Depressalin: War of the Xmas Roses

It’s been too long since I’ve updated this thing. I probably said the very same last post. I’ve been busy and other lame excuses (which is something I’m usually saying), but I did promise/threaten to post about the Christmas before last months ago. I figure I have some time, and I always have some time to be bitter.

It all comes out. She cuts herself to release it. What a horrible spell. Its just release… She’s the cut collector.” — 16 Volt “The Cut Collector”

My relationship with “Ivy” was strange, complex, unhappy and brutal. At least towards the end months. The first few months were great, until she ended up drinking her brain chemistry into a shit-state, I suppose. Word of warning: some types of birth control, heavy drinking, and more than one kind of mood stabilizers / headmeds DO NOT mix. Add to that an already manic-depressive state and you have a Serious World of Hurt. This is where I should say “But she’s a great person and I wish her well”.



How can I be nice about a person who made me appreciate Charon, my ex-wife, even more? That is fucking fuck-fuck fucked UP, man. This is also where I say “But I’m no angel” and other placating bullshit like that. Thing is, I was a pretty awesome partner. I cared, I doted, I did as told. I felt bad about complaining and I even went out of my way to make her happy. At the end I was just “a douche” and “an asshole”. Look, I can fully appreciate the whole “there’s two sides to every yadda yadda” crap, but surveys say otherwise in this case. I wasn’t perfect. This is mainly due to my financial woes. There’s a whole back story to that, so scroll back and read some old posts. No, I won’t wait, but you can always come back here where you’re done.

Anyways, I could bitch and moan about the Poor Little Oligarchical Princess I call Ivy for quite a long fucking while. I would rather just get this story over with and get back to my much-happier-now-thank-you-very-much life.

So, the Christmas before last…

I had been scrambling to ensure the perfect Xmas for weeks. It didn’t help that Ivy had suddenly backed out of moving in together at the last second, and that my roommate had already found a new place. Xmas was fast approaching and I had been working a Hell Month in the Mall Mines trying not to worry about my rent doubling.  Sure, I was a bit irritated when Ivy had told me over the phone when I was on my break at work that we weren’t to be moving in together. This was after I had made sure this was what the plan was and I could go forward with making preparations. Like a chump, though, I acted very cool and understanding about the whole thing. Ivy had changed… She had warned me about her emotional issues and that working a new job would really fuck with her. I had assumed this was one of those times.  I was madly in love with her and was ready to accept whatever crazy choices she made. It didn’t mean I wasn’t bummed out, though. Only a couple months before, we had picked up silver promise rings (or “Off the Market Rings”, as she called them) and a month later we went to my best friend’s wedding and blabbed about how happy we were and how we were looking forward to moving in together, getting married, having kids–

I need a time machine right fucking now so I can go back there and beat my own ass.

Despite some ugly writing appearing on ye olde proverbial and cliche wall,  we moved forward with Christmas plans. Ivy has, essentially, a wealthy family. In fact, she lived (and still probably lives) at home with her parents. Since I lived in a “shit hole” (her words), we were to do Xmas at her parents’ house. To make things more awesome, my parents were making it for the first time to visit me during Christmas (thanks global warming!), thereby ending nine years of not being with my folks during the Christmas season.

As I worked my ass off in a retail store, wondering why the fuck I wasn’t hanging myself at 35 years of age– oh, the kids, right– Ivy and I started talking more about her becoming more and more gloomy and unhappy. She was very sad that she couldn’t get a job in her chosen field, instead having to work a university office job where she surfed Facebook and played Plants vs Zombies all day for around $3k or so a month. Meanwhile, I was busting my ass for a whopping $1200 (maybe?), which was the maximum I was going to get ever at that particular job. And only for that month.  $1200 also only covered rent, so I knew I was fucked for January. In fact, I was preparing to ask my parents for a loan. But I tried to keep my chin up and bitch as seldomly as possible.

Ivy hated me complaining, see.

It didn’t matter what the problem was, or what it was with, or if I was on goddamned fire: she did NOT want to hear it. I will admit to ranting every now and then. I’m okay with when a partner says “Enough of the ranty, Steve”. Fine. However, having a Sad Princess tell me not to mope about being broke and stuck is a fuck-hole of a situation just sucked. Keep in mind that she was unemployed when I met her. She was much easier to deal with then. I also had to constantly feel scrutinized and judged by her parents, their friends, her family and certain friends of hers. There I was, a guy in his mid-30s with two kids, working a job where my bosses– awesome as they are– were 25 and 20. It was depressing. It was sad. I felt like I was an inadequate partner, and, quite frankly, a loser.

“Suck it up, buttercup.”

Yeah. Fuck you, too.

Let’s get to the meat, shall we? Writing this makes me sad and I hate being sad. I quit smoking and haven’t gotten drunk in weeks (months?) now. I keep writing this too much and I’ll be right back making liquor wholesalers rich beyond their wildest imaginings.

Christmas 2010. C-Day. I had spent my time going mad with last minute preparations,  praying to the dark gods that Ivy would like the gift I had picked up for. She had told me that our first Xmas was a test, and I had BETTER pass. I don’t think that even my split with Charon had been this stressful, honestly. My parents had showed up n town and I was hanging out with them, getting stuff done. Ivy and I visited my parents a few times at their hotel and got into the spirit of the season as best we could. Sadly, Xmas Eve was ruined by something which required Ivy at her volunteer job. No problem. Xmas is what mattered. Xmas was going to be perfect.

And it was. At first, everything went according to plan. I picked up my kids from Charon, wished her a Merry Christmas, and took them to Ivy’s parents’ house, where my folks also met up with us. We hung out, snacked, had some libations, went to the park to play, watched a movie with the kids while Ivy and I relaxed and took it easy. Then we had dinner. So far, so good. Then it was after dinner drinks. The kids had been little angels and had been showered with gifts. They were excited and happy. We let them play in the living room while we all chit-chatted in the adjoining, open dining room.

The kids were just barely out of sight. They were fine, right? One boy was six and the other four. There was nothing dangerous in the living room, and we could hear them clearly.

After a little while, I walked out into the living room to hang out with my boys a bit. That’s when I noticed something… odd. You see, my older boy is mildly autistic, and he fucking LOVES cars. He also loves Disney’s Cars. Ivy’s parents had bought him cheap Cars markers as a stocking stuffer. My older son had decided, as any little boy like him would, that the expensive white rug he was playing on needed a racetrack.

Makes sense, right?

The white rug had a very nicely executed racetrack drawn in black and blue permanent marker. This is how I know those markers were cheap, as I’ve seen them at The Dollar Store recently. And they’re permanent.

Okay, so I then realized at that moment in time that Christmas 2010 was ruined. Because of Ivy’s bizarre relationship to her father and how he was going to react, I figured my girlfriend who I loved dearly was going to quickly become an ex-girlfriend. All of this screamed through my skull like wildfire made from beatings.  I love my little boys. I knew that this was going to be a clusterfuck.

I quietly got Ivy. She came into the living room and placed her hand over her mouth in abject horror. Yes, I know many of you are, like “Um, it’s a marker racetrack, get the fuck over it”, but these are upper middle class people who don’t enjoy a writer turd like me dating their daughter. I’m just fine as a fling, but not good enough breeding material.

Then her father walked into the room. “Jesus fucking Christ,” he muttered loudly in front of my sons. It began to dawn on the younger boy’s face that something was terribly wrong. The older boy began to continue his drawing. Made sense, after all. He had an audience. Ivy’s father grabbed the markers out of my sons hands. To his credit, he merely got red in the face, looked at me with that “I can’t believe you stick your goddamned penis in my daughter, you piece of shit” look, and, I assume, told his wife.

She laughed. Ivy’s mom is awesome. I’ll always miss her. It is out of massive respect for her that I will not go into the dynamics of her marriage and family too much, aside from her daughter, of course.

The scene unfolding became even more tense and, well, just plain fucked up. Christmas was over. Ivy was sobbing, with the sobs swiftly escalating into moaning and wailing. I saw something similar once before– it was a mother holding her decapitated daughter right after a Christmas-time accident I saw in Germany. That… noise… it’s haunting. It never leaves you. In a way, you never want it to so you can always recognize infinite anguish. And that is how she sounded…

Ivy was having a breakdown.

I tried to calm things a bit, but I noticed I was complaining. Openly. I mumbled things about Charon being a bad mother. For some reason I was blaming her. I stopped after about a minute because it wasn’t helping things any. I took a deep breath and tried to reason things out. I tried to make sense of an event that should really be people throwing their hands up in the air, laughing and saying “Ha! Kids!”. And that’s when I noticed.

My mother was crying.

I haven’t seen my mom cry in a long, long time. She’s a tough but compassionate woman. In the year previous, she had dealt with surviving what she was told was fatal lymphoma,  beating debilitating Type II diabetes, and her only son going through a nasty divorce in a foreign country. It was obvious that this was too much. She’d had it. She quietly cried, doing a pretty decent job of maintaining her dignity in the process. Ivy, on the other hand, was on the phone with the friend she always talked shit about. She was screaming and asking questions such as “Why?” and “What did I do?”.

Oh, Ivy always says terrible things about her friends. But the one on the phone with her was a favorite target of hers.  The more you know.

Ivy’s flipping out, Ivy’s father is somewhere having Dr. Whiskey tend to his wounds, I guess, Ivy’s mother is trying to comfort my mother, and my dad just starts laughing and making jokes.

I fucking love my dad, I really do. His jokes were kind jokes, and he was trying to keep the kids from becoming more scared. Even the autistic boy knew what was up by this point. He looked scared. His brother looked scared. The little one asked if this Christmas was going to be like last Christmas. You know, when his mom and I split up.

Dammit. Just remembering all this make me tear up. Writing about it hurts. I hope you guys can appreciate it.

At some point during this fucking horrible debacle, Ivy comes back into the living room, weeping like someone who just watched their village get slaughtered. That was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I said something I actually regret, and I regret very, very little.

“Why don’t you go cry somewhere else?”

Yeah, I’ll cop to being a dick for that.

We packed all the toys and gifts up, I sputtered something about paying for the damages, and Ivy’s dad whisked my parents back to their hotel. I took my kids back to their mother’s and decided to chew into her a little. Also something I’m not proud of. I didn’t know it, but she had just been through a break-up. I was scoring dick points everywhere.

I met up with my parents later and had drinks. Then I slept fitfully until morning, where I woke up, went to work and found out what it was like to work Boxing Day in a mall in Canada. Holy shit, it was a madhouse. It was like that town full of crazies from Gymkata, dude. But I survived my 12 hour shift, hanging out with a friend after, who helped by talking to me. Ivy had called me at work. I had tried calling her multiple times the night before, but she refused to speak to me. When I got my only break, I called Ivy back and she broke up with me.


And then I moved on with my life, met someone new and lived happily ever after for a chang–

Wait, no. A week later Ivy and I were back together, and that started some of the unhappiest times in my life until about June. Yee-haw. We never discussed the incident and she never apologized– but I was expected to apologize a whole bunch (for something we’d never talk about). As for the rug, it got cleaned and I didn’t have to pay for it. Ivy’s parents said it needed cleaning, anyway. After I saw the Rug of Horror and Woe, they were right… it was in need of cleaning.

There’s a lot more to go into, but what you read here are the highlights. Maybe some of you will even learn something (other than don’t ever date me, or you might end up in a blog).

This last Christmas? Oh, man, it was great! My parents came back to visit (once again: Thanks, global warming!), and my girlfriend’s family and mine had an amazing time. There were lots of kids, parents and love going on. No race tracks, but if that had happened, I’m sure no one would have had a nervous breakdown.


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