Number Two and I had a routine on Sundays. We'd wake up and she'd get showered and dressed up, and then I'd drive her the 15 miles into town and drop her off at her church for her dose of preacher-talk.
I would drive a bit up the road to the parking lot of an old, abandoned children's asylum called Sunland. It was a brooding old building, full of memories and secrets, and fenced in, and I wasn't all that interested in exploring. I'd usually pull into a shady spot facing on Phillips Road and just sit and read for 90 minutes or so.
This one time, though, I decided to run my trusty 1983 Chevy Citation (the little sister to my '81 X-11) down to a car wash a few miles away. Scrubbed and as shiny as that poor rust-spotted little car could get, I returned to Sunland and waited until time to get Two.
No doubt she was under pressure to get me into the church--but I had told her from the start that that wouldn't happen. Maybe that's what had her in such a chipper mood when I pulled into the church drive and collected her.
I was interrogated as to my activites. I described them.
All hell broke loose. It was just a car wash--and it was with my own money--but you'd think that I had been caught shagging her mother whilst drunk on Communion wine on the altar at the church during services and asking the priest to keep it down.
She started on me before we even got out of the parking lot! She kept that up for another 15 to 20 minutes, blah blah blah of all the nerve blah blah, the time it took to get to the little Chinese buffet where she'd decided we were having lunch. She kept it up--blah blah leaving me at church blah blah--while I found a parking spot, blah blah blah yap yap yap more responsible with your money blah blah, then kept chewing on my ear right up to the point where I opened the door to the restaurant.
She only shut up because there would be more witnesses.
While I was loading up our plates (she's mostly blind, remember), an elderly couple approached me and the woman shook her head--they'd been right behind us from the parking lot to the door--shook her head and said, "Young man, I heard all of that...you must be a SAINT to put up with her!"
I shook my head back and half-smiled. "You have no idea."
I never bothered to find out what had set Two off; by this point in our relationship, I was looking for a better job for no other reason than to make enough money to get my own apartment and get the hell away from her. At the time, I was trapped pretty solidly--few friends, none of whom I could move in with; not much money (and most of that going into gas for the drive from Two's trailer into town for work); really solidly trapped. I put up with a lot of shit because of that (the accounting for my time when I wasn't with her, the emotional abuse, her two-year-old tantrums when she didn't get her way, her trying to use threats of suicide to keep me around), all the while setting up my escape. I can sort of laugh about it now, tell it as a good story, but a month before I was able to get out of there, I was ready to kill myself. No joking.
I know I made my share of mistakes--the first and biggest was allowing it to happen in the first place.
At least now I can wash my own damn car in peace.