It is said there is someone for everyone, when it comes to love. With the divorce rate being what it is, I guess that most people believe there are several someone’s for everyone. Whatever the case, most will agree that getting over your first love is the hardest. I don’t think that I ever did.
I’m just about 52, and I’ve never been married. I’ve gotten close a couple of times with an engagement, but never followed through. There are things that shape us and our beliefs and our feelings about love. One big factor in my youth was my parents divorcing when I was thirteen. I didn’t see it coming, because they never argued, or even raised their voices. I can remember only one time a couple of years before they divorced they had heated words with slightly raised voices. When it did happen, I was devastated. School counselors tried to help, but they aren’t really equipped for that sort of thing, or at least the ones available to me didn’t know how to reach me. This happened in the late sixties, and even at that young age, I started self-medicating with the popular drugs of that era, but primarily marijuana. I’m not going into much more detail about how hard it was to deal with, but I did make myself a solemn promise that I’d never put a child through that. I would wait until I found someone I felt would work through any problem in life, and not resort to divorce.
I wasn’t much of a ladies man in junior high and high school. I had a couple of crushes and a few dates, but not near as much as they guys on the football team. I was more of the artist, musician, hippie type than a jock. In northern Mississippi, that probably isn’t the most popular social group to belong to. Even after high school, I felt awkward with the ladies. I refined my approach, woo and seduction techniques, but was pretty much of a player and looking only for the night’s company. Most of my prey was found in the bars, and you might be surprised to find that drunks and alcoholics hang out in bars. I was trying to find a diamond in the rough, but usually ended up with a crush on the bartender. They were sober and had a reason to be there other than getting drunk. I spent a lot of time and money at the bars, but luckily enough I didn’t succumb to alcoholism. I think I saw too much of it in both guys and girls around me, that I was turned off by the binge drinking.
I had been praying most of my teenage life to find the one person meant for me. I really wanted to find true love and start a family. One day on my walk into high school about a mile and a half away, I drifted off into a dream or vision. I was looking at a blonde woman as we were about to enter an amusement haunted house. As we approached the ticket window, I looked up to see a two story building done somewhat like a castle with paintings in the upper windows of people screaming. They looked something like the album cover of In the Court of the Crimson King, by a group called King Crimson. An internet search will supply you with the image if you are curious enough. The woman was pretty, but not exactly what I had expected. She was a little taller than me, and though not fat, she wasn’t skinny either, she just had a large build. I looked at her face again and saw the softness and beauty and felt comfortable that I could grow old seeing that face. Inside the haunted house it seemed to go on forever, with room after room of various scenes of horror. Toward the end you had to enter a hole that led to a spiraling slide you went down face first in the dark to a pile of pillows. This emptied out into a gift shop. I came out of the vision walking down the hall of high school toward my first class. I was in awe. I had quite a bit of experience with the paranormal, but never a vision so detailed and all encompassing. I saw nothing other than the action in the vision. I don’t know how I walked, opened the door at school, or anything else in the real world, when I was so totally immersed. Even 35 years later, I can clearly remember the overwhelming experience of the event. I only have had one other vision like that in my life. It was of my death in a car crash at a place I recognized, with people I recognized, at a time in the future. I never went back to the location of the crash or ever spoke with the people in that vision again. My death did not come to pass in that way, and some of the details are so different, that I feel sure that it will never happen. The vision of the woman at the haunted house that I thought would become my wife and partner for life, didn’t work out that way, but read on to see what did happen.
After high school, I lived and worked in Detroit, Memphis, Orlando, Atlanta, and ended up moving back to the town of my birth, Daytona Beach when I was around 19. I had not thought about that vision of 3 or 4 years prior for a long time. One of the attractions in Daytona is called the Boardwalk. Many cities have them. This one was like most with arcade rooms, a pier, cotton candy, ferris wheels and bumper cars. As a child I had loved it, and as an adult, it was a nice place for a date, other than the bars. I’d go down there several times a year, and one day when I rounded the corner to the main street behind the boardwalk, I saw the exact building of my vision. I was dumbstruck and speechless. I had frozen mid-stride in the street and didn’t move until a driver laid into their car horn in frustration. I was 21 or 22 at the time, and the vision came flooding back. I could not remember a photographically clear picture of the girl, but I did remember most of everything we went through within the house. I remembered the basics of the woman’s face, height and build.
Each date I went on thereafter, I tried to take to the haunted house. Even if they were far from the physical picture in my mind of the tall blonde, I still tried to go. Every single time I tried, either the amusement was closed, or the girl I was dating refused to go. That was the case until I was 23 and met Robin. We’ll leave the rest of her name to mystery. If she ever reads this, she’ll recognize the story.
I was still playing acoustic guitar and writing songs on a regular basis. A friend of mine by the name of Billy Pitts and I played ever since I came back to Daytona. We had decided to try and find a female lead singer, and maybe do a few local gigs. If one of our folk style songs hit it big, so much the better. He brought me over to a girl and her roommate’s house, telling me they were gay, but could really sing. When we got there and played for hours upon end, talking during breaks, and so on, I was not getting signals from a woman who was gay. Or at least she was interested in both sexes. I recognized her from the vision, but was looking for more proof. She was 5′ 11″ and I was 5′ 10″ so even the dimensions were correct. Still I needed more. I had told her nothing of the vision, the haunted house, or anything to do with the paranormal. On our first date, we went to the attraction and this time it was open. As we were at the ticket window, she looked up and smiled the exact same smile from the vision. The adrenaline was so high that I was walking on air. It was kismet. It was the culmination of years of prayer and waiting. The inside of the house was exactly as in the dream, and ended up opening into a gift shop at the bottom of the circular slide.
We started spending a lot of time together, and very quickly things advanced to higher levels. On top of all the things I had seen, and now was feeling, we just fit. Our interest in music and books was so similar that we counted over fifty sets of trilogies that she would have one or two of the books and I had the other, or me with two and her with one. The same was true of our music collection. I’d have some albums by an artist or group and she’d have the others. It was so apparent that we were the other half of each other.
I was staying with my grandmother at the time, and she had gone for the week. Robin came and stayed the weekend with me and things moved on to the next level physically. I took her back to her place before my grandmother came back because she had to be at work on Monday. I had been given orders to not have any parties while my grandmother was gone, but I didn’t consider one person a party. Anyway, the long and short of it was that I was kicked out. I think it had to do with our sleeping in her king size bed more than anything. A day or two later she regretted her actions and wanted me to move back in, but I had already loaded my car up and spent a couple of days sleeping on the beach, and I worked the midnight shift. Robin started having me stay with her, and we shared a single bed. Two big people on a single bed, you better get along well. After two weeks, her two roommates felt I should move or start helping on the rent. Robin and I decided to get a place of our own, and leased a two bedroom house for a year.
It was heaven. It was the first time I had lived with a woman for more than a few days. She taught me all about love. She was eleven months to the day older than I, and I relished calling her my “old lady.” She was my first love. Robin had been married for a couple of years, but never bothered to get a divorce. After about five or six months, I asked her to marry me and she accepted. We paid a lawyer to do the divorce, and after receiving our money, he came up with a bunch of additional fees we couldn’t afford at the time. I won’t bore you with all the details and stories of happy events, other than to say we would do anything to make the other persons dreams, hopes, and fantasies come true. Even if it involved sex in semi-public places, or even a third party. I could never imagine her not being in my life. Especially after all the ways came to light in how we completed each other. My grandmother had to sort of eat humble pie, because I chose Robin over her. She’d accepted an invitation for dinner, but did not make a real effort to accept Robin. Over the coming years, she would offer help, but with strings. Most of those were meant to give her control over us, and the relationship between Robin and her never grew any better.
For the most part I worked the graveyard shift as a night auditor in hotels along the beach. I ended up teaching her the front desk clerk work and she started working in the hotels and motels as well, since it paid more than what she had made before. Neither of us were really moving ahead in life. We got by okay, but never were making enough money to save any. It was paycheck to paycheck as many people still live today. Over the next three years, we lived in various places of varying luxury. We were in a cute little house towards the end of that time, that we had to move out of, because of eminent domain. The city was taking the land to build a convention center. We hated to give up the place, but had decided that one of us needed to get some more education if we intended to do better in life. My mother and her husband offered us a place to stay while I went to college, and my father was going to help with tuition. So we packed up and moved to a rural area of North Carolina. The place we were living was a travel trailer on my stepfather’s five acres of land that was at a ninety degree angle to their regular mobile home.
We got there in summer, and the next semester didn’t start until fall. I wanted to study computer science. Robin was able to find a job pretty quickly as a bartender at the Hang ’em High Saloon. There was only one motel of any size and it was a Holiday Inn. With my comprehensive background, I thought I was a shoe in there, but the manager felt I was over-qualified. The only position he had open at the time was a groundskeeper, and I would have gladly taken it, but that was not to be. Robin didn’t really have a problem being the only breadwinner. Our overhead was very low, and it didn’t take much to get by. The problem arose in the difference of religions. Robin had been interested in Wicca, but wasn’t a practicing Wiccan. My stepfather was Mormon and my mother was Southern Baptist. My mom really tried to accept her, but her husband became openly hostile to her. It was to the point she wasn’t welcome in their trailer less than 100 feet from ours.
I failed to mention he was a disabled veteran, and retired gunnery Sergeant from the Marines. The closest city is one of the primary boot camps for the Marines. As a bartender, which was a job she had never had before, she got more attention that she ever had in her life. Add this to a bunch of desperate marines at boot camp, and you might imagine the level they’d go to impress her. Eventually the bad environment at home, compared to the bright lights and attention at the bar proved too much for her to resist. She started getting home later and later in the morning after the bar closed. Sometimes quite drunk. It wasn’t much more than three months after we had moved there, that she decided to leave. I was devastated.
I kept going to the bar and putting myself through hell when I had any money, and often sat for hours outside watching when I didn’t. Eventually she asked the owners to bar me from the establishment. She was staying at a couples type of housing on the marine base, so that was totally unavailable to me. There was a crew of marines, their wives and girlfriends that hung out together. She became part of that group, and around a week after leaving came back to get her stuff. She asked about whether she could have this or that, and I just told her to take everything. None of it mattered without her. Somehow through all the hurt, she made a half-hearted attempt to stab me. I took the knife away easily, but never understood why she would want to stab me, since it was her who was leaving. Shortly thereafter Robin and the usual gang was at the Hang ’em High Saloon, when one of the drunk guys stuck his head in the decorative noose and pretended to die. They’d dragged him back down to the seat and let him pass out. That evening at closing, they had to help him out to the car. Once home, they decided to let him sleep it off, rather than drag him in the house to puke up everywhere. When they went back out the next morning it turns out he was dead. It also turns out that he was the person in the group Robin had started sleeping with. A day or so later, the police charged her with murder, because she was the bartender on duty. They also charged the owner of the bar for having a noose in his establishment. The charges were dropped shortly thereafter, but I watched all this unfold in the newspapers.
I went through some sort of nervous breakdown and lost touch with reality for a while. As I started to come back to my senses, I realized I had to get out of that area or I was going to die. So I ended up moving back to Daytona Beach. I never heard a word from her for five years. When I did, she invited me up to Georgia to see her. She had two boys at the time. Before going up there to see her, I explained it would be hard for me to ever trust her again. For the five years we had been apart, I never got seriously involved with anyone. She said something to the effect of hoping that she hadn’t ruined my life or ability to love. I did go, and stay for a few days. She was on welfare and attending electronics courses. It was good to see her, but it didn’t feel the same. She had put me on a pedestal and apparently been talking to her friends about me in ways I didn’t think I could ever live up to. All in all, it just didn’t feel right anymore. I called a couple of times after that, but there was no connection in our conversations or lives at that point. I heard from her one more time after that by phone five years later. She was back into Wicca, and I didn’t even want to go see her this time around. Not that I think Wicca is horrible or evil, but it does have some darker aspects to it.
The first year we were together in the two bedroom house in Daytona, shortly after I had asked her to marry me, she had gotten pregnant. We talked it over, and decided that we weren’t in a secure enough place in our lives to start a family. Besides, we would have the rest of our lives to do that. So by mutual agreement, she had an abortion. That is the closest I have ever come to having a family. Someone to carry on the family name, because I am the only son of an only son. My name and bloodline die with me. I don’t think that abortion is wrong and should be outlawed. I do think that the decision I made with her to abort the child is one of the few decisions in my life that I regret.