Growing Pains (Eric)

>> Saturday, April 17, 2010

The late summer came to a quick end. Michelle had since moved out of her previous situation and into an all girl house in Mclean, Va. It was nice by most group house standards. Everyone seemed nice and accommodating and the rent for her room was cheap. But later on as we found out it was not the best place for her, or me!

My summer work ended abruptly and I thought I could coast for a while on VA unemployment. Little did I know, in November it ended. So as a matter of necessity, I went to a place in which I knew I would get hired immediately, a grocery store. This wasn’t any grocery store, it was the illustrious and conscientious Whole Foods Market! The creme de la creme of grocery stores, but as I predicted got hired instantly.

So here I was fresh out of grad school, with a Masters of Science and couldn’t get a job, except for the grocery store. I hunkered down for the winter and hoped something good would come my way.

During that time Michelle was deeply involved with her studies and living off of her stipend, which was not very much. She had some extra money to live, but not much.  She went to school during the day, and my shift was primarily in the evening. She would come by and visit and give me much needed kisses (one of the reasons why I fell in love with Michelle). But the situation was soon to become less ideal and all together painful.

Ah our first Christmas! Now Michelle and I are atheists and don’t subscribe to Judeo-Christian beliefs about what Christmas really is, but we wanted to give each other a pat on the back for what the year had given us. Well, I had no money and neither did she. My dear Michelle decorated my basement apartment with a drawing of a fire place on my closet door and wanted to make it so nice for our first Christmas.

She drew me pictures of sports cars and motorcycles and told me that I would indeed have some in my garage one day. She bought me a few small gifts and I was so thankful to share it with her. I ended up taking some of her Christmas gifts from Whole Foods, because I couldn’t afford much for her. I didn’t tell her that until much later. I didn’t care if I got caught because I loved her so much and wanted to give her the best Christmas I could afford.

As the old year turned into the new one, much had remained the same except for one thing. My landlord who lived upstairs told me that Michelle was forbidden to come over and stay. I think it had to do with his religious beliefs. So when Michelle came over to stay, she had to park a mile away, and I had to shuttle her under the darkness of night to my place. 

We had shit coming at us from everywhere, and we were so poor. Some people have said, “You will look back on this and laugh!” My self esteem was so low, I drank every night and scraped what I could to survive. I was even lambasted by my manager there because I couldn’t decorate a cake properly! I had a Masters degree, but not one in culinary arts!

Oh, I have to mention the house. It was a nice place for a group home, but something was amiss. Michelle used to tell me she felt uncomfortable there and I said I felt something wasn’t quite right with the house. One night as we lay in bed, she had a dream where something was attacking her in the room! She woke up with a fright and went to go to the bathroom to clear her mind and head back to bed. Unknowing that she had gotten up dreamed, or rather experienced an evil entity come through her bedroom door and pace around her room. It started to walk to her side of the bed and I woke up screaming! It was then I knew she had to leave immediately!

She finished her graduate degree in May, and I had left Whole Foods. In fact I thought I was going to get another contract but it fell through. I ended up getting a temp job in a vet clinic. It didn’t pay very much, but I loved being with the animals. In fact I fell in love with a lonely greyhound, and thus my fondness for the breed was born. That fondness eventually turned out to be our lovely dog, Ramona, a retired racing greyhound!

I did get a consulting job with a top 5 consulting company and went to work developing knowledge management plans.


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