Sunday, November 25, 2012

Out in the Open

“I want you to come by the fire house and meet the guys. You could come hang out and watch a football game with us.”

“Won’t that be kind of weird?” I asked Mike.

We were eating dinner at my place and waiting for the potato casserole I made to finish baking. Mike was using a laser toy to play with Murphy from the couch.

“Why? They know about you, plus, you already met Tony.”

“Yeah, but this is, like, your boss and stuff. And I think it would be weird for you to meet Tucker or Eddie or Joe.”

“But these guys are my family, Faith. They aren’t just co-workers. And besides, I have met your Bruno pals.”

He was right. Mike has stopped by the bar a few times when it’s been slow and he’s met Cara, Bruno, and Brad.

“Come on, Faith. At the very least you could meet Dolly. We could fool around in the sleeping quarters if you get bored...”

He pulled me to him and gave me a hot kiss bet we were interrupted by the timer on the oven.

“Dinner time.” I said.

Mike pretended to be annoyed and helped me set the table while the casserole cooled. I made up a salad and got us some sodas (and fed my hungry baby) before settling down at the table.

“Okay.” I said.

“You’ll meet them?”

“Yes.” I smiled. Mike smiled back and took a moment before speaking again.

“I don’t want to scare you away or anything…and I now we haven’t been together for very long in the grand scheme of things but I’m so in love with you, Faith. I think about our future sometimes. Does that freak you out?”

“No.” I said, “I think about it, too.”

“Have you thought about maybe moving in together?” He asked.

I froze a little bit. The last time I’d had a conversation like this was with Sean and he ended up basically living with me because he sublet his apartment while he was on tour.

“Hey, whoa, I was just asking, we can pretend like I didn’t.” Mike said noticing my reaction.

“It’s…not that.” I said, “Mike, I don’t think I’ve really told you much about my past relationships. I know I told you that I was engaged to my last boyfriend and that it wasn’t very healthy but I think I owe it to you to tell you just how much damage that relationship and the one before it did to me.”

Mike looked at me with concern, put his silverware down, and held my hand. I took a deep breath and started in.

“My relationship with you is very different from what I had with Sean. And part of that is because I wanted to forget about the relationship I had before him. I dated my boss before Sean. He was engaged to someone and lied to me about it, when I broke things off he made my job a living hell and tried to hurt me when I quit. Then I met Sean; I didn’t want a relationship with him at first. We met at a bar and I went back to his hotel room and we’d had that arrangement for awhile.”

The shame I felt telling Mike this cascaded over me and my eyes welled up.

“Faith, it’s okay.” Mike rubbed my hand with his thumb.

“Almost from the beginning of our relationship, Sean lied to me; he had jealousy problems, and would constantly accuse me of lying or having feelings for my boss. This behavior only got worse when I ran into my boss at a bar and he tried to hurt me and it was bad; it’s why I have those nightmares. Sean got involved and because of that I couldn’t press charges but he turned it around and tried to use it as evidence that I still had feelings for my boss. He showed up at my work once and saw me talking to my friend, Adam, and got very upset with me. And I thought that was okay because he had to justify our relationship to his manager and almost gave up his position in the band to be with me.”

My voice shook.

“When Sean went on tour, I think I was able to see just how unhappy I was with the relationship and I think he knew it which is why he asked me to marry him. Eventually he ended up cheating on me and getting that person pregnant. But we didn’t completely break things off. Sean would still come over and…and…I was seeing someone else at the time and I feel so badly about that.”

I looked up at Mike and waited for him to start yelling but he didn’t. He just continued to listen.

“But then I called it off, for real, and I told the person I was dating, too, who chose to break it off as well. And then I found someone else and we’d had the same arrangement that Sean and I had had before we started dating and that person wanted to take things farther and the only reason we didn’t was because I’d hurt his feelings on our first actual date. So then I decided I should avoid dating for awhile which is when you entered into my life. And everything with you has been so different and I’m not afraid to tell you things like I was with Sean, I’m not afraid you’re going to make accusations like he did, you actually trust me even when I told you I lied to you that one time, and I…I don’t really know how to be in a relationship like this, I guess.”

I let out a breath and then looked at Mike with trepidation.

After a while he spoke.

“Faith, I love you.”

“That’s it? That’s all you have to say after all of that?”

Mike laughed.

“Yeah. I know you had a life before me and it would be pretty stupid of me to expect you not to be shaped by it. I love ALL of who you are and I would marry you tomorrow if I didn’t think doing so would be absolutely insane and also scare the hell out of you.”

I practically leapt across the table to kiss him and give him a hug. (We are not getting married any time soon, though!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Thanksgiving at Mike’s parents’ house was lovely. I got to meet his little sister who is a sophomore in college. She goes to school two states over but she seems to really like it. Her name is Sarah and seeing her interact with Mike just made my heart melt. Mike and I were put in charge of pies, so we arrived with pumpkin and apple after I got done with the show (that’s right, it is now open and getting sold out almost every night).

Mike’s mom was in the kitchen with Sarah, working up a storm. Sarah was in charge of the gravy and I was put on salad-tossing duty. Mike was setting the table and Frank was pouring wine into the glasses. The turkey was sitting on the kitchen island, resting, and Betty was taking warm dinner rolls out of the oven and taking stock of everything.

Once the gravy boats were filled, the stuffing and potatoes were put in serving dishes, and the turkey made its grand entrance, we all sat around the dining room table salivating at the gorgeous food. We went around the table and said what we were thankful for (it’s a family tradition for Mike’s family) and then Frank started cutting ip and serving the turkey.

Sarah was very friendly to me, she talked about college and what it was like being away from her mom and dad while Mike and his dad talked about the car they were re-furbishing. Betty listened to Sarah as she talked about her major.

“I don’t know, I think business is a good idea realistically-speaking but I wish being a dance major was a possibility.” Sarah said while eating some stuffing.

“Why isn’t it?” Betty asked with a sly smile.

“Well, because.” Sarah said reaching for the gravy boat, “I don’t even know what I would do with that. What do you think Faith?”

“Hmm.” I buttered a dinner roll, “I’ve always thought that when it comes to majors in college, you should do what you like and make it practical.”

“What did you do?” Sarah asked.

Betty smiled at me, I’m sure Mike had told her all about my college history and I think the smile was a sign of approval.

“I double-majored. I got a communications degree and a theatre degree.”


“Yeah. A lot of the classes overlapped and I used my communications degree to work in HR for awhile, now I’m working as a stage manager and a bartender for now. But I’m hoping that, at some point, I won’t need to have that side job and be able to completely work in theatre.”

“I never thought about double-majoring.” Sarah contemplated with a slice of turkey.

“The trick to double-majoring is to pick two majors that you’d like that have a lot of overlapping classes. You’ll be able to graduate on time. And a great bonus is that you can apply to more scholarships than you would if you were only majoring in one thing because you’ll be eligible for the scholarships for the other major, assuming they require the applicants to be majoring in that subject.”

“So, if I want to major in dance, I should really pick something that overlaps, but I don’t think there’s anything.”

“You’ll need to look in your course catalog, sweetie.” Betty said, “I’m sure there’s something. But even if there isn’t, there isn’t anything wrong with majoring in dance.”

The conversation continued easily and Mike and left stuffed with food and good cheer. I called my parents when I got home and talked about how their Thanksgiving was and my told me that my brother had decided to come home for Christmas for a few days. I’m glad about that. I’d called and asked him if he would do that instead of spend his entire Christmas vacation off from work at his new girlfriend’s parents’ place and he said no, but he must have felt guilty and changed his mind. I’m glad my parents won’t be alone for Christmas, now.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Not-So-Sweet Dreams

I sat in Dr. Sheehan’s office nervously fiddling with my hands. I’d just told her about my dreams and how they were making me afraid to fall asleep. Since my last post, I’ve had nightmares almost every night and I am exhausted.

“I don’t understand why this is happening. I haven’t thought of Kevin for a long time. I thought I was past all of this.” I said.

“Faith, you have PTSD from the attack, it’s natural to have things like this happen after being triggered.”

“But that’s the thing…I didn’t even feel uncomfortable about seeing his name again in that magazine. I…felt nothing. I thought I was fine, I barely thought about it after seeing the magazine.”

“It’s possible that you were affected on a subconscious level, the dreams you’ve been having would certainly suggest that.”

“Dr. Sheehan, I need to stop having these dreams. I’m exhausted. Mike and Molly are both exhausted, too. I can’t keep going on like this.” My voice cracked and I sounded as desperate as I felt.

“I can write you a prescription for an anti-anxiety medicine you can take before bed; that might help. Try that first. If it doesn’t work, fill the prescription for some sleeping pills I’m going to give you, but try not to rely on them, okay?”

“I’ll only use them if I absolutely have to.”

“I really want you to try the anti-anxiety meds first. I think they’ll relax you and your mind. Hopefully they’ll help you stop feeling afraid of sleeping.”

I took the prescriptions she wrote me and stuck them in my purse.

“I was doing fine until the dreams started.” I said sadly.

“Faith, PTSD is a hard disease to try and deal with. It comes and goes. You’ve had a good year, don’t look at it like a failure.”

“I just…the dreams make me scared. Like he’s going to show up in my life again at any time. Like I have no control anymore.”

“Well, he doesn’t know where you live, right?”


“He can’t even get a forwarding address because your apartment complex no longer exists for him to go ask for it.”

“That’s true, too.”

“You don’t even work in HR anymore, so he can’t find you that way.”

“That’s also true but I work in theatre, which is pretty public.”

“But you’re a stage manager, that’s a pretty low-key job.”

I laughed.

“You’re right. No one cares about the stage manager.”

“Kevin has very little chance of coming back into your life again even if he wanted to.”

I gave Dr. Sheehan a confused look.

“Kevin is a master-manipulator, Faith. He’s an abuser. That’s what they do. But they move on very fast. The control Kevin had on you went away as soon as he signed that piece of paper so long ago. I imagine that he’s found someone else...” She trailed off.

“Someone else to hurt.” I finished her sentence.

“It’s not your fault, Faith. This is just what men like Kevin do. They manipulate and use people until they aren’t allowed to anymore, then they find someone new. I imagine his wife got pretty tired of his behavior and she’s finally free of him. Instead of feeling sad, feel glad that she doesn’t have him in her life anymore.”

I nodded, Dr. Sheehan was right. I would never be able to do anything about Kevin at this point but being relieved for Hannah is certainly something I can do. Our session was over a little after that. I said good bye and thanked her for the prescriptions which I then promptly filled. I’m about to go to bed. I took a hot bath, made myself of sleepy time tea and took and anti-anxiety pill and I’m waiting for it to kick in. Hopefully I’ll have a much better night tonight. I think I’ll go climb into bed and snuggle with Murphy while this pill kicks in.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back, Back Again

(When I made that post on Thursday, I seriously under-estimated just how unmotivated I would be to write on Friday and, well, the rest of the weekend since it was a long weekend for me. So, I posted the lost post before this one. Make sure to read it first or you might be confused. Also, sorry for being lazy : ( -del)

We’ve finally moved into the actual theatre space and have started having rehearsals there so I have more to do at night to shut down than in our temporary rehearsal space. It was late at night and I was locking the door that leads to the alley. The light above the door was out so it took me forever to lock it since I couldn’t see. It was cold and I stuck my hands in my jacket pockets while I walked to the bus.

I heard footsteps behind me but didn’t think much of it until I looked behind and didn’t see anyone. I pulled my jacket closer around me and started walking faster. The footsteps started again.

I stopped. They stopped. The bus stop was only about half a block away and I thought I’d feel safer if I could just get there, where there were lights so I started walking again.

“Faith.” A voice called out to me, taunting.

I turned around and it was Kevin. He was almost on top of me. I tried to scream but nothing came out. He grabbed my hair and dragged me to an alley nearby. When he let go, I tried to run but he grabbed my waist and we ended up on the ground.

I tried to crawl away and kick him off of me but he was holding onto me too tight. I finally found my voice and started screaming for help but no one came. Kevin pinned me against the ground, I could feel it under me, wet, hard. A sickening wave of terror came over me when I saw Kevin pull out a long, thin knife.

I started screaming louder, he raised his arms and plunged the knife into me. He did it again and again and again. I was kicking and clawing at him but with every stab I felt myself fall deeper and deeper against the ground.

He kept repeating my name. But it didn’t sound like Kevin anymore. It was…Mike’s?


I sat bolt upright and realized I was drenched in sweat and shaking. I looked around wildly. The bedroom light was on and Mike was holding me by my shoulders. I screamed and backed against his headboard. 

Mike took his hands off of me and held them up so I could see them.

“It’s okay. You were just having a nightmare. It’s okay now.”

I was breathing heavily and my muscles felt like I’d been working out for hours. I relaxed a little and Mike sat across from me.

“Do you want me to get you some water?”

“N-no.” I said still breathing heavy. I put my hand on my heart to try to calm myself down. My pulse was racing as if I’d just run a marathon.

A loud knock came from Mike’s apartment door and I jumped.

“I’ll get it, it’s okay.” Mike said slowly backing away. His eyes were full of concern. I was afraid to be alone so I followed him unsteadily out to the living room.

Mike opened the door, it was a neighbor.

“Is everything okay? We heard someone screaming bloody murder.” The neighbor was an older woman in a robe; she looked past Mike into the living room.

“Everything’s okay, my girlfriend just…got scared. We were watching a scary movie, I’m sorry for waking you.”

The neighbor looked at me with concern and I nodded apologetically. She left after that and I collapsed on the couch.

“I’m sorry.” I said as Mike sat next to me and pulled me against him.

“It’s okay. Have you ever had a bad dream like that before?”

“I don’t think so.”

“What was it about?”

“Um. I don’t remember.” I lied. I dug my head to his chest and he kissed my hair, “Mike, go back to bed, you have to be at work in a few hours. I’ll just sit out here for awhile. I’ll be fine.”

“It’s fine, Faith, I can-”

“No, please, I’m really embarrassed. Just, please go back to sleep, you should get some sleep before work.”

“Are you sure?” He asked looking into my eyes, searching.

“Yeah, I’ll just watch some really bad infomercials and make some tea. I’ll be in there in an hour or so, I’m sure.”

“Okay.” Mike got up and gave me a kiss before heading back to bed.

I sighed and fell back on the couch. We’re going to have a lot to talk about in therapy this week.