Beyond the Screen (Sanjeev)

I guess I have every reason to be afraid of men, after what I had subjected myself to, I am surprised that I was willing to say the word “Love” at all without a facial tic. I lived through pretty much being left at the alter by (Ben) I was a victim of others lies (Ta), I was raped (Keith), cheated on (Melvin), Beaten and abused (Chris) Alcoholism (Ruffo) You would think that I could smell a bad man’s stink from a mile away, Lord knows I had been through everything a man can dish out, You would think I would know what it was I wanted out of life by now, but that is not how it works.

Beyond the Pane may have been a story about overcoming the pain caused by the Men I chose to be in relationships with. It was the path I had to go through to learn to value myself, selflove. The first door of many that I must learn to open before I can open loves door. Before I can be worthy of a real mutual and equal relationship.

Beyond the Screen is my continuing story. I had entered a virtual world that was safe, I had no fear of rape, abuse, and hurt feelings was as easy as delete to disregard.. yep I was safe from physical pain, but removing the damage done by my past was a bit harder to do and facing the emotional world of getting to know people, trusting them, well I had some real work to do.

Let me walk through it with you.

I had started school back when Melvin was with me, I had worked for the past 3 years at a nursing home as a setter for very rich ladies that families didn’t want them medicated so my services were pretty much to protect the other patients at the nursing home from my clients dementia, I often worked 40 hours a week, bought a house, balanced my finances and my kids on my own. I was being able to stand on my own two feet without Melvin. I was also working but having a summer break from school when Ruffo came to visit, yes I was quite the modern woman, I could handle it all.

I had never touched a computer before starting school in 2004 I seriously had no use of them, being forced to do assignments for class was hard to adjust, I only did homework, Microsoft word, math sites, I seldom enjoyed sitting at the computer at all, my own mother knew more about computers than I did.

Remember when Beyond the Pane first began I was talking with my West African friend on the phone? Kadasia was in a few classes of mine and she had been talking about her boyfriend’s roommate liked me, we did become close, but the reason he was interested in me was I had suggested a solution to a problem he had with his visa, he had a student’s visa and his time for school had expired, I suggested that if he fell in love with an American he could marry and stay here. I wasn’t going to get married any time soon, I might as well help someone I knew that was in desperate need, he was very afraid to go back to his country, I wanted to save him.

After all the problems with Melvin and Ruffo had subsided I saw Kadasia at school and asked how her friend was doing and I apologies for not being able to discuss it farther with him. She said not to worry because over the summer he had actually met a woman and they started dating, she wants to marry him in real and that his problems were solved. I was happy for him, he was a nice guy and he deserved a good life. But it kind of made me think, if I could do that for him, why couldn’t I do that for someone else, a man of my choosing. If men can have mail order brides why couldn’t I save some man from a third world country and have him appreciate what I had to offer. I thought long and hard, I made a list of pros and cons. I made a plan, first on the plan was to pick a website.

I searched Free matches, foreign marriage site, I found (it was the only one that was free) I was still not very comfortable with the computer yet, it took some mistakes and learning the whole making a profile, trying to find a way to put a picture but when I was done, my add was accepted all I had to do was wait, and I waited, and waited and I lived my life while I waited, it was weeks before I checked again on the site and I was weeding through, too old, too young, oh my God ugly, and hell no, not a Russian! I came across a man from India, his picture looked a little dated and I wondered if he was telling the truth about his age. Sanjeev, 28, widower and father of 2 children, I sent a message “I had seen your profile, do you have any more pictures of yourself?” I waited another week for his reply “here are more pictures of me. Will you marry me?”

I laughed so hard, I was so shocked! Was he joking or was he serious? What was he thinking? Was he crazy? Then I opened his mail and saw his pictures, wow! He was handsome, the right age, beautiful children, good job with education. I looked at his eyes in one of the photos and they seemed so warm, friendly but lonely. After explaining to him that was not the way people approach a woman and ask her to marry, the relationship began, he was only able to get on the computer on his days off and I had to stay up late because of the time difference but weekly we talked, chatted on yahoo, I got a video cam and microphone and we had what I called dates often and regularly, we discussed politics, religion, our past and our dreams. Then after a few months he asked me to stand up so he could see my full figure. I hadn’t thought about it, I mean we always talked about emotional things and feelings, we talked every time until his time was up and he had to go, we never talked about sex and I loved that we didn’t, but I neglected to mention one thing about me, I was fat.

I mean I was always honest, if he had asked about my frame I would have told him, but I have a beautiful face and it doesn’t really reflect my size, I am tall and very “plump” the men here usually didn’t care much for me or they were the types that loved my size “chubby chasers”. Now I was worried, I started really liking Sanjeev, what if he didn’t like me? What if he didn’t want me anymore? I had started to get too attached to him. But regardless I had to stand and face this; I had to face what I had become. I could have blamed it on the low self-esteem or the asthma, hell I could rationalize this as a choice. Point was there are no excuses, you are who you are……. and I stood.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were so large?”

I was mortified! I started immediately crying and I turned off the computer, I cried myself to sleep that night and many nights after. I was so angry at myself for being so huge and I hated him for judging me, I didn’t open the computer for weeks. And when I felt like I was strong enough to face that question, I opened my mail. And there were 50 mails in the past 2 weeks from Sanjeev, everything from apologizing for saying it wrong, that there was a misunderstanding, to telling me that his wife was a fat girl and he loves a soft woman to hold. I started crying again only this time they were tears of happiness. Maybe I could be loved, maybe I had not been so damaged that someone could actually love me just the way I am, flaws and all.

He was so scared he lost me forever and his mails were so desperate he didn’t have my phone number or he would have called me. I sent a mail back “I am sorry to make you worry so badly, sorry I reacted the way I did. Will you marry me?”

Our life changed after that moment, he of course demanded my phone number and I had his, we talked more often and he introduced me to his children, they started calling me “new mom” and they started asking when they were going to be with me. Sanjeev felt a need to send my Dad a mail, asking to marry me, I tried to explain to him that just doesn’t happen here anymore but he felt he had to out of his own tradition. My father respectfully mailed him back. Basically telling him that it is great that he loves his daughter but we will see if it is love when it is face to face. And there lay the problem… face to face

Within the time that Sanjeev and I fell in love and 2 years later, I had signed two different papers trying to sponsor him and his lawyers actually laughed at him. I had bad credit, didn’t own my property, hadn’t worked above poverty level in the past 2 years and I had no one willing to help and co-sponser. Lord knows my family wasn’t going to, they just as well see me never in another relationship again with my track record. I couldn’t help him; he tried a few other things within a small time frame of then giving up.

He said he would never give up but when his mails became farther and farther apart, and he seemed to lose his passion for our love, well I knew he had lost his interest in me, I do not blame him, it was just too much work, I understood, so when he sent me a mail that he drank alcohol for the first time in his life and for me to forgive him, (I knew something was up) I pressured him and pressured him to tell me why did he drink? He admitted that it was an engagement party; his mother wanted him to marry a woman there. He swore that he would not marry her but he had to make his mother happy, he said he will still try to be with me, but I knew, I felt myself UNLOVE HIM if that is a real thing. That was the day (I) gave up on Sanjeev

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.