How did I get here?
I got married when I was 19. Of course, by then, you know everything, don’t you? Fantastic time of life. I moved to the States, lived with my then boyfriend, Shovl, for 3 months. Not in the most glamorous of places, it has to be said. First in his parents basement. Then, eventually, a tiny apartment in Arlington. I didn’t dare go out after 5pm, seeing a I could hear gunshots a block or so away.
Oh. And we didn’t really have a bed. Because Shovel decided to leave a bunch of our stuff in the loading bay while he went for a beer with some new neighbours. And was consequently surprised to find it gone when he returned 2 hours later. Among the missing items? The antique bedframe and box, and my entire collection of World of Darkness books. (Any geeks out there will understand my grief).
Anyway. The time came when my guest visa was about to run out. Our solution? Hey, let’s just get married. Then Cake can stay. In her oh-so-glamorous lifestyle to which she has become accustomed. Ah, that old 20/20 hindsight. Don’t you hate that?
We were married in a courthouse. I wore combats and a tanktop. The ‘priest’ doubled as our photographer, with an instant throwaway camera. “Do you, Cake.. *click*.. take Shovel.. *click*.. to be your lawfully wedded husband? …*click*
In the end, it turns out marrying a US citizen does not guarantee you can remain. You still need a visa. So I had to leave anyway. Oh, and he decided it would be better not to tell his family we were now a married couple. Sure, sure, fine. All made perfect sense at the time. I think.
So, we moved back to Europe. It was a nice opportunity to visit my family and friends. My dad even gave Shovel a job in his company, so we wouldn’t be broke. It was enough to afford a lovely little apartment in town, which I coveted and subsequently adored. Beautiful big kitchen with an AGA stove. Not that I cooked, at the time. Gorgeous living room with a real fireplace. Though Shovel gave our tv to his drug dealer. Go figure. Bathroom to die for, though. Black and white tiled floor, big tub, purple wallpaper. A little haven for make-up application.
A few months after that, I fell pregnant. Which posed a difficult question. How exactly do we go about explaining to his parents that we’re already married and now expecting a baby? His solution, apparently, was just to let them believe it was a shotgun wedding. And so began their long-lived view of me as a gold-digging waste of space, I guess. Just in time, since 3 months later we went for a visit again.
I say a visit. Really, it was a free babysitting service for his three sisters. I got to stay in the cabin we were lodging in on a military base (yes, there’s good reason I use codenames) and watch.. let me count.. seven kids. While they all went off on nice day trips. Position established. Bottom rung of the ladder. And believe me when I say, jet lag added to morning sickness did not a good-tempered Cake make.
It was just little things. Subtle ways to remind me I really didn’t matter, pregnant or not. Maybe it’s petty, but it drove me crazy. Like, I don’t like burgers. I really don’t. Yes, I know I’m a freak. But Miss Ellie insisted on going to Burger King every day for lunch. The woman doesn’t cook, I swear. It’s always fast food or takeouts. Anyway, trying not to be a pita, I just sucked it up and asked for a totally plain burger. No cheese, no salad, no nothing. Burger. Bun. That’s it.
So she returns, triumphant, with her banquet of greasy disgustingness for her family to feast upon. And, naievely trusting, I accepted what she handed me and took a healthy bite. I wavered between starving and puking, at the time. It was a starving stage.
I don’t know what else. I was too busy covering my mouth with my hand and bolting for the bathroom to really dissect it.
After that, I just said a polite ‘no, thank you’ when she offered to pick me up something for lunch.