Crazy Makes You Calm

The thing I was learning to love the most about Joe was his ability to let things roll off of his back and go with the flow.

I was high strung and I knew it.  I felt things so intensely; my anger flashed red and hot, my fears crept over me quickly and completely, my passion went from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds.

But Joe?  He could take my crazy and talk me off the ledge.  And as I was learning as our relationship hit the six month mark, he had lots of experience.

His parents’ divorce had been messy, like my parents’.   I’d never met his brother at all, because he’d gone to live with Joe’s father.  When Joe and I were still in high school, Joe showed me that his father, when he wanted to communicate with Joe, would send letters addressed to the high school guidance office rather than send anything or call his mother’s apartment.

I found it so amazing, because Joe’s mother was one of the nicest people I’d ever met.  She was the kind of person that would make a full time job of being a nanny; you could just see how wonderful she was with small children, because she was wonderful with everyone.  I couldn’t imagine what kind of problem Joe’s father could have had with her; she wouldn’t hurt (or yell at) a fly.

But apparently they’d had financial problems.  Joe’s college experience was being paid for one hundred percent by financial aid, because his mother’s income as a nanny was so low.    While his parents had still been married, Joe’s father had done some shady things with their tax returns, and Joe told me they owed thousands and thousands of dollars.  Since they’d filed jointly, the government was trying to get the money from his mother, who didn’t have any.

Just before we’d left for college, Joe’s mother left their apartment and “disappeared”, leaving Joe to live with his grandparents for the few weeks before school started.   We weren’t sure at all where she went, but she called Joe regularly at school.  She did not tell her parents or sister where she was, because she was sure that was where the government would go next.

I listened to all of this with disbelief, but Joe was very matter of fact about it all.  I suppose he had no choice.   He didn’t let the school stuff bother him because he felt lucky to be here and out of the ridiculousness of what was going on.  He told me she was looking to find a place not far from MSU, so that she could be closer to him and so he’d have a place to go during school breaks.  I hoped for his sake that it would happen soon, because while he looked like it wasn’t bothering him, I knew it had to be.

We held hands sometimes that fall, telling each other our stories, and being grateful that we each had the other to confide in, talk to and lean on when we needed to.


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