Monday, January 24, 2005
It was 1990... I was 25 and in love. Engaged to be married to the man of my dreams... or so I thought. He was an interesting man. Intelligent, witty, incredibly romantic. He was a phenomenal cook and would delight in making special dinners for us to share. He had been a Ranger in the army, but it was a topic not broached a great deal in our home. Rarely did I see the darker side to his personality... at least in the beginning.
We met in August 1989 and within three months we were living together. Never before, and never since, have I been so thoroughly swept away with another person, or loved (and been loved) so completely. We could sit for hours and never be bored of the other. There was too much to know, too much to find out. We told each other our deepest secrets. I trusted him with my life. My. Life.
Joe and Angie at Palisades
Sunday afternoon I was cleaning out some files and ran across an envelope with pictures in it. There were two pictures of Joe as a baby and some of us together. There weren't many as I had long ago filled a box with the memories of us, but these few had somehow missed being imprisoned.
I don't know what it was about finding these again, but it brought back a thundering torrent of emotions ranging from sheer ecstasy brought on by remembering what it felt to be that in love, to annoyance over the little things (like dirty socks on the floor)... to the worst, gut-wrenchingly empty part of my soul...
One time when he went on his yearly Alaskan adventure with the boys I put on one of his dirty t-shirts to sleep in so I could keep his smell next to me.
The night we went to see 'Goodfellas' at the theater, Joe (being Italian) would try to explain points in the movie to me. While incredibly annoying, it was also utterly endearing.
Many nights I sat waiting up for him long after he'd said he would be home. The night he sat on the steps in front of the house rocking himself and crying was the hardest thing I'd ever seen.
On our anniversary he surprised me at the end of my working day by showing up in a three-piece double-breasted suit with a dozen roses. The champagne was on ice at a bar around the corner...
The night the police came to arrest him for domestic assault was, bar none, the absolute worst night of my life. And the days that followed were not much better in comparison. It was the hardest thing I have ever lived through.
All I can say is: it was another time. I was a different person. Joe was a different person. But opening that envelope and having those pictures fall out cracked some kind of floodgate in me. After 15 years, you would think the pain and the anger and the overwhelming sense of loss would be resolved. Well, I guess it's not. Because sitting here typing this, I can't stop crying. And I can't stop thinking that I will never feel that connected to another person. That every relationship since then was a pale reminder of the unconditional love and passion that I haven't felt in 15 years. That there wasn't anything I could do to make it play out a different way.
Finally, Joe... capisco.