As I have said before, I enjoyed marriage, or rather the memories I have of a dead man enjoyed marriage. I have to admit when I first met my wife (speaking in the first person to cut back on confusion) I didn’t really care too awful much for her. I was working at a video store at the time and she just so happened to be the daughter of my boss, which is probably one reason the first impression was not too enthralling. The way I figured it, apples don’t fall too far from trees so from my point of view I reckoned that my future wife would simply be a younger version of her mother and that was not a great selling point. Fortunately that was not the case and if it had been I seriously doubt I would have put a ring on her finger. Thankfully she took more after her dad, who was ok in my book. Of course I didn’t know this until after I fell in love with her which is where I suppose I should begin this.
I was actually rather smitten with a coworker who happened to be good friends with my future wife. Now this chick was a little flaky to begin with so it didn’t bother me too awful much when she told me she was going to get back together with her ex. Nevertheless, my boss thought I was all broken up about it and asked if I’d like to take the weekend off and head down to Savannah with her and her daughter. I thought to myself ‘take the weekend off? Why not’ and so I agreed. I didn’t really expect what was going to happen and certainly didn’t plan on it but I suppose the sequence of events was written in the stars so to speak. We stayed at the aunt of my future wife’s house for the weekend which just so happened to be near a lake and filled with loud, obnoxious teenagers that really had my social anxiety disorder running rampant. Needless to say I took several trips outside to suck back a cigarette. My future wife was the only other smoker so she frequently went outside with me. I remember she and I talked about nonsense for the most part but there was this one moment when I began showing her the constellations in the sky and I stood behind her pointing up at the stars. It wasn’t that moment that I fell in love with her, but I am pretty sure that greased the wheels.
It was the next day as a matter of fact that I did indeed fall head over heels with her. Her mom wanted to go to Tybee Island to speak with her nephew and asked if I could lag behind her with her daughter. At first I wasn’t too thrilled with the task, still being cautious of apples and trees, but as she and I walked along the beach my mind began to change. We eventually ended up on the boardwalk while the sun was setting on the waters. I sat on the bench of a pic nick table while she sat above me and the conversation got into dreams and the interpretations of dreams. All I remember is that at some point I looked at the sun, and then turned my head to her and perhaps it was the way the wind moved her hair or the glimmer of the waters in her big, brown eyes, but in an instant I saw her and immediately fell completely in love with her. I can’t explain it even to this day but all I know is that one minute I had every intention to keep her at arms-length and the next moment I wanted to wrap my arms around her and bring her as close to myself as I could possibly could without shattering the rules of physics like a broken mirror as I sank into her gaze. I didn’t say anything at the time because I didn’t know if the feeling was mutual, but it became apparent to me when we returned home that in fact she too felt the same way.
We had rented Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and watched it at her mom’s apartment. Her mom went to bed fairly early and so my future wife and I had plenty of time to talk into the wee hours of the night. When it got rather late I remember she was in the kitchen ducked down behind the sink looking for a pot or a pan. I sputtered that it was time for me to go and she popped up from behind the sink with this certain look on her face and an instinctual “You gotta go?” I think it was sadness that I was leaving her company. It was in that moment that I knew she too was neck deep in love. I walked home under the cover of night as light as a feather and had what my Father would call, an eat shit grin, on my face. I doubt I slept that night because as I lay in bed with my eyes closed; my eyelids served as a movie screen, replaying the events of the weekend over and over again. With the gift (and sometimes the curse) of a vivid imagination and steel trap memory I was able to reproduce every gesture, every nuance, every word, every smile and every laugh perfectly on the screen of my mind from the woman who one day I would call my Mary Jane (funny story there too, perhaps I’ll relay it one day from me to thee). So I don’t think sleep was on the menu that night to tell you the truth.
After that I recall something akin to a music video for the smash hit So Happy together performed by The Turtles. There was a lot of passive flirting that eventually lead to being curled up and fiddling with the things that use to be on phones called a cord long into the night as sweet whispers shot through the telephone wires. That lead to hand holding, cuddling during movies, love notes folded into origami and passed when there was only time for a short rondevu; ah, young love. Smiles, giggles and frolicking…lots and lots of frolicking…lots of frolicking in green pastures filled with sunflowers, ponies, butterflies and you holding your best gals hand as you frolicked along with an eat shit grin on your face while again; So Happy Together is playing as the soundtrack. There was also the added bonus of being her real first boyfriend because after all, that silly shit you did in grade school was just a bucket of tom foolery and you know it. So at the time there was still the chance of finding an undefiled virgin that hadn’t been ruined already by a series of dip shit boyfriends. A clean slate so to speak in a sea of some really chalked up ones. That was my Mary Jane; that’s what made her special.
We dated for years, and for the most part it was a glorious dance with difficult times sprinkled in there. One of the worst storms the two of us went through was when her best friend was killed in a car accident. When my future wife would hear the news of this it became apparent that she would never really be the same inside. I didn’t know it at the time, but now looking back, the unexpected death of her best friend injected her with a dose of PTSD. She went to a really dark place, even sometimes being cold to the touch. She would have horrible nightmares about the deceased and call me in the late hours of the night terrified. There was a night I recall getting a call from her mother with a request for me to come over to her apartment and stay the night with my future wife because she was a having a difficult day. Having a growing concern for the sake of my Mary Jane’s emotional well-being, I was happy to oblige.
We all watched a movie that night and I recall her showing little to no reaction to the escapism of film. I knew her mind was somewhere else, thinking of something other than the present tense. Later that night after we turned in, she lay with her back to me and my arm wrapped around her. I could feel the darkness she was in and it tore me apart. I prayed to God and said “Take her pain away, and put it inside me.” I wanted the old her back, the carefree and silly her. The young girl that was before the trauma of the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, shattered her conception of reality was in there somewhere and I hoped to bring her back. Unfortunately, things would get much darker before she and I would soon see the dawn.
She and I were both working at a box store that shall go nameless and that would seem to be a good thing, but alas she worked during the day due to college and I was night shift so it actually became more of a strain. We had become two ships passing in the night with the only hopes that perhaps luck would provide that she and I would have a weekend off together soon. Those are far and few between sometimes it seems. Her depression was still an issue and she needed an outlet and often I was the target of that venting. She wasn’t intentionally being difficult, she was simply struggling and I understood that but one can only absorb so much and it clearly began effecting my emotional well-being. I too soon fell into a deep depression and the chemical imbalance of a messed up sleep cycle. It quickly got aggressive. My self-esteem and self-image was at an all-time low. So when a dirty blonde haired girl with big blue eyes began coming around I had no choice but to take notice. Being in a state of low self-esteem I never reached out to her but certainly noticed that she hovered around me for quite some time. Eventually I suppose she realized that I would not make the first move and so she took that into her own hands. It was around Christmas when she showed up and so she finally pushed her empty cart to me and asked where the Christmas lights were. I remember stuttering for a moment and then walking her to the back of the store where I showed her all the lights that could be wrapped around a tree. After I had gotten her to her destination I turned to leave but she grabbed me by the hand before I could and thanked me. I locked eyes with her and in that moment I felt like I was drowning in a sea of blue. I quickly broke away and started back to my work. I made about twenty steps before I turned back and starting walking in her direction.
“Was that as strange for you as it was for me?” I asked as I locked with her eyes of blue.
“Yes.” She answered.
“I have a break in an hour, want to grab some coffee and talk about it?”
“Absolutely.” She answered.
That was the longest hour of my life but when it was over I timidly followed her outside to her silver cadilac and nervously rode with her to the waffle joint. She was smoking cloves while I lit the latest discounted cigarette. All we had was coffee but the conversation was most certainly worth the trip. I quickly deduced that she was, as she would say, a poor little rich girl. She clearly had daddy issues as most women do, and by my estimation she was on one or more prescription drugs that her parents thought necessary for her strange behavior. I deduced this due to the lack of eye dialation which tells one a great many things. After that hour I remember being on cloud nine. My then girlfriend/future wife wasn’t exactly feeding my ego and the fact that a dirty blonde haired beauty was, infused me with new life. I kept this to myself of course, I didn’t know which way this thing was gonna go. As it turned out Ginger, that was her name, showed up more and more at my place of work, followed by several more visits for coffee and eventually she got my home address. That is when things became rather interesting.
She would show up after I got off work and I can’t say I objected too awful much. For the most part the two of us would just sit on the couch and just talk due to the fact that I was trying to be faithful to my girlfriend/future wife. However one night I put on the movie Legend with Tom Cruise and Tim Curry. That night our relationship went beyond friendship and into something more thick. We layed together on the couch as the movie played, me behind her, and my arms wrapped around her. I remember feeling like the place I was in was home. At one point she turned to me and smiled then proceeded to remove her bra, complaining that it was irritating her. As it fell to the floor I don’t know if that was an invitation or not, but nevertheless I did not take it. I was content to just have my arms around her. I don’t remember how far into the movie we were before she turned around to face and kiss me but I most certainly remember the kiss. It was one of those forbidden kisses that makes your knees turn to jelly, at least it certainly made mine do that anyway.
It wasn’t too awful long after that time that I finally broke down and told my girlfriend/future wife about Ginger so the chips could fall where they may and boy did that turn out to be a mistake. Once she knew that I was seeing someone else she became violent and I became accustomed to being struck several times. I don’t believe this was the natural state of my girlfriend/future wife however at the time I suppose she needed something to hit and I was more than willing to be that something. Obviously I was given an ultimatum and that included never seeing Ginger again. The last time she came to see me I relayed this to her and I had to watch as tears came from her big blue eyes. This girl had gone and fallen in love with me and to tell you the truth, I had fallen in love with her as well. But this was not to be so. That night the two of us went to the bed and she stripped off every stitch of clothes as she straddled me. The sight was most glorious. I beheld her beauty with disdain, knowing that I was already in a relationship. After seeing that and filled with drink I simply passed out with guilt. I never took her up on her offer. When I woke up the first thing I saw was a naked Goddess next to me and the door to my home being opened by a very angry girlfriend. Ginger rolled herself into the covers and hid between by bed and couch. She fit snugly between the two as my girlfriend/future wife went on a tyrade about how evil the girl was and how she was just seducing me for some sick pleasure. Ginger had to stay still, stuck in a roll of sheets, as she listened to my girlfriend/future wife unload on her. When she had finally said enough we agreed to talk later and out the door she went. Ginger timidly got up from her hiding spot, her face awash with tears.
The two of us sat beside one another for a moment without a word exchange until I decided to break the silence.
“Did you hear all that?” I asked.
“Yes.” She said.
“So you see, the two of us can’t see each other anymore. She needs me.”
“I know, it just hurts.”
I wrapped my arms around her and held her for a moment in some sense of saying goodbye. Its funny how you look back on things like that and wonder what would have happened if you perhaps went in a different direction. Obviously I chose to stick with the one I was with, but thinking back I often wonder what would have happened if I had made the decision to go Ginger’s way. One thing is for certain; it most definitely wouldn’t have been a white picket fence in the suburbs with a 401-K to count on. No, I think that path would have been a little more adventurous. Nevertheless, I did not go down that road and from that moment on I had made a decision to be absolutely faithful to my girlfriend/future wife in thought, word and deed. From the pain of that ordeal onward, I never even so much as entertained the slightest flirt from the opposite sex. I forced myself to not even notice when it was happening. My eyes stayed steady on her and her alone and I never found myself in a position where that would be compromised.
My girlfriend/future wife was not content that I had cut communications with Ginger and demanded that I write her a letter to solidify the arrangement. I recall listening to the soundtrack of Hannibal as I wrote the cruelest letter I have ever penned in my life. My girlfriend/future wife had convinced me that the young girl had been manipulating me for her own purposes and with this in mind I crafted a letter so evil it made Ginger attempt suicide. Last I heard she had wrapped her cadilac around a light post after reading it. From that moment on I stopped writing. I had been given a gift and had used it to do harm and that was something I couldn’t live with. I vowed to put my pen down and just go about my life in the way my girlfriend/future wife wanted. Daniel Louis Crumpton simply crawled into a hole and vanished.
I was in my early 20’s when I made the decision to ask her to be my bride. I was working a good job that was making me some nice money so I went out and got myself an apartment. It was a shitty little dive but I loved it. It was right on the main strip of town so you always heard traffic and outside my bedroom window was a rotating billboard that hadn’t been oiled since it had been put up. Every time it changed it churned within the whole apartment and rattled the walls. It made me feel very much like Peter Parker to tell you the truth, which is also ironic because at the time I had picked up the habit of collecting comic books again. This would be the first time since I was a young boy. I started with Astonishing X-Men and of course migrated back to The Amazing Spider-Man. Every Wednesday I would pick up my comics and take them home to wait for my girlfriend/future wife to come by so we could snuggle and read them together. She would climb in my arms in the bedroom and I would read her the latest issue that had come off the stands that week. Afterwards she would go home and I would plot on how I was going to propose to her. Finally it came to me, and so I set about the thing.
Her mother had already given me the rings quite some time back, however I still needed permission from her dad. I don’t remember too much about that night, but what I do remember is being nervous beyond belief. I think she was at work late and I stopped by his house with my knees knocking. I recall sitting in the living room with him and asking if I had his blessing to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. I watched as his current wife exploded with joy and slowly his face lit up too.
“Of course you have my permission.” He said.
His wife was overjoyed and wanted to know when I intended to pop the question to which I could only reply “Soon.” I didn’t have a lot of money so something extraordinary was out of the question. I wasn’t going to be able to sky write a proposal in the clouds or anything like that. Not to mention, I wanted it to be something personal, sentimental. So when the time came I picked up that week’s issue of The Amazing Spider-Man and made a spider web with dental floss. I hung the ring from it and put it in the back of the comic with a note that said “Will you be my Mary Jane?” It was a series called The Other, when Peter Parker dies and is reborn with new powers. While she was in my arms, and I read, my fingers couldn’t stop from trembling with each turn of the page. I knew that once we got to the end of it life was going to change for the both of us. As I turned to the last page I recall getting on my knees and asking her to be my wife. Her face exploded with joy and she said yes. Then she was on the phone calling everyone she knew to tell them I had finally proposed. I remember walking outside with my dog, Sisko, and exhaling all that had been held in.
“Well boy, it’s too late to back out now.” I said.
Sisko simply looked up at me with a certain smirk on his face. I think he probably knew more than he wanted me to realize. Dogs are like that. So afterwards we set the date for December 17th, an early Christmas gift to ourselves. I was content with the date and went about arranging the groomsman; the best man being first of course. It didn’t take me long to pick my dad as the best man. No one else could really fill those shoes. He grumbled a little bit but ultimately agreed to the role.
The wedding went off without a hitch. It was something out of story books. However as Angelina Jolie would say, a story with a happy ending is just one that hasn’t ended yet. We spent our honeymoon at Callaway Gardens and ate dinner at the local restaurant Crickets down the road. When we got back I carried her across the threshold of that shitty apartment and I never felt so good. I was Peter Parker and she was my Mary Jane. Life for me, would be something completely different than what I had first imagined, and that wasn’t such a bad thing. I wasn’t going to be a writer but I was going to be a husband, which from that point of view was just as adventurous. Little did I know that a few short years later, things would change and never be the same.
A SONG TO PLAY US OUT…