My ex-husband is insignificant in my life. Granted, we were married for two years and two things happened between us that changed the course of my life forever. However, he, as a person, is someone I could literally never think about ever again and I wouldn’t lose an iota of inspiration or passion.
We met when I was newly dropped into the United States Marine Corps fleet on Camp Pendleton in September of 2008. He was my Corporal, and I was a newly promoted 18 year old Lance Corporal. I checked into my unit, fresh from the schoolhouse, and promptly got so sick that I could barely move. I was trying to teach myself how to play chess in the barracks room as a group of Marines crowded into my room, carrying sushi and McDonalds.
“We heard you were sick and brought you food.”
I thought it was sweet at the time but I’m sure there were better food choices for a sickly kid.
We spent the next few months dating. He was my direct boss, and it was forbidden. We had to sneak around to have sex, and when the fires of Pendleton broke out in 2008, we were caught by the roving officer who was bursting into barracks rooms to “save people” from the fire.
Our command knew what was happening and they were not pleased. However, there was no proof of fraternization that they could find, so we couldn’t be charged.
He asked me to marry him next to a dumpster. Between the sushi and the dumpster, I’m not exactly sure what I thought I was getting into. We got married in December of 2008, after knowing each other for four months, and I was removed from the unit. The Gunnery Sergeant said he was glad I was gone because he didn’t want to have to deal with a girl on deployment.
The next two years of our marriage was terrible. The operational tempo of maintaining two wars meant that we never saw each other. If I wasn’t in the field, I was in a school and he was in the field or on the ship. If he wasn’t in the field or on the ship, I was in the field. Whenever we saw each other, we would fight. I had a terrible temper and didn’t know how to express myself, and he was a stupid man who couldn’t handle me. One argument ended with him holding a knife to my throat after I threatened him with it.
He was the one who told me what swinging was prior to our marriage. He told me of his time in Okinawa, Japan and how he was in a relationship with a Japanese woman who was married. He told me that lots of people swung. I, born a Southern Baptist, baptized a Methodist, and confirmed a Presbyterian, was dumbstruck. I had never heard of such a thing, and my Nana would be MORTIFIED. But I was so curious.
“You mean, you love this person with whom you’re in a relationship with, and YOU FUCK OTHER PEOPLE??? How do you maintain the jealousy? How are people okay with this? Isn’t this so wrong??”
He answered the questions the best he could, and we got married with the assumption we would try it out later. Again, the workups prevented us from seeing each other except for fighting.
My 18 year old eyes were opened to a new lifestyle and I couldn’t wait to try something that didn’t suffocate me.