At the airport, I got there too early and sent the boys to the café for lunch, I was too nerves to eat. I just sat there and watched the planes taxi in, I knew his plane wouldn’t be for another hour so none of these planes carried the man I was so looking forward to yet be frightened to meet. I say meet because it is like I never knew him. He was nothing like the man I used to know. If I didn’t know better I would have sworn that the man I knew then died and in his place they put another, a bit older, some same features and similar accent.
Ruffo was no longer the dreamer, he had a rough life and seen a lot of things. His heartbreaks and disappointments had made him, in a lot of ways, cold and distant. The only reason I agreed to this trip was because I started to hear glimpses of hope in his voice, he had started to let himself trust me again. I could hear the smile in his voice.
I watched a very well dressed, business looking man step off the plane and I knew it was him, he stopped to talk with a pilot that exited with him and they exchanged handshakes. I wondered if he knew the pilot or whether he was just that social. I greeted him with a hug, like most the families and friends greeting their loved ones in the terminal, he felt hard and strong and if I had not been so self-conscious I might have let myself enjoy it, but it mostly just felt a bit awkward, the boys took his luggage, I couldn’t look at him, I don’t know what it was, maybe I was ashamed, maybe it was going to take some getting used to. I joked that I was just quiet because of my nerves but it was more than that. I was scared to death.
What if he was one of those “good guys” I had avoided like the plague, than I was looking at changing my life again to make room for him? And if he wasn’t who he said he was, if he wasn’t done drinking or partying, than what? I was opening myself up to a hell of a lot of drama for nothing. It was those thoughts that kept me on edge and even the drive back to the house I was preoccupied with my own thoughts. I know he must have been talking but I just smiled occasionally and nodded.
Back at the house he unpacked, I watched as he organized each piece of clothing perfectly in the drawers, every shirt with a crease “where had I seen this before?” he even straightened the bed covers to a flat wrinkle free surface before sitting next to me. I thought to myself “Odd, I know I have seen this” it took a few minutes of the way he walked, the way he sat and crossed his legs, he brushed his pant and straightened himself before looking at me and talking, like he was waiting for the picture (It was Chris) I tried all these years to forget his silly mannerisms, his pretentious air. Yet here I was face to face with the demon again (perfectionist)
Now let me give you a fast explanation why I cannot be with a perfectionist. I am not a slob, I understand that for health reasons that trash needs to be kept up with, I understand that an unsightly house makes for an unsightly life. I am an artist, and artist’s mind does not do well under restraints, I have to be free. If I want to cover myself head to toe in my work, frantic with creativity and fall asleep sitting at the isle at 4 am. I do not need a Man telling me to clean up my mess, take a shower and come to bed.
I spent my marriage ironing for Chris every day, I ironed his work uniforms, I ironed his Jeans, for God’s sake, I ironed his underwear. Seeing Ruffo’s perfectly ironed to a crease shirts alarmed me, I am not ironing his cloths! I tried to calm my unfounded frustrations; it is not like he was going to expect me to iron his cloths. He never told me “Oh yeah and Debby I am going to change you and mold you into the perfect little Martha Stewart house wife”. I had to remind myself that this was just one summer. He had first agreed to go to a hotel weeks ago, but as I felt more and more comfortable with him as his travel date drew nearer, we had decided to have him stay with us and he said that he would have more money to spend on more enjoyable things.
“Enjoyable things” I guess that definition has many alternative meanings. His thought of what was enjoyable wasn’t the same as mine, or my children. He bought “Wine” to celebrate and I told him no, I knew alcoholics should never drink, not even a wine cooler, not even a sip of wine at church. It didn’t even matter that it wasn’t hard liquor I knew from relatives and friends, but there was no detouring him.
In less than a week he was drinking and hiding the bottles. Ruffo was happy when he had already been drinking or when he was thinking of getting something to drink, but if couldn’t drink than he was not a happy man. He was cold, strict and angry at the world. He once spent 2 hours trying to teach, I mean yell at the twins on the proper way to make a military style bed. He actually flipped the coin on it and all.
He got a job after about a month, I believe he had drank his spending money, but I welcomed him being way from home for a while each day. I could relax and breathe for at least 5 hours before walking on egg shells again. I tried to not let people see my torture; I even hid how I felt from my family and my children. But I think everyone had an idea to my unhappiness. I stopped wearing makeup, I didn’t care what I looked like. My depression was deeply hidden but the symptoms were obvious.
I watched as my happy family turned into a nightmare, and if he wasn’t yelling at me for keeping a messy house than he was keeping me locked in the bedroom. Sex was the only thing that satisfied him when he wanted to drink. I will not turn this into a bashing of sexual skills, it is not my intention to say who was or was not good in bed, this book is not about sex, it is about the pain I endured for love. I believe that everyone has their abilities in some areas and others are much more skilled then some. Ruffo was bound by his obsessive compulsive tendencies.
I lay across the bed, waiting for him. He walked in the room from the shower. “Aren’t you going to take a shower now?” I said I just took a shower earlier, but he insisted that I take another. “Now lay straight in the center” I asked what difference does it make where I lay? Come on…. But he continued to get more and more obsessed to how I should lay, where my hair was, I could have been a doll and I do not think it would have been a difference to him, maybe he would have liked it better because half way into our intimate encounters he told me I was being too loud. I wasn’t allowed to touch his head or face; I wasn’t supposed to move at all really. I was also not to attempt oral sex… ever!
He had some unwritten set of rules that had to be adhered to in the bedroom or he just could not preform. I wanted to look past these quirks because sex actually wasn’t important to me anymore. Oh I loved sex and I had it quite often with (me myself and I) I really didn’t need anyone to please me. Emotions and feelings was the only thing anyone could offer me at this point in my life and let’s face it that was the only real department that he truly was completely lacking.
Ruffo once told me when we were sitting outside one evening “You know Deb I had a good life, I had so much good times, friends and travel that people thought I would never settle down and have a family. And there you were to prove them all wrong. I can’t wait to tell them all I found my family” I thought that was a compliment, I thought maybe in some way he was commenting on us being a good match or that he really loved us. But IT WASN’T, he actually just meant what he said, he wanted to prove them wrong and that he could have a family, lord knows he wasn’t being the loving part of the family, but he fit well with the phrase “Master of the house”.
He said those three words, those words that I dread more than pulling teeth; I could live my entire life and never hear them again.
You guys guess what those words are….. and I will finish the writing.