Originally published in Worcester Magazine, February, 2008
By Charlene Arsenault and Noah R Bombard
Everyone’s got a story. And they’re not all surrounded by boxes of heart-shaped chocolates and diamond rings. And they don’t all have happy endings. Love is a many-splendored thing when it hits you just right. But let’s face it — sometimes, love just stinks.
To protect the innocent — and the downright dirty-rotten guilty — the names in the following sordid tales will remain anonymous. Worcester Magazine did verify the authors of each of these submissions, however. If the story bears a stark resemblance to something in your own life, be quiet about it — it might be just a coincidence.
Clock to the head, and you’re to blame
Giving love a bad name
Ah, there’s nothing more romantic than a wedding. Well, except when that wedding comes with flying phones, profanity and lots of stitches.
“It was 1987, Feb. 13, and I was 8 years old,” recalls Devina Sky about the day before her mother’s wedding. “I was fitted for my dress and my mom did my hair the night before for her wedding. My friends and I had been talking about my mom’s wedding for days now, and the big day was upon us. I remember my mom and her friends celebrating for days. She was definitely a happy bride-to-be. My brothers and I were thrilled because we were going to have another brother and our soon-to-be stepdad was pretty cool.
Cool, however, was about to turn red hot.
“I was watching TV the afternoon before the wedding when all of a sudden I heard my mom and my soon-to-be stepdad yelling at the top of their lungs in the backyard,” Sky recalls. “He was screaming, ‘If it wasn’t for me you wouldn’t have shit. I got you everything in that house!’ I got up and looked out the back window, and he was in her face …. And then my mom started yelling, ‘Kiss my ass. I bought every damn thing in that house. What, you bought a damn TV? You can take that. I still have the other one.’”
The argument made its way into the house and that’s when ugly turned downright nasty.
“The next I knew, my mom’s door flew open and he had her by the hair, and shoved her across the room, right toward me. I started yelling at him to ‘Keep his fucking hands off my mom.’ She got up and charged at him, knocking him right into the wall. They started wrestling throughout the house. He slammed my mom against the wall. She slammed him against another one. I then saw both throwing punches at each other. I ran into my mom’s room and called the cops, explaining to them what happened. I ran back out of the room and into the kitchen where I saw my mom take the phone off the wall (one of those old heavy rotary phones) and cracked it in the back of his head. He flung her across the room calling her a “*&($*,” while holding the back of his head. My mom picked something up (I can’t remember what) and hit him with it.
“At this point, the neighbors were all watching, and my brothers, who were outside playing, started running toward the house, and my soon-to-be stepdad grabbed a crowbar and started smashing in all the windows in our car,” Sky recalls.
Stepdad began smashing more windows in the house as a bunch of onlookers who had been attracted to the carnage rushed him. As the police took him away, Sky recalls him yelling to the children that he loved them as they yelled back obscenities.
And Sky’s mom — she ended up in an ambulance.
“Valentine’s Day rolled around, and I wasn’t allowed to see my mom,” Sky recalls. “The doctors said she was in no condition. Her Valentine present from him — besides the broken promise of love and marriage, the shattered windows and the cries of her children — were 21 stitches in the back of her head. Her present to him? Twenty-five stitches and a staple to the back of his head.
Chuck E. Cheese’s for adults, too
Take my boyfriend, please!
Angela and Jorge met in high school. The two were married and had a beautiful little girl. The first three years were terrific.
Most couples have that good friend who is there for both parties through thick and thin. And for Angela, that friend was Anna. So, it wasn’t anything unusual when Anna offered to go with Angela’s husband and the couple’s daughter to Chuck E. Cheese’s one day when Angela was at work. After all, Anna could keep them occupied. Turns out, she took her role of keeping Angela’s husband occupied very seriously.
As the saying goes, “through the lips of children ….”
Angela was a bit taken back when her daughter returned and said, “Mom, Anna and daddy was kissing at Chuck E. Cheese.”
Her husband and best friend denied it. Four years went by and the three remained friends, with Anna serving as the principal babysitter for the couple. When Jorge told Angela he wanted a threesome with her and Anna, however, Angela had enough. She walked out. Nine month’s later, her best friend had a baby, whom Angela is convinced has a striking resemblance to her ex. Two years later, they had another child. And now, another is on the way.
“I will tell you my heart was broken, then, I got over it,” Angela says. “This is still my best friend, and I love her more than I did him. She did me a big favor by taking him. I just wish she would have done it sooner.”
Hard feelings? Nope. Angela’s ex and her best friend live in another state and she occasionally visits them with her daughter and stays in their house. One big, happy family.
They say the first time ain’t the greatest
But at least leave the chocolates
Yep, them kids are “doin’ it” younger and younger these days, it seems. Still, when a person loses their virginity with a special someone, it should be, well, special, right?
Stacy was 14 and a freshman in high school when she and her boyfriend of nearly a year, Mick, decided in a romantic swell that they would lose their virginity together. His mom was away on a trip and it was Valentine’s Day — a day plush with love.
“I had high hopes for the evening,” Stacy says. “He put these ridiculous red sheets on his bed and bought me a lot of chocolate.”
So far, Romeo was dead on. But alas, “first times” don’t always go so smoothly.
“It hurt a lot more than I had been anticipating, so I started to cry a little and asked him to stop, which he did,” Stacy recalls. “He then got out of bed, got dressed and disappeared downstairs, saying ‘I’m sorry’ once, almost inaudibly. I thought maybe he was getting me tea or something else cute and sweet. I realized, when I heard voices at the front door, that he had invited a few of his friends over to smoke pot and hang out.”
Apparently, our romantic prince is easily distracted.
“On top of all this,” she recalls, “when I finally summoned the courage to get dressed and make my way downstairs, his stoned friends had eaten all of the candy he’d bought for me.”
Happy Valentine’s Day, dear.
Honey, I’m pregnant
But it’s not yours
When your heart has been broken, trampled upon and fed to the livestock like leftovers, it tends to create a slight mistrust of the opposite sex. Such is the case for Steve, of Worcester.
Steve had been married 15 years and the couple had two children. It was the kind of marriage friends envied. As one of their children was disabled, finding the right home to meet their needs was difficult. After searching for more than a year, they found their dream house. They painted, cleaned, fixed it up and bought new furniture.
Little did he know, however, that something was happening that would turn Steve’s life upside down. Over the previous few months, Steve’s wife had rekindled a long-lost relationship with a high school sweetheart.
“About one month after moving into the new house, and a few weeks before I was to begin a new job, she informed me she was no longer in love with me and wanted to end our marriage,” Steve says.
Steve stuck it out for five more months before finally moving out. Ah, but lest the bed grow cold, his wife’s old flame moved in two months later. Twelve months later, with a divorce still not finalized, Steve’s ex and her old flame have had a baby.
“Needless to say,” Steve says, “my trust in women has been severely altered.”
Meet the parents
Oh, and could you change a few things?
When choosing a mate, many of us realize all too suddenly that you’re getting more than a husband or wife — you’re gaining a family, whether you like them or not.
Mandy from Shrewsbury thought that she had met the love of her life while in college. You know — that type of relationship where you talk for hours on end and hang on each other’s words? Mandy’s new-found love, Matt, had just left the seminary and was the eldest in a family of 12 kids — a family that Mandy heard so many wonderful things about.
“I had long, deep conversations with him about politics and religion, social issues and pop culture,” Mandy says. “We had similar goals and desires; I wanted to travel extensively and bring aid and education to impoverished areas, while he looked forward to promoting good health practices and improving ecological conditions in under-developed nations.”
But Matt’s family lived 500 miles away.
“So while I had been treated to countless stories of brothers and sisters, family vacations, funny-in-hindsight disasters, and so on, I had never had the privilege of meeting them in person,” she recalls.
At long last, the couple made the trek to the folks’ house. That was when she was brought before “The Council of Fourteen.”
“The visit seemed to go well. I thought I got along well with his family,” Mandy recalls, “and had a great conversation with his mother. The visit concluded with a fond farewell and I felt as though I had made a positive impression.”
She was, apparently, mistaken.
Five days after the visit, Matt said he needed to have a “sensitive” discussion with Mandy. The family, it seems, had a meeting to discuss her suitability for their son.
If Mandy was to continue her relationship with their Matt, they concluded, she would have to make some changes. Like a crusader unlocking the ancient secrets of a lost treasure, Mandy would need to accomplish five tasks: 1.) She would have to immediately enroll in a weight loss and fitness program; 2.) she must remove her eyebrow ring; 3.) she must agree to never drink alcohol — even though Mandy says she drank a relatively conservative two to three times per month; 4.) she must enter into counseling with Matt’s mother and individually — because Mandy’s mother was a single mother, and she’d definitely need some guidance to learn how to be an effective parent in a two-parent household; and, finally, 5.) she must convert to Catholicism.
“Aside from the absurdity of their assumption that they could govern such personal entities in my life, I was most disgusted that Matt had even brought this to my attention,” Mandy says. “If he wasn’t man enough to tell his family that he wouldn’t dignify their idiocy, let alone present these guidelines to me, he clearly wasn’t the man I thought he was and thus, wasn’t the man I wanted. That was the end of our two-year relationship.”
The lousy prom date
At least smile for the camera, man
The prom: Arguably one of the most pivotal moments in a high school student’s life — filled with wonder, romance, innocence — yeah, right.
Like many senior girls, Rebecca had high hopes for her senior prom. With a boyfriend of four years, having a date wasn’t a question. To her, it meant a night of wonder. Apparently, her now ex-boyfriend Mike was somewhat less exuberant.
Rebecca brought her boyfriend a picture of her dress, a beautiful white dress with black polka dots, so that he could match her.
Mike, being the helpful gentleman, informed her that it would not look good on her — and why couldn’t she have picked an easier color to match (apparently black and white was too tough for this bright bulb)?
“He arrived 45 minutes late, so I got about five pictures with him; he looked miserable in all of them,” Rebecca says. “He didn’t sit with me in the limo, and once we got to the actual venue, I didn’t see him again until our assigned seating brought us together.”
Oh, and it just keeps getting better. Mike informed his true love that dancing was “gay.” So, she spent the prom dancing with her best friend and sitting next to her sullen-looking boyfriend. Finally, it was time for the post-prom party, now he could loosen up and the fun could begin. True, only Mike wasn’t going to loosen up with his love. He went to a different post-prom party, got drunk, drove to the party Rebecca was at and passed out on the couch at 12:30 a.m.
And they’re no longer together? Oh, come now, Rebecca, give the guy a chance. Frontal lobotomies can do wonders for some folks.
Long distance leaps
Oh, did you drive all this way for me?
Long distance relationships are tough. And when you’ve found that special someone, sometimes you’ve got to make some tough choices to be with the one you love.
Bobby Sapphire from Worcester did just that when he decided to move back here after attending graduate school in New Orleans. He was in love and he wanted to be with his woman. He quit his job, cut his lease and said goodbye to all of his friends. On the eve of his return to Worcester, his friends threw him a huge going-away party. That’s when Bobby’s girlfriend called — eight hours before he was set to leave. She wanted to break up. Ouch.
What’s that line about adding insult to injury?
“I was in Georgia on my ride home, trying to think of how I was going to tell my family about our breakup when she called and told me that she was seeing someone else from work,” Bobby recalls.
“Had I known only days earlier I wouldn’t have left, I wouldn’t have had to spend months trying to find a new job up here, and eventually move back in with my family after I ran out of money,” Bobby says. “She waited until she couldn’t wait any longer to tell me, and royally effed my life situation in the process.”