Saturday, February 21, 2009

Opening The Vault: Part Twenty Five

It’s often said that couples should avoid going to bed angry. When you’re a long-distance couple, the same wisdom holds true for airport goodbyes -- as I discovered the hard way years ago with my California-based beau Mark (a.k.a Sparky).

Nine months into our bicoastal romance, things between us were on shaky ground. During a December visit to see Sparky, the tensions caused by our situation were aggravated by deception -- me lying to my parents about where I was that weekend, and Sparky neglecting to tell me he was struggling financially.

It all came to a head as the weekend drew to a close. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the winter of 1994.…

December 8th, 1994
New York, NY

Dear Diary,

Monday morning [the 6th], a crazy impulse popped into my head. While Sparky was getting dressed, I called American Airlines and changed my departure to the following day.

He was furious, berating me for not consulting with him first and reminding me he had plans with his daughter Rosie. He added that he couldn’t blow her off again (he had cancelled his weekend plans with her because of my last-minute visit).

Love Shack Gone Awry: Sparky’s condo was where we had some of our worst moments during a tumultuous weekend back in December ‘94.

I was extremely hurt that he threw this back in my face. I had specifically told him after I arrived on Friday that he should go see Rosie as planned -- he was the one who insisted it wasn’t a problem to do otherwise.

He left the room and I felt foolish about my last-ditch attempt to salvage our time together.

* * *

We were pulling into LAX when something -- I can’t remember what -- set Mark off.

“You can’t expect me to just drop everything to come and see you,” he yelled.

I was shellshocked, remembering a recent nightmare I’d had in which he had said almost exactly the same thing.

“We could’ve been together three times for what it cost you to come out here,” he said angrily.

He continued attacking my monetary values, looking so menacing it frightened me. Never before had I seen such rage in his eyes. And I couldn’t even mutter a response because all I kept thinking was I was about to get on a plane and leave. That didn’t stop Mark.

As he told me about his financial woes, he said--

“And if you don’t deposit that check [covering half the airfare], I’ll never speak to you again.”

* * *

The aftershock of Mark’s airport tirade ended up lingering long after we said goodbye. Our next encounter would be haunted by that moment -- and colored by a surprising revelation.

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