Social: It was a hard slog after my mother died. My dad turned with full, religious conviction to scotch and mallomars to survive. I drove home every weekend to make sure he didn’t pickle himself. A lot of men get married within a year of losing a spouse, but my dad just seemed to take it harder as every day went by, so I spent a lot of time driving back and forth. I had a boyfriend I will describe as “inexplicable” – everything about the relationship was wrong. I don’t know why we got together; I don’t know how we stayed together; I don’t know how any of it happened, but it did. We loved each other, but we fought and we seemed to be constantly hurting each other in one way or another.
Sports: I ran with religious fervor. I completed 4 marathons before I turned 30 – again, with the sole ambition of finishing and not getting hurt. My last marathon was New York in 2000. After the race, I met my brother, went back to his place and took a cold shower. Then I went to the airport, got a flight home and was at work, pain-free the next morning. I don’t even know my time.
Career: It was pretty much in the bag that I would change careers after the requisite grieving period had passed. I tried, and failed, to tell myself that disaster banking was my fate, but I never believed it. What finally pushed me over the edge was something that had nothing to do with work at all.
That boyfriend I always fought with? He didn’t want me in banking either, and he was always after me to try to change jobs somehow. We were always at odds with each other, always arguing. I broke up with after a year, and it was a dark and stormy break up. Lots of rage and recriminations. A certain amount of stalking and scary highway interceptions. In other words, my basic nightmare.
I put up with this for a few months before I encountered him in my front yard at 7am and yelled at him so loud that my neighbors called the police. He fled before so as not to get arrested.
A few months after the yard incident, he hanged himself. His family blamed me, and to this day, they will not acknowledge me even though I have tried to reach out to them a number of ways. I have sent cards, letters. I didn’t dare go to the funeral.
I don’t blame them. It was my fault, when you consider how unhappy I made him. I made him feel bad about himself. I made him feel as if he were not good enough for me. I made him feel like a loser. Then he died. No wonder they blamed me. Whatever the meaning of his death, I have paid for it over and over again on the wheel of karma.
One result of all this was that Kerry (that was his name) left me money to go to graduate school. I gave it back to his family, of course, but I did apply to graduate school to get an MA in English. I had no clear idea at the time whether I would be able to get teaching work; I just knew I couldn’t do the banking thing anymore. I spent two years getting my MA and instantly got a job – really good luck there – except not, which I will explain next time I sit down to write.