by Patti Lioon
I was like many young women my age chasing the dream of a romantic encounter. Hoping to find the prince of my dreams. The journey had not been a promising one. I was very shy in high school, not being in the popular crowd made it difficult to meet people. I found myself settling for relationships that would prove to be bad choices.
As a young girl of nineteen, I found myself attracted to Charles. He was very cute. His long curly layers of brown hair and brown eyes could melt the heart of any young girl. He was thin and very tan. Working outdoors gave him that beach kissed look on any day of the year.
He was adventurous and fun and very loving. Always ready to go. Trips to the lake, camping, and water skiing. Outdoors was always part of our life style. In the winter we would search out activities made available in the snow in our southern state. Many times just playing in the ice in the car. Probably not a great idea, but we survived and had fun doing so.
We came together after we hardly knew each other. We were seriously hurt in an auto accident. I broke my pelvis and Charles went through the windshield and received over 300 stitches in his face. Our first date was actually while I was in the hospital, for 2 months, recovering. The months following were all signs of why I should not date this guy. But hey – he was someone I had just experienced a life changing event with; shouldn’t he be the one I would spend my life with? No, he should not. Unfortunately it took time, a long time, three years of time to figure it out.
During those three years it was a rollercoaster. I soon learned he had a violent temper. He had a drug addiction that he was hiding from me and he had a wandering eye.
Despite all of this I actually loved Charles but he was dangerous and unpredictable.
I am very lucky to have escaped the relationship alive. I finally had the courage to leave. It took some time, but he finally left me alone.
I soon started finding myself attracted to the same type of men. Controlling personalities. Instead of returning to the rhythm of searching for my prince, I was accepting all of the frogs.
My new single life was just that, single. I was very much alone. I didn’t have any friends to do things with so I went out alone a lot of the time.
I picked up an extra job to fill my time and for additional money. As I was working as a waitress, I met someone. I was immediately taken under his spell. Things moved fast, he was a police officer and I was afraid to break it off. So I did what any young and confused girl would do, I married him. The next four years were similar to my first relationship. Fun times coupled with mental and eventually physical abuse.
Leaving this marriage was harder because he became very despondent. He talked of taking my life and his in his despair. Once again I was lucky to escape.
I once again found myself single. I was alone again but at a much different phase of my life. I had taken a new job and was feeling more confident.
I was working with a great company. I had a long time friend back in my life as she had recently ended a relationship.
As I look back on my life now 30 years later, that is truly one of the happiest times of my life. My career made me realize how much I did have going for me and to offer someone else.
I wasn’t looking to get involved with anyone because I felt I needed to have some time alone.
I moved to apartments across the city from where I was living while married. These apartments seemed to be a cross roads of such for many people that lived there that summer.
The many personalities seemed to come together for a reason. It was a new apartment complex and each of us arrived with a new beginning in our future. Everyone brought something to the group. A construction worker passing through, working through the season. A girl who had just moved to Texas. Another guy that worked in the very new and upcoming Tech field who was somewhat of a loner. A mysterious handsome man named Beau who was going through a divorce and living there, just a few miles from his family. These people including myself seemed to find peace by hanging out at the pool through that summer. It became our own vacation just outside our home. Our souls were soothed with music and friendship. Every day people flowed in and out and on the weekends it was a reunion and release of the week. Grills sizzled and stories were told while the water was always inviting.
It was our safe place.
As time moved on, I least expected to be attracted to or have anyone attracted to me. To my surprise Beau was. He was one of the most handsome men I had ever seen. In fact he looked like the actor Tom Selleck. Later I would learn that it wasn’t just me thinking that, people would ask him if he worked with the actor as a double.
So as the long summer days teased us with warmth, laughter, friendship and a bit of alcohol we soon became friends. Our friendship led to a relationship which led to us falling in love.
Oh I had been in love before but usually through a situation where I grew to love someone. This was the first time it had happened to me like the romance novels. My prince had finally arrived. It was a wonderful, happy warm fulfilling love. We were individuals who had found each other. We were one.
Our love story grew over several months. We both denied it for a while, but it was magical and just so right.
Our love story took us to California.
Beau wanted a new start and had friends in the Los Angeles area. I could easily transfer with my job and I wanted to be with him.
We set off to our new life. We had now been seeing each other for six months so it only seemed right. Our trip took us through Las Vegas where we had the time of our life. We enjoyed the drive and played along the way.
Beau had made arrangements for us to stay with a friend upon our arrival in LA It was soon that we found our own place and moved into our new home. A perfect home on the beach of California. I was definitely living a fairy tale. Our days were filled with wonder and anticipation. As we both had good jobs, our needs were met and allowed for relaxing times during our days off. We enjoyed the evenings walking the beaches, playing pool at the local sports bar and discovering new places along the beautiful California Coast.
Beau was a kind and gentle soul. He was tender in his language with me and our love making was beyond incredible. Incredible because it wasn’t just sex. It was a continuation of our love for each other. It was so natural, sharing our love with each other. We had a connection like I had never experienced. Our days were carefree. No real expectations of each other.
Then without warning, Beau began to pull away. I wasn’t sure why until I learned that his ex-wife’s mom had been tragically killed in an auto accident.
He soon began talking to her more until he decided to go back to her. I knew that his love for his family was strong regardless of the differences him and his wife had shared. I was heart broken, but I did understand.
They wanted to give their marriage another chance. They did and now, 30 years later are still together.
Through my 58 years, 40 of them as my adult years, I have accumulated many scars.
The ones that brought me abuse have faded as I had to let them go in order to heal and to make sure I am never in that situation again.
The scar that I hold on to and treasure is the one from learning what it feels like to really fall in love and to be loved.
I call that a Love Scar.