So, you haven’t seen CoaA posts yet, have you? Well, that is because that stands for “Confessions of an Asshole” and this is my first post. Mostly it means that like other people I talk about here, I also will talk about my own failings, including when I am absolutely the asshole. Sadly that happens more often than I like to admit, especially when I was younger.
I felt the first thing I would talk about was my wedding day and the fact that my husband, who was my wife at the time, should have probably just dumped me there and then. Also, I will probably reference “my wife” because it is hard to separate who we were then. I find myself having a very hard time referencing him as him when I remember the small girl or shapely woman in the memories. He is ok that I reference him like this, just like I am ok that he references me as his husband whenever he talks about our past.
Our wedding was itself actually pretty great for what it was. The asshole part didn’t come until it was over, but it was still unacceptable, 100% unacceptable.
I had originally asked my husband to marry me when we first started dating in the summer of 1991. We lived on Alabama Street in the 1900 St apartments. I was working 2 shifts on, one shift off for weeks straight and when I asked her to marry me, she said no. I knew she wasn’t into marriage to begin with, and I suspect subconsciously I knew she was starting to pull away so I probably felt that would help things.
Fast forward two months and we had broken up, then got back together six months after that. By this time we ended up living on Kulshan Street I believe, and she surprised me by asking me to marry her. I agreed immediately.
We decided we didn’t want a big marriage, we were just going to a judge with a few friends and family and get it done. Wolsey was an atheist (just coming out of new age stuff) while I was a weird mix of buddhist and catholic, but nether of us wanted a church wedding. We also didn’t want any sort of debt, we were poor and we both knew that her father and mother weren’t going to pay for it (and even if they did we wouldn’t accept the strings with it).
So fast forward to the day of our ceremony. We celebrate (and have since renewed our vows) our wedding day on Halloween. In 1992 unfortunately Halloween fell on a Saturday (much like this year), meaning we had to have a judge marry us on a very dark, wet, and stormy Friday. I was freaking out in my head. Not because I thought marrying that beautiful girl was bad, but I thought I was bad for her, and that honestly, I didn’t deserve any of it. She calmed me down and we proceeded.
We showed up with Wolsey’s family, my mother, siblings, our friend Aaron who was the best man. We showed up at the courtroom of Judge Ross, a man with a huge handlebar mustache. He quickly and dryly started going through the ceremony, it was probably the most anticlimatic ceremony you would ever see. That is until Judge Ross stared at the papers in front of him, stopped talking as he looked up at me and looked around the room.
We all sort of looked around confused when he asked me… IN MID CEREMONY… “Are you related to John Bradley?”
My mom froze, I froze, Wolsey froze and everyone else just looked confused. This is where the judge started talking about how he had issued a warrant for my father John Bradley’s arrest. I think this time it was about my dad beating the shit out of a couple officers when he was drunk, and not paying the fines. The bailiff looked around and I know they checked outside the door as well. This took a few minutes until it was clear my dad wasn’t here. He asked a couple of times if my dad was here or if we knew where he was.
Of course we said we didn’t know where he was, but the truth was my dad was waiting downstairs in the car. We all knew he had a warrant, but none of us imagined that Judge Ross would interrupt our marriage ceremony for that, especially if my dad wasn’t there.
After some more awkwardness, he continued the ceremony and we finished it off. It was both anti-climatic and very awkward. However to me, it didn’t matter, I was married to the most beautiful person in the world, and I was happy, but also freaked out even more than my wife was now stuck with me.
As a gift to us after the wedding, Wolsey’s parents took us to dinner at the Top of the Tower in Bellingham. For Bellingham it is considered one of the nicest restaurants in the county. My stress level was incredibly high at the moment, and when we stepped into the building that the restaurant was in, caught the elevator to the top of the building, and got out, I was fairly overwhelmed. I had never been to the dining side of a four-star restaurant. Not as a customer (I had worked as a dishwasher/prep cook at the Marina restaurant a couple years before, but never sat in a booth). Below are Wolsey’s parents Clark and Debbie.
To be honest, as someone who had been homeless with his family for years, and for many years before and after that we were evicted constantly, with our food mostly provided by food stamps, the whole aura of the restaurant was too much. I don’t think I talked too much as we sat down to have dinner.
To be honest I had fully disassociated at this point. At the time I never knew that people didn’t get out of body feelings when they were stressed, my life had been full of violence, alcoholism, homelessness and poverty. I thought it was normal. That happened here.
I don’t recall most of what we talked about over that dinner. I do however remember getting a check from Wolsey’s parents for $500. It was far more money than we had at the $4.25 an hour or so we made, also something we immediately used to pay bills.
We were sitting there and I do remember one clear thing. I got a black coffee placed in front of me, a small container of sugar, and a small ramekin filled with what I thought was whipped cream. I hesitated and was confused about why we got whipped cream with our coffee. At home we had milk and instant coffee, I had never heard of this… maybe it was a dessert coffee you get at the beginning of a meal?
Wolsey noticed my hesitation and squeezed my leg under the table. I don’t know if it was purely for reassurance of if she was trying to indicate what the whipped cream was for. That is when I saw her father watching me intently, he then reached over to his coffee, took a spoonful of what I thought was whipped cream, and put it in his coffee, thereby lightening it.
I noticed that Wolsey’s mother Debbie hesitated and looked confused when she saw Clark put what turned out to be creamer in his coffee. She asked him why did he use creamer, he NEVER uses creamer, he just sort of waved her off and said he wanted some tonight. She looked pretty confused.
I immediately followed suit and noticed he gave me the slightest nod of the head and a subtle smile as I used it. I was a little astonished that it was cream. I had never seen cream for coffee like this. I later found out that Wolsey’s dad doesn’t use creamer (and I remember something about it sometimes gives him migraines even). That is when we both realized Wolsey’s dad did that just to show me what it was, without embarressing me. There are a lot of issues (a whole lot) I have with that man, but I have to say I really appreciated that.
The meal itself I assume was good, but like most times when I am disassociated I don’t remember the exact details. Wolsey’s mom didn’t notice at all, but I think Clark did.
To be honest, the rest of this story is embarrassing for me, but I deserve to be embarrassed by it. I don’t remember 100% of the details as I don’t think I ever really came back to myself that night. That disassociation or weird emotional space however IS NOT AN EXCUSE, it is just so you can understand me a little better.
We eventually got back to our new apartment on Bennett street. By this time Wolsey was feeling sick, her nose had started running and she was feeling ill. I think for the first couple of minutes I tried reassuring her a little, but it was too little for what I should have done, and far too short of a time I gave her my attention.
Instead of being fully supportive like any real human would have done, I was frustrated and vented about our wedding night being destroyed because she got sick. I was one hundred percent inappropriate, and while the details are scattered for me, I know I yelled at her and became even more frustrated that we couldn’t be intimate on our wedding night. Yes, I had fully become that privileged guy with “expectations”.
I was an absolute shithead about it. I do remember bits of her crying, and of me just getting angrier. I had a lot of rage, most of it I suspect was from other things that I constantly buried. None of it was because of anything she had done. For whatever asshole and monstrous reason inside me though, I let that rage and anger out and I know I yelled at her, made her cry, I was unreasonable on every level (I have never hit my spouse, but I pretty much was abusive in every other way that night). Most of the detail of this part of the night is gone for me, I don’t think I ever remembered specifically my lashing out, but I do remember bits as if I was in a detached dream.
It was a strange detachment though. I was so angry, but it was an anger that seemed like it was outside of me. One that I knew I should bury, put out or hide it away, but I just shrugged and I didn’t do anything to really control it except I eventually told her off, slammed the door, and left the apartment. I ended up going to Bear’s, the local arcade with my friends. I don’t really know if they ever knew what happened, all I did was tell them she was sick.
Yep, that is the asshole in me, out at an arcade playing video games with my friends while my sick wife cried to herself in our bedroom on my wedding night. I feel vaguely guilty that I can’t remember more details to show truly what kind of asshole I was, but this is the best I can give you.
I am eternally shamed by that night. There are no excuses for it. I just wanted to talk about my wedding night, and I don’t feel I should ever leave out negative things about myself. I definitely won’t ever forgive myself for how I behaved on my wedding night.