Despite getting a job, I still spent most my time with Theo. The job provided me with 3 or 4 hours per week, mainly on the weekends, but it was bliss to be away from him. The minute we reunited, he asked me how work went, and if I’d flirted with anyone. I was always appalled by the second question: I couldn’t believe that after all we’d gone through, he’d still accuse me of cheating. However, if I even brought it up that I disagreed with his interrogations, he would get angry and compare me to his last ex, Keeley: something I would get accustomed to hearing in the following weeks. He’d told me about his ex several times in the past: how she was just like me and he’d fathered a child with her, but he had to split up because she was cheating on him and irresponsible, and she hated him, all of which (excluding the last statement) I was unwilling to believe unless I saw it for myself. all he did for his son was send a box of toys up every month to where he lived, and despite his interests in his son to have me as a mom, his interests to visit him, we never got past the planning stage.
Theo decided to set me up a bank account for work at the People’s Bank, not far from the mall. While we were discussing account options, he thought I was staring at one of the employees, or as he put it more bluntly, “giving him the ‘fuck-me’ eyes”. He made sure to let me know how upset he was with me once we left the bank, telling me that he could never trust me again, and that as soon as possible, he would make me withdraw the money I’d put in the account and open another account elsewhere. He didn’t let me forget how embarrassed I’d made him feel, how inferior he must’ve looked while I was supposedly staring at the man. It was another argument where he pushed his logic for me wearing sunglasses. We looked around at places for gym memberships and Theo tossed around the idea of getting a job, telling me he could work part-time without giving up his Social Security income. But this was all dependent on my behavior, because now he supposedly couldn’t trust me. In the same breath, however, he would talk about how much he loved me and how he wanted a family with me. The stress it caused was becoming unbearable.I started living for weekends for those few precious hours I’d spend away from him, and the thought of leaving was becoming more enticing every day. I hadn’t slept in a bed since I’d been with him. One night, on one of our many all-nighter walks around the city, we stopped at a Denny’s on the other side of town. Since he didn’t want me to have another seizure episode, he called a cab and had it drive us to the Jack-in-the-Box. Again, it was past midnight and the damp, cold air of Bellingham was doing a number on my morale. I asked Theo if he wanted to find a hotel, and since he was still mad at me for the scene I’d caused at the bank, I promised him the one thing I knew he wouldn’t turn down. If he got us a room, I’d have sex with him. I knew I’d really be in for a long, hard night if we did find a room, but I was tired and desperate enough to lower myself to that level. Theo asked if there were any hotels open, and the cab driver told us that the few hotels in the area were out of rooms due to an incident at the construction site. Workers and their families were all holed up in hotels. I was on the verge of tears as we checked the closest hotel to find that there were no vacancies because I knew Theo would take me up on my reckless offer anyway, which he did the minute we entered the grove of trees beside the restaurant. He had me strip outside the tent despite the freezing temperature, my only padding coming from his jacket that he’d laid out on the ground. I knew protesting at this point was probably not a smart idea, so I got down on my forearms and knees and tried to distract myself through the rough and painful ordeal he called sex.
I also hadn’t had a chance to let loose and have fun because being around him meant I had to step on eggshells 24/7. Looking at anyone or talking, even a minor “hello” would make him suspicious of my infidelity. Ironically, the harder I tried to show him I wasn’t cheating, the more he would confront me. Even at work, when my managers tried to get me to open up and engage with customers, I found it extremely difficult, especially after Theo dropped by once or twice to surprise me. I knew he could be watching at any time to see if I slipped up and smiled for too long at anyone, boy or girl. By the time we moved into our third and what would be my last apartment, he’d practically broken me of my independence.