Really though, I should have known that there would eventually be a problem. There's always a problem.
So back in late January, we began dating. Things seemed to be going fine and we began to see quite a bit of one another. Then suddenly one day 'out of the blue' Claire had the inexplicable urge to introduce me to her family.
I always hate this part of any relationship. I mean, I have a relationship with an individual not their entire family. Why are these other damn people suddenly being brought in to the situation.
Relationships are hard enough to maintain to begin with. I really hate this part of dating, although I have resolved myself to realize that it is one of the 'necessary evils'.
So that was the scenario. Although this is something I find pointless, I reluctantly agreed. Sadly, this was also when the trouble occured.
As we were driving over, Claire told me her mother was very 'suspicious' of men who dated her daughter, so she always wanted to meet them to give her approval. She also mentioned that her younger brother Billy was 'mentally challenged'.
Neither of these points were problems in my mind. I mean, everyone loves me: parents, kids, brothers, sisters and both the so called 'challenged' or the 'unchallenged'. I definitely have no problems there.
So there we were, all sitting around in the living room at her house. I had just met Claires' mother Joyce, who clearly seemed quite pleased that her daughter was dating me. She obviously realized immediately that I was the best thing her daughter had ever brought home to meet her and after some meaningless small talk, she headed out to the kitchen to get us all some tea & cookies.
As I patiently sat there waiting, I was sure that I heard some odd noises & then what sounded like a muffled moan coming from the closet just down the hallway.
Before I could question any of these proceedings, the closet door suddenly flung open and Billy emerged, looking rather dishevelled. He quickly looked around the room and came running directly over to Claire to greet her & give her a big hug.
Finally his gaze rested upon me and Claire immediately introduced us.
Billy looked to be around 18 or 19 years old and clearly was 'slow' - one could see that without even having any advance notice of the fact. However he came right over and shook my hand & greeted me politely.
"What was he doing in there?" I asked, pointing over to the closet.
I was really only trying to make idle conversation & pretend I was even remotely interested in any of the activities of her dysfunctional family. As I said before, I am dating her & really could care less about any of the other minor characters in her life.
"Oh, I'm guessing he was probably just wanking in there. That's his special place. The 'Wanking Room', we call it." Claire responded quite nonchalantly. "Have a good wank did ya?" she asked playfully, looking over at Billy.
He just laughed aloud like an idiot. It was one of those uncomfortable loud & empty laughs that you cannot explain. And then he suddenly jumped up, ran out of the room and disappeared up the stairs.
I sat there silently, looking around. Did all of this just happen?
Then I looked down at my hand, horrified. Looking over at Claire I yelled.
"You mean you let that bloody retard shake my hand after he was in that room beating off? Are you insane ?"
"He not's retarded, don't you call him that." Claire responded, sounding angry. "He's special."
I quickly got up and made a beeline to the washroom where, for the next five minutes, I scrubbed my hands desperately trying to forget what had just occurred.
I was furious. Whatever you want to call it, whether it be 'choking the chicken', 'pulling the goalie' or 'jackin the beanstalk', it is still bloody disgusting.
I returned to the living room where Claire was sitting. She was laughing. "He's harmless. I don't know why you're making such a big deal out of it. It's natural."
Her statement sent me into a rage. I dont know if it was because of her dismissive attitude on the subject or the fact my hands were still hurting from the scalding hot water I had used to clean them. In any event I was still exasperated.
"When does jacking off in a closet where unsuspecting people hang up their coats suddenly become an acceptable behavior?" I demanded angrily. "Who does that - nobody! And then, on top of that, why are you people condoning this activity, you are all enablers. The way I see things is that it is your fault as much as his. Bloody retard."
"I told you not to call him that." Claire snapped back at me.
"I wasn't talking about him." I replied. "I was referring to you."
She just stared at me in silence. Suddenly she did not look that gorgeous or hot to me at all anymore. Just pathetic & disgusting.
I turned around and carefully grabbed my coat from the closet and headed towards the front door.
"Where are you going, Mom will be back here with our tea in a minute?" Claire asked, looking completely baffled.
"To the drycleaners and then out to the pub - without you." I replied, as I closed the door behind me and left.
A couple days later I picked up my coat from the drycleaners but could not bear to even put it on. It now repulsed me. I dropped it into the Salvation Army clothing donation bin at the mall, still with its plastic drycleaning cover on it.
It's now a few months later and I still often think about her and miss her. We had some really good times together.
The coat I mean, not the girl. Definitely not the girl.
Life's funny that way.