Now that the divorce was complete, I stayed very busy with school, work, friends, and dating apps for the next several months. I was happy with my living situation, and my job was iffy, but I felt hopeful about a fresh path. Where I live has easy access by bicycle to a downtown area, including my job. I frequented there for exercise and socializing, and I was in great shape. Drinking was a key event at most social activities I attended during a course of several years. The town’s major events, however, draw crowds of people. My friends and I usually joined in the fun.
During the first summer
after the divorce of singledom, a main event was held downtown. I met with friends, and when we arrived at the primary area, Bear was across the street walking with his girlfriend. Even though we had a decent conversation at the courthouse, he still felt the need to act like an asshole. It was both weird and disturbing. He looked straight at me, and then he showed off by fake laughing and carrying on, running slightly ahead of her and bending down, telling her to jump on his back. He looked at me again to see if I was watching. He looked ridiculous, like a monkey doing his act, shoving in my face that he had someone else. But I didn’t care, because… Because fuck him! I don’t care!
Unfortunately, I saw Bear out all the time drinking with his fiancé, and I was always with my girlfriends. It was super annoying, because I purposely avoided places in order not to see him. He always did some sort of showing off, like being overly affectionate towards her in front of me, flashing jewelry, or some pretentious shit. I ignored him and pretended he was invisible while silently laughing at his stupidity, immaturity, and insecurity. I never felt the need to flaunt another man in Bear’s face, but I have yet to meet a man that’s worthy enough to do so.
My new singledom goal was to live in my new place for two years and save enough for a down-payment on a home – a cute little place to call my own. Around the summer, work drastically cut my hours and downsized the company. I knew I needed something else because I didn’t trust that they would last long. (They didn’t.) My side gigs inconsistently held me over; I prefer to feel stable and secure, so this caused a lot of anxiety. With this job not living up to their promises, my goal was looking much farther away.
There was always a reason to meet the girls for drinks. At first, it was a couple nights a week, sometimes four to five nights a week because of happy hour specials and ladies’ nights. We all had budgets, so we took advantage of it. It was my social life, and I was having a good time. Most of my friends, also single, had dating stories to share. (Mine aren’t nearly as bad as others!) I met new people just about every time I went out, met others through them, so I had more “friends” to drink and party with. There were always parties or someone wanting to meet for a drink. Since this was the first time in my life truly being single – without a marriage and no kids at home – I was having the time of my life.
Whenever I dated someone, drinking was involved. On dating apps, guys always wanted to “meet for a drink.” (Now that I’m writing, I see I dated a bunch of alcoholics.) Prior to meeting Big Liar in person, we had only talked through Facebook. Our friendship began when we agreed to meet at a nearby bar. He discussed his divorce woes and everything else going on in his life. We had some things in common, so I understood where he was coming from. Whenever Big Liar and I got together, we drank. Boating, happy hour, or any day of the week. Big Liar somehow made substantial money, even though he rarely worked. He always offered to purchase alcohol if I drove him. I probably drank 2-3 times a week then, maybe more often some weeks, but we drank heavily together. Binged. Sometimes too much, and I was sick for a day or more.
Big Liar and I spent much of the summer together. Once, I went out all night and came home to go boating. Had a little hair of the dog, and we day drank. I hated the way my insides felt from drinking, but mentally, I thought I was having fun. Instead, I was avoiding actual feelings. Numbed them. My heart wasn’t healed from my marriage, and the last thing it needed was more drama.
Big Liar was fun until he went well over his alcohol limit and became impossible to talk to, and I’d go home. I didn’t know the extent of his alcoholism, because he hid some of it and had such a high tolerance, sometimes it didn’t show. At the end of the summer, I found out for the first time about Big Liar living up to his name, so I backed off from talking to him for a while. He was so involved with lying about everything, he couldn’t keep his stories straight. I knew deep down to stay away from Big Liar; he was such bad news.
Eventually, Big Liar and I talked again, because he needed me to do work for him. He paid well; I couldn’t say no. Working for Big Liar turned into us hanging out again, and that’s when I experienced the worst camping trip of my life.
To be continued…
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