The 1,763-Day Weekend
Part 11 — Toronto Gives the Name for That
The time had come to book NowEx’s ticket for Canada.
He’d asked me if I could book it via Toronto so that he could replicate his 2007 trip here, arriving in the Big Smoke in time for Pride. That got me thinking: the easiest would be for me to meet him in Toronto so that we could drive back together to Montréal, and I’d get a trip/mini-vacation out of it, too. While clearly stating my conflict of interest, I also asked work if I could be brought to Toronto for a few days to work on some ongoing projects.
My supervisor at the time did look into it and asked her superior, but the answer came back as No. I found out a few months later that they already suspected at that time that I would be nominated for an award in the fall and they wanted me to be there for that instead. However, when NowEx learned of work’s decision, he started bad-mouthing my job for exploiting me with so much overtime and not giving me anything back in return (which of course wasn’t true as I got a lot of extra vacation days for that overtime, but never mind), not to mention that my supervisor’s name become Mud to him. So, to cut a long story short, I went to Toronto for Pride weekend entirely on my dime, and booked transportation from the airport and the hotel room for NowEx who was arriving a day before me.
If Vallarta was the trip that started me thinking that our marriage was doomed, then Toronto was the trip that got me really worried. Indeed, it’s only in Toronto that I realized that there was something dreadfully wrong with NowEx — something far more serious than just moodiness. Unfortunately, it took me two months of constant exposure to it to finally grow a full pair and ship him back with a little note pinned to his shirt: “Dear Mexico: Please take him back. He’s defective. And don’t bother sending me another one. I’m pretty sure they’re all variations on the same theme. Thank you.” (Of course I didn’t pin that note on him, but what fun if I had!)
Let me try to simply pare down to my observations.
- Another One Bites the Dust
I’d arranged for Brian to meet NowEx in Mexico City in ’08 while the former attended the biannual Conference on HIV/AIDS. Since NowEx and I would be in TO for Pride, NowEx contacted Brian from Mexico to suggest we meet up when we’d be there. However, that year, Brian had decided for his own reasons to stay away from Pride events and said so to NowEx. “He’s being all humbug about Pride,” NowEx reported back to me. “Fuck him! I don’t want anything to do with him ever again! He’s a fuck up anyway…” (alluding to Brian’s colourful past with drugs and even a stint as a minor porn star).
Sorry, Brian, that was him speaking, not me. Then again, you’ve always been an opened book about your life and you’d long before beat NowEx to the punch by self-deprecatingly referring to stuff you’ve done as messed up. But for what it’s worth, I understood perfectly well and respected why you weren’t up to Pride that year. I didn’t encourage NowEx in his diatribe; I just changed the subject because I was recognizing a pattern by then: you were something like the 6th person I’d witnessed him unilaterally and categorically cutting off like that, plus I knew that, deep down, you didn’t really give a shit about him …at least not enough to get all broken up about it!
- Don’t Rain on His Parade
For the first time in history, it looked like it would rain on Toronto’s Pride parade. That’s a bummer for sure, but what the fuck, huh? Well, not so. NowEx was in an unspeakably bad mood and took out the bad weather on ME as we forced our way through the crowds to find ourselves an umbrella. Turns out we hardly used the umbrella because the sun came out, as if by traditional rite, when the parade started down Yonge Street. But somehow, all along, the rain had been my fault.
- The Exploiter Strikes Again (So He Thinks)
It was getting close to 11:00 on the Monday morning and NowEx was resisting getting up despite our plans to go to Niagara Falls that day. Suddenly my cell phone rang: it was my supervisor at work. “I know you’re on vacation and I hate to ask you,” she said, “but could you swing by the office for a few minutes to sign the final version of those papers you need to sign?” Even though I knew this request would upset NowEx, I knew I could go there and back in about an hour-an-a-half, time he could use to get ready for our day trip.
He was half awake when I emerged from the shower, so I told him where I was going and when I’d be back. He was beyond furious, and Mud’s name had turned simply to That Bitch. “I just KNEW you’d fuckin’ react this way,” I retorted in unusual-to-me anger. “That’s why I’d hope to just get out of here and come back before you’d notice. But I’m going, and I’ll be back, and it’ll make no difference.” And I left, raging inside until I reached the nearby College subway station.
Months later, she he called Mud/That Bitch told me she knew something had been up that day. “You couldn’t get out of the office fast enough,” she recalled. “But more than that, you just seemed so tense…”
- How Dare You?
So we went to Niagara Falls as planned later that day. I thought I saw a place that offered a reasonably priced menu but we passed it and instead found a Pizza Hut closer to the waterfront. I quite literally gasped when I was at the cash register to pay: “Holy crap! Over 30 bucks for a bit of pizza and pop for two?!”
That sent NowEx in a fury! How could I make a comment like that in front of other people? He who had claimed to be starving just minutes before hardly ate any of his pizza. He claimed my tactless comment had ruined his appetite.
- Houston! Houston! We’ve Got a Problem…
The next morning we left Toronto for Montréal, and I will never be able to get rid of this image from my mind because it represents THE moment when I realized we were in deep, deep trouble. NowEx was hyper-excited about heading to Montréal and was literally bopping, yelling and singing in his seat as I was cautiously navigating us out of Toronto through the unfamiliar (to me) network of highways. I’d seen that frenzy before, but not while confined in a car, so it felt particularly intense. Plus, I was worried because I’d observed that the intensity of the crash after such frenzy was directly proportional to the intensity of the frenzy.
I still didn’t have the right name for it at that time, but that was THE moment I realized in my marrow that I’d married someone with more than anger management issues. I had married someone with full-blown BPD: Borderline Personality Disorder.
How the hell was I going to broach that one with him and, moreover, get him the help he needed?