Friday, February 03, 2006

CASE # 37: JACK + MARLA (+TYLER)



SUBMITTED BY: JACK'S MEDULLA OBLONGATA
LENGTH OF RELATIONSHIP: 3.5 YEARS
INFO: I met Marla in high school in 1990 and we started dating in 1992. She was the most ferociously independent and sexually aggressive woman I had ever known. She was incredibly charming and witty, but also had the capacity to be uncommonly vicious, sometimes without provocation. Some time later, I would learn that she had a secret double life.

Late in 1993 (unbeknownst to me) she began a campaign of promiscuity which led her into the beds of a veritable army of strange men, and even occasionally, women. This would continue, on and off, for the rest of the time we were together. Considering the amount of unprotected sex that I had with Marla, it is nothing short of a miracle that I never managed to contract a sexually transmitted disease. Of course, I had no idea any of this was going on while we were together.

I transferred to the same college that she was attending to be with her. When we went to parties together, I sometimes felt like I was the object of silent ridicule, as many of the men there would stare and smirk at me - a small chorus of chuckles from some rugby players in the corner... the stranger that was overly delighted to meet me... the multitudes of people who had been with Marla. It must have worn her down, because on Halloween of 1994, she told me of her secret second life. I would like to say that I was as level-headed back then as I am now, but that would be a complete lie. I am Jack's broken heart.

A few months before the "Halloween Confessional", I had met a man named Tyler. We became fast friends, quickly developing a rapport, even an intimacy that most heterosexual men can never achieve with each other. A week before Halloween, his lover had left him, and almost immediately, he hit bottom. In wasn't too long before I joined him, as we were slowly enveloped in mire of nihilism, pills and alcohol.

We were each other's support group; I provided the apartment (since he had to move out of the place he shared with his ex) and he provided the narcotics. The soft yellow glow of incandescent light bulbs against the off-white walls and an old knotty pine molding of my hundred-year-old loft apartment was like an amazing, shrinking sarcophagus in which we choked ourselves off from the outside world.

I had told Tyler everything about Marla, including her sinister confession. Because of a friendship that lasted back into high school, Marla and I had decided to remain friends. This may have been a bad idea, because we still loved each other, and therefore, often found ourselves in each other's arms. All the while, Tyler had a ringside seat to this madness.

In a rare moment of sobriety, Tyler convinced me that I still had a chance to make things work out with Marla, and was emphatic that I give Marla the second chance that his ex would never to him. I made a decision to let go of my skepticism and general distrust towards Marla. Tyler was right, and Marla and I tried starting over.

Two weeks later, Valentine's Day of 1996, I came home to find all of Tyler's things missing from my house. All of Marla's stuff was gone too. They had moved out and had shacked up together. The whole time that Tyler lived with me, I had assumed that they went to their classes during daylight hours, same as I did. Little did I know -

As strange and abrupt as the whole thing seemed, on some level it made sense. These were the only two people in the entire world who could bring out the absolute worst in me. I only came to this conclusion after I had broken into Tyler's apartment one night, and waited for them both to return, with a metal pipe in hand. I guess fate would have me be a free man as much as it would end Tyler's relationship with Marla. They had stayed at a friend's house the night of the break-in, and three weeks later, broke up of their own free will and without a bludgeoning.

Eight years after this disaster, Marla looked me up. We met up for an afternoon of coffee, conversation and chain smoking. Since then, she had been married to a man and subjected him to exactly the same kind of abuse that I was all too familiar with. They had since divorced, and now in her 30's, she decided that it was "time to play the field" for awhile.

My ability to trust had been destroyed by Marla, and since we had broken up, the longest relationship that I had been involved in last shortly longer than a year. I couldn't bring myself to tell her that when we met for coffee. (I did tell her about the break-in and the pipe, to which she had no reply.) Before we parted, she did apologize for, and I quote, "sleeping with your friend."

As far as Tyler goes, we originally became friends due to our mutual interest in music, and even met through mutual, musician friends. Months after the Marla disaster, we ended up in a band together, where I was frequently intoxicated enough to come to blows over the whole Marla fallout. I told myself that punching him in the mouth was simply justice, but honestly, I did it because it felt good. Our band, like my relationship with Marla, was ill-fated from the beginning, and eventually withered and died. At least Tyler left the band knowing exactly how I felt, hence the sole "break-up letter" to Marla only.


----------------------------------------------------

FROM: JACK
TO: MARLA


Dearest Marla,

I am happy that you have realized that you do have a serious problem and have sought help for it. I still think your father touched you and you need to admit it to yourself, but that's neither here nor there as far as our break-up goes. I am not going to beat myself up over wondering "what if" you had realized that you did indeed have a problem while we were dating, but I can't lie, it has crossed my mind about five thousand times over the last ten years.

I hope that you have rid yourself of whatever possesses you to make people feel ugly and evil. I have got past the self-loathing I felt after our break-up (especially after I broke into Tyler's apartment), but ten years later, I still have major trust issues with women, and have been unable to date women who aren't emotionally detached, at least, without throwing the towel in before intimacy develops. I hope this doesn't make you happy, because I know it would have ten years ago.

It sounds like you are getting better, but your whole divorce story still sounds hauntingly familiar to me. As far as walking down the aisle, I really can't picture it. As far as your divorce goes, I am Jack's complete lack of surprise. I know you hate being alone, but I think you should try it for awhile and figure out who you really are.

Somewhere deep inside you is a beautiful person, one which I hope learns to let go of her past and flourish. If you can't find that within you, I sincerely hope you learn how to keep your insanity under wraps, because one day it may get you in some trouble that you won't be able to get out of. I know that you think women have a monopoly on craziness, but as evidenced by me one cold, February night, they do not.

Take care of yourself! I love you, but I think I am going to let go now,

Jack

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one actually made me cry. I can relate in an obscure way and can see myself within Jack.

Best relationship story on here in my point of veiw. Really shows a lot about friendship and love. Pains and Smiles.

2:30 AM, May 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a girlfriend named Marla too. Different problems but similar too. Her's were mostly drug related, pain killers. Shes A major pill popper, thank G-d shes in rehab. I really love her too. I just couldnt bare being in our dysfunctional relationship anymore she just let me down and betrayed my trust too many times.

11:26 PM, June 28, 2006  
Blogger yitzch said...

I had a girlfriend named Marla too. Different problems but similar too. Her's were mostly drug related, pain killers. Shes A major pill popper, thank G-d shes in rehab. I really love her too. I just couldnt bare our dysfunctional relationship anymore

11:28 PM, June 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you dickwads.
this is FightClub.

11:27 PM, December 05, 2007  
Anonymous author of this e-closure said...

What was your first clue????

12:29 AM, December 20, 2007  
Anonymous author of this e-closure said...

Post Script to this e-closure:

I recently started talking to "Marla's" sister through the miracle of MySpace. Apparently, "Marla" married the next man she dated after me and subjected him to exactly the same kind of treachery and infidelity that I had come to know so well. Wouldn't you know it... they divorced, and apparently, she has remarried since. Anybody want to place any bets on what happens next???

~"Jack"

12:36 AM, December 20, 2007  

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