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in the Making

By Julie Ann Guthrie-Smulson

First Edition Print 2018

© Julie Ann Guthrie-Smulson

All rights reserved

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electrical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written consent of the author and publisher. Reviewers may quote brief passages.

Names and identifying characteristics have been changed to protect the privacy of certain individuals.

ISBN: 978-7325520-1-2

Cover Design: Julie Ann Guthrie-Smulson

Editors: Julie Ann Guthrie-Smulson and Karen Tants

Dedicated to My Children & P.B.


I would like to thank first and foremost a woman of many hats; my editor, book cover designer and publisher Karen Tants. Thank you for all the edits, messages and emails to complete Master in the Making. I am sincerely grateful to you for your hard work and healing.

I would like to thank the many healers who have helped me along my journey; you have all given me valuable lessons in also becoming a healer.

I would like to thank all my friends and family who encouraged me while I was writing. I must give a big shout out to Cyndee Woodward and John and Karen Nunes who provided support to me while I was writing. Thank you for being there for me when I needed to talk about my “spiritual awakening.”

There were two people who gave me ongoing feedback and support while I was writing and editing: Phillip Berdion for saying that I was “Possibly the Most Interesting Woman in the World.” I’m probably not, but it did encourage me to write. Dorenda Esparza you were the one who gave feedback on my writing, so that I could find my voice.

Lastly, I want to thank Oberon, King of the Fairies.


  1. All Mixed Up 13

  2. Undertow 26

  3. Disturbed 41

  4. Faith No More 52

  5. Our House 72

  6. Tell Me Something Good 76

  7. Pieces 81

  8. You Don’t Know How It Feels 92

  9. Photograph 96

  10. Trust 118

  11. Karma 124

  12. This Is Your Energy 132

  13. Good Vibrations 134

  14. Back To School 138

  15. Free Will 176

  16. Suggested Reading 184

  17. About the Author 185


It takes great faith, courage, inner power, and inner strength to write from the heart the travails, trials and experiences of a life to share with others who may also have been through, or are still going through, similar challenging life circumstances. The road to self-mastery can sometimes begin on a twisting, winding path with occasional brambles, prickles and dead ends. It can take many years before that road begins to straighten out and become paved with the golden qualities of our inner true reality reflected outwards.

Julie’s book shines a light on a taboo subject, offering validation, self-care, self-love, and self-empowerment. In sharing her journey through life, Julie provides hope, strength, courage and a sacred space for others to heal. It is a soul-cleansing journey toward enlightenment and guides the reader to reach an understanding of the hidden power within that when accessed, can create transformative change within our outer reality, awakening intuitive perception, and leading to the realization of compassion, forgiveness and unconditional love. We can only manifest our inner warrior when we are standing in our own truth, looking out into the world, rather than in our own little ‘ego bubble’ with no care, compassion or consideration for others, or thoughts of helping anyone other than our own little self from our limited view of false reality. Julie’s book moves you, way beyond the limitations of the little self.

Karen Tants-Healing Pen Publishing


Originally, the inspiration for writing this book was to share about the many supernatural occurrences I was experiencing. I have always been intrigued by the supernatural and I have wanted to write a book since I was eight years old. My supernatural experiences are one thing that spoke to me to write about. At one time I wanted to be a paranormal investigator before it became popular on television. When I discovered what dangers there were in paranormal investigating, I decided it wasn’t for me. I have always been interested in the things we can’t see.

As I was having these supernatural experiences and started my spiritual awakening journey, I realized the flashbacks I had of my Grandfather sexually abusing me were in fact my reality. I had done some research on child sexual abuse and found the statistics staggering. The statistics were only of reported cases. It was shocking. I felt that God had been calling me to write about childhood sexual abuse. Over the course of a few months it was revealed to me that many of the people around me had also been sexually abused. None of their cases had ever been reported. In each case, these people had been sexually abused by a family member. Sexual abuse is often perpetrated by family members or those known to the family.

My intention for the book changed again when I discovered that my ex-boyfriend was my soulmate. I wanted to dedicate the book to him. I felt God had used him to help me better my life. I was also feeling the call to help educate others about spiritual healing. I wanted people to know that the reality they were living may not be their true reality. I wanted people to know that they could be open to a new reality; or their true reality: The new reality where they deal with all the garbage in their lives, so that they can clear a path to live their full potential. I wanted people to know about the power of spiritual energy healing and how it could help them. I wanted people to know that they could end their suffering whether that be emotional, mental or physical. It’s a different way to heal. It’s not an easy path, because it requires a lot of change.

As I put pen to paper it was a difficult process to re-live all the emotions, feelings and thoughts of my past. I hadn’t decided on where my book would end. It was possible that I still had some experiences to live out, to determine the end. Regardless of the reason I was writing this book, I knew I had to do it, and I had to publish it.

I attended the San Francisco Writers Conference. It was an interesting experience. On the one hand I was validated in the direction I was taking with my marketing plan. On the other hand, I learned I was committing ‘no no’s.’ It didn’t stop me. I learned that publishers don’t like publishing books about abuse, and secondly, I had used Eat, Pray, Love as a comparison title. (“EatPrayLove:” One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia is a 2006 memoir by American author Elizabeth Gilbert.) You don’t use Eat, Pray, Love unless you did exactly what was in the book. I was also having issues with just how crazy I sounded when trying to convey what my book was about. I had met a fiction writer, Dave Bartell at the Conference. We discussed our books. He said something to the effect, “So you are going to try to change the way people believe? That’s a hard thing to do.” It was a wake- up call, but I guess that was one point of my book.

I had put together a book cover and wrote the back of the book blurb and a short biography. I was proud of it and then I posted it to my social media. The simple act of doing that was, to me, an enormous step. I didn’t realize what I was doing. I was exposing myself in a very personal way. The back of the book made me fearful of being seen ‘as this completely crazy person.’ I felt vulnerable, but I had to get over it. It was a small test for me to go the distance with what I had set out to do. I had to continue to write and disregard how crazy I thought I was coming across to the public. Just prior to finishing my book, I started working with my editor, Karen Tants. Once I was done writing, I sat down to read my book. I really wasn’t sure what the intention of my book was anymore. Not having an intention didn’t stop me from moving forward. Karen was editing my book and I was planning to publish in the next two months. Karen pointed out some items that I might want to change, so I made some edits. All I wanted to do was just wanted to tell my story. It dawned on me that when I was three years old, the adults around me didn’t want to hear my story and there are so many other stories like mine that never get told. It became that much more important for me to just tell my story.

Julie Ann Guthrie-Smulson

The information in this book is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ IN THIS BOOK.


All Mixed Up

My story begins in my home office one lovely, sunny warm afternoon toward the end of February 2016. I was working as a Realtor in Modesto, California. A new agent with just a year in the business, I received a call from a new client by the name of Parker Timmermans.  Parker told me he found me online; he was in need of a mobile home due to his impending divorce and having to sell his home. Whilst on the phone with Parker, he suddenly remarked; “Hey, you’re ‘kinda’ hot!” I was flattered, and I must admit I giggled like a schoolgirl as I let him know I was married. His words made me feel nervous, and even though it was only a phone conversation, I still blushed. He added; “Of course you’re married.”

Somehow, we ended up way off the topic of real estate. He told me that he played the drums; ever since I can remember I have wanted to learn to play the drums; my interest was piqued. I knew he was only telling me this to impress, but just the same, it made my heart beat that little bit faster.

He proceeded to tell me that when he was a teenager, he was best friends with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, and that he had also gone to school with Primus’s Les Claypool. I am a music lover and had seen Primus in concert years ago. My head was spinning, and I was thinking, “wow.” I hadn’t met anybody in a long time who loved music as much as I did.

Later that evening, I received a selfie from Parker with a text, saying, “to put a face with the voice.” I decided that Parker was a big flirt: Obviously, you don’t send selfies to your Realtor. I looked at this selfie of Parker with his baseball cap on backwards and I wondered if he was bald underneath that hat: I thought to myself;” “this guy has a big ego.” He looked like a short bald redneck. No matter what he looked like in that picture, he absolutely had my attention. I found myself looking at his picture often; I wanted to know more about him.

I tried to be professional and treat him as I would any new client, so over the next few weeks I texted him listings. I was a little nervous to meet this guy since I had never really dealt with a situation like this before. I was more concerned about my safety whilst showing him properties. It had taken me years to finally get my Real Estate license because of my fear of being hurt or injured. Deciding to be proactive about protecting my safety, I bought myself some defense spray. I also talked with a male coworker, Alfredo, about my situation. I asked if he would mind going along with me to meet this client and Alfredo happily added that our cover would be that I was training Alfredo to show properties. I investigated Parker’s story and found that his house was indeed listed for sale. His story did check out, which put me more at ease.

I continued to communicate with Parker about available properties for the next couple of months. We had previously set up appointments to view properties, but for whatever reason, each time, he had cancelled these appointments. Parker didn’t seem serious about finding a property, so I ceased sending listings to him.

‘Fast-forward’ to Mid-May 2016, Parker made contact again, wanting to see a listing in Oakdale. We arranged to meet at the home in Oakdale at 2PM. Parker called me around 1PM to tell me he was already there waiting. (My intuition told me that he was going to be there early.) Impatient, he told me to hurry up! There was a big part of me that was excited to meet Parker in person. I was nervous and excited, I drove as fast as I could.

Pulling up at the property I didn’t see him at first, but I did see a black Toyota truck parked in front of the driveway of the mobile home. I can’t recall the initial face-to-face, but I do remember I had trouble unlocking the door because my hands were shaking so much. My heart was beating fast and my mouth was dry. He walked nervously and very quickly from one room to another. I had on my professional persona, whilst looking for any potential problems with the property.

There was a weird, nervous chemistry between us. I was indicating different rooms where he could possibly put his drum set. He was a bit shocked and surprised that I remembered he played the drums. He wasn’t thrilled about the mobile home; there was an issue with a section of the subfloor in the laundry room. I showed him another mobile home further down, but it was a new listing and there was no lockbox on it. He wanted to see the original one again, that we had come to see, and I was so nervous that I couldn’t open the lockbox.

Eventually, we were finished looking at properties and were standing at the end of the driveway under the carport. That’s when time stood still for a moment and we looked into each other eyes. He didn’t look anything like the picture he sent me; he had these large brown eyes that could penetrate steel and a full head of soft, curly brown hair. He stood about five feet ten. His presence was soft and warm but also a little intimidating.

When saying goodbye, he went to hug me. We looked into each other’s eyes. He saw I was hesitant about giving a full body-to-body hug, so he gave a half hug. I really didn’t know what to think. This was the first time we had met, and I was his Real Estate Agent. Who hugs their agent after the first-time meeting?

A week or so elapsed before Parker’s next call. He said that he needed to find a place right away because his house was closing escrow in 30 days. We set up an appointment for me to show him a property in Lathrop on the last Saturday in May. When I pulled up he was sitting in his Toyota pickup truck that was parked right in front of the mobile home. My intuition told me he was drinking a beer out of a brown paper bag; and sure enough, he was.

He told me he had just gotten off from work and when he got out of his truck he was still wearing his work boots, untied, with long socks that were pushed down above the top of his boot. I was checking him out as I followed him through this small, dark and small musky smelling two-bedroom. He had some sexy legs. I have always had this thing for calves, ankles and shorts with boots. I saw he was checking me out too. He looked me up and down and was licking his lips like he was about to devour a delicious meal. It made me very nervous. My insides were fluttering. I was in giddy schoolgirl mode again.

The mobile home wasn’t what he wanted. I locked the door and put the keys back into the lockbox. He seemed frustrated and I could tell he was getting very impatient with me. I told him I had printed out other listings I planned to show him the following day and asked if he wanted to have a look at them, to save him some time. He followed me over to my truck, I opened the back-cab door, pulled out the listings, and shaking again, handed them to him. I was nervous that he may abandon his search with me. He looked them over and seemed a little more at ease about viewing properties with me the next day.

I can’t remember how we left each other that day, but I do remember feeling an electric, crazy, nervous energy about seeing him again. I was thinking about his curly brown hair, his big brown eyes, and those boots. I was so distracted and nervous as I drove away that I missed the freeway entrance, twice, and ended up taking some country roads back home. I was dazed and confused.

Later that evening, Parker texted me to confirm that we were going to meet. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I sent him some Facebook meme about ‘there’s no whining’ in Real Estate, but ‘there’s wine-ing’ with a picture of a glass of wine. When I sent it, I knew I was flirting with him. He called me very quickly after my text. He asked if I wanted to go for drinks after we found him a place. I agreed to have a drink after we signed a purchase offer. We decided to meet the next morning at the Mall parking lot. He texted me and told me not to wear open-toed shoes. I figured out that he had a foot fetish and that’s why he was practically drooling on me at the mobile home the day before; I had been wearing open-toed high heels.

Parker called me and asked me about my ‘back page ad.’ I said, “what are you talking about, back page ad?” I had barely hung up the phone with him and I was thinking; what ad? where? His voice had cracked, and I knew he had figured out that he had called the wrong phone number. He had called me, and not a ‘back page ad’ phone number. I knew he was responding to some personal ad and he had called me by accident. I knew deep down inside that Parker was a lying, cheating player. His accidental call was just a confirmation of that.

That night as I lay in bed I couldn’t stop thinking about Parker and how what I had done was very unprofessional. I could lose my license and my career if things went bad. This guy could blackmail me or worse. I really didn’t give much thought to my husband or marriage. Weird thing is that I think I was more concerned about my job. I was enjoying the attention I was receiving. It was like I was getting a high from it. I hadn’t done anything wrong at all, but I was starting to feel guilty.

By Sunday morning I was really regretting flirting with him the night before. We met at the Mall parking lot as arranged, and when he got into my truck I asked him to delete all our messages. I didn’t think it was professional of me, nor the right thing to do. I was married, and a Realtor. I had been married to my husband for twenty-one years and had two boys. My oldest boy, Alex, had moved out a year prior, and was turning twenty-one in two days. My youngest, Aiden, was to graduate high school within days. I wasn’t completely happy in my marriage, but it was no excuse for flirting or even thinking about being unfaithful.

Regardless of my feelings, I had a job to do. Parker and I ended up back out in Oakdale at the same mobile home park that we had first met in person. We had some time to kill before our showing appointment. I ended up driving around this area in the country and pulled over, so we could have a cigarette. I can’t remember what our conversation was about whilst driving. We stood at the back of my truck smoking. He told me more about himself.

He said he spoke Farsi and at one time when the FBI and CIA were looking for translators he had contacted them. He said he thought it would be a way out of driving a truck for a living. The only problem with that was that he did not know the Farsi alphabet, so they couldn’t use him. He had to continue to drive a truck.

He was a hunter, a taxidermist, and an artist. He told me had been born in Belgium and that his mother was Iranian, and his father was Belgian. His father had been a scientific glass blower who had been contracted all over the world by various governments, corporations and businesses; one of which was NASA. His mother and father had met when his father was working in Iran.

His father had passed away from complications due to a glass blowing accident that damaged his lungs and later his mother tragically passed away from a diabetic coma. He had a younger sister. He had five children of his own; the eldest was thirty-four and the youngest, seven. He had been married twice and had two boys from his first marriage, and two boys and a girl from his second marriage. His eldest son was a movie director in New York and his second eldest son was in a band in the Bay Area. He himself had been in a band and had recorded a CD. His band had even had an article written in the San Jose Mercury Newspaper following the release of their CD. We talked about music, politics and our families, and discovered we shared a lot of the same views.

I showed him five properties, and when we were at the last one, he was enchanted by the ambiance the seller had created with lit candles and soft music playing. We walked around inside, and as I was standing there in this semi-hallway near the kitchen, the thought crossed my mind and my gut feeling was telling me that Parker and I were going to be a couple. It was my intuition. My rational brain was saying; “You’re married and what is that all about, me and this guy are going to be a couple, what the hell?”

Parker being the impatient guy he is, was done looking at the home. He had previously told me that he wanted this one, but he wanted to leave so I remotely unlocked the doors and turned on the engine so that he had the air-conditioning on. I stayed behind because I wasn’t finished asking the seller questions. I wanted to know when the roof had been done and if she had a copy of the mobile home park rental application. When I got back to the truck he asked why I took so long; I wasn’t even behind him five minutes. I explained to him that I had questions that were on his behalf. I wanted to make sure that the seller was going to send a copy of the mobile home park rental application to her Realtor and have her send one to me for him to fill out. If he really wanted the mobile home, we were going to need it to see if qualified to rent the space from the park.

We headed back in the direction of the Mall and ended up going to B.J.’s Brewhouse. We both ordered a beer, then I wrote up the purchase offer and signed it. He wanted something to snack on, so he ordered chips and Queso and some other appetizer. I can’t remember much of our conversation, but I do remember him saying; “You can’t look me in the eye, can you?” I glanced at him then quickly looked away. Taking up the challenge, I stared deep into his eyes until he squirmed and laughed. He asked me, “What’s going on at home with your husband? Why are you here having a beer with me?” My heart kind of sunk. Was it obvious that I wasn’t happy with my husband and homelife? I wouldn’t have put myself in such a position with Parker if I were happily married. I excused myself and went to the washroom. I had to catch my breath from what he had just asked me and check my thoughts. At that moment, I did not care what I did or said.

When I married my husband, I was pregnant with my first son, Alex. I felt I was short-changed with not having had a lot of time to date my husband before we got married. Over the years I had this notion that once the boys were grown, my husband and I would start dating each other again. Well, it turned out to be just a notion that never manifested. In fact, my husband found other things to fill his time and attention and those things were not me. I was never a priority in my husband’s life. We became like two roommates ‘sharing space’. I shouldn’t have had to wait until our boys were grown. We should have been dating all that time.

When I got back to the table I sat down and had a sip of my beer. Parker touched my hand with one of his fingers and he said, “I touched you!” Like a little kid flirting. I was taken aback. We sat there drinking our beer and eating the chips and Queso. We had silences, but they were comfortable and relaxed.

Parker was very disappointed with the appetizer and began to talk with his best French accent as though he was a food critic: “Dis, dis is garbage! Did you dig dis ships out of de buttom of a Tostitos bag?” He complained to the waiter in the same accent and portrayed himself to be a food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. I want to say they waived the cost of the chips and Queso. Really what do you expect out of Queso and chips?

Feeling a little bit of a buzz, I took him into my office. I had received the mobile home park application. I had to have him fill it out because he wanted and needed a home asap, and ‘time is of the essence’ in Real Estate. He looked like a bad boy. Well, he was a bad boy. I couldn’t stop looking at him, the way he wore his tank top with his tan, muscular tattooed biceps, shorts and flip flops. He was just so cute and flirty. We sat in a conference room and flirted back and forth while he filled out the park rental application. I had to make copies for him but being an impatient man, he took off out the office doors to my truck before I was done. I chased after him.

Parker wanted to get another beer; for some reason we were buying beer from a gas station. It was Memorial Day weekend and it was hot outside. I was wearing black polyester slacks and closed toed black leather shoes. I don’t know why, but I had brought some shorts and flip flops. I changed in the truck while he was buying the beer. There I was, at 46 years old, looking for a place to drink beer in an orchard in broad daylight.

We found a secluded spot in a walnut orchard. We talked about politics, religion, music and whatever came to mind. Then, all sudden I felt him behind me as he ever so gently took his left hand, turned my head so that he could have access to my neck and kissed me. He had his right hand on my right hand and touched it so very gently and sensually. He had this wonderful clean smell. I knew this smell very well, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. It wasn’t his laundry detergent and I wasn’t sure if it was his aftershave, but the aroma was heavenly.

I got caught up in the moment. No other man had ever touched me this way. No man other than my husband had touched me in years. I let it happen. I was slightly buzzed and was enjoying myself. In my head, the ‘little punk rocker with big attitude’ was fighting the faithful housewife and the professional Realtor.

Parker took it a little further and had his left hand in my underwear and his right hand pulling his cock out of his pants. I was a bit shocked at what had just transpired. I told him to put ‘that thing’ away and he did. Not five minutes later he was again pulling his shenanigans. This time I think I allowed it to go on a little longer. “Parker! Parker! Parker! Parker!!! I’m not going to fuck you!” I wanted to kiss him. I even wanted to have sex with him. My logical rational mind was screaming “You’re married!” I couldn’t allow him to go any further.

It was getting late in the afternoon and I don’t know how long we were in that orchard. It must have been at least an hour or more. When we left, we headed back to his truck in the Mall parking lot. His hands were all over my right hand while I was driving. When he touched my hand, it was the most sensual, sexy feeling I had ever experienced. Nobody had ever touched me that way, ever.

Somehow, the time we spent together that day had formed a bond between us. It was hard to say goodbye to him. We were mesmerized by each other and could not stop gazing into each other’s eyes. It was as if we were both magnetized by an invisible force. I told him I didn’t want to leave him, and he said he felt the same way. I had never felt that way about anybody else in my entire life.

I can’t remember exactly how quickly we were texting and calling each other. I know that I had been working on his mobile home offer and had taken his mobile home park application to the park in person. His offer was accepted and his application for the park had been approved.

Beyond the matter of business, I remember a specific phone call that Parker asked me if I felt the connection he had felt that Sunday and I had agreed that there was a connection between us. From there we texted and talked with one another and it wasn’t about his real estate purchase.

I needed Parker to sign some documents about a week after his offer was accepted, so we met at a pizza place in Manteca. He had to have a drink as soon as we arrived, getting a small pitcher of beer. As he poured his beer, his hands were shaking. I thought maybe he is a little nervous around me. I also might have been lying to myself not wanting to believe what I knew about that shaking. I had been around many alcoholics in my family and the shaking was a telltale sign of an alcoholic needing a drink. I had suspected prior to this that he was an alcoholic; the shaking had confirmed it. My heart sank a little then, but it didn’t stop me from being interested in him.

We talked on the phone and texted each other a lot during the next couple of weeks. One night around that time I met him at a bar in Lathrop to have him sign a document. Later that same night, he took me out to dinner. We were outside in the parking lot smoking cigarettes, when unexpectedly he put his arm around my shoulder and told me to look at our reflection in the truck window. He said; “we make a good-looking couple, don’t you think?” From that moment forward, we met as often as we could. I lost count of how many times I had driven to Stockton to see him, but it was a lot, and within a short period of time.

I had a dream around this time; it was one of those dreams that had a message for me. I would call it a premonition dream. The gist of the dream was that I was going to be dead within six months to a year. I’d had these types of premonition dreams before, but this one was very heavy and carried a sense of urgency with it. Although the message was death, I did not take it that I was going to die. My physical death was possible, but I took it as though life as I had known it was going to completely change. I began to question my life. If I was going to physically die, was I happy where I was and with what I was doing? “Was I going to die knowing that I had done everything I wanted to do?”

This whole ‘episode’ with Parker was possibly just a whirlwind romance that would blow away tomorrow, or it would have been exactly what I had wanted in my life? Could he be the one? What if he was ‘The One?’ Would I be able to live with that? Parker and I did have that conversation about the possibilities of being ‘The One.’ Could I live with knowing that ‘The One That Got Away’? Parker and I spoke of the possibilities of each of us being the one for each other.



I had been thinking a lot about what Parker asked me that day at B.J.’s Brewhouse: “What’s going on at home with your husband?” Was I truly happy? Was I just content? What was my home life really like? Things weren’t improving between me and my husband. One night a few years ago I had packed up the kids and gone to stay with my parents; that led us into marriage counseling over what I am about to tell you.

My husband and his entire family were pressuring me to take care of my husband’s sister, Marty, because she was sick with Multiple Myeloma. Nobody else in the family wanted to take responsibility for caring for her. Marty didn’t want her teenage kids taking care of her. I refused to care for his sister.  One of my other sisters-in-laws came over to tell me that I needed to do it and she went as far as telling me that I was “crazy” for not doing it for my husband.

My husband’s family and I did not have a great relationship. His mother basically hated me from the beginning. I never gave her or anybody else in his family a reason not to like me. My husband would never admit to me that his mother never liked me. I always seemed to be the one who was blamed for any disturbance within his family. My husband never protected or defended me. His ties to his family were stronger than our marriage bond, and that hurt me a lot over the years.

Our trip to the marriage counselor concluded with me not taking care of his sister. In the end, if My husband and his family weren’t going to help take care of Marty then there wasn’t anybody who could insist that I do the job. I was able to tell myself that these people had a really different way of looking at things. I knew where my heart was in my words and actions, and it didn’t matter to me anymore what his family might fabricate about me and blame me for. It still hurt me that my husband never found it within himself to defend me. As I matured in our marriage I understood why he couldn’t defend me; he couldn’t even stand up and defend himself.

I thought about my boys and how they were both going to be living their own lives. They didn’t need their mother as much anymore. I was looking toward a future that would be very lonely, with no children at home for much longer. My husband was so busy with his full-time job, his part-time eBay business, working on his car, and watching baseball. There were many times I would ask him to spend intimate time with me and he wouldn’t because he valued his eBay and/or baseball games more than me. I wasn’t a priority to my husband, at all. I was important to him when he needed me to buy the correct toilet paper or maybe to have somebody to glare at in the morning because there wasn’t fresh coffee when he woke up. I had dealt with my husband’s silent treatment and glaring at me whenever he was disappointed or upset or he didn’t get his own way. It was emotional and mental abuse. His behavior toward me made my body tense up and sick to my stomach.

My husband and I had unintentionally become roommates over the past few years. My husband didn’t pay attention to me or show affections towards me. Over the past ten years I had tried to communicate with my husband how I felt and what I wanted. He did listen and tried, but that never lasted very long. The cold fact was that my husband was never going to change into the man I wanted and needed him to be. After thinking long and hard about all the dynamics and consequences of leaving my husband, I made the decision to leave. I had given him more than twenty-one years of my life to do right by me.

I knew that I would meet opposition from him and his family, and from my boys. I also knew that more marriage counseling would be brought up. I didn’t want to deal with all the drama, the guilt trips, the endless conversations, and wasting money talking to a third party that would lead me right back to where I began; being unhappy and wanting to leave. I knew if my husband and I went into marriage counseling it would be fruitless; he would change momentarily, then everything would return to how it was. I was within three years of turning fifty. I felt like the time in my life was running out. I didn’t want to waste any more time. I can’t say that I wasn’t scared of the financial repercussions, or that I wasn’t scared to begin all over again. I was scared, but there was a part of me that was happy and looking toward adventure, and to my future.

It was a shock to my husband when I told him I wanted a divorce. I told him I wanted to keep it civil between us, and that I did not want his family involved. I did not want phone calls or visits from his family whatsoever like they had done with previous divorces in his family. He wanted to know if there was somebody else. I ended up lying to him; probably the biggest lie I had ever told anybody. I felt bad to a degree for lying to him. I believe I was trying to protect myself from any further abuse, because I just wanted out without a fight. I think in my mind I justified lying for all the bullshit I had taken over the years.

I wasn’t going to bring Parker into our divorce, although he was the catalyst for me leaving. My divorce from my husband was about my relationship with my husband. I had given my husband twenty-one years and I was unequivocally done. Of course, marriage counseling came up and I refused to go. I suggested that he go to marriage counseling by himself.

My husband kept at me for a couple of weeks trying to get me to change my mind. To me it felt like a dog and pony show with a lack of sincerity. I was not budging one bit from my position on leaving. I was very confident and had such a conviction in my stance on leaving that I even surprised myself. My husband did go to marriage counseling and the counselor told him that I was done. To me the message he got from the counselor was a relief to me; a third party telling him that I was done and that he needed to move on. I encouraged him to do some online dating.

Within a month of being in that walnut orchard, I had filed for divorce, moved into an apartment and bought a new car. I wasn’t as financially scared as I had been. I realized what my portion of the assets were. They were much larger than I thought that they would be.

During that month, Parker was having a hard time transitioning and I felt sorry for him. He had to move out and was going through some depression from the loss of having his young daughter and youngest son at home with him. He was also going through the loss of losing his home (in the divorce) that he had worked so hard to acquire. I was there as a Realtor and a friend to help guide him to get the everything finalized.

There was a gap of several days, when Parker’s current home was closing, and his mobile home was going to close escrow. He called me and was very distraught. His voice was cracking like he was on the verge of crying. He was having a meltdown. His water had been turned off; he had been fighting the necessity to completely move out and he still needed to move his stuff to a temporary storage unit. At this point I told him he needed to get out, because he couldn’t stay there with no water. He moved to a Motel in Manteca, close to his workplace. He wanted me to come to see him the first night he was there. I couldn’t go that night, but I did go the following night and he took me out for dinner. I remember us kissing and hugging each other after we had dinner. I was finding all the running around very exciting and freeing.

Parker had moved his belongings into storage, but he still had a couple days before he could move into his mobile home. He had relocated to another hotel in Turlock where I went to see him a couple of times before he moved into his new home. Parker and I saw each other as much as possible. He was now settling into his new life, as I was also settling into mine. I felt a freedom, as if I was again living like I was in my twenties. My apartment had a wall air conditioner in the living room. It was summer, and I was on the second floor. I didn’t buy a lot of furniture because I knew I was going to be moving and didn’t want to have to move furniture up and down stairs. I did invest in a decent bed. I ended up moving my top mattress to the living room because the heat was unbearable with my hot flashes. It was so hot that I bought three fans and cranked that air. I didn’t need a bunch of “stuff” to make me happy. I was happy with a mattress, air conditioning and being free from my former life. I was feeling independent. I was planning on doing the things I had always wanted to do. I was also wanting to do things that I had never done before. I was trying to figure out what I wanted out of life and who I was again. I was trying to figure out who I wanted to become.  

I remember one dry, hot day in July; Parker and I went to the Dust Bowl in downtown Turlock to have dinner and drinks, we were really enjoying being together. My youngest son, Aiden, called me; he was on a road trip to Texas with some of his buddies. It was so good to hear from him. A part of me missed being in the old mom role, but here he was, two states away, having the time of his life.

I told him I was out having a burger with a friend of mine, which I was. While I was talking with Aiden, Parker was seated on a dried-up water fountain holding my hand and trying to pull me closer to him. I was trying to concentrate on my conversation with Aiden. It was daylight out still and families were passing by. Parker was looking at my body, as he put his legs out, wrapped them around me and drew me toward him; I allowed him to.

There were many more nights at the Dust Bowl in downtown Turlock with Parker. We would smoke cigarettes before and after our dinner; and we would wind up kissing somewhere in front a closed storefront. It was the most romantic time of my life.

Another time we sat on his porch, which we would do quite often before we went out to dinner. It was late one afternoon and hot outside, but there was a cool breeze. We sat very close together and put out foreheads together and looked into each other’s eyes. I touched his face very gently like a mother would to do to soothe a child. It was very intimate, and I felt very bonded to him at that time.

I had finally figured out that the scent he wore was called ‘Grey Flannel.’ It was one of my favorites. I had fallen in love with the scent when I worked for Bass Shoes in South Lake Tahoe. I had even bought my husband a bottle of it for his birthday when we were dating. It never smelled that great on my husband, but on Parker it mixed well with his chemistry and smelled heavenly.

Many times, Parker and I would hang out at his house. We would talk, drink and smoke cigarettes. Sometimes we would watch tv, but that was rare. I longed to be with him intimately and was frustrated. We would kiss; often we would be kissing, and he would stop, and he would cup my face in his hands and look deep into my eyes as if looking right into my soul. Sometimes I felt as though it was better than having sex.

I was falling in love with Parker. I could tell that he was falling in love with me too. Since he was always drinking, I was the one who would drive us around. We always had to have some good music on the radio. I loved to listen to music in the car with him. Sometimes when I was driving, out of the corner of my eye I would catch him gazing long and hard at me. I felt that he was in love with me. Although, we were falling in love with one another I was also very frustrated with Parker and our relationship. We had been dating for a couple months by then and we had not yet been physically intimate, we didn't go anywhere significant and do things that most couples do. I wanted to go to concerts with him and go camping; I was very disappointed about not doing those things. I was frustrated because I had been feeling all this new-found freedom from leaving my husband and it felt as though I had hit a brick wall of restriction within my relationship with Parker.

I knew that he was the biggest flirt ever and that he was flirting with and carrying on with other women when he wasn’t with me. He was the quintessential stereotypical truck driver. I had thoughts of breaking up with him, and I did try to break up with him and told him he needed to treat me better if he wanted me around. I didn’t expect the reaction I got from him. He was very nervously pacing in the kitchen and he seemed like he was pissed off. I sensed he wanted to hit or break something. He said, “But I love you!” I think he reactively spoke without realizing what he was saying, because as he was saying it he caught himself. I was shocked he said this and coupled with his reaction I knew he meant it. Within a couple weeks of Parker telling me that he loved me, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was good with it, and I thought maybe there was hope that our relationship would go to the next level. We leaned on each other for the past few months during our personal transitions.

There were times when Parker would tell me I should go back to my husband and try to work things out. Hearing him talk like that would really piss me off but I knew that Parker felt responsible for the breakup of my marriage. At times I thought he might be seeing somebody else and he didn’t want to hurt me. I was the one who left, and I never wanted to look back. I was in a far better place without my husband and I don’t know how many times I tried to convey to Parker that he was only the catalyst, not the reason. I knew how guilty Parker felt about my marriage crumbling. It wasn’t his fault, I never blamed him for it and I always took responsibility for my actions.

Parker was planning on taking some vacation time in October and he wanted to take me to Markleville. He had been there before and stayed in a cabin up there. I was excited and looked forward to going to the mountains and being alone with him for a couple of nights. We had never stayed the night with each other and we had planned on being intimate. We also planned on fishing and drinking and then drinking some more.

The big vacation week came, and I was working a mobile home deal with a client who didn’t mind texting or calling me at 3am in the morning. My husband and I were negotiating back and forth over our marriage settlement agreement. I had taken him to court earlier in the month for temporary spousal support and I was awarded temporary support. He was pissed off that he had to surprisingly pay me money every month on top of the rent I was collecting from our rentals. My husband was really trying to financially get the upper hand on me with our marriage settlement negotiations. All of it was draining me emotionally. My back hurt and I was exhausted. I was stressed out and really needed this vacation with Parker.

One day before our trip, I was visiting Parker; I think I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I don’t know why Parker was saying that maybe we shouldn’t go on our trip. I burst into tears.  I was so frustrated, not only with Parker but also with everything else. Parker came to me, put his arm around my shoulder then sat me down and asked what was going on. I said; “Parker, I am so tired of being jerked around. I need this trip, I am so stressed out. I need to get away. I need a vacation. I need you to promise me that we are going and that we will go for two nights.” He agreed, hugging me. He was so very gentle with me. I felt how much he cared for me in that moment. After all, I was coming undone at the seams.

We went shopping for fishing tackle, and it being a warm Autumn afternoon, we decided to go have a beer at the Dust Bowl. We were planning on having tacos out that night, because it was ‘Taco Tuesday’ at a place we often frequented, and it was on..., you guessed it; Tuesday!

We were seated across from each other at a table in the bar area, as Parker took a sip of his beer, looked deeply into my eyes, and asked me; “what do you think about getting married?” I chuckled. I didn’t think he was serious, but then I noticed the disappointed look on his face. I had thought it was a hypothetical question. My jaw dropped. I chose my words carefully and said; “I’m not even divorced yet!” I know I must have made him feel a little defeated and hurt, however that was not my intention.

I couldn’t believe what had just happened. My head was spinning. I was nervous and really taken aback. I felt like I wanted to run away. I wasn’t ready to get married again. I didn’t know if I ever wanted to get married again. I know that I wasn’t ready to marry Parker or anybody else. I loved him, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue to be his girlfriend for much longer. There was a part of me that wanted to say yes to Parker’s proposal. I did want to be with him, but I wanted more from life than what I was getting from Parker and what I had been through with my husband. I had just ended a twenty-one-year marriage and was trying to find myself and my place in life.

We drank our beer and went outside for a cigarette. I almost left you hanging, readers: I said to him; “I’m not ready to get married. I would consider living together. How would you feel about living together?” He didn’t like that idea, because we would be living in sin. Odd thing to come out of the mouth of this ‘stereotypical bad boy’ truck driver.

Parker and I went on our mini vacation to Markleville. It was fall, and being a mix of mountains and high desert, the view looked so serene, with the leaves on the trees turning yellow and red. It was warm for the middle of October; the sun was shining, and it was beautiful out. The place we were staying at was cute. There were about twelve or so old, but well-maintained cabins, each equipped with bathrooms and small kitchens.

When we had planned our trip, I requested that he make reservations for the cabin that had the claw foot tub. There’s just something I love about a claw foot tub, maybe because they seem old fashioned and I like taking baths in them. He had gotten the cabin with the claw foot tub for me. I felt special, that he had done that for me.

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