I got no sleep on the night of December 24, 1995. You see,, my then girlfriend Tammy was going to come to visit on Christmas. I didn't know what to do. I was feeling so strongly that Tammy was bad news. So I was up all night, listening to the radio, eating Honey-Nut Cheery-O's, and converting the entire Flintstones episode guide into HTML.
By the time the night was over, I had made up my mind: a horrible thing to do on Christmas, but I was going to end things with Tammy.
Christmas Day itself wasn't so bad. Tammy seemed, for that day at least, to get along with my family. She asked to be brought early to her room, and I went in with her. I figured this was the time to tell her.
I tried to start by telling her that I felt rushed and pressured by her. We weren't engaged, I said, and already she was trying to negotiate on who would pay for the wedding. Wha I didn't say was that I also felt she was displaying very little love toward me ... she seemed to want the marriage, not me.
Tammy did what I was to learn she usually did when something she didn't want to happen was happening (even something simple like me getting more attention than her): she had a seixure. I'm not going to outright accuse Tammy of faking these seizures, but it's true that they tended to happen when something was about to happen that she didn't want to happen, and more often than not they won over the sympathy of the people so she got her way in the end.
That's what happened this time, she got her way in the end. Ignoring all the warning signs, I proceeded with the relationship. Three months later, we were engaged. I discovered she despised my family, especially my father (I'll bet she was the only person on the planet who felt that way about Dad). She resented my closeness to them. She did her best to alienate her and me from my friends. Aspects of the relationship that should have been wonderful were always fraught with pressure, abuse, deceit. I incurred a huge debt because of her. It wasn't until October that I had the courage to end the relationship, thankfully before marriage, the marriage which was what she wanted so badly. But it all comes back to that christmas Eve, and every time I've heard the "It Feels like Christmas" jingle over the course of the next eleven years, my thoughts have gone back to 1995, a Christmas which, so sadly, I won't forget.