February 5th, 2012. In Indianapolis, the New York Giants played the New England Patriots for the 46th Super Bowl.
I am not a fan of football. I never was growing up. I went to the games sometimes growing up to socialize but I could never be there for long. To this day I still have to wait miserably for the football season to pass. My negative association from football comes from that dark night when I was 13 years old and a football player robbed me of something that was very precious to me.
February 15th, 2012, we decided to give our relationship another chance. We were both eager to be back in others embraces and it felt like love lost was found. But that peace between us didn’t last long did it Ryan?
It lasted until February 22nd, 2012. Which is when we had our next big fight. That day I remember because it was the day I truly stopped trusting you. I never told you that, but I did not trust who you were as a person anymore. It did not matter what sweet things you did; this day would remain in the back of my mind for the next 2 years. Before this day, you were Prince Charming, and I was just a messed up commoner with deep issues who did not deserve you. At least that is how I had felt in my mind.
That all changed when I asked you a question. Your answer was something that would hit me like a big slap across my face. It hurt, and I was completely surprised.
On the quiet evening of February 21st, laying on my tiny red love seat in my apartment, Ryan and I were cuddled up watching a movie. It was a calm night in for us. Dinner, movie, bed. The movie ended and while I laid wrapped in his arms he shut the TV off, kissed my forehead. “Let’s go to bed babe” he said.
“mmm ok” I said in a hushed quiet tone. I peeled myself off him and stood up to stretch and let out a giant yawn.
We crawled in bed together, shut the lights off and I nestled back into his arms using his chest as a pillow.
“I love you” I said to him. “I love you too” he softly replied.
“I missed you so much” I continued.
“I missed you a lot too, I know it took a while for me to cool off but I was so hurt, and I was trying to get over you. I thought we were done for good, and that I just lost the first love of my life” he squeezed me into him.
“It’s ok, we are here now, and I won’t put you through that again. What all did you do while we were apart?” I asked.
“I drank a lot” he replied.
I remembered how Ryan was before him and I dated, how he was a frequent one-night stander of many girls, it was a normal part of his party routine. I took a slight breath in. I wanted to ask him if he had hooked up with anyone while we were not together. We were apart because of me, so I was not going to be mad if he had. A small voice inside advocated that maybe it was best not to know. But I continued the conversation;
“Can I ask you something? You can be totally honest with me, I won’t be angry with you at all. We were apart, and I can’t blame you, but I just want to know.”
“You want to know if I slept with someone else.” he breathed in and sighed out “Yes I did, but you don’t know her”
Ouch. That kind of hurt, but I said I was not going to get upset so I didn’t. Still, that did not stop me from plaguing to know more;
“How did you know her? Did you just meet her at a bar? How long ago was it? Was it recent?” I asked as politely as I could to not seem upset.
“Relax babe, what does it matter? It did not mean anything, it was just sex and I was missing you so badly” he replied.
“I know that, but I just would like to know…..please?” I pleaded once more.
“Ok, well it was at my Dad’s Superbowl party that he does every year. He invites like 100 people. You were supposed to go with me this year, it is a big deal. So, I was sitting in a chair, drinking and being really mopey. She came over and sat on my lap. And one thing led to another and it kind of just happened that night after the party. I never spoke to or saw her again.”
Well that didn’t seem so bad. “Thank you for telling me” I told him. “Just curious, what was her name?”
“Her name is Joanna”
“hmmm alright” I replied. I did not feel any animosity in that moment.
We drifted off to sleep, breathing in, collectively cuddled in to each other.
The next day we were talking, and again got on a conversation of his Dad’s Super Bowl party. While listening to Ryan tell me the dumb stories of his egotistical father and how he was acting coolly towards his mom during that party, I had a glimpse of panic as I remembered something Ryan had told me before the Holidays.
The night Ryan told me he loved me the first time, we also had some deep conversations about our lives and shared some secrets with each other. He was telling me a lot about his father that night. His father had been in the military when he was younger and then continued on to be one of the top mechanical engineers for Lockheed Martin. He told me that when he was 9 years old. His Dad got very angry with him one night for something, and he beat him very badly. Ryan told me it was something he never forgot because it was the most physical pain he has ever felt.
I really don’t like Ryan’s father.
But there was one more secret Ryan had let slip to me that night. He told me his father had cheated on his mother with a secretary from work. He said she was basically a gross cougar and the office slut. He told me she had slept with many people from his Dad’s work, and that his mom did not know about it yet. But his sisters knew, and that is how he knew.
This particular secret was the one that struck a pain of fear right through my heart. When he was telling me about his father’s indiscretion that night, he had mentioned this older woman’s name.
Her name was Joanna.
Her. Name. Is. Joanna. Wow. There is no way this is the same woman he was talking about last night. His one-night stand during our break up?
It was enough on its own that Ryan willingly slept with a woman he knew his father did. His father had cheated on his mother with this woman.
What was I supposed to do with this information? I felt sick. I sat there still, pretending to listen to Ryan talk. I chose to stay silent for a day to think about how I wanted to handle knowing he had shared a woman with his father. When I did decide to ask Ryan about it, I was in for one more surprise. Ryan had not told me the whole story about that night, and for good reason. But now, I needed to know every little detail.
I sent Ryan a text during my Ecology class the next night. Hey, can you come over after my class? I have something I want to talk to you about. A moment later my phone buzzed, sure, is everything ok? I certainly did not want to get into this on text, so I sent a passive reply. I have to pay attention, I will just see you there.
- I received a few moments later. I let out a big sigh, oh man this was not going to be an easy night for me.
Our professor let us out a few minutes early. I gathered my things into my book bag and headed out of the building to walk home. It was a night class, so I was walking home in the dark while the moon shined through the trees on campus. I counted each street lamp I passed on my way trying to keep my mind off of the grenade I knew I was about to unhinge.
Eight. Eight street lamps until I was at the entrance door of my apartment. My apartment was in a very old building right on campus that I could barely afford. I opened up the gigantic creaky wooden door and stepped inside to the grand staircase in the entry room. This building used to be a house when the town was first built and belonged to a very wealthy doctor and his family. Someone over the last 150 years had converted it to apartments. They maintained all the originality, It had a marvelous vintage appeal.
I went into my apartment and set my things down. I poured myself a glass of white wine and sat at the bay windows that overlooked the yard in my living room. I silently awaited Ryan’s arrival.
About 10 minutes later, Ryan swung open my front door. He never knocked, he just came in. He strolled over to me, his energy was light and happy. Great. I was about to ruin his happy mood.
“Hey babe” He gave me a kiss and sat next to me “How was class?”
“Ecology is my favorite, you know that, so it was good” I said.
“Thaaaat’s great” He scooted closer to me by lifting my legs over him and gave me another kiss. I hesitated the kiss in return, so he backed his head away.
“Ok….. what is it?” He asked sarcastically.
I exhaled another big sigh, “Well, I wanted to talk to you about what happened at your Dad’s Super Bowl party…. more particularly the girl you said you slept with”
“I thought you said you weren’t upset about that and was happy I was being honest with you” he said with a stern tone.
Great, here we go. “I wasn’t until I remembered where I heard that name Ryan.” I snarled back at him. “You were not completely honest with me, it was not a girl you slept with it was a woman, and it is the same woman your Dad slept with last year!” At this point I realized I had raised my voice, so I took sip of wine and tried to calm down. I did not realize how mad I was about this until now. I was not just hurt, I was mad.
“Wow… why does it matter, it was just sex. And we were not together” he said.
“Oh my god, you seriously do not see how gross it is that you slept with a woman you know your father slept with?” I was utterly confused. How did he not understand this? How did he not see what I am seeing in this situation?
Ryan remained silent.
“How did this even happen, Ryan, honestly, like where in your mind did you think it was ok to let that woman sit on your lap at your family’s house, and then take her back to your room and sleep with her?”
My need to know everything has gotten me into some tough situations throughout my life. I wish I could have just shut up and stopped asking him questions about it. It just did not seem like something Ryan would do. Yes, he was a man-hoe before, but with young college girls at our school. It did not seem to me that this would be something in his character that he would think of on his own. What I learned that night after much probing was an insight to how disturbing a father’s influence can be.
Apparently, Ryan had been so depressed during our breakup that his father had an idea to cheer him up at the Superbowl party. That idea was named Joanna. His father had instigated the entire thing. He told her to go sit on his lap, he joked about them sexually doing things together to them. He took Ryan aside and suggested that he sleep with Joanna as a way of helping to get over me.
The story just kept getting more twisted the more I found out. The entire time, Ryan remained contingent to his innocence. He just did not understand how I thought it was such a big deal. To him it was not a big deal.
To me it was a moral depiction of his character. I don’t know what to call a character who would let his Dad convince him to sleep with a woman he cheated on his mother with. I just know it was not good, and a moral boundary for me.
This incident was a hot topic to our conversations for a couple weeks. I had a very hard time letting it go. I was starting to feel like a righteous asshole, and I eventually ended up convincing myself that even though it was a moral boundary for me, did not mean it had to be for Ryan.
I told him I would let it go. I never truly let it go, but I did not let it be a part of our relationship anymore. As disgusted as I was by this, I loved him enough to try and work past it.