At some point after dealing with a man who could not be trusted anywhere out of my sight, I became easily suspicious of every move Leon made. On one occasion I broke into his house when he wasn’t home, looking for… hell, I don’t even know what I was looking for; I just knew he was hiding something and I was determined to find it. After all these years, I can’t even recall what precipitated my actions that day but I was obviously ticked off by something I heard and wanted to get to the bottom of it.
It was late in the afternoon but still very daylight and I didn’t stop to concern myself with the repercussions of breaking and entering. I was blinded by rage and nothing else mattered. When Lisa Left-Eye Lopes from the group TLC set her fiancé’s house on fire back in 1994, I totally understood what she was feeling at the time because it was only three years earlier that I endured similar pains. You don’t stop to think of consequences when you’re that angry; and even if you do, you convince yourself you will bravely face them.
After parking a little farther down the street from Leon’s house that afternoon, I headed straight to the back of the house; and just like before, I picked up the biggest brick I could get my hands on and threw it… this time through the sliding glass door leading into his rec room. Once inside, I made my way upstairs and hid inside the closet of his master bedroom, just waiting for him to get home. I had no idea what I was going to do when he got home. Crouching there in the little spot I had carved out between shoes and whatnot, I began to wonder if I would, should or even could remain in the closet all night listening as my suspicions of infidelity played out right before my ears.
Should I confront him in the aftermath or should I jump out and shock him before he could get it on with Gail? I didn’t yet know the answers to these pressing questions as multiple scenarios played out in my mind, but one thing was clear: I was stoned out of my mind.
What made me so crazy is the fact that I knew what he assumed was my jealousy was not really jealousy at all. It was simply my reaction to being lied to and I just wanted to stop the lies and make him see that whatever pleasure he was getting out of this game was not worth the pain or the trouble he caused.
After crouching in the same position for about an hour, rigor mortis was beginning to set in my toes and I was starting to feel pretty foolish hiding out in his bedroom closet. I thought I should probably come out before he possibly discovered a break-in and then made matters worse by calling the police and having me thrown in jail. So instead of waiting around for my suspected rendezvous to take place, I just made my presence known as soon as I heard him enter his bedroom.
I have searched my memory time and again and have been unable to find that one straw that broke the camel’s back to make me that insane; but I do have a vivid memory of Leon grabbing me by the elbow to escort me out of his house after I came stumbling out of the closet. And I can still see myself snatching my elbow from his grip and glibly snarling,
“I don’t need you to let me out, I’ll leave the same way I came in!”
Loosening his grasp, he set off behind me as I headed down the stairs and toward the door leading to the Butler’s pantry. But he lost sight of me momentarily when I made a quick detour into the living room, then through his library before finally making my way into the rec room at the back of the house. When he caught up with me he found me stepping cautiously around all the shattered glass trying to make my way to the double frame sliding door that stood clinging to the few shards of glass that remained intact.
And through the fog of time I still remember feeling exhilarated and vindicated when I got home that evening. I had given him far too many chances; and always after each new promise of fidelity, he would go out and betray my trust again. Most people don’t realize this but sanity is a very fragile state; and once it descends into the darkest corners of your gray matter and starts tripping over neurons, you will certainly lose it… if only for a moment. And after my momentary lapse of sanity, I thought this time for sure I would never hear from Leon again. But sometime early the next morning, I received the following letter which he hand delivered to me at my mother’s house.
“I think you over reacted to the situation. I think you anticipated something would happen and at the first sign of anything suspicious you reacted too strongly to it. You cannot converse with the enemy…”
[ My moment of insanity must have been provoked by something Gail said to me. Funny that he’s now calling her the enemy though]
“… they will never give you information that is helpful to you. Settle down, think things through before you act. … you have simply got to stop tearing up my house. I’m not going to ever get it sold if you don’t. See you around some day Otis T. Champ.
Otis T. was the hillbilly in the Andy Griffith Show that kept throwing rocks through windows; and, of course, the Champ is the lady I love who’s always right and seeks to prove points that even she don’t fully understand. Her world is either black or white – never gray or blue. She for some reason must always be able to stand on top of the mountain and say ‘I’m right’ though rarely is there anyone in the valley to hear her.
Take care of yourself, you do have all of my love. I wish you the best and I will forever keep you in my heart and prayers. Lighten up.
Apparently his letter hadn’t yet tugged at my heartstrings because later that day after I got off work, I stopped at the bar he frequented during Happy Hour; and after confirming with the bar tender that he would recognize Leon if he came in for his usual drink, I trusted he would honor my request and deliver my message to Leon upon his arrival. With mission partially accomplished, I lingered nearby to be sure my note was delivered. Leon arrived shortly thereafter; and while downing his Cognac, I watched as his eyes gazed upon the crazy rumblings of a madwoman…
“Just a note to let you know how much I enjoyed kicking your glASS yesterday. Are you down for the count? How are you going to take on the government in their war against you when you can’t even take on little ol’ me? While you may think twice before you play with my life again, I won’t even think once about letting you try again. If there is anything else I can do to make life miserable for you, don’t hesitate to let me know.”
I had signed it “Otis T. Champ” with a post script that read, “You think anybody in the valley heard me?”
As I look back on this incident and the others before it, I have to wonder how we ever made it to the altar. But we did, and we entered phase two of this never-ending drama with my next role being that of the wicked stepmother and Leon’s being that of the blind enabler. But not to give too much away just yet, you should know off the bat there is no princess in this scary tale.