So, yes, PK and I left Job Corps in April. I know that at this point you have to be thinking, my mother is The Biggest Idiot. And I don’t blame you for that at all. All I can really say in my defense is that at least I’ve never repeated the same relationship mistakes I made with PK elsewhere in my history.
I had to leave most of my clothes and gear and other personal effects, since it had to appear, at least, that I was coming back. Everyone knew, of course. Rumors spread in that place faster than I have seen before or since. Everyone knew what you were doing almost before you did, it seemed sometimes.
We moved in with his parents, first. They lived out in the sticks in a homey rambler, with pictures of PK and all his ex girlfriends all over the house, and liked to sunbathe naked in the backyard. They had a spare bedroom, seven Pomeranians, and for a while, it was home.
SpiritCrusher was PK’s mother. She was an intimidating woman, very strong, very opinionated, and very old fashioned in certain areas. The epitome of backwoods glory. I, however, was not.
She worked as a waitress in town, was the first to teach me how to manicure my fingernails, and gave me my first drink, a jack and coke. We played cards a lot. She taught me a game called “Bitch” that you played in rounds, and we would play cards or embroider plastic canvas until I felt like my fingers were going to fall off. SpiritCrusher was a good woman in her own way, kind hearted but very, very tough. And loved her son very, very much. Her life was not so easy either, with her previous husband, but at the time I met her she seemed to have settled into a peaceful rhythm of days, between working and coming home, fixing meals, and cleaning, then relaxing with her canvas or her cards.
John, SC’s husband, was much more my style. He was laid back and had a sense of humor that meshed with mine. He was bald, and short, shorter than SC, and skinny. Most times we were the only ones laughing at the jokes we would hear on TV – PK and his mom really didn’t have much of a sense of humor, at least not like mine. It was John that made SC take down the photos of PK and his girlfriends. I liked John because he helped me with the dishes, even when it got me in trouble with SC.
Life was pretty quiet for the most part. I was still learning about PK, hanging out with his mom, and recuperating in a quiet, solitary kind of way from the abortion. PK started going into town some nights, and at first I thought nothing of it when he did not ask me along. There were so many warning signs in the beginning that I can hardly believe I was so blind.
We disagreed about a lot. Or at least, she announced The Way It Would Be and I just complained in my head. I was good at that, back then.
“I don’t know where you grew up, 2N, but around here, it is the woman’s place to clean and keep things tidy for her man. You’re going to help make sure that everything is cleaned up and in place and then you are going to help me get lunch ready, and then we’ll talk about dinner.”
That was one time when we went on a camping trip. Breakfast (that I helped make) was over, and I wanted to go read my book. After cleaning PK’s and my dishes and helping put stuff away. After breakfast, the men had scattered. Obviously it was accepted that the women would clean up after, and I was the only one who thought that was odd at all. On the camping trips I went on with my family, my grandpa always cooked, and my sister, brother, and mom helped do the dishes, what ones my grandpa didn’t do while he was cooking.
Needless to say, I don’t think I cracked a book the entire time we were there. I came away from that camping trip with a much better understanding of my “place”, at least where SC was concerned. Thank goodness for that.
Most of the rest of 1994 passed in this way, PK going out more and more frequently (he was 21, I was not), me and his parents hanging out at his house, helping to clean, fixing dinner when SC was working late, and staring at the ceiling most nights waiting until I heard PK’s truck pull into the drive – on the nights he came home at all. Sometimes I got to read (too much, and I was being lazy) and some days I sunbathed for hours. I was fairly satisfied – what else did I have to compare it to? Life seemed pretty good. Until BiggerBitchAss.
BBA was PK’s cousin’s friend and went to college in Eugene, Oregon. She took some time off work to come visit her friend, Wimp, PK’s cousin, which is when we met. Or should I say, when she and PK met. It was clear from the beginning that I was just an irritation to be gotten out of the way as soon as possible. I could see they were involved – it was so transparent to me, but everyone told me I was being insecure, and silly, and to quit acting like a sulky baby. And the whole while, her smug face and calculating glances at PK were driving me up the wall. I can’t even explain how awful it was to see them, practically flaunting it in my face, and have everyone else think I was reading too much into things.
One thing I will tell you, and that is that women will always know. Whether or not they will admit it to anyone, even themselves, they will always know. There is a difference to a man who is cheating. It’s in the way he will touch you, talk to you (or not, as the case may be), how he looks at you…it’s all right there. Trust me, I am kind of an expert – by the time we split, PK had cheated on me at least five or six times and those were just the ones he told me about. That number, by the way, includes BBA.
Next: chapter five.