Well the time has finally come! It's the time I tell the Sara 1.0 story. I've referenced it in many posts, but I always say that it's another post for another day. Well, that's today (fanfare)! You get to hear about how the girl that I loved destroyed me! Woohoo!
When I first came to Southern Virginia University back in 2005, I didn't know anyone. I came here because the school said they would make my education very cheap if I came, so I came. Plus it was on the other side of the country and I like to be dramatic when leaving problems behind me.
I was 19 at the time, and I was really, really stupid.
I remember the first time I saw Sara. We had a Social Dance class together (yes, I took social dance... twice... she was in it... twice). At the time, I thought she was suuuuper cute and I couldn't figure out why. She was wearing a green shirt, hands on her hips, baggy jeans, black shoes, one of her feet was turned out like she was a ballerina, etc. The point is, I have a pretty vivid memory of our entire relationship. I remember nearly every moment we shared together because I loved every second of it.
I initially thought she was 25. I remember the first time I danced with her in class, there was a move where the girl comes in close and then you spin her out. I remember literally jumping back and blushing when she came in close. I had never really been bashful around a girl and it was a strange experience for me. I was normally really calm and confident.
Then I joined The Shenanigans (the comedy group out here). One night, we were going to have a party at a friend's house and I remember running into Sara on campus while waiting for my ride. We talked for a bit and then my ride came. She told me she was 20 and my heart jumped into my throat (within age range!). It turns out the driver (Keith) and Sara were good friends, so he invited Sara along. I remember climbing in the back seat of the van and I had a choice between taking the right seat and having her sit in the middle (next to me and next to a guy that I saw earlier hitting on her) or I could take the middle seat. I took the middle seat which forced her to sit on the right, making her sit next to me (and only me). It was a clever move, and she admitted later that she noticed and thought it was pretty slick.
At the party, we all decided to watch a movie. Sara and I sat next to each other on the couch. We literally talked through the entire movie. I completely forgot that there were other people in the room. I had never had an experience like that before.
We dated for a year and a half and like I said before, I think I can remember every moment of it. I was absolutely crazy about her, and I thought that she was crazy about me. Turns out she was just normal crazy.
See, I have a very bad history of ignoring red flags. Not red flags like, "oh hey, there's a huge red banner over there!" I mean red flag like a really really bad sign in a relationship (especially at the beginning). I tell myself that red flags should not be ignored, yet I always ignore them. Always. No matter how many times I identify one and even say out loud to my friends, "that's a red flag" I always end up ignoring them.
Sara's red flags were that she was extremely flirtatious, and that she was a liar (but I didn't pick up on the liar one until much much later). But it wasn't your normal kind of flirtatious. She wasn't aggressive about it. She didn't seek flirting; it just came to her. There was a natural beauty about her that was approachable and friendly. She never started conversations with guys. They always came to her. It's a hard idea to grasp, but once you do, you begin to understand Sara.
It was with that idea that she fought off my concerns (which eventually became paranoia). She flirted a lot, but always rode that line between flirting and friendly, and was never the one to initiate it. Anytime I tried to bring it up, she'd make me feel dumb and paranoid. She had me convinced that the problem was with me.
Looking back on it, she flirted with no respect to me or my feelings. I understand that people flirt even when they're in a relationship. It just happens. There's always going to be at least a small amount of it. But there is that point where it's a little too much. Sara was very skilled in hitting that point, and then quickly pulling back. By the time I brought it up, she was already back in safe territory and made me feel dumb for bringing it up.
Anyway, we were together for a long time. We talked about marriage. We even set a wedding day (December 21, for anyone that's curious). Then I decided to go on a mission, which she was happy about. It was a two-year commitment, but she said she was totally in love with me and that she would wait, and maybe even go on one, too (because girl missions are only a year and a half). We had it all planned out nicely.
At the time, I lived in Ferrel House (in the attic, haha). She'd come over every day and yell at the top of her lungs, "BOYFRIEND!!!!" and I'd come running down the stairs. I remember coming downstairs one time and one of the guys that lived there (there were either 11 or 13 of us, I can't remember) was trying to flirt with her (and to her credit, she wasn't flirting back this time). He then turned to me and said, "Oh hey, Brandon. I'm just flirting with your girlfriend." He immediately regretted saying that after I beat the hell out of him. He didn't even get a swing in. The RA of the house, Adam (a name you'll want to remember for later) broke us up. I felt bad right after and helped him up and apologized and told him that I don't take those kinds of things very well and he was too scared to be pissed at me, so he said it was ok and we left it at that.
So you can see that it really wasn't the kind of thing that I could handle (flirting). It was never a problem with any previous girlfriend (I even let a girlfriend go to prom one time with another guy and totally trusted her without even giving it a second thought), but with Sara, I had learned to become overly protective.
Then I went home from school for a few months to earn some money before I left. Her and I remained together, but it was a long distance relationship. I hate long distance. I vow to never do it ever again.
We'd talk on the phone all the time. It sucked, but we made the best of it. Then she called one day and told me that her friend had just posted pictures of Sara and a guy together on Facebook. She told me that it looked like a date, but it wasn't. She said that it was just a work-related thing (because she worked as a dance instructor). So I went and looked at the pictures. They were far more friendly than a work-related thing, but she made me feel dumb when I tried to get upset about it. That's the moment that things started slipping downhill.
I remember getting my mission call. She was on the phone listening and she cried because she was so happy and told me she loved me and all that other mushy stuff.
A few more months go by.
It's the beginning of July and I'm supposed to be leaving on my mission in two weeks. My cousin was getting married in Utah (where Sara was from and where she was for the summer), so I was going to go to the wedding and then see Sara. I was super excited about it (to the point of not being able to focus on anything else for several weeks leading up to it) and she said she was, too. We hadn't seen each other in about 6 months, and I anticipated a glorious reuniting of two people madly in love. She said that she was excited to talk to me and see me and all that (and gave me the impression that she was super distracted about it and all that, too).
The day came. I went to the wedding. It was very nice. The whole thing ended at about 9pm. Then we went back to my gramma's house (where we were staying, and it also happened to be literally down the street from where Sara lived), called Sara (who was supposed to be anxiously awaiting my call) and there was no answer. Ok, I thought. No biggy. I'll try again in a little bit. I was pretty excited to see her, but I also had to get up early the next morning to catch a plane. This was going to be the last time I'd see her for the next two years, so I wanted it to last.
I called again. No answer. It's about 9:45 at this point.
I call again. She answers. She apologizes and says that she's been helping a friend move all day. She explains that she's got to go home and get all dressed up nice to see me and stuff. Cool. She says to give her a half hour.
I give her a half hour. Then I call. She says she's not quite ready yet and to call back in another half hour. I'm getting pretty annoyed and anxious at this point.
I call again. It's 10:45 at this point. She says she's still not ready and to call back in a bit. I wait for about 15 minutes and then call again. She says that she's still not ready, tells me to give her a few more minutes, and then to just come over. So I give her about 10 minutes, and then I get in the car and drive over to her house.
So at this point, it's about 11:15 or so (probably a little later). I remember pulling up to her house - super nervous and excited to see her (because I hadn't seen her in like 6 months). I remember taking a few minutes in the car to gather my thoughts and stuff (and imagine what it was going to be like when we saw each other), then got out of the car to walk inside. I had parked on the other side of the street from her house, so as I was crossing the street, I saw a big grey SUV out front of her house. Her family didn't own an SUV and she was the only one home.
There was that screaming suspicion in the front of my mind, but I decided to just ignore it and keep walking.
I walk up the front steps to her house (they're loud, wooden steps. when I would visit her the summer before, she'd always open the door before I knocked because she would hear me walk up from the back of the house). I walk up these steps and lift my hand to knock on the door. I look to my left, through the front window, to see Sara on the only visible couch from the window (out of maybe 3 or 4 in her house).
She was on top of Adam with her tongue in his throat.
My world came crashing down and broke into a million tiny fragments.
Now let's step back and look at the facts for a sec:
1. She had invited me over (after months of not seeing me), but told me numerous times she wasn't ready, which would have given her ample time to kick Adam out before I got there.
2. The steps to her house are wooden, loud and hard to ignore.
3. Of all the places to choose, she chooses the most uncomfortable couch and the only one that is visible from the front window.
4. Sara and Adam had met in Virginia, but we were in Utah.
If you can come to any other conclusion other than what I'm getting at based on these facts, I'll give you a dollar.
She wanted to get caught. She wanted me to see that.
I remember going back to my car. I got in. I had every intention of just going home and having that be that. But then I thought to myself - "I have nothing left to lose. At this point, I'm just making a good story."
So I went back up to the door and loudly knocked on it. Sara opened it, and immediately went white. Remember how I had messed up the guy before that said he was flirting with her? Remember how Adam saw that and broke it up? Remember how that guy was only trying to flirt with her? Remember how Adam was making out with her?
I'm surprised he didn't dive out the kitchen window.
I didn't attack him. He stayed sitting on that couch across the room. He was smart in doing that. If he had gotten up to say hi or something, I would have beat him to death with his own (severed and bloody) appendages.
Sara had a present for me that she had bought several months prior. She was very excited to give it to me. After I walked inside, there was that definitely awkward energy where they both kept looking at each other and then back at me - almost as if they were waiting for me to tie them up and torture them to death (which was still a viable option in my head). Sara never did well with awkward situations, so she exclaimed that she had a gift for me and went running into her bedroom and shut the door - leaving Adam and me alone in the front room.
"Hi, Brandon" Adam said in the most timid and frightened voice I have ever heard from a grown man.
"Adam." I said, staring directly at the floor, doing an excellent job of controlling myself. I couldn't beat up Adam. That would have been like punching a small (ugly) puppy-dog. He was defenseless. It was bad form. I decided to let him live.
Sara came back. She had in her hands a gift-wrapped rectangle. Like most other gifts, it was a book. It was a children's book. The book was about a bear that was too big to fit in the book. Sara used to call me Oso (Spanish for Bear) because I'm a pretty bear-like person. I'm big, lazy, slow, cuddly, normally pretty calm, hairy, etc. Anyway, Oso was my nickname that only she used. So to have the audacity to let me catch her with another guy, and then kick back into a lovey-dovey mode, showed that she thought I was easily manipulated (and I guess I was up to this point).
Anyway, she gave me the book. I unwrapped it, throwing the paper to the ground, and started flipping through it. On the inside cover, she had written a sweet little note saying that she loved me and that she was going to wait for me and that she was excited to be with me forever. I pointed at it and loudly said, "Well THAT'S bullshit!!" And it was.
Then there was another awkward pause. I even said, "Well this is awkward..." It was probably a little after 11:30 at this point. Adam remained on the couch on the other side of the room, I was standing just in front of the front door, with Sara standing close to me (I could have put my arm around her if I wanted to... and then choked her with it). I asked Sara, "So is this a good time to talk? You said you were excited to talk to me. Is this a good time?" knowing full-well that this was probably the worst time in the history of relationships to have a conversation (like I said, I was just making a good story at that point). Sara looked at me with a look that said, "Please don't do this. Not now." But I decided to push the situation even further.
That was MY situation! That was MY awkwardness! I OWNED that moment! MINE!!
Eventually Sara said that it wasn't a good time to talk because her cousin was coming over to show her wedding pictures in a few minutes.
"Your cousin is coming over?" I asked. "The one that got married a week ago? The one that just got back from her honeymoon yesterday? The one that just moved into her new apartment with her husband today? THAT cousin? Your newlywed cousin is coming over at midnight to show you pictures from a wedding that happened only a week ago?"
- More awkward silence -
"Alright, then I'd better be going."
From the couch, poor, frightened little Adam decided to finally chime in. "Bye Brandon! Sorry for the awkwardness!"
I was halfway out the door at this point, but I poked my head back in and pointed directly at him and said, "Adam, you're lucky I don't kick your ass. It's taken a lot of self-control not to. Be grateful" and then left. I'm pretty sure he crapped himself.
I called Sara on my ride home (it went to voicemail) and said how that was probably the most messed up thing a person could do. Letting your boyfriend catch you cheating on him? Making him catch you? There are few things, romantically, that are lower than that.
So I left on my mission two weeks later. A few months later, I hear that Sara and Adam are engaged. They are now married.
The last time Sara and I talked, I told her that she owed me a favor and to tell that dance studio that she worked at that Sarah (Sara 2.0) needed a job. So Sara talked to the studio (and to Sarah) to set that up.
Sarah, if you ever read this, never say that I didn't do anything for you.
So there you have it. There's my super traumatic story involving a girl I loved. I looked into it later, and there is strong evidence to show that her and him had started dating immediately after I left school, and they may have hooked up even before I left.
To this day, I have issues trusting girls (and people in general).
The thing that really gets me about this whole story, though, is that I still had friends going to school in Virginia. I had friends that were roommates with Sara and that were friends with Adam. Not a single one of them told me that they had been spending time together. None of them! That probably hurt as much as the heartache that I went through.