He was everything to me. My whole world revolved around him. We lived together. We worked together every night. We went to Burger King and a matinee movie every Saturday. We went to church every Sunday. His name was Todd Sullivan. He was my idol.
I had survived a terrible first marriage. I loved my first husband and I like to think that in the beginning of our marriage he loved me. I thought we were both happy together. But maybe not. We had three children together. In the last year of our marriage was mean, cruel, demeaning, violent and made me feel worthless. He had affairs. Inevitably we divorced.
While we were separated I fell in love again. Sadly, that man was never in love with me. He loved my good friend. I became pregnant with this man’s child. He married my good friend when I was seven months pregnant.
I thought surely he would come and see us when the baby was born. He did not. I never would have met my son’s husband without being married to my first husband.. I had been an army wife. Tom, our three children. and I had moved to an army base in Louisiana.
Well before my first husband left for Germany he dropped me, my three children and my unborn child back off in Massachusetts. We lived in the “Greenfield Family Inn,” which is a fancy name for a homeless shelter for families. That is another story to tell, but that is not the story I am telling today.
I was forty when I met Todd. He was thirty. We met in a woodworking class in a program for people who were really depressed and suicidal. After our program we rode with a group of others in a van that drove us all over Holyoke, South Hadley and Chicopee to take us home. We all sang the songs that were popular at that time. Todd repeatedly asked me to go out with him. I thought he was a great guy from the beginning. He was handsome with dark hair and beautiful eyes. I honestly cannot remember if they were blue or brown. I think they were brown. He was chubby, but I didn’t care about that. Everybody loved Todd. I loved Todd but as I said he was ten years younger than me.
“All by myself,” he used to sing, “￼￼Don’t wanna be all by myself.” Finally I gave in. Our first date was at the Hampshire Mall. We went to see Star Wars II. We both loved movies, and we both loved Star Wars. Well, I was thrown out of our program for depressed people because we were not allowed to date anyone in the program. I went to another program. It was great but it did not have a woodworking class.
Anyway Todd and I were together all the time. I never spent time with any of my friends. I did not speak to three of my adult children. I no longer spoke to any of my family. My daughter Tiffany and I were very close. She lived in the apartment I was renting and came over every night for dinner. Tiffany loved pancakes. I often made pancakes for dinner. I remember the three of us played frisbee in the parking lot and had dinner together and watched tv together at night.
Todd and I had terrible fights. But we always forgave each other. We hugged often. We said I love you in the morning, again before one of us went somewhere, again when we got home and before we went to sleep at night. Unlike my first husband, Todd truly wanted me, needed and loved me. He played CD’s with love songs on them, played his guitar and sang to me. We sang to each other.
Todd asked me to marry him. I said yes. We planned to be married in August.
Then that terrible awful thing happened….
(To be continued)