Beyond the Pane XV (Beyond belief)

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.

Beyond the Pane XIV

At the beginning of this book I found the old postcard from Ruffo. The memories of a time long past and a life I had dreamed of having haunted me. I knew in all the relationships I have never really done anything deserving of the abuse and fowl treatment that I was given. I knew that it was of no matter, I wasn’t meant to be with them. Most of the torcher I went through was of my own ignorance, trying to hold on to men I knew were bad for me or didn’t fit. I was determined to make them fit. But Ruffo, He did nothing wrong and I forgot him like he was… nothing.

I never even wondered once were he was or how he had been. I was ashamed of myself for being one of “Those women” That would ignore the good men and run into the arms of bad. To add to the damage I had done, I thought I had just disappeared and that Ruffo had just stopped calling, but Talking to my Mother I found out that Ruffo had called one time and she overheard my frustrated father tell him that “Deborah is married with a son, I think you should stop calling”

I had written Ruffo a letter, simple and sweet really:

Dear Ruffo

I wonder if you remember me or the small city Evansville Indiana that you visited on your travels with the carnival in 1987.

My name is Deborah and we spent many months talking on the phone. I hope that I haven’t brought you any bad memories of the past; I know our parting was sudden and no explanation was given.

I was going through some boxes and seen a postcard from you, and just had to see how you were and apologies for disappearing so many years ago. I hope you are doing well, I assume you are married with 10 children, I know you always did say you loved children. I am enclosing a few pictures of me, my 3 sons and the post card. I just want you to know that I am truly sorry and if it is any consolation to you, I have suffered many times over for what I did to you.

I hope this letter finds you well and happy

Deborah Cavins

Ps notice the name has not changed, I was married for a few months and then quickly divorced

I do not know why I wanted so badly to write Ruffo. I could have chosen to forget him and never look that way again, but something made me wonder, had I left behind the love I was supposed to have? What if all of this drama and heart wrenching pain was never supposed to happen? What if I had just taken the wrong path?

I will be honest, just like most books and stories written I had an idea even with this auto-biography that there should be a happy ending. I wanted this story that was my life to have meaning; I wanted my fairy tale ending. Never once in all my life have I ever cried to god “Why? Why are you doing this to me?” I wanted to think that all the faith I held on to all these years should have some kind of reward.

With those questions in my mind I leaped with excitement at the letter post marked from Ruffo. I ran into the house and just sat there a minute. Hands shaking too hard to actually open the letter and I just stared at it. I cannot describe in words the amount of emotion I was feeling, I actually had no expectations, that letter could have any number of scenarios within it. I tried to ground myself by imagining him being angry with me, with curses and threats. I thought of all the bad things he would say to me and him asking why after all these years did I reopen a wound he had spent so much effort to heal.

I took a deep breath and opened it paying attention to every word.

Well Hello Debby

Wow it has been a long time, and you are just as beautiful as I remember you, maybe even a little prettier. I was surprised when my mother told me I had mail from a Deborah Cavins, I was just talking about you the other day to my friend. I wonder how you were doing. Yes, Deborah, I have always wondered what happened to you and whether you were happy in your marriage. I have had my share of difficulties, health problems and my father died 5 years ago.

My Parents were very support after we stopped taking. I did buy a house for you and when your father said I was too late, I was very devastated, but hey, life goes on. I have had several relationships throughout the years but none I felt needed to be permanent. I never married, I never had children, I would like to be able to tell you more but I am on my way to work now and wanted to send this letter to you as soon as possible. Here is my phone number and a few pictures of me now, hope to hear from you soon.

I still love you

Ruffo

What? He what? Oh my God! I was mixed between regret for hurting him, pity for his remembrance of me and not having a good life, or what if he had some devious underlying plan to get revenge. Who the hell keeps a flame burning for someone after almost 20 years? Opps that’s right, I would. Crap! Now I was all confused, I almost wish he had cursed me and swore his hatred of me. I emptied the envelope of its content and there, just as he had said, were two pictures: One standing proudly at the entrance to a movie theater in Chicago, joking with his friends and the other wearing a suit with his mother at what looks like a church.

I had forgotten how he looked, I never had a picture of him, I have only the memories of that carnival and his respectful, protective manor, he had long black hair and tan skin. We had talked for hours, everyday on the phone, when I was young, we planned a wonderful future, and those dreams were what I remembered. He seems to be much older in these photos, with all grey army cut hair and a broad smile. This man in the photos enjoyed life and had the scares to prove it. I wondered, he dressed nice and looked to have a very active life in the big city, would I even have the ability to keep up with such a social man?

I made the call. I listened to the phone ring, and then ring again. I watched the clock as it rang again there was no answer and just as I was hanging up the phone, I heard a faint voice ladies voice “Hola!” I said hello back and asked for Ruffo. “he is not here, you call later, ok?” I said ok thank you Madre.

“Debby? You call my Ruffo Debby? I so happy hear you again, Ruffo need you Debby, I call him and tell him you ask for him, Ok?”

I hadn’t realized what she was saying was more than her broken English (Ruffo needs you) was really what she was attempting to say. Ruffo did call me, he was so happy, I tried to stay grounded, but at the same time, I really enjoyed talking about old times. I heard all about his life, the places he has been and how he helped raise his best friend’s son. He seemed so educated, he spoke so fluently and wise it was hard for me to understand the next part of his life. He tried to nicely but truthfully tell me how he was so upset over loosing me that he gave our house to his sister. He had started drinking and just never stopped. While I was suffering from one man to another he was suffering the bottle. He was able to maintain a few jobs but wasn’t able to actually make a carrier of any of them.

He had stopped drinking after his father died but not before he had done liver damage and now had diabetes. He has occasionally fell off the wagon and had been hospitalized for his binges. He assured me that those days were past and that he has been trying to straighten his life. What could I say? I knew that my past was what it was, it had done its share of damage, and I expected others to overlook my past and my mistakes. I felt like I had an obligation, I had been what caused him so much pain that it plummeted him into the depths of alcoholism. Even if I had not been the cause, maybe if I had been there for him he would have had something other than the bottle to look forward to.

Months of talking on the phone and getting closer and closer to him, we made plans for him to come and spend the summer (he called it his vacation)

almost reaching the end… If you like what you have read, please donate now to my writing fund