*A SECOND YEAR, A SECOND THANKSGIVING (Part 1)

“Sonodoro’s letters had the same perfect grammar & spelling.  But, instead of being filled with kindness and blatant romantic plagiarism, they were now filled with disappointment and to-do lists…”

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Sonodoro changed. He was not the same sensitive poet he was when met. Oprah told us to write daily letters to each other because we weren’t communicating well. We took her suggestion to heart, hoping it would help.

It did not.

3-21-14 Starbucks

The Starbucks where we met and everything was wonderful.

Sonodoro’s letters still had the same perfect grammar (and spelling) they had two years ago. But, instead of being filled with kindness and blatant romantic plagiarism, they were now filled with disappointment and to-do lists.

The butterflies I once got when I saw his name on the caller ID were replaced with palpations of anxiety or feelings of crushing despondence. He was angry a lot. His grand ideas of getting published lost their magic when I slowly realized they were merely dreams.

I thought I could love him into the man he could be.

I introduced him to my church, figuring he’d love the Sunday night service as much as me. After all, the service was geared towards young professionals and it even had praise rock band. That church and  my friends there were important to me. But, I turned down joining a single women’s small group so I could spend more time with Sonodoro. Rather than accepting my faith and encouraging me to grow it, he gave me a pouch of gemstones and started carrying one of his own. Each had different healing and metaphysical property. There was malachite to protect from evil, hematite to help balance body/mind/spirit, tiger eye for good fortune, rose quartz for peace and calm, the list goes on. . .

I didn’t believe in the power of the gemstones, but I started skipping church every now and then. Eventually, the gaps in my attendance grew larger and larger until I stopped going all together. Now, instead of having time apart, we had cranky Sunday nights together.

Sonodoro slipped into an angry and depressive state, which he often pushed on me. The natural consequence of his actions made me angry, depressed and self-loathing. I wrote some, but was stifled by the toxic living environment.  If it weren’t for weekly meetings with my writing group, I probably wouldn’t have written at all (or left the apartment).

After Sonodoro lost his translating job, getting and holding work was difficult. Miraculously, he found  jobs in food service and was working semi-regularly.  I worked Monday-Saturday. If we both had Sunday off, he often wanted to spend it with best friend, Shaggy. (Perhaps the allegiance came from when Shaggy bonded him out of jail, but I think their friendship is why Shaggy found it necessary to help post bond.) Since our hours together were mainly regulated to sleeping, I wanted Sonodoro to spend Sunday with me. He could always see Shaggy while I was at one of my jobs. Sometimes he did.

Often, he did.

And, often, I’d come home to an apartment filled with smoke from cigarettes and pot. The rationale was that Shaggy’s fiancé didn’t want them smoking in their apartment. Apparently, the very same feelings I had weren’t nearly as important as her’s.

10-10-14 Shaggy w Sandwiches

Sonodoro was growing increasingly harder to love. His managers thought so too. He usually lasted just over a month in his food service jobs before they found reasons to decrease his hours and eventually fire him. The job he held down the longest was working at a pet crematorium. In twisted irony, sometimes, he would pick up jobs as a dog walker.

10-10-14 Pet Cremation

By the end our two and a half years, I was working one full time job and one part time job. He was occasionally working. When I’d come home from work and ask how his day was, he’d respond, “It’s just a day.”

I stopped asking.

Sonodro and I broke up multiple times in that last year. In one of our breakups he told me  it hurt his feelings I stopped asking how his day was. In the most measured tone I could muster, I explained, “why would I ask? All I get is, ‘it’s just a day.’ It’s like touching an electric fence.”

In spite of our difficulty to live harmoniously,  Sonodoro pushed for me to spend more time at home. I watched Super Bowl XXXIX with my writing group. He called 10 minutes after the last touchdown. He kept calling until I picked up.  We had a short conversation. I went home. When I got there, in a less measured tone, I yelled at him.

This relationship was unraveling fast.

10-10-14 Unravel

We had another breakup fight a couple weeks later during an El Nino storm. Sonodoro was going to walk and spend the night at his mother’s, which was over 10 miles away. Compassion outweighing anger, with tears in my eyes, I suggested he stay the night and wait ‘til morning (when it wasn’t raining).

Morning came and it was like the breakup didn’t happen.

Shit.

We continued in our toxic relationship. I called my now divorced sister, who reminded me, “if things are bad when you’re dating it only gets worse when you’re married.” Sonodoro and I had gone well-past the expiration date, but the idea of leaving was difficult.

He didn’t hit me or anything. . .

Is dissatisfaction a good enough reason to leave?

*MY LIFE TURNED INTO A COUNTRY SONG

Being in love is great, and when you’re in love you’ll do anything for that person.

I gave Sonodoro the second set of keys to my SUV. He cried. “No one has done something like this for me before. Thank you.”

The running commentary in my head was: I’m not giving you the car. I’m simply giving you the privilege to drive the car, when I’m not driving it.

After Dad drove his other car into the ground, he used the slightly used SUV for his weekly commute of 350 miles. Then, my parents gave it (Connecticut plates and all) to me. My parents sill had the registration and technically, it wasn’t mine when I gave Sonodoro the privilege to drive the car.

8-9-14 Red Chevy

Now, after after driving it cross-country, the burgundy red SUV as my commuting vehicle. Hours working as a Paramount Page were dictated by tours, tape schedule and temping, Tours ran throughout the day and you needed to be there before 10AM. Tape days for Dr. Phil work began at 7AM, sit-com, 3PM and if we were temping 9AM. Then, there were days there was no work. These were the days Sonodoro used his SUV driving privilege. And, it was on a day like this I got a call from him, crying.

He was in jail.

My precious Guatemalan boyfriend got arrested. Got my car impounded. And, somehow (with all my sheltered-life-experience), I needed to fix if.

Sonodoro instructed me to go to his closet and take $300 form the $1k he had stashed there. (Believe me, more than finding out my boyfriend was arrested, I LOVED finding out he was hiding things from me.) I thought about taking all of it, getting my car and moving out. Instead, I handleded-up and did what I thought I should do in that moment— I stood by my man.

I called his best friend, Shaggy. (Seriously, his friends named him after the cartoon character.) He though I was joking until I kept crying. He came over, took me to the impound lot and then we had to go to visit someone everyone wants to see— a bail bondsman.

8-9-14 Bail Bonds

Yippie. (Sarcasm)

I do not know what is worse:
1. Receiving a call from your boyfriend saying he’s in jail.
2. Receiving a call from your fiancé asking you to put your up car as collateral so he can help his best friend post bond.

Remember, technically I didn’t own my SUV so I couldn’t use it as collateral. Shaggy made that dreaded call to his fiancé. She was less than thrilled and particularly mad at me.

When we bonded Sonodoro out of jail, he went through the events of that morning:

He was carrying his prescription narcotics for the kidney stone attack he had a month earlier. He alleged he was at Citibank (at 5:00am) withdrawing money on his way to his early-morning shift. (He did have a shift that began when it was dark out.) Whatever he did or whatever the cops saw, they tore apart my car when they arrested him. Sonodoro claimed it was racial profiling. Permission slip or not (I had one in the glove box for him), he was a Latino guy driving a car with CT plates in the early morning, down Brand Blvd (in suburban Glendale, CA) and past a bank where the alarm went off. It really didn’t matter what got him in jail. And, I really didn’t care. I needed to fix the problem and hopefully fix my boyfriend.

Between making bond and his trial, Sonodoro had to start taking classes with Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which lead me to believe that he had something more on him than the prescription for his kidney stones. (I’m guessing he was self-medicating with pot since he would later rationalize that it was cheaper than seeing a doctor and asking for a prescription.)

Even though we bonded him out of jail, there was still an upcoming trial where he could face possible incarceration. He didn’t want me going with him to the trial, so we had to make our possible last “good” moments together special. I know we went to see a Bruce Lee movie. I know I made him a nice dinner in case he lost his trial and was hauled off. This was a pivotal time for me. I knew I would never forget the details.

I was wrong. 



The details are murky. I do not know if it is time and frustration that wiped away the details or if he simply hid them from me.

I think it’s a combination of both.

8-9-14 Garbage Picker

 

I do know, he ended doing community service (picking up roadside garbage) while continuing his drug abuse classes. I’m pretty sure I sent him with food, but I could also see myself forcing him to make his own food. I was pretty mad and my perfect little relationship wasn’t so perfect anymore.