I had no idea that I would fall flat on my face when I walked into Funksturz.
I had been there many times before but this particular day was different. It was a cold December and I needed a new beenie. I walked up the stairs to my favorite local store. They carried Paul Frank who was one of my favorite designers. I swung the door open and heard, "Hello there. Welcome to Funksturz. Would you like to come to a party I am djing?"
I looked up to see who it was and met with a pair of blue eyes (I'm a sucker for blue eyes). I said, "I would love to but I can't". My eyes scanned the blonde haired blue eyed guy in front of me. He looked like he had stepped out of a skater magazine yet he had signs of being older. His blonde hair had some silver tinge to it and he had crows feet forming around his eyes.
"That's too bad. How old are you?" he asked.
"18, I'll be 19 in March. I'm here to find a beenie, preferably blue," I replied.
He said, "Not a problem. I manage this store so I can tell you exactly what you want".
"Really? And what is that I want. In truth I don't think you know what I want nor could you handle it."
He picked up on my flirtatious comment. Somehow we got on the topic of edible underwear and what flavors they should invent. I looked down at my watch and realized a couple of hours had passed by. I was hungry and mentioned I was going to leave to grab lunch.
He astonished me with his. "Lunch? Where are we going?" I had never had a guy be so bold as to invite himself to lunch with me. Off we went to lunch.
A week later he invited me to his house. I walked into the one bedroom apartment and found him on the couch with a big peach margarita. He was a bit tipsy. I was nervous and didn't know what to expect. I had spent an hour and a half picking out clothes, getting my hair right, putting on make up.
"His blonde hair had some silver tinge to it and he had crows feet forming around his eyes."
He kept offering wine, beer or alcohol. I wasn't much of a wine drinker back then. The next thing I knew he was kissing me. I thought, OK I'll go with it. Because of his intoxication he struggled with keeping his erection. I didn't make a fuss.
I breathed him in; he smelled of peach margaritas, downy and Calvin Klein. We ended up sort of having sex that night but got interrupted by his father's call. I learned that his father was a Vietnam vet that was paralyzed. I told him to answer the phone but he refused. He said that his father called every night and that he was too angry to answer the phone. I told him that not answering the phone would lead to regrets someday. I would find out later how true that statement was. I left thinking it was probably a one night stand and that if it were I would be OK with it.
The next day Ryan called. I was in shock. I didn't think he would call me. As the month went by we kept spending time together and enjoying one another's company. One night he said, "I like this. I like having sex with you and spending time with you. Could we have an agreement you and I? Could we keep the sex between one another? If one of us wants to go elsewhere we should tell the other person. I am not ready for a relationship but I would like to keep this how it is. Is that cool?" In my head I thought, OK he doesn't want one now, maybe he'll want one down the road. "Yeah. That sounds great."
And so began our 6 1/2 years of sex, hanging out and enjoying life. Things were amazing in the beginning. He was sweet, cuddly, funny. I met his kids, met his mom, met a few of his friends.
"When Ryan was a teenager his mother left him - I believe this was another reason he didn't trust women."
His ex wife had done a number on him. She was crazy (I was threatened by her a few times even run off the road). She was part of the reason Ryan had little trust in women. She was manipulative, evil, angry and lazy. When Ryan was a teenager his mother left him to follow an abusive man thousands of miles away. I believe that this was another reason he didn't trust women.
An ex boyfriend of mine ran into Ryan and I one day. The ex took me aside and said, "Are you crazy? Do you know how old he is? He's like, 30! Plus he's really unstable and he will break your heart." I didn't believe him entirely.
One day when we were at lunch I focused in on his crows feet and gray hairs.
"How old are you Ryan?"
"How old do I look Shelly? Take a guess."
It was hard to tell, "28?"
"That's a great guess! You are a good guesser."
I figured I was right. Later on I wanted to make sure. He owed me five dollars and so I looked in his wallet as he went for the $5. Sure enough 1970.
I did the quick math in my head...13 years difference?! "You're 31! You lied?"
"Oh no, I didn't lie. I just said you were a good guesser."
This was not so great. I couldn't even drink legally yet. I couldn't go to concerts or bars...why was he with me?
As the months passed down things got worse. We started to fight as he was a dj and I thought he was always on the prowl. He thought I was an easy girl that got it on with many many guys. We would fight, separate and then come back together. The only thing we were amazing at was sex. We had mind blowing sex.
We would go on out of town trips, eat nice dinners, go to movies, play with his kids. It was great when it went well and terrible when it was not going well. The only thing we fought about were girls. Half way through the 6 1/2 years we tried dating for 7 months. That was great until he read a MySpace comment from a guy friend of mine calling me "Gorgeous". And that was that.
""How deluded are you?" my parents would say. "You pay for everything!""
"How deluded are you?" my parents would say. "You pay for everything. He never pays you back. He won't commit to you because why should he? He has the luxury of having his cake and eat it too. He knows you won't leave so he can be the biggest jerk to you. He lives with his mother and collects unemployment. He doesn't have a car 'cause of his DUIs. We could go on." They were right. He never paid for anything. I was the one with the money so I was the one always paying for hotels, dinners, movies...you name it. He paid for a fast food meal here and there occasionally. One Christmas I got him a leather jacket and he got me an alarm clock (woohoo). I was so enthralled by him that I didn't even notice my money being used up and never being paid back. Now we started to fight about money, lack of commitment and girls.
He hated my friends and I hated the few that I knew of his circle. He never spent any birthdays with me and never let me spend birthdays with him. "You have your friends and I have mine. Let's keep them separate"
Bad days would come up for him and he'd call me to unload his feelings and problems. I would listen and offer advice. When his father passed away he tried going out to the bars. I told him it wouldn't help. And it didn't. He called me an hour later to come pick him up. I did and we went for a drive. He cried his eyes out and said, "I should have listened. You were right. My father was trying to reach out because he was dying and he knew it. I'm so stupid. I should have never ignored him."
When I suffered a huge traumatic event that landed me in the hospital he was no where to be seen. I only got a text saying "I hope you feel better." When my father was in a coma he never said anything to me about it. If I brought it up he would say, "We all have problems Shelly. Get over it."
I got tired of living a lie and loving a man who would never love me back. I got tired of picking him up at 2am after a dj gig and staying up with him because he thought his heart was going to explode due to snorting too much coke. I got tired of waiting for him to commit to me. I was tired of him never wanting to pay me back or even saying "thank you I appreciate what you do for me".
I hated it when he'd use my age against me and his knack for blaming everything on me yet not taking responsibility. Our fights were volatile filled with throwing things, screaming, pointing fingers, breaking things but never hitting one another.
" I was tired of him never wanting to pay me back, or even saying 'thank you I appreciate what you do for me.'"
I went into overdrive. I started to work out, picked up some hobbies, stopped calling him and picked my life up. It was different this time from all the other times I had left him behind. He called and I said "I'm over this. You don't give, you only take. I am not the girl for you and it's time I step away from you. It's time I stop paying for things and taking the blame for everything. I am tired of you not being there for me. Please don't ever call me again."
He must have known I was serious because he left me alone. That was the day the strings came off and I became human. I don't regret those years. I learned a lot. I don't hate Ryan but I certainly will never allow myself to be disrespected and abused. It's important to stand up for yourself and to know that you are worth having a solid and balanced relationship.