I had left him. Not right away. It never happens that way, or maybe it does, but for me it didn’t. I was still scared that if I left him, I would never find anyone who would love all of the broken, fucked up pieces he and she had convinced me that I was. I was made up of lies, and scars. My heart was no longer mine, and in its place was nothing. He had taken what was left of it, and she had thrown it somewhere at the bottom of a bag of things she never cared about it.
“You are so strong. You are an amazing woman. I can’t believe you’ve gone through so much and you’re still here.” These are the words I would hear periodically from people who would hear the small parts of my shitty life that I’d share here and there. Not so much trying to get sympathy, but validation. Some validation that what I went through maybe wasn’t that bad. Maybe I had just convinced myself that everything I’d lived through in the last 6 years was terrible because I’d just wanted the attention.
“I can’t believe you’d tell people what’s going on with us. That’s none of their business. And for you to over exaggerate like that? I would never hurt you. You know you like it. Why else would you get wet like you do? I don’t want you talking to that woman anymore. She’s just filling your head with lies. You know I love you. Baby, you’re my heart.” Those words never hit me in a way that made me feel safe and cute and loved. Every time he said them it just hit me like sandpaper rubbing on my eyes every time I blinked.
The next few weeks of my life were spent trying to convince myself to go to the domestic violence classes the lady at the welfare office had suggested. She gave me a list of them, and told me she’d check up on me every week until I went.
I was feeling empty, emotionless, and defeated. My days just ran into each other. Waking up to his arms wrapped around my entire body, trying not to feel like I was suffocating, and waiting for him to wake up, so I could finally breathe. “Don’t forget to make me some coffee babe.” Always couldn’t forget to make him some coffee. “I won’t. I love you.” I’m not even really sure if I said the words anymore, or just made noises that sounded like words to him.
After a shower coffee and breakfast, he’d take me to work, drop me off, and start the timer on his watch. “You’re off at 3 right? Ok. I’m just gonna set my alarm so I don’t forget.” And then he’d kiss me and leave. When he kissed me he’d always lick his lips first and then grab my face and kiss me. I remember because it was my least favorite time of day. It didn’t matter when it happened, he would always lick his lips first and then kiss me. I’d wait til he was out of sight and I’d wipe off as much as I could before heading to the bathroom and washing my mouth as if using soap was somehow going to take away the feeling of him on me, inside me.
Everyday just ran into each other. Wake up, work, pick up, home, sex, sleep. I was never out of his sight longer than he thought was necessary, and I didn’t even know what I liked and didn’t like anymore. I started mixing my meds with Jack, sometimes doubling the doses because if I did that, at least I wouldn’t remember him on top of me, breathing, grunting, and telling me how we were going to make beautiful babies together. He let me drink, because then I could relax and make him feel like I was just as into it as he was. I never remember falling asleep, but I ALWAYS remember waking up. Mostly because I always hoped I wouldn’t.
One morning I told him I had to stay late at work because we were doing an event and I had to be there. “How late? How come I just can’t wait there for you to finish?” He needed a solid reason for me to be alone longer than he thought was necessary. “It’s just for work babe. It’s only a couple of hours. Is it ok if I just have Darlene drop me off when we’re done?” I already knew the answer to this question. “Of course baby. I trust you. You’re not sleeping with her are you?” I was shocked but I didn’t argue. He thought I was sleeping with everyone. “No way babe. She’s straight, and she’s just my friend. You’ve met her before. Remember? We had sushi with her a couple weeks ago?” I was always trying to remind him who my two only friends were because it was so rare he would let me see them without him being present. “Oh that’s right. Alright. Just a couple hours right? Like 2?” He had to know up to the minute so he could be sure I wasn’t doing anything in between my set times. “Yes. Like 2.”
The event went longer than planned and I was begging Darlene to take me home. “He’s gonna be so pissed Dude if we don’t leave right now. He’s already called me three times. We have to go. Just tell everyone I got sick and had to leave.” I was desperate. I knew if I didn’t get home soon he would yell at me and call me names. We’d get into a huge argument about cheating and he’d cry and tell me he loved me and couldn’t believe I would do that to him.
“You deserve so much better dude. You need to just leave him. He can wait. This is for work.” Being with him I’d learned not to argue with anyone. I just didn’t have the fight left in me anymore, so I just nodded and agreed with her. She had no idea what was actually going on at home. “You’re right! I totally deserve better than this! He can wait!” I said it out loud, but the words didn’t make any sense in my head at all.
She finally dropped me off about an hour late and he was at the door waiting for me to explain myself. “I’m sorry babe. It just ran late. I tried to call you but my boss wouldn’t let me use the phone while we had clients there.” I sounded very matter of fact. Like I didn’t care what he had to say. Like I was strong. “I called you a thousand times and left you messages. You could’ve at least just texted me to tell me you’d be late.” He was pissed. “I did text you! See!!” I screamed t at him because he was always accusing me of not saying anything to him, but I’d have entire conversations saved in my phone that he would always say “never happened.” We were screaming at each other now and I told him I was done. “I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!! You are the most insecure boy I have ever met in my entire life!! I’m miserable! I’m leaving!!” I knew I was saying it, but inside I was begging myself to just shut up. “You can’t lose him! No one will love you. He loves you. Even in his crazy fucked up way, he really does love you!” Now I was arguing with him and me. “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!”
“Baby, I love you. I’m sorry. Come here. Come here. I love you.” I just stared at him. My eyes were burning from holding back tears, I’d gotten really good at it, and my face was just stuck with this “I hate you” expression. He looked at me and grabbed me to hug me. I pushed him away. His face changed from soft and loving to hate filled and disgusted in a matter of seconds. “Are you serious? After all the things I’ve done for you? You just want to leave me like that? I’m good to you baby, just be good to me.” I tried to push past him and he spit in my face, picked me up and threw me into the doorway. It was snowing outside and he told me to wait outside for the cab he had called. “Apologize and tell me you love me, or wait for the cab and leave. You have nothing. I gave you everything you ungrateful bitch.” Little me started sobbing. “I’m so sorry baby. I don’t know what I was thinking. Please don’t make me go. I don’t want to leave you. You’re right. I’m so sorry.” I’d lost again. “Baby, I told you. You’re my heart. Come here. Let’s go to bed. I’m horny baby.” I walked into the bedroom and started taking off my clothes. I climbed into bed and just laid there and waited. He climbed on top of me, and I closed my eyes.