There was this movie that came out in the late 80’s The War of the Rose’s. It was starring my crew from Romancing The stone; Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, and Danny DeVito. If you haven’t seen it, you should! It paints a perfect picture of the rise and fall of a couple who seemingly had it all. While not a spot-on comparison the parallels to my relationship were none the less real.
The Rose’s started off great! So sweet and romantic (the golden era). Then came the children, along with the work, and sacrifice of building a life (the mechanized era). Finally, the point where the wife’s resentment had grown to the point where she wanted a divorce to be untangled from one another. The extrication era. Of course, things were made to be overly dramatic in the movie. It was a romantic comedy made in the 80’s! While we never got to the point of crazy and never came near the levels of violence, they reached in the movie the resentment was of the charts!
It started when we got to Dallas. The job Adrian had was NOT actually in Dallas. The company was in Dallas, but he would be working overseas in Kuwait!! We sold all of our stuff, packed up, for our fresh start together, except that I would be conducting fresh start alone. Alone in a city with no friends and no family. I buried my true feelings, added another piece to the shelf, and tried to be supportive. He was so excited, and I hadn’t seen that in years, I didn’t want to be a happiness killer or dream squasher. Unfortunately, I failed to take my happiness or dreams into consideration. It was as if my natural reflex or set point was to defer to him and foolishly allow things to go on a path that I knew would lead to ruin. I wanted him to stay and for us to be a family, but I want him to want that. I did not want to force him to. So, I let him go.
I went to school and took care of the kids. Then I went to school and took care of the kids. Oh, and then I went to school and took care of the kids. I had no life outside of that. Communication was not the best with Adrian. To be fair though it was 2006 I had just gotten my very first cell phone and had no real understanding of social media. We would email but it was not consistent, response times were super slow. That first year was rough.
The next year there was a bit of a bright spot! My cousin DeVille had joined the Air Force, he lived a little town outside of London with his wife. Adrian and I planned to meet in London to spend some time together. We would hang with them for a bit and then head to Paris and meet back up with them for a few more days! I had never been abroad, I was super excited!! I bought cute outfits and new luggage, I was so ready for this! On my flight I wore this little burgundy button up dress with matching heels, all of which matched my luggage. I just knew this would be a trip of a lifetime. Things started off great in London but then fell apart in Paris.
Adrian and I had a small disagreement about where we should get dropped off for the day. I didn’t really think anything of it initially it was just a simple hey we should get off here instead of there because of x,y,z kind of thing. He reluctantly agreed but did not utter a single word to me the remainder of the time we were in Paris. It was as if we were back in San Diego the night we went to pick up my brother. Complete and total shutdown. We didn’t hold hands on the Champs-Élysées, we didn’t kiss on the Eiffel tower, and he refused to go into the louvre. I was devastated. Here I was on a trip of a lifetime with my husband, an amazing trip that I never really believed I would be on. I felt just as alone as I had been the past year in Dallas. I felt so insecure, so unloved. Like I was still that poor dirty little black girl. I put on fake smiles and made small talk with the people we met along the way. I posed for pictures or snapped pics but each one I took hurt. How could something so beautiful be so ugly? On our last night there I lay silently next to him until I couldn’t take it anymore. I told him I that I didn’t deserve this and that I wanted a divorce.
We talked, he said he didn’t want a divorce, he told me he loved me and a bunch of other stuff. I stayed but we were never whole again. Shortly after that I told him he had to come back to the states. He did but I felt as if he didn’t want to be there. To my friends and everyone who had ever known us we were this perfect couple. We were fun to hang around and put on a great show. I kept trying, I wanted to go to counseling or at least read a relationship book or something to help us figure it all out. The answer was always no. I won’t pretend that I don’t know why I put up with this or why I stayed. I know exactly why. It was because he hadn’t cheated, hit me, and wasn’t a terrible person and when I finally confided in friends that was all that mattered. Marriage was hard I was told, its for better or worse. Another reason was financial. I had gotten my B.S. Degree and had gotten accepted into several different PhD programs, I would work in a lab but would not make enough while I was in school to take care myself and the kids. The last reason was because deep down I loved him and the idea of us being a family. I swallowed my tears and did what I thought was best for everyone involved.
Initially I had planned to go to grad school in AZ, Adrian had gotten a job offer, and we had even gone out to look at condos we might like to buy. When one day Adrian wanted to talk. He had thought it out and believed we should stay in Dallas. I had gotten accepted in the biomedical program at UT Southwestern medical school locally. The problem was that I really didn’t want to go to that school, I had only applied because a professor had told me that I couldn’t get in. My passion was more in line with environmental research. This was a big deal to me, and he knew it, so he pulled out the big guns. He went on and on about us being a family and getting a house in Dallas that the kids would have a better life, and we would take the time to work on our relationship. He said that staying in Dallas as a family was what was best for us as a family. I took a big chunk of myself and placed it on the shelf. I started lab rotations at UTSW the summer of 2010.