What you are about to read is a true story. Really. You should know by now how things go in my life, so really there should be no doubt in your mind that I’m telling the truth. Really.
Sunday Morning 9.21.14
The Long Goodbye
It has begun.
I have all of my house-painting supplies. Now it’s time to prep, get things out of the way, clear the shelves, the walls. And if I’m going through all the bother, I might as well pack. I’m being as ruthless as possible, letting go rather than hanging on, but memories keep showing up. And as much as I look forward to my new beginning, it’s hard to say goodbye to the past.
It would help so much if I knew where I was going, what was waiting on the other side. What to take, what to toss. Start fresh. Start empty. Start over. Let go. An extreme act of nature – fire, flood, tornado – would make it so much easier. That’s what I pray for. That’s how hard this is.
And I have packed away my armor. I’ve thrown out my shield. I am raw, exposed, vulnerable. Afraid. The courage is there somewhere, I know. It’s simply lost today, somewhere in the mess.
Sunday Afternoon 9.21.14
Every time I put something new (old) into a box…every time I burn another remnant of my distant (and sometimes not-so-distant) past, a fresh wave of tears arrives. I keep trying to look at the unopened cans of paint as some kind of symbol of hope: new colors for me, for now, colors of the beach and the ocean; fresh and new for the next person who will call this place home. Sadly, it has never felt like home to me. Then why is it so hard to leave? I know the answer, but can’t bring myself to think about it. Fear of the unknown. I don’t want to go through it alone. I don’t want to arrive on the other side, alone still.
I tell myself to remember that life is a journey not a destination. It doesn’t really help. I need to take a break.
Sunday Afternoon 9.21.14
Could This Be Hope Knocking on My Door?
Actually it’s the sound of an instant message coming in on my computer. That would be Anthony. He is an Army Staff Sergeant stationed in Libya who asked if we could chat by instant messenger. I agreed; it seemed like the least I could do for a man sacrificing his life for our country. He has sent me pictures, including one of him and his 16-year-old son. He’s a good-looking man, with a really happy smile and twinkling eyes that seem to be looking right at me. He has said all kinds of sweet and romantic things in the couple of days we’ve been communicating on the dating website and by email. His English is a little broken, but that only seems to add to his charm. He emails me every day overnight (there is a 7-hour time difference between us), many sweet missives, telling me tragic stories of a deceased wife and baby, both of whom died during childbirth. And the tragic death of his parents, killed in a car crash in Mexico. He tells me he wants us to be together, that he will never hurt me, that he will take care of me. We will camp and go to the beach and slow dance and make a life together. He tells me I am the best thing that has ever happened to him. And he only lives an hour away, in Jefferson City, to where he will return in about 6 months.
Hello angel eyes , thanks for the nice compliments, I really appreciate the fact that you want to know more of me.
I need you to know that I work in the US Army as a Staff Sergeant in the Department of Defense in Washington DC but presently on Deployment in Libya but sooner I will get off Deployment and I will be back home for good. I am also a former Marine Infantry man, having served 8 years with different infantry units,from Camp Pendleton, CA. (1st battalion,9th marine Regiment and 2nd battalion,1st Marine Regiment) Camp Lejeune, NC (3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment) I have been to bunch of places in the World, some of them hot spots and continue to do so today. I am privileged to have served with highly professional individuals in the Marines and the tradition continues now in the Army.
I am fortunate to command a small very specialised unit and get to interact with many guy on the tip of their Spears. Seeing that I am heading back home soon, I would love us to get to know more about ourselves so we can both meet when I get back to the State. I generally socialize outside the Military Community since I am single now, I need you to know that I am a Single Lonely Widowed father of a son as I lost my late wife 7 years ago during Labor, it was so sad I lost her and the Unborn Child, I have got a son and his name is Collins, I am so proud of him and he really means the world to me.. He is 16 years old and schools in a Military Boarding school, I can't wait to see him as soon as I get back to the State.
I have been single for 7 years because I haven't found the right and perfect woman for me since I was hurt by my late wife death, the doctor made me to realize that everything happens for a reason in life and he made me understand that we all have to move on and concentrate on the Future, he told me better days lies ahead of us..My friends also told me that I should find a woman in my life, because without a woman in a man's life, the man is incomplete ...I came to realize that life isn't worth living without the right person in our life's..
Capt. Jeffrey led me to the Dating site and he told me that it's a simple thing to meet people on there so I decided to give it a try maybe I am capable of handling this dating online, I was so baffled when I heard that a Colleague of mine also got married on this same dating site and does that happens for real?
I really want to thank the dating site for this great intermediary for bringing the two of us together, I want to keep talking to you to know more of you and though I am not in an hurry to find the love of my life, I don't want to wait for months and months as I have got to know that life is too short to spend it alone with the passion, beauty and the excitement of being with someone you love is so wonderful. What I want is to find the right one for me, someone who will understand me, romantic,serious and down to earth at the same time, a woman who likes to laugh and enjoy the outdoors, who truly want to be a wife and believes in the Sanctity of Marriage, a woman who is honest,loyal,trustworthy,loving,caring and totally devoted to her man.. I look forward to read back from you as well..
Hugs and Kisses
I’ve gone back to the dating site to refresh my memory of him and I do not find his profile. When I asked him about it, he told me that he deleted his profile and quit the site when he found me. He says his search is over.
Today I tell Anthony I have been crying a lot. He consoles me, says I’m sweet, I deserve to be happy, he wants to make me happy, I am beautiful, I am sexy, I am funny. He calls me sweet baby. He calls me angel eyes. He calls me his queen, says he’s my king. I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
I believe him.
Monday Morning & Evening 9.22.14
Hope Springs Eternal
I haven’t been back to the dating website in days. But I get automatic email notifications if anyone visits me or messages me, which they haven’t. Besides, the only other two guys I’m interested in both have my email address and have been in touch to tell me they are simply working a lot, which is conveniently allowing me to focus my attention on my Army guy.
I tell Anthony that I have been through a lot and that I am scared and that I have trust issues. I tell him I want to believe everything he says, but that he must be patient with me. But I feel myself slipping, sliding down a slippery slope, losing my grip. I find myself believing in love, forever love. Why shouldn’t I believe? Isn’t it time for me to be happy? Don’t I deserve to be happy?
My armor is packed away, nowhere to be found. I’ve decided I don’t want to find it. I want to let someone in. I will tell Anthony that I want to trust him, that I want to believe him, that I want to love him. I decide to write him a 4-page story about my past, my fears, my hopes and wishes. I email it to him overnight so he will have it to read when he wakes up in the morning. If he makes it through that letter, then maybe he really is special.
Tuesday Morning & Evening 9.23.14
Hello angel eyes, i am glad i got your email message and i really appreciated the fact that you want me to know all about you and your past experience , i feel touched about your past experiences and i want you to know that i will never let you down..Not ever again baby..I want you to know that i will always be there for you through ups and down, through the good and bad..I will be a shoulder for you to lean on.
Honey i really want you to get over your past relationship and forgive all those that have offended you or hurt you in the past..I want us both to Concentrate on the future and hope for better days ahead of us..
More about my late parents, my Dad happened to be Mexican and mom an American.They both live together in Mexico because the both worked there, i am the only child of my parents,so I had a lonely childhood but I was always with mom in the kitchen.I must confess that I am a good cook lol also I want you to know I ain't some kinda of man that believe in the doctrine that Kitchen are meant for the women I am a type of man that would wake her woman up every morning to serve her breakfast.
My Dad happened to be a very rich man and owned a lot of properties but when he died, the whole of his properties was collected by my wicked parents family and i have my lawyer working on getting back all my inheritance back for me which really worth so much.
You came all of a sudden in my life and changed my life for the best and everyday i wake up i look forward to talk to you because you make me smile and happy ..This relationship is my future, it's what I want out of life. I want to grow old with you. I want to experience this crazy love forever and ever and I really think I'm going to get it,I want our relationship to be the best one ever..Before I met you I never knew what it was like to smile for no reason.
Thanks for coming into my life Dawn, you are my one in a million.
Hugs and kisses
Anthony has expressed an interest in sharing our love of music, so tonite I spend the entire evening downloading and emailing him music and videos of my favorite love songs. (This is no easy feat; until recently, I haven’t been able to even stomach the hint of a love song.)
Wednesday Morning 9.24.14
I wake up at 4:30 a.m., 3 hours before my alarm will go off. I can’t sleep and this time-difference thing is pissing me off. I want to chat with Anthony. I want to ask him to send me something real of his, something to prove to me that he exists. (Of course, I’m not going to phrase it that way, but I really would like to see some solid evidence of a northern-Africa military address.) I think I’m also going to suggest we schedule a cell phone call over the upcoming weekend. If I hear his voice, maybe I will stop doubting his sincerity.
oh wow!!! Thanks for the lovely song honey, it was so amazing to get beautiful songs from you.. I got all the songs you sent to me and I felt so happy and makes me think so much of you
I decided writing you this mail to let you know that you been doing to me and I want you to know that you are the best thing that as ever happened to me..
Never did I imagine that I would ever meet you,especially not in the form of a chat friend, I know God has got his own reasons for us to meet and come this far but our love will flourish beyond what it is right now.. Distance may be just a part of the reason why sometimes we think we can't handle this whole relationship but I am sure our love for each other is way far stronger than oceans can come across..
The pictures of your lovely and charming face keeps on coming up on my mind.. The time I spend with you, the more I like everything about you and the more I want to find out all about you,how you think, how you feel and what are your dreams are, everything nice from you if I could only do something just to persuade you..
Sweetie the very thing I wish to do was left undone because of this unexplainable emotions.. My admiration was still bubbling within me these past lonely days.. Truthfully and undoubtedly, I can fool anyone but I cannot fool myself... I would be a great liar if I uttered that i'm not in love with you no matter what you think or say all I can say is that I really care about you and love you with all my heart and I will not hesitate if you will give me just a little time to prove my feeling of endearment and to prove to you that I am deserving of your feelings from my heart..
My dearly beloved, you are so adorable in my eyes like a precious gem counted with extremely good intellectual reasoning makes me emotionally struck and speechless... I am very serious now in telling you that I can no longer endure such extreme anxiety and sleepless nights that I am experiencing right of this moment....Since the first day I read from you Dawn, I felt I was living in a new and wonderful world full of love and the sun is brighter, the pastures became greener and everything I do was magnificent.. You could inculcate the instinct of your mind that I will cherish you so much..Such love, like everything deserves to be given much attention and care in order to grow more and more...What I feel for you is that awesome love that poets write about and that we mere mortals only dream of experiencing...It's the love that is considered unconditional and undying, so great that my heart seems to burst with the joy of it..
I cannot fathom living my life without you, waking would never be the same without your sweet face to look forward to, I would not be living, just existing..
We may be living far way from each other Dawn and as such are thought not to feel such intense emotion but what I feel is true and binding in it's power.. You have swept me away and proved to me that magic exists in you, I know we will be together soon..We will make this happen and surprise everybody.. I belive and have faith that what we feel for each other will overcome and outlast the distance and time..My heart is yours, my soul in your keeping..Please treasure it..Please accept my heart as your own and listen to rhythm of two hearts beating as one..
My heart is yours and even though I know we are far apart and soon be together, I will never break your heart.. I'll be right beside you as we both chase our dreams together and you will never have to wonder how we start.. I think about you all day long and when I am not near you mind is consumed with thoughts of being close to you again... I want you to know that when you chat with me I feel like everything in the world is right and I know I don't have to ask God for anything because as longi have you in my life I have everything I could ever want.. All I want to do is spend the rest of my life making you as happy as you have made me.. Thanks for loving me no way anyone has ever tried.. Thank you for knowing all the little things that means so much to me..
Thank you for understanding that you and I need to take time together for fun,making love, talking and just spending time together... Thank you for everything you are and mean to me and everything I am becoming because you are in my life..Thank you!!!
Love always and Forever
Your Only Sexy Army Man
Well, call me a sap, cuz I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. But, don’t judge me.
Wednesday Morning, continued…
Anthony Pennington: Honey do you think you can secure some Military calling cards for me on your behalf?
email@example.com: How would that work? Where do I get them? How much does it cost?
firstname.lastname@example.org: Is that so you can call me?
Anthony Pennington: The Lt.comm told me you have to secure some calling cards for me on your behalf so we can both speak together on the phone
Anthony Pennington: Yes baby as soon as I get secured of the military cards I will be able to call you babe
email@example.com: Okay, I will look into it.
Anthony Pennington: Look into it in what way babe?
Anthony Pennington: It's a simple thing to do baby
firstname.lastname@example.org: How do I do it?
Anthony Pennington: Honey do you have a western union address around you?
Anthony Pennington: It cost just minimum charges baby
email@example.com: I think we are going into a bad place here.
Anthony Pennington: Why did you say that babe?
Anthony Pennington: I thought you are so happy about us speaking my love
firstname.lastname@example.org: I told you I have trust issues.
email@example.com: “9. He wants you to pay for a phone line, cell phone or calling card so you can talk to each other. Real soldiers can call home for FREE. My husband deployed multiple times and we never paid for a single phone call. If he asks for this, he’s a scam artist. Not to mention, soldiers are making enough to buy a phone card if they really had to.”
firstname.lastname@example.org: From marriedtothearmy.com
email@example.com: “If he wants you to wire money for ANY reason via Western Union (or similar service), it’s a scam.”
Anthony Pennington: What does this have to do with us hon
Anthony Pennington: It seems you are not serious about this relationship going on the site to look for informations about us talking on the phone
Anthony Pennington: You never ask why it was impossible for me to get it done myself
firstname.lastname@example.org: I am being careful. I want to trust you, but I've been burned a lot. You know that. If you really care about me, you need to understand.
Anthony Pennington: I am so disappointed in you and you make me feel uncomfortable right now
email@example.com: You promised you would be patient. Please make me understand. I want to.
Anthony Pennington: The reason I asked you to secure for me is that I am facing a little problem due to activity on duty
firstname.lastname@example.org: I don't understand what that means
email@example.com: “Ask him to give you his AKO email address rather than his yahoo, hotmail, etc. This will be his firstname.lastname@example.org. All soldiers have an AKO account. There is NO reason why he can’t provide it – regardless of what unit he is assigned to, what his mission may be, who he’s working for, etc. And the AKO account is free.”
email@example.com: I don't mean to doubt you...you must understand my need to be careful. I am rebuilding my life. I don't have money. We can continue for awhile without the phone. Will you still mail me a package?
Anthony Pennington has signed off.
Wednesday evening 9.24.14
You didn’t really think that was the end of that, did you? ( I did.)
Anthony Pennington: Hello baby
Anthony Pennington: How are you doing?
firstname.lastname@example.org: I’m not sure. You disappeared this morning. I kinda thought we were done.
Anthony Pennington: Oh sorry i got booted out by the bad connection over here
Anthony Pennington: I was very disappointed about you not trusting me over here
email@example.com: And I'm very disappointed you cant understand why I have to be careful. I have no money, I am digging myself out of a very deep hole, I can barely afford groceries, much less all the house repairs I need done. It hurt me that you would get mad over a little thing like a phone card. If this is for real.
Anthony Pennington: Why would you call talking to you on the phone a little thing
firstname.lastname@example.org: That's not what I meant. I would love to hear your voice. I would love for this to continue. I want more than anything to trust you, trust this. But I've been burned 3 times in the last 3 months, stuff you don't even know about yet. Stuff on top of all my other stuff from the last decade. I'm hurting and I'm scared. I've tried to explain that to you.
Anthony Pennington: Honey i told you to know that you have to trust me if you can't trust me , i think it's better we put an end to this
Anthony Pennington: I have always trusted you from the very day i met you
Anthony Pennington: I hate it so much that you are doubting my true love and feelings for you
email@example.com: Trust takes time. We've known each other for a week. Love is patient, love is kind. I'm willing to take the time to build a lasting trust. We have time for that. There are other ways for us to build trust.
Anthony Pennington: What ways baby?
firstname.lastname@example.org: I don't know off the top of my head, but we can figure it out. One of the first things would be for you to send something to me, like we talked about. I sent you my address.
Anthony Pennington: Would you secured the cards if i send you a prove from me ?
Anthony Pennington: I need you to answer me baby
email@example.com: You need to tell me specifically, exactly what you expect me to do. I don't know how many more ways to tell you I don't have any money. Can you send me the money? Can't I send you a card. Explain to me why you cant do this from your end.
Anthony Pennington: I told you i can't because i am facing a little problem due to activity on Deployment
firstname.lastname@example.org: And I said I don't understand what that means.
Anthony Pennington: I need you to know that on Deployment soldiers aren't allowed to acess their Savings Account , they are not allowed to make phone calls unless the get secured of some Military cards
Anthony Pennington: Soldiers aren't allowed to leave the Camp uneccessarily too
Anthony Pennington: I want you to know that soldiers aren't allowed to acess their Savings account until they get back to the State
email@example.com: Certainly you have enough money to buy a phone card. How else do you get by? If you're their for another 6 months, what are you living on? And I've been advised to have you email me from your AKO address. That's one way to prove this to me. I'm sorry for the doubt...I cannot proceed until I'm comfortable about this.
Anthony Pennington: Okay baby since you don't trust me , i think i can't continue this relationship
Anthony Pennington: The Military gets food over here from the food Bank ok
firstname.lastname@example.org: I'm sorry about that, but like I said, if you really truly cared, you would understand. You would take the time, make the effort. I know I would if you had any doubts about me.
email@example.com: That's how relationships work.
Anthony Pennington: You should be able to sacrifice anything for love
Anthony Pennington: You mean you can't afford just $100\
Anthony Pennington: Are you kidding me ?
firstname.lastname@example.org: No I am NOT kidding you. Maybe you need to go back and re-read my long letter. Or I could send you some pictures of the near miss electrical fire, or my sinking dining room floor, or my rotted ceilings. No I am not kidding you. And there's more. Would you like me to go on?
Anthony Pennington: Go on in what way ?
email@example.com: I have at least three animals in need of vet care. I myself have not been to a doctor in 10 years. My car has a problem. I need a bug exterminator to kill the roaches. And the ants. And the spiders that bite me while I sleep in my hard-rock ancient bed.
firstname.lastname@example.org: I have one functioning electrical circuit to run all of my electric. I only have a cell phone becuz my sisters put me on their family plan. No cable. No washer or dryer. Barely functioning plumbing.
email@example.com: And this is with a light at the end of the tunnel. This is the best it's been for me for 10 years. No I am not kidding.
firstname.lastname@example.org: Oh, and let's pile on a few broken hearts.
email@example.com: And yet, I survive. And I go out there into the big bad scary world and put my heart and soul on the line.
firstname.lastname@example.org: And you love me but you're gonna dump me because I can't send you $100 that I don't have.
Anthony Pennington has signed off.
I am woman, hear me roar.
Now Wouldn’t That Be Something?
Everything is gone. The house, the animals (raised from birth), my houseplants (ditto), all of my collections. What’s left (a small collection of my favorite books, my camera, my art supplies, my new laptop) are packed into my car. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’ll figure it out somewhere along the way. I did well on the sale and auction of my house and possessions, so I can explore for a while, un-tethered by a real job. I am hoping the writing and photography will support me; the blog sure has taken off.
Just one quick stop to fill up the gas tank, and then I only need to decide which direction I’m headed: north, south, east, west? Doesn’t matter, as long as it’s out of here.
As I get out to pump my gas, I spot a guy who looks familiar. No, that can’t be. It looks like Anthony. I’m sure it’s Anthony. My heart skips a beat. The memory of our last message still haunts me…how close I came, how thankful I am to be strong and resilient. How bad he could have hurt me if I’d let him. I have to confront him.
“Anthony?” I call out. His back is to me. He does not turn. I approach.
“Anthony?” I tap him on his shoulder. He turns to me.
There is not one spark of recognition.
“I’m sorry,” he says, sincerely, so sincerely. “I didn’t know you were talking to me. My name is not Anthony. It’s Mark.”
“Mark. My name is Dawn. Could I buy you a cup of coffee. I’d like to tell you a story.”
And they lived happily ever after.