#44 The Worst Christmas Ever Continued

Dear Journal,

I really couldn’t believe it as we stood out on the curb waiting for the valet. It couldn’t be possible that everything had been so perfect just the night before could it? When the Valet opened the passenger door for me, Jack handed him a few dollars,  and I started to open the backdoor to get in, when Jack stopped me and told me to sit up front. I slid into the front seat without an argument even though Rachel and I’d ridden up in the back seat and Liz had been in the passenger seat up front.

holding hands

Jack didn’t say anything at all as we were waiting. It was hard to know that to do or say. He’d shared stories about times like these but now I’d seen it all  for myself.  I just reached over and held his hand and he let me. Even with a coat on, I shivered. And I prayed! I wasn’t sure what to expect. Finally after what seemed like over an hour, Liz and Rachel appeared. Poor Rachel looked as if she was practically carrying her mother.  Before they reached the car, Jack quickly said to me, “We will go up long enough to get our things and then leave.” Liz never said a word when she saw me in the front seat. I think she was a little relieved to not have to sit up there with Jack.

Even though the drive was only about twenty minutes, it seemed like it took hours. Finally we all piled into the elevator up to Liz’s apartment. No one said a word the whole drive home.  But as soon as the elevator doors closed Liz went crazy asking Jack who he thought he was and then she literally jumped on him and knocked his glasses off his face and scratched his nose. Jack just held his mother off. When the doors opened. Rachel got out. I thought she was going to open the apartment door but when we got to the door, Jack took his key and unlocked it. I looked around, but there was no Rachel. I was so mad!

winebottle

I took off the coat that Liz gave me and told Jack I didn’t want anything but  what he’d given me. As he was gathering everything up, I could barely believe my eyes. Liz picked up a wine bottle and held it over her head ready to send it crashing down onto Jack. Without thinking, I almost tackled her as I ran and grabbed it out of her hands She held on so tight, but something  happened to me at that moment and I caught her and myself (for that matter) by complete surprise, and found strength that I never knew I had, yanking her arms back, I told her “Oh no you don’t, you wicked old witch!”  as she hit the half empty bottle against the table shattering the glass. Just barely missing Jack as his head jerked up. He  hadn’t even seen it coming.

wine bottle broken
His eyes looked so sad  when he realized what had just transpired. He just looked sick and as if he wanted to cry. Me too. I knew that he’d envisioned a night so different.

frustrated man

Liz was in the middle of cussing us both out when we heard a thundering knock on the door and someone shouting “Police, open up!” I ran to the door but Jack got there first and opened it and there stood Robin behind two police officers. I was confused and then relieved when I saw all three of them.

police knocking

They each took turns listening to our stories and immediately realized who was drunk and belligerent and who was devastated and embarrassed. The officer that spoke to us was very kind and allowed us to get our things and escorted us to our car explaining that they get more calls like this during the holidays than they can count and to just let it blow over and that everything would be okay. I wondered if he knew for sure that everything would really ever be okay again.

I thanked him for being so nice and Jack shook his hand. When he dropped me off that night, I started to get out of the car and then  turned around to say Merry Christmas.  And thought “Seriously?” How could I let him go home alone after everything we’d been through? I told him to come in. He looked so grateful he didn’t even try to argue. I just couldn’t picture him going home to an empty house. My parents had already gone to bed. There were still gifts under the tree that I still hadn’t taken up to my room yet. As I surveyed my home and the scene before me, I felt very grateful. I started a fire and got some pillows and blankets and we fell asleep in each other’s arms. That night I thanked God for giving me the parents that I had and I think I may have even loved them just a little bit more than I had the day before.

fireplace

 

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#43 The Worst Christmas Ever!!!!

 

Dear Journal,

I hate even remembering this. But on the way to the restaurant Liz kept complaining that Jack did not have a dinner jacket. Of course it didn’t matter to her that the plans had changed and if we’d known that he would have worn something different. Fortunately Rachel and I had on long dresses so we were dressed up enough. As the valet opened the door for us Liz still was going on about it and Jack stayed silent. When we checked in, Jack traded his coat for a dinner jacket and  Rachel and I breathed a sigh of relief.

perinos

 

I have to say that the place was lovely. Our booth was set beautifully and I eyed Jack as we slipped in and sat down. He was not the happy relaxed Jack with so much hope that I’d seen earlier that morning. We got the menus and Liz ordered a cocktail before we even had a chance to open them and she also ordered a bottle of wine. Though I couldn’t drink and Jack doesn’t drink and I was pretty sure that Rachel wouldn’t have more than a glass and she said as much so Liz changed her mind and said that she still wanted the cocktail and to bring two glasses of wine. At that point I hoped that Rachel was going to have at least one because Liz was getting sloppy. Rachel complained that we hadn’t even ordered yet and perhaps white wine would have been a better choice to go with turkey and then got up to go to the restroom and I had to go so I followed.

We walked into the room and immediately a woman dressed like a nurse handed us steaming moist  white wash cloths. We both were kind of taken off guard but Rachel motioned to a woman in front of us who wiped her hands and then placed the used wash cloth in a copper bin below the counter. When we walked out the woman offered us another washcloth and we thanked her and left. Giggling all the way back to our table. Rachel said “Did you see that money in a bowl?” I nodded and said I wonder if we were supposed to take some for using the bathroom and we both started laughing until Liz said sternly or as sternly as someone half sloshed can sound and said “Oh girls that was the antendee’s tips and you were supposed to leave her one.” We looked at each other and said “OOOOooooh” and then couldn’t stop laughing.

drinks

I noticed that our maitredee must have made a mistake and there was a bottle of wine on the table along with a cocktail and two poured glasses of wine when we returned. All I could think was, Oooh boy! Jack looked miserable but we ordered dinner and it was very good. We all had the prime rib so Rachel was fine with the red wine. We even began to have a nice time and even Jack seeemd to relax until Liz motioned loudly,  pointing out a woman across from us who had a nice white pants suit on. I actually thought it was very pretty, but Liz started in loudly again about Jack not wearing a proper jacket and saying, “How would you like me to have worn pants like that?” and actually pointed to the poor woman who graciously ignored her.

perions1

 

I am not sure what may have happened when Rachel and I were in the restroom but Jack calmly said, “I warned you mom, that’s it.” And got up and waited for me as Liz raised her voice at me and said that I better not go with him. I wanted to just melt under the table. But I slipped out of the booth and glanced at Rachel apologetically as her brother grabbed my hand and guided me out the door as  I heard her yelling but didn’t look back. We only stopped long enough for Jack to exchange jackets and for me to get my coat and we walked out the door as I felt a thousand eyes burning through me. In my lifetime I’d never been so embarrassed.

#42 A Change Of Plans

 perinos menu

Dear Journal,

So Jack wandered into the spotless kitchen. And looked concerned when he didn’t find a turkey in the oven or the dining room table set for a holiday meal or anything. Rachel was showing me a mother of pearl necklace that her boyfriend had gotten her when Jack came out and eyed an opened bottle of wine and looked at Rachel who shrugged and told us that it was opened when she got there. Jack’s smile vanished and he looked  worried. I felt so sorry for him. The whole way to her house he talked about his mother’s great cooking.

Finally Liz came floating into the room with a long black velvet skirt and cashmere sweater smelling like cigarettes and chanel #5. She kissed us all on the cheek and poured herself another glass of wine before sitting next to Rachel and said “Lets get this party started.” Poor Jack bless his heart, dutifully began distributing all the gifts in front of the recipents. Rachel and Liz loved their gold crosses and Jack had snuck and bought me one too. We all had to stop and put them on and he helped each one of us with the clasp and then sat smiling as we admired each other’s.

Rachel and Liz loved the Bibles. I’d snuck and gotten one for Jack with his name on it too that he seemed to love. Then I fished out the gift I’d been saving. He thought I’d just gotten him the Bible but I’d also put a digital gold watch he’d eyed at Zales on layaway one of the times we’d been looking for rings. I even had it engraved with “forever K” He was so surprised,  I thought he was going to cry for a minute but he said he loved it and put it on and then made everyone admire it.  Then he began piling presents around me after that. I was so embarrassed. He’d bought me an Elna Sewing machine  and  cross country skiis and his mom bought me a beautiful camel colored coat with a fur collar. And said “You can wear it tonight because I am taking you all to Perinos!”

Wben I heard Rachel say… “Mom I thought that the plan was, that you were cooking?” I was so grateful that she took the lead on that one because I just know Liz would have been on the defense if Jack had asked the same question. But she just lit another cigarette and explained, “Oh no! I want to treat you all to a REAL Christmas Dinner.” And looked at me and said “Keri honey, you wanna hand me that little bottle of merlot sweetie?” I just smiled and poured her some more as Jack looked miserable and Rachel asked, “What time are reservations?” Liz lit another cigarette and told her six thirty. Jack looked at his new watch and said “it’s almost six now.” So we all begain getting up and getting our coats on.  Liz saw Jack’s coat and asked him if he was going to wear THAT and pointed to it as if it were a rag. I saw Jack’s face turn red as he took the keys from his mom’s hand and said “I’ll drive.” As we all walked out the door.

#41

Christmas apartment

Dear Journal

Christmas Eve was wonderful. My parents bought Jack a rawhide suede jacket with a fleece lining and he bought my dad his favorite wine and this book on sail planes and a wine opener that works with helium or something but he loved it. He bought my mom a set of new acrylic paints and Winsor  brushes that she loved. I was kind of hoping that he’d get me a ring because we’d been looking but I really think that we were looking just for fun.Though it was weird because we even went in one store and had my finger sized.

After we opened all our gifts my parents went up to bed and Lonnie was playing with his race car set that Jack bought him. They’d set it up in his room and I think Jack enjoyed it as much as my little brother. But he finally came back downstairs. I made us hot chocolate with marshmallows (his favorite) and we sat in front of the fire kissing.  I don’t think that I will ever grow tired of kissing Jack.  And I think that this was one of his happiest Christmases ever! He didn’t stop smiling all night even when he kissed me goodnight, he stepped off the porch whistling.

He came early to pick me up on Christmas morning and we took his dad his presents. His dad gave me a book of poetry written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Did I tell you that she is supposed to be my ancestor? Well, anyway,  I thought it was very thoughtful!

And then we went to Liz’s. I helped Jack carry in our gifts to his mom and sister and I had mine to him hidden in my purse. He had obviously been there earlier in the week because my presents were all wrapped and under the tree. He seemed so excited for me to see all the gifts because he knew my dad did that for me but if the truth was really known, I would have been happier if he had just one little present in his pocket maybe…. But I am glad he didn’t choose last night to give it to me. For reasons you will soon understand.

When we arrived, his sister Rachel answered the door. It was about 3PM. The plan was that we were going to open our presents and then have dinner that Liz was supposed to be making. Rachel hugged me and we both laughed because we’d worn very similar long velveteen Christmas dresses with black ballet slippers. “Great minds think a like.” She laughed. Then  took Jack’s new  jacket  and admired it. Jack was all proud and told her that my  parents had given it to him. After all the greetings, Jack asked “where’s mom and why am I not smelling the turkey?” Rachel looked stressed and gave him a long worried sideways glance and told us that plans had been changed.

 

#40 Tinsel and Tears

Christmas tree on top of car

Dear Journal,

Mrs. Walker would not be happy with the way I am keeping up with you! I am so sorry that I am doing catch up again.

So lets see…. How to catch you up….

Oh yes! You should see our little house! It is so cute! Jack put up Christmas light right after Thanksgiving and we got the perfect little tree for our front bay window! Speaking of…. While we were driving down the street with the tree tied to the top of our car this guy in a big truck kept flashing his lights at us. At first Jack thought that maybe the tree was not tied right and was falling off,  so he pulled over and come to find out it was Larry, Jack’s friend from High School who lives behind the gates in Rolling Hills now. He followed us home and helped Jack bring the tree inside and then he invites us to his house and we followed him there and he gave us this amazing tour. His house was so big we had to use a golf cart to see it all! He has the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen. He kind of looks like one of those Prince’s in the Disney movies!

When we were riding around, I sat in the middle of Jack and Larry and Larry put his arm around me. Jack didn’t  even seem to notice. He usually is so jealous! Anyway, I didn’t like it. It really bothered me.  Maybeeee,  because I was worried that Jack would be upset but then it bothered me that Jack didn’t seem to even notice or care that Larry was kind of all over me. (He has since come over a few times when Jack hasn’t been there which I will save to tell you about  on another day!)

You should see his house. He lives  in the pool house which is twice as big as our house! They have a maid’s quarters in the main house which is also bigger than our house! Along with tennis courts horse stables and like I said a pool! Crazy!

Christmas tree branches

 

Later that week, I kept bugging Jack to go with me to buy ornaments. He just gave me money and told me to go buy “whatever” I wanted while he took Larry soaring. I was so hurt. We only had one day off together last weekend. At least he put the lights on the tree but I decorated it all by myself. I remember my mom doing that a lot and it made me so sad, I cried.  When Jack came home he raved about  how perfect it was, but I really had it “in my head” very differently. When he saw how upset I was he started tickling me and kissing me and we ended up making love under the Christmas tree with the fire going. But it still seems to me that he really didn’t understand why I was upset. At least he didn’t get upset back. Usually when I get mad at him he doesn’t know how to handle it and just gets offended and it starts a fight. So maybe things are changing a little.

kissing on the floor

The Thursday before Christmas Vacation started, Jack told me that he wanted to go Christmas shopping for his sister and his mom. They are talking again and his mom invited us over to her new apartment for Christmas dinner. So we will do Christmas Eve at my parent’s house and then Christmas morning at our house and then go over Christmas afternoon at Liz’s. Jack has been in such a good mood since he made these plans. I am so happy for him. We went shopping last weekend and got his mom this beautiful gold cross with a diamond chip in it and a Bible. And we also got Rachel a Bible. We had their names engraved on both of them. Jack also got his sister a sweater that I helped him pick out. I haven’t seen him this happy for a long time.

#39

,crankicecreammachine2

Dear Journal

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Jack and I spent every minute together and everything was so perfect. He had to have his wisdom teeth out last weekend. I’d had mine out a few months earlier and it was horrible so I told him that he could come to my house. Since my parents would NOT have been cool with me spending the night when obviously he was in no mood to mess around but I think he liked the attention. My mom filled up the ice packs she’d bought for me and kept them rotating and I made soup and soft food for him. He was so grateful.

Lori was home for Thanksgiving. She brought a boy home. And we all went out together. I think she’s realized that Jack and I, well… we are staying together and so she even was nicer to Jack. We had fun. We saw Jaws and laughed at the guys because I think they jumped higher than we did every time that dumb fish jumped out of the water. We invited them over for a BBQ one day during the weekend because it was like summer and Jack barbecued steaks and corn on the cobs right on the grill and I made a salad and then Jack had an old turquoise wooden ice cream maker and we made peach icecream. It really did feel just like summer!

But soon enough, we were back to work and school. I have been taking twelve units and it has really been a lot with work and school. I have finals coming up before Christmas break and I have been going to the library to study. Jack has tried to be understanding but it has been hard not seeing each other. I just need too many books and would have to lug a stack home for each report I have to write. Luckily since I work at a school I will have a break from both work and school and I am reeeeeally looking forward to that! Except that Jack has started talking to  his mom again and he wants to figure out a way to spend Christmas with her too. I am worried because of all his stories about past holidays. But it’s not fair only wanting to be with my family. Right? Anyway, back to studying!

book pile

 

 

#38

Dear Journal,

We have a break for Thanksgiving. It was nice not to have to drive all the way to Buena Park. I have four days off from everything and I am so looking forward to having it off. Jack got promoted at work and so the new guy is going to work this weekend so Jack has four days off too!  And the cool thing about it all is that we are both getting paid. It seems as if we are never just home. My mom invited Jack for Thanksgiving. She invited his dad too but he is going to his sister’s house. I wanted to invite his dad first but now that I know he has somewhere to go I was kind of wondering about his mom. But I brought her up last week and he was in a bad mood the rest of the day. So when my mom asked me if I’d invited her I just said she probably had someplace to go. Last year she went to her dad’s. Remember the one that I took home in a cab? I am worried. Jack told me that a lot of her drama happens on the holidays. Poor baby. Every year he hopes it will be different.

teddy boy holding hanging bear

I think I love Jack more because I want to make up for all the horrific things that happened when he was little. The suicide attempts and the fights with knifes and guns. I want to just love him happy. To make it all better for him. One day we lay in bed all day and he told me every bad memory that he could remember about every holiday. He said that they were either really happy or really horrific.  He told me about this old raggedy teddy bear that he loved and how his mom ripped it up and threw it away and called him a “girl” when he cried. She told him, “You don’t need a doll anymore and I will make sure of it.  And then tore out the stuffing with a knife and then shook it at him to stop crying.

All I know is that he has been really happy just being part of my family and I’ve told my parents that I want to make him feel special. My dad is very nice to him but a little more formal than usual. I am not sure if that is because he is dating his daughter or he is his boss. And my mom, well, I know she has seen me sad because of him. I have tried to not let her know too much exactly because I don’t want her to hate him. But she is different with him than with Laurie or my other friends. I am not sure that he notices. He just seems to be so grateful to be a part of our family. Part of any family I suspect.

#37

Dear Journal,

Now that we have our house, I don’t go meet Jack at work at night much anymore and he complained about it last week. So I took a night off from school and brought a bucket of chicken and surprised him. He was so happy and I was glad that I did it. We used to lock the door and mess around on a blanket on the floor in the room filled with disk drives but we have a whole house for that now. And I was always so nervous about someone walking in. Even though he’s been there now for over a year and no one ever has, it still worries me. But I brought the blanket and he was joking with me asking me why I’d brought it. And I told him it was for our picnic and he looked disappointed until I laid my head in his lap and took a bite of my drumstick and started teasing him until he grabbed me laughing and it felt like old times. It was kind of exciting.  Even though we both have no complaints, I am glad that I went.  We were becoming like an old married couple and it seemed to make him so happy.

kissing black and white

Jack has not spoken to his mother since he quit or she told him not to ever come back. I am not sure what happened. But he seemed determined to not speak to her ever again. Though she’s drunk dialed me a few times. Once my dad peeked in after midnight to see who had called so late because he said that any call after nine PM is bad news. But has not gotten up since, when she’s called. I guess he figures that it’s just Liz. He’s complained though because the phone is right by his ear in their room. I pick it up as soon as I hear it. Jarred out of a dead sleep. I haven’t told Jack that she’s been calling because it would just cause problems and he seems so happy lately. But I know that it is bothering him that he’s  had another rift with his mom and that he is worried about her. I know that I am eventually going to have to tell him about the calls because I don’t know if they will stop without his help. I feel so bad, I just want to protect him and make everything okay for him. But I have a horrible feeling that things are going to get worse before they get better.

 

 

#36

Dear Journal,

(I owe you a few month of catch up and I intend to do it today! So please bear with me as I try to enter it all here now. I will still enter it chronologically but I just wanted to explain why I am going to post so many at once!)

couple laying on the floor happy

 

 

The other night Jack lay on the floor with me as I read  C’s letters to Annie. She sounded so sad and he thought it was cute that I started crying in the middle of reading one of them out loud to him. I just told him that it was all so sad. I laughed too. But I’m not sure if he’s even interested or “gets” why I connect with them so much, but I feel as if they are my letters now and that I need to protect their story. Who knows maybe I will write it someday. I wish that I still had Mrs Walker around to share them with.

Yesterday I was mowing the lawn and the wheel fell off of the mower again. And Jessie came over with his wrench. I think it was the third time. We laughed about it and he showed me how to fix it myself and told me that he had an extra wrench and pulled another one out of his back pocket with a red bow that I am sure Louise had tied on it, and he told me that it was “my” special house warming gift just for “me” and I gave him a kiss on the cheek to thank him!

lawn mower fixed

 

When Jack came home, he saw the wrench on the table and asked what it was. And I told him about the wheel that keeps falling off and he just said “Oh. The lawn looks nice babe.” I am not sure what else I wanted him to say. Maybe laugh with me about it or… I don’t know but it gave me a sad feeling. Later he asked me what was wrong and I just kind of shrugged and he told me, “You need to stop reading those letters.” I snapped my head up to look at him seriously, because I “can’t stop” I just can’t. When he saw my reaction, then he laughed.

reading letterssss