Let's Talk About Second Life

A few weeks after my last post everything changed. I met someone. When I met him I was going through a series of unfortunate events which included losing a job for the third time in a calendar year. Then the icing on the cake was being threatened to lose my apartment. Contrary to popular ''speculation'' I wasn't evicted which was more upsetting for me. My landlady just informed me a month before my lease ended she wasn't renewing. This was strange because we had already discussed renewing so I got real focused on staying in that part of town. I sold my car. I put up with a lot of shit just because my job was walking distance from home. So once the news broke I was devastated and there was nothing I could do. I couldn't seem to find another job anyways. I guess it was time to go. I tried all sorts of legal parameters and that is when I found out handshakes and contracts don't mean anything. I also realized having now three dogs and a cat made me homeless. Strapped for cash and really not interested on returning to North Carolina I opted to move in with a friend. That decision was a turning point in a life steadily going downhill.

The day before I met him I was finally offered a job. To get the said job I had to travel nearly an hour and it was only part time. Thankfully, I only burn bridges with people who do irrepairable harm. The person offering the job was my former coworker/boss from 15 years prior. In this realm she'd been at the company 18 years and worked her way up. She positioned me to make a decent amount of money but limited to 30 hours a week until Janauary. I gladly took the role as I was exhausted in looking for a job. I'd been unemployed about five weeks so I was surviving off air. The next day this guy messaged me on a dating app and it was like great here we go again. He was everything I wasn't looking for at probably the worst time. A white guy. A European. Someone on a student visa. Someone in the military. Someone with new and interesting baggage. I took my chances. I figured what else do I have to lose having lost it all already. I took being 35 with a zoo doing the same job I did when I was 20 and moving into a friends as a major defeat. I was in a horrible emotional state and he offered a break.

My romantic speed as of late was to just take what I could get. I was monogamous with one person who was way younger than me. It had been about eight months of three day weekends and I was in need of better. I'd begun going on casual dates just to fill a void and it was okay but nothing spectacular. When he and I dated it felt way different. I remember having to try really hard to carry a conversation and him not giving me any eye contact. After two dates I figured he wasn't a serial killer and we should probably move to the next level - seeing his apartment. Upon seeing his place and getting beyond the third date I figured he was a decent time waste. The adversity of starting a job and moving with no car was probably the hardest and he just seemed to push through. I frankly did it all with his help and he was really okay with it. He never stayed a night in my apartment. He just showed up, asked where the boxes were and pushed me out of the way. Then we would arrive at my friends house and they would both push me out of the way. So the remainder of my time between work and home and his house and life ... I just got out of the fucking way.

So no our courtship wasn't built on romantic dates and stayovers. It was built on carboard boxes, shift doubles and 24 hour diners. It was extremely comforting to get off work just two minutes shy of the last bus and see his shaved head sitting on a mall bench. I'd get in his car with swollen feet and smeared eyeliner and he'd put a plate of home cooked food on my lap or stay up a million more hours to take us somewhere with sitdown service. After some time, he was determined to pick me up and take me wherever I needed to go. So I'd walk out my roommates front door to find him sitting on the porch. Our moms came during the holidays and it just felt right to have them meet. It wasn't about us getting to know each others mom it was more of less for them. We'd pretty much decided we were a thing and it really didn't matter what they thought of it. I was happy. Despite it all I was really happy. I figured after the holidays I'd be on my feet. I started looking at places. Things were good and then he went on a 10 day leisure trip. I lost it.

He wasn't here for New Years. He wasn't home for a while after the holiday. Then he got the flu and no one was taking care of him. There was a time difference. We couldn't keep in contact. I finally found the house of my dreams. I was planning on moving into this house by any means necessary. The owner didn't care how many pets I had. I had options for roommates. Hell I was even open to living with my mother just to get that place. Then he phoned and said stop. Just stop. Come to Germany with me. I remember just sitting in a chair and not moving for about four hours straight. I figured I was on a five year plan. I had absolutely nothing to lose. I called the guy showing the house and said nevermind. I met him at the airport several days later and we stayed up all night talking about it. He's a good looking guy so it's not hard to sit somewhere and watch him eat. It isn't hard at all to have these lofty what if conversations with the person you love. Even if it's first love or fast love, to be in love and talk about moving across an ocean is big. He asked if I were married would I feel better about it. Sure. We talked about it but I never thought in a million ions it would actually happen. I mean why would anyone want me?

Embarking with marriage in mind changed everything. It elevated things. It made every choice harder. In essence, deciding what to pack became mutual. Buying something in a store couldn't be impulsive. Meals were taken with notebooks to jot down the things we required going forward. It was a process. I was now doing this process living between his apartment and my roommates house. I was keeping this a secret from my peers and friends. I was blueprinting a life I'd dreamed of with a person who was determined to just go. School would be over in a matter of months. He had military orders to return to Germany married or not. I was the one risking everything and I felt very sacrificial like a lamb. I was being docile and hoping that everything would just happen. It suddenly occured to me that marriage wasn't like this. I knew weddings were planned. Maybe for some the concept of marriage was organized. However, I thought it was fateful and effortless. I felt rushed to do something that wasn't developed and mulled over. Above it all I had no ring on my finger. He and I were meeting in dark alleys talking about marriage but he never really asked. I demanded that if he wanted to really marry me he would ask. That he would ask in all its traditional form. That he get a ring that symbolized me and us and not the largest or the brightest or the easist to procure. I figured there is no way he would do any of this. Not because I didn't believe he would but I didn't think I deserved it. So days and weeks went by and I was frustrated. I watched him work. He had ring sizers all over his desk. He said he was looking but hadn't found the right thing yet. I tried hard not to pressure him and I simply waited.

The day he proposed I was not even remotely aware. It was a normal Sunday. Again, I was pounding the pavement looking for a permanent job and we were on opposite schedules. He suggested that we go to brunch. He made the reservation. He said he would pick me up. When I came outside he was standing by the car in his uniform. I ran back into the house. Just moments before I was bitching to my roommate how he always plans these things and I have my own shit going on. I was exhausted, the bathtub had sprung a leak, the a/c wasn't cold enough and my friend was going to do my hair after we ate so I looked a mess. I was scrambling to look half way decent and get all my bags together. So when I stepped out and saw him like that I imagined something was happening. Maybe a proposal. Maybe not. I'd never seen him in uniform before. Besides with all that had went on that morning I wasn't optimistic. We get to brunch and it was strange. They were out of most everything. The sun was in my eyes. Then he was on one knee. The box had been in his pocket the entire time. I cried like a baby not because he surprised me but he floored me. He did what I wanted and more and beyond. He did it just like in a movie and he chose a ring that just boggles the mind. After we didn't go home or somewhere romantic, he took me to my friends house to get my hair cut. When he picked me up he was in a different uniform. We stopped at a grocery store. It was back to normal.

We were married in a month and a reception was postponed. I was able to get my two best friends to witness and it was perfect. It was really just perfect. We married in cosplay, drank whiskey in the car and then went to Waffle House. I'd started another job by then but had three days of staycation in where I completely moved into his apartment clear on the other side of town. We had a few nice dinners and life begin the following Monday. The engagement and marriage happened so fast people really had a lot to say to me. I was open to the unsolicited advice for all of a one instance. Surely, I'd gotten married to someone I'd known less than six months. However, we did all the work. We did all the emotional work to get to a place where marriage was the next step. We took the marriage course. We'd played house even though I refused to move into his place unitl I was legally married. We both submitted to each other. I always stood firm in my choice to marry him because he always felt right. The moment he came down the stairs in the airport that night I told myself I could do this forever. I felt it, he asked and we did the work. For some it takes longer. Maybe for some it doesn't work out. I am sort of proud he is my first to most everything and I consider him the last and only. And to some it may even appear things were arranged and rushed. That was for many reasons and I've always admired an aranged union. While others have married or not after 10 years of living together and knowing each other ... he and I still have something new to talk about, to try. It's an adventure versus a transaction based on tenure.

So we had four months of married life back home. A time where I was fired yet again and he graduated with his second engineering masters. A time where I emptied a storage unit and moved 35 years of life into his apartment. A time where I changed my name and closed accounts. A time where I planned a reception while he and the German Army arranged an epic international move. We made our own invitations. My dress was found a few days before my earlier wedding in a thrift shop. I chose to be a rebel bride in red and have an Asian feast. It was what I'd always imagined but compacted into dinner with friends. I was extremely bloated and the dress was altered up until two days before the event. We fought like dogs over things involving it. Then we had a dream honeymoon where we traveled all over the states and fought in different time zones. Then on June 30th we flew to Düsseldorf. Today he started his new post and I'm stuck at home waiting on him. At some point I need to shower, go to the grocery store and cook a meal. I don't speak a lick of German but I can tell when someone is talking about me. The store is nearby and the rain will keep me from encountering many people. We move into our apartment in the city of Köln in August. I don't know what is in store for me at all. For now all the chip flavors taste like BBQ and babies here are the happiest I've ever seen. I'm not writing in a bay window or a balcony covered in plants. I'm in the house my husband grew up in using his Acer laptop at his desk. I'm not in all black with a turtleneck on but one of his Army shirts and a satin bonnet. I really don't have a purpose but I don't feel purposeless. I was just a girl with no wins and prospects. Now I'm someones wife. This is marriage. This is second life.

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