilling over already.
"No, I'm on the work phone. My cell is in the car. What is it, babe?"
I took a long, shaky breath. I told him I'd used the password and why. "I know about Barb," I said. "Why did you lie?"
He was quiet for a moment. When he spoke again, his voice was low and shaky, too. "I suppose in that respect, I haven't been honest with you," he said. "I have a customer. I have to go." And he hung up.
About two hours later, I get a text. It's Ranger, in a "Text to All." It says, "I'll be out of Grand Junction by tomorrow night."
WTF?!?! You can imagine that hit me hard on several levels. I don't get a reply to just me. I get a "text to all." And with no discussion about this, he's just leaving. Leaving.
I texted back. "Why?" Nothing.
I called. Nothing. I was getting panicked and furious. I called his work number. He answered, and I could hear the strain in his voice.
"Why?" I said. "Do you really care about me so much that I get a blanket text to everyone, telling us all that you're leaving me?"
"It's better that way," he said. This pissed me off even more. I looked at the clock. Nearly lunchtime. I could hear voices in the background. "Can I talk to you later?" he asked.
Then, I made a mistake. "Okay, but I'm headed your way," I said.
"I'll talk to you later," he said again and hung up.
See, my mistake was alerting him I was going there. When I got to the shop, his car was gone. I called his cell. "You're running from me?" I asked.
"You just need to forget about me," he said. "All I do is fuck things up, and you're better off without me." Sound familiar? That was his reaction when the child support thing happened. It pissed me off then and now. Why? Because who the hell does he think he is to tell me what's best for my life?
And I told him so.
"I just fuck things up," he said again.
"You haven't fucked it up yet," I said. "But if you want to keep running from me, you will. Yeah, I'm hurt that you didn't tell me the truth, but it's more hurtful that you won't even talk to me about it, that your first impulse is to run from me."
I heard dogs in the background. He was at home. I thought so...I'd already headed in that direction. What I feared was that he'd gather up his essentials and run to the middle of nowhere, where no one can find him. He knows how.
"I didn't tell you the truth when we first talked about it because I wanted to have a chance with you. You're great and I didn't want to lose you. Each time I've told the truth to someone else, they stop talking to me." He took a deep breath. "The thing is, I've been wanting to tell you the truth, but can't figure out how. It's really been on my mind. But that doesn't matter now. I should have known this would happen."
"What would happen?"
"That you'd find out I cheated before and be mad at me, like you are."
"No, that's not the case," I said. "I'm not upset that you slept with her. I'm upset that you didn't tell me the truth."
But he wasn't listening. He kept repeating that I was judging what he'd done. "I'm ashamed of it as it is, and no one will let me forget it." So, I repeated myself. Several times.
Then something dreadful happened. He dropped his phone. It smashed to bits, apparently. All I heard was "oh shit," and the phone went dead. I called. And called. As I drove as quickly as I could in the direction of his house. I watched the oncoming traffic for his car.
My phone rang. He was yelling. "IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, I DROPPED MY PHONE. I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING FROM IT."
Crap. Crappity crap crap.
To get to Ranger's street, you have to make a u-turn at a bigger intersection, a block past his street. There's a small hill there, and when you're at the light, you can't see his street. I swear that light has never taken so long. I watched in my mirror to see if he left his street, but I couldn't see over that damn hill. I thought I saw a flash the same color as his car, but I couldn't be sure.
I whipped the u-turn and started down the street. No Ranger car. He'd gone again. That must have been his car I saw. Crap. Again.
But I had an idea of where he'd go next. His camping gear was in his storage building. So, I headed that direction. I kept calling his number while driving. I was hoping he would remember to try his Bluetooth headset, which might solve the problem of not being able to hear through his phone.
About a block from the storage place, he finally answered and said, "Hello?"
"Can you hear me?"
"Yes," he said. "I can hear you."
"Where are you?"
He paused. He was considering not telling me. "I'm at my storage." I was relieved. I didn't tell him I was almost there. I could hear him shuffling things.
"What are you doing?"
"Looking for something."
Pause. "Just something."
"Why won't you talk to me?" I asked, again.
"Because it won't help," he said. "You know what I've done and you won't want to be with me, either."
"You know," I said. "I'm about sick of being lumped in with everyone else you've dated. I mean, do you really not know me at all? Does that really sound like me? And have you not heard anything I've said?" I repeated myself. "I'm hurt that you lied to me. I'm not hurt because you cheated one time, twenty years ago. And I'm getting more hurt by the minute because you just want to leave and not even try."
The damn gate was closed and locked. I didn't know the code. I pulled over and parked near the gate, but out of the way.
"I should have fucking known this would fucking happen," he said. "It happens every fucking time." And he hung up. I knew what he was doing. He'd told me this before, about his ex. He would start cursing when he wanted her to shut up because the "f-word" pushed her beyond mad. He was trying the same with me, but I'm a different breed of cat. I don't back down easily. I don't give up without one hell of a fight.
I knew what to say because it was tearing a hole in my heart.
I called him back. He answered. "I'll say it one more time," I said. "I am not 'every fucking time.' I'm me. But I guess that's nothing special to you."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I'm the one doing all the fighting for us here. You're running away. You're leaving. I'm just not worth fighting for, am I? Nothing special."
"Don't say that," he said. I could tell he was crying. "You're everything special. You're worth it."
"Then why aren't you fighting for me?" A truck pulled up and entered the gate code. The gate stayed open extra long, and I was able to drive in. A couple of rows back, I spotted Ranger's car beside an open unit door.
"Everyone else just lost interest in me when they found out I screwed up," he said. "I'll just go and save us both the hurt."
"You're hurting me more with what you're doing right now, abandoning me," I said.
Pause. "I see you're here," he said and hung up, as I got out of my car.
I stood in the doorway and he sat on a crate. I saw what he'd been looking for. He was flicking a lighter and holding a pipe in one hand, stuffed full of pot. I saw the baggie beside him.
"Don't do that," I said. "It won't help anything. You need to think more clearly than you are, not less." He put it away.
So, we sat there in the storage building and had it out. He was stuck in the "this is best" and "all I do is fuck things up" rut, so I just kept saying he was proving that I wasn't worth fighting for. I hadn't been worth it to anyone else in the past. I told him he was supposed to be different, from all he'd said to me, but he was acting just like all the rest. I cried. A lot.
"Stop saying that!" he said, starting to cry as he watched me cry. "I told you that's not true! Why do you keep saying that?"
"Because saying it is easy," I said. "But what you're doing tells me something else. If I was worth fighting for, then you would. Instead, you're just leaving."
"No," he said, quietly. "I'm not."
Watching my pain was too much for him. It was cutting through the bullshit he was chasing around. He settled down. He found a seat for me. He held me until I stopped crying. He explained all about Barb and how it happened. He explained how ashamed he was and how he was reminded of it by his ex almost daily for 18 years. Then, her own infidelities (yes, plural) came to light.
He told me about the women he dated who dropped him as soon as they knew. When he met me, he wanted a clean slate. So, he didn't tell me. Then, I turned out to be the best thing that ever entered his life. He was stuck. There was a lie hanging out there and he needed to come clean. But how? He was scared I'd leave.
"I should have known better," he said. "You don't judge me. I could trust you with it. I'm so sorry I didn't. I never wanted to hurt you."
"You hurt me by how you handled this," I said. I started to cry again. "I'm scared now. I was the one fighting for us, not you. Ranger, I can't do that again. I don't have it in me to do the fighting for both of us."
He wiped my tears. "I know. I'm sorry. I'll never make you do that again."
"I have to know we're in this together," I said. "I have to know you won't walk away every time there's a problem. This is twice now that you tried to just walk away."
"I know, baby," he said. His eyes were intense, looking into mine. "I promise, I'll never push you away again. I'm just not used to this. I've never had someone try to fight for me, fight with me, and not against me. Fighting was always a way of belittling."
"That's not me," I said, emphatically. I completely resent being lumped in with....well, anyone else.
"I know," he said. "I realize that now. If I'd stopped and thought about it for a minute, I'd have known that in the first place."
We needed to get back to our respective jobs. He emptied the pipe and put it away. He made a scoffing noise. "Do you know how old this pot is?" he asked me, tossing the bad aside. "This is the same stuff I shared with Tony. That's the last time I got high."
That was about a year and a half ago, when he happened to meet Tony and spent an evening hanging out and getting stoned. If you watch cable much or are a "foodie," then you probably know who Tony is. He's a chef/writer who hosts a travel/food show. (I won't share his name here, in case someone Googles him and might arrive here. But if you're curious, I'll share in email.)
Ranger tried to make me laugh before we went separate ways. He took my water bottle and tried to dribble it on me. "No," I said. "I really gotta pee, and if you do that...." He laughed, and it was music to me.
"What are you doing tonight," he asked, holding onto me for a few moments before we had to leave.
"The air show starts tonight," I said. "We're going to watch the fireworks from our porch. I'd like it if you could come." He nodded and it was a date.
I'll blog more about how that went later. This one is long enough! But we came through this a different couple. We learned something. I'm still scared of how he handles crisis situations, but I've made that abundantly clear to him. That can't happen again.
I came really close to losing Ranger completely, and I didn't like it one bit. It scared the shit out of me, to be blunt. I haven't been scared like that in a long time.
The company he keeps
2 days ago