Chapter 8: A SOBERING illumination
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
I started planning our wedding instantly… My family was supportive but also uncomfortable. They knew I was his side piece for months and felt like that was a red flag. But they let me be happy and they helped me plan. My mom found the most gorgeous Champagne and Gold dress for $400! We found a venue we were able to use for FREE! Things were coming together marvelously. Jake was on a Ballet Scholarship at school and his class load kept him pretty busy, so he entrusted all the preparations to me and said he would be happy with whatever I chose. I asked him to pick his wedding party and since we met dancing, that I wanted to do a choreographed routine for our wedding dance. When we had spare time we rehearsed with our Ballroom Coach, the AMAZING Tara Boyd, and fit in as much time as we could while he was rehearsing for the end of year showcase for his Ballet Company.
Ballet can be pretty romantic but it never really crosses a line. I knew, from my days of acting,
that you can have a completely platonic relationship that fools your audience and makes them question, and it was no different in dance… I never felt insecure, and in fact! I loved helping Jake and his partners push their chemistry to a more believable level. Part of the theatre gal and the director in me. It was different when they had guest choreographers. Rehearsals were closed and they didn’t have much practice outside of the closed rehearsals they scheduled. Jake had told me there was a very intense piece he had been assigned and that he had two partners to work with. The ladies would split the shows. It was a CONTEMPORARY piece which meant it was more contemporary than ballet but the women were going to be en pointe.
As rehearsals continued the direction of the piece got more heated and passionate. It was then mentioned their would be a very passionate kiss in the piece. I knew this was part of the dance world and as it made me slightly uncomfortable I felt comfort that he was not attracted to one partner and the other, who was gorgeous, was married already and had an adorable little girl. They were not going to practice the kiss until the week of the show so there was not any unnecessary connections. This show was shortly before our wedding. I spoke to “Shauna’s” husband and we discussed the awkward feelings we felt but that we felt comfort knowing they both were taken and committed to their significant others and we would push through it. “John” as we will call her husband, was much less understanding than I was but he also had issues with the choreographer who often hit on his wife, Shauna. He felt the choreographer was purposely antagonizing him personally by requiring Shauna to passionately kiss another man.
As we both watched the show and their dance…. we were unprepared… The chemistry of the dance was intense and the kiss….. It made me feel something deep in my heart that I didn’t like and felt very conflicted with. I caught John’s eye and we both gave an “uhhhh, that was more than I thought…” look. It was like a mini make out session… Not just a single passionate kiss. The way they held their breath and melted into one another was…. well. Sexy and..... steamy. It was
an incredible piece and if it wasn’t my fiancé doing the kissing- I would have been impressed with the performance and chemistry the two were able to produce platonically. It was Platonic, right? I was starting to wonder…
As the next couple months went on, I found us an apartment and I moved in a couple weeks before our wedding and we slowly started moving his stuff in to make the move easier. We spent a lot of time at our future place, getting it setup and deciding what we were going to do with decor and planning events and time with our friends. We held our luncheon the day before our wedding at our future home. We had invited the wedding party and our immediate families including grandparents. Some how word got out to more family and more people came… We were not prepared for that, but luckily the lady making our Native American Fry Bread (Jake is Native American), was like that scripture story where she made the ingredients stretch to feed everyone.
Jake and his mother were peeved, as was the chef. Rightfully so, it was unplanned and stressful. But we made it work… After the luncheon I left to my parents house for the night, and Jake was to stay at our apartment for his Bachelor Party. His wedding party left to get supplies for what was likely going to be a wild party. I won’t lie, I was a little sad at this point to not have any friends who cared enough to throw me a bachelorette party, and my maid of honor didn’t make any plans to celebrate. It was a very chill sitting at home sort of night. It ended up being for the best because I got a call from Jake at 1a.
His wedding party bailed on him. They had decided to stay at a friends house and get drunk rather than come provide his bachelor party as planned. Jake and his younger brother had been at our apartment waiting and not getting an answer… Finally someone responded and said they got a little drunk and weren’t going to be able to make it back to our apartment. He was hurt and frustrated. He was taking his brother home, and his car died… Like blew up died. Wouldn’t be fixable.. So, I jumped in my car and rescued them. I took them back to his parent’s house. Told him I loved him and that we would be just fine without being celebrated. That tomorrow we would be married and no one else mattered. Selfish or non existent friends weren’t going to ruin our happiness. It made us both feel a little better. I went home to rest. Tomorrow was a big day…. or TODAY was a big day.
The day of our wedding was a blur and kind of boring for me… No one would let me do anything… This was hard for me.. I am a planner and a perfectionist and I was back then too. But I left everything to everyone else hoping and praying it was all together the way I had envisioned… Well a few things went wrong… My garter was missing, my cake cutting tools were MIA… BUT Jake was there, all his idiot wedding party were there. My daddy walked me down the aisle in his formal Naval Uniform (which by the way is so handsome!), I had wished for a better facial reaction from Jake, but his smile was enough. I married my best friend. Photos took forever, but I’m thankful to have them now.
I tied a ribbon around my thigh in place of a garter, which barely worked. My mother was so protective of my dress she draped me with a cloth and that was great, but less fun. I forgot the majority of our choreography for our wedding dance and my cardigan for my outfit out of my wedding dress was missing, so I was wearing a tank top and so uncomfortable… None of his friends planned to decorate our car or do anything for a send off, but luckily a few of my dear old friends attended our wedding and took cupcakes to mess up the car a little. As we left in a boring fashion we stopped at Panda Express for some food, went to our apartment for the first time as husband and wife- he carried me over the threshold and we celebrated our wedding with our first intimate entanglement as a married couple.
We brought in our wedding presents and opened them together. Jake opened and I made notes for our thank you cards. I will never forget the way Jake said “These were awesome…. Can we get married again?” HA! He was silly and fun. He crawled over the gifts to kiss me and we started our life. The next morning was Easter and the day we would leave for our honeymoon/staycation in Logan, UT. I had an easter egg hunt planned and an easter basket for him. We left for our honeymoon and had an amazing and fun time at the Anniversary Inn for a long weekend. Life continued. I worked at the University we both attended, Jake was on Summer vacation and enjoying the motorcycle he had purchased as his new vehicle (remember that his died the night before our wedding?). We held a Taco Night every Sunday for all of Jake’s friends and we would watch movies, play video games and eventually beer pong started to happen… This was not my favorite activity for many reasons. Jake was 20 (I was 21), some of his friends were 21 but not all of them, beer stinks, and I had to babysit a bunch of drunk boys. But I was trying to be the cool wife and not rock the boat so I didn’t say no, but I was clear that it wasn’t my favorite….
One day while I was at work, I got a phone call from Jake. I answered. My heart dropped… There had been an accident. Jake had been riding his motorcycle to come visit me at work and he had to swerve out of the way when a lady in a minivan darted into his lane (he had the right of way), and in his swerve- he hit the corner of a bumper on the car in front of him… he laid the bike down on top of himself and slid across 3 lanes of traffic. Thankfully he had not been hit or run over by any of the cars behind him… He had been wearing shorts, a tank top, tennis shoes and his helmet… I thank God he had his helmet on EVERY day.
When I got to the accident site, I could finally breathe. I could see him. He was sitting up, refusing an ambulance ride, and had some gnarly scrapes, burns and gashes… I feared he had been drinking, but thankfully he wasn't stupid enough to drink and drive. I had called his mother and she met me at the hospital after I drove him to the ER. There were still things I didn’t know about my new husband, even though I had been with him for 3 1/2 years.... His blood type, if he had any allergies to medications… I didn’t know… But thankfully his mother did. She was able to fill in the blanks and good thing too! He was allergic to penicillin. I never would have known and he didn’t know for sure. We both scolded him for his minimal clothing but thanked him for having the smarts to wear his helmet... He never wore such little clothing to ride a motorcycle ever again.
Thankfully to this day he only has a scar from his 21 stitches and a scar from his burn the shape of Africa, about the size of his palm. He was not able to walk around for a while and this was really hard for him. He was a dancer and athletic, yet he was not allowed to do more than use crutches to go to the bathroom, or get some food. He started to get really depressed and I worried.... I still had to work, so while I was at work all day, he would watch tv and drink beers and other alcohol we had in the house… His drinking started to get excessive and pretty disgusting. He could down a 30 case by himself in a night. As he would spend a lot of time drunk, he shared a lot of things…
I didn’t need to know or want to know his deep secret… But he told me anyway. He had developed feelings for Shauna… and this wasn’t new… He had developed feelings for her while they were rehearsing that dance they did months ago… But he didn’t say anything or act on it because she is married and we were getting married. Ouch. For those who haven’t heard the honest confessions from a drunk friend, family member or spouse… it's unfiltered, unforgiving and blunt. To hear his memory of how her body felt against his while they danced and the way her lips felt…. cut me to the core…. I felt second rate and I had only been married for 2 months or so… I took solace that she WAS married and didn’t reciprocate his feelings.. At least I prayed she didn’t, but of course how could I be sure? I spent every possible moment trying to distract him from her… I was overly sexual when we were alone and since my pre marriage checkups indicated my folded ovary would prove childbearing a difficult process I was not using protection nor did I care when or how often. I let his drunk and idiotic friends be over more often to keep his mind off of her. When the drinking threatened to bring her up, I pretended to have gotten drunk after dumping bottles of alcohol down the drain so he couldn’t drink it and talk about her….
It was unhealthy and worrisome, but I was scared to lose him again, and I had just gotten him to be mine… for real and forever. I was not going to lose him, especially to someone who he couldn’t have. I was trying to allow him to live the life he wanted… But this was hard to… if he drank too much he was not respectful of my sexual boundaries and tried to push them… If I refused he would get annoyed… I felt uncomfortable and worried of what might happen while he was drunk, and made the hard but necessary decision that I would not have sex with him if he had been drinking… When he was sober he understood and respected this… when he was drunk, he was annoyed and snarky. But he never forced me to do anything
Now this chapter isn’t to say our marriage was bad. He was still my amazing "white knight" in my mind, and he treated me well. But alcohol is a devil and it changed him as it changes many people. I would have the occasional drink, but I don’t really have the pallet for it. I’ve never liked it enough to shoot a straight shot, and I could never finish a mixed drink after the alcohol had settled to the bottom of the glass. But Jake could drink his weight. It got more annoying when he would join the parties upstairs… I stayed home, I had no desire to go up there and participate in beer pong, drunk slutty girls, slobbering slurring men… In fact I had enough and was ready to look for anew place to live… Something came available in our price range… but there was a catch… It was Shauna’s old place… She and John had bought their first house and were able to get us their cheap rental rate which was less than we were paying now to live in what felt like a frat house. I really liked Shauna and John, so I was willing to take the opportunity. Shauna and Jake would have to dance together the following semester on the ballet company, so I would need to learn to deal with interactions and Jake would have to handle his feelings. We prepped to move…. Moving day was September 11th… So Jake and his friends stayed to finish the clean up September 10th and I went to the new place to start setup. I tell you what… I knew better than to leave them…. I should have trusted my gut… But that’s next weeks story.
There isn’t really a great lesson to teach from this portion of the story, but I will say I didn’t regret marrying him… I loved him. He was my person. My "white knight". He saw me through unexplained illnesses, emotional healing and he was my best friend. It was just sort of that unfortunate situation that we were kind of in a rut already and didn’t really get a honeymoon phase. Life and God had other plans for us and the Devil had some lives and plans to thwart. Remember, I stand here today. My experiences made me stronger and there are more to come… No matter what your hardships and trials are, together we can rise and overcome your battle. Why? Because, mama, YOU are worth it!