people tip-toe around the subject.

i have nothing against her, i don’t have any ill feelings towards her, i don’t dislike her. i’m not jealous of their love, and i don’t get sad to think of how his lips part hers. it doesn’t bother me to think of the trip he never took me on, and the one they’ll be taking this year.

of course i wonder about the small things- if he rubs her feet the way he rubbed mine while watching movies on the couch. i wonder if he picks her flowers when he goes for walks, or if he leaves sticky notes by her bed with “i love you” scribbled in his terrible writing. i wonder if he lets her shave his head, and if he washes her hair when they shower together. i wonder if they go on adventures like we did. i wonder if they read in bed together on work nights, or if they drink champagne in bed in their underwear the way we did. do they buy a box of wine and watch horror flicks all night? does he call her honey bee, beebee, little beenut? i wonder if he lays in bed, watching her get dressed for the day. i wonder if they go camping, or do crosswords together sitting in the same chair. i wonder if she visits him at work and fucks him in his booth. i wonder if he draws her pictures and writes her love letters. i wonder if they have a leather-bound scrapbook. do they have pictures together? i wonder what their song is, and if it makes him cry the way he cries to ours. i wonder if she sleeps at his mother’s and watches TLC with her. i wonder if she naps on the couch with the dogs, or if she has family christmas with them. i wonder if she calls his mum on holidays and brings her flowers. does she love her? what do his brothers think of her?

i wonder if she takes care of him when he’s sick. i remember him being nineteen and drunk, so drunk he couldn’t walk. he’d been sick in the cab and when we got to his mother’s house, he went straight to the washroom. i stayed up late eating soup and talking to his mother’s boyfriend all night. eventually i went to find him in the bathroom, where he’d was passed out with his arms wrapped around the toilet. i wiped the vomit from his mouth, took off his tshirt covered in puke, and threw his arm around my shoulders. “come on, baby”, i said, as i brought him downstairs to bed.

i wonder why he quit drugs, stopped drinking, and went in detox when he met her. i wonder why he couldn’t do that when he was with me. i wonder why her walls don’t have holes in them. i wonder if she knows what it’s like to put up posters in odd places to hide the truth from friends and family. i wonder if her mother calls her at 2am, begging her to run away. i wonder what he did to put those bruises on her chest. did he rip her shirt like he ripped mine? did he pick her up so far off the ground, her little toes couldn’t touch the cold floor? did he hurl her onto the couch? i wonder if he put his hands around her neck the way he did mine. did she black out too? i wonder if he cheats on her, if he fucks strangers and then goes home to fuck her. does she put up with it? does she fight back? does she know his family secrets? does she understand his past? can she sympathize or does she stand up for herself?

i don’t know why i can look passed everything and remember him being as beautiful as he was the day i met him. why do i remember applying mascara in the mirror while he whistled off-key in the shower? why do i remember the tears streaming down his face the first time he heard our song? why do i remember the sound of his laugh in the tent in the woods as i wrapped my arms around his neck and sang to him when he was barely twenty years old?

why can’t i remember the details of the way he yelled at me when the candle i’d bought him accidentally caught fire in his bedroom while we were asleep? why can’t i focus on the day he lashed out at me in his mother’s living room when we finally confronted him about the abuse- i can still taste his breath and feel my heart pounding inside of my chest when his nose touched mine and threatened me: “i’ll show you abuse”, he said while grinding his teeth. but why isn’t that the man i remember? why do i remember the boy i sat with on the deserted beach with in the middle of summer when i was sixteen? why do i remember exactly what i was wearing, where i was laying, and what night he first told me he loved me? why do i remember the smell of his neck and what he looked like while he slept?

i’ve moved on from that young girl. sometimes i ache for the m. i fell in love with, and yes, on my darkest days i do wonder all these things, and i worry she won’t ever know what it is to fall out of love with him. loving m. is not something you ever heal from, for the record. it’s not something you have trouble with one day, and are healed from the next. loving m. means living with a tiny hole in your heart and a constant black cloud over your head- it means learning to live with the dull pain in your chest and that void you can’t seem to fill. my innocence was ripped from me, and i still ache for the childhood i never had because of m. is she going to regret her young adulthood because of him the way i yearn for my teenage years?

i’m not jealous of the good things, and i don’t miss the bad things. if anything i’m relieved to have his hands off me.

i just wish she could say the same.


16 thoughts on “thirteen

  1. it was one of the wonderful post i’ve seen…
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  2. Beautiful post love. I’ve felt those feelings before, wondering if old boyfriends will repeat the same patterns with the next person as they did with me, feeling relief yet a kind of need to warn people… wishing I could have my early 20s back. Yet I think the biggest thing we can do in these times is learn from the past – not regret it. We can’t change the past so we may as well use it to learn what we need and what we don’t need in our lives… because in some way it has shaped who we are today. ❤

  3. wonderfully said. 16 years ago I left him. I still love him… I’m still terrified of him. I remember the good and still feel the bad. life goes on and I have a wonderful family. I pray my children never know the terror I’ve known. he’s in jail again. no family, no life, and it breaks my heart that he never got it together. You will get through this and learn from it and have a beautiful life. thank you for sharing your journey!

    • wow jen,

      i’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. this hit close to home, more than you’ll ever know. i look back now and wonder if i should have pressed charges. i believe in karma though.

      i’m so glad you got out.

      – e

  4. Hmm, I am fairly certain you are not my friend since I don’t seem to know you, but the man you were partnered with was my friend’s man for a few years. How could he have found the time to be so busy, ruining your life and hers? I nearly lost that friendship, in fact, it will never be the same because I told my friend she couldn’t bring her man to my house, because I found his company and his abuse of her so appalling that I would not let him flavor my life in any way. We didn’t speak for a year, and when we did we were distant. Finally she left him, and we learned more about how their relationship was, and I was even more baffled that she ever cared for him. Like you, she thought her man beautiful. I thought he was a narcissistic son of a bitch, probably destroyed in his infancy by the fetal alcohol syndrome that was the legacy from his parents, who died in an actual murder suicide before he was adopted to a nice family that still couldn’t make him into a man who could give as well as take. I see him now and then when he turns up in the criminal court where I work. Yes, he still beats his partners, probably just as your ex still does. A man who can truly be a man, who can be kind and giving, can touch your heart, mind and body as that ex of yours did. Kind, sweet, gentle love is just as powerful, if a bit boring and harder to find. but you really do deserve the kind, sweet, gentle love. Really. Don’t ever go back, please.

    • thank you for your comment, gingerB.

      i’m glad i finally got out, and i’m glad your friend did too.

      i know for a fact that he abuses his current girlfriend both emotionally and physically (i’ve seen the bruises). M is the kind of person who will never succeed- his perpetual failures follow him everywhere, and he takes that out on the only good things in his life because he doesn’t think he deserves anything good (and he’s right).

      when he was too good for too long, he’d find a way to be bad again- blow all his money on drugs, choke me til i black out, put holes in my walls, molest my friend in her sleep, molest me in my sleep, have sex with other women, belittle me, …

      whatever it was, he’d find a way to do it.

      M is poison. he’s a monster.

      i would die before going back.

  5. Pingback: ask me anything! (alternatively titled, narcissism: i’m doing it right) « elle

  6. That is so beautifully written and is one of the best explanations I’ve ever heard.

    I miss my ex so much it hurts sometimes, but then I also have nightmares he’ll find out where I live or try and take my children away (I have two kids to him), it’s reasurring that missing the person you fear is kinda ok.

    • it’s a really difficult thing to admit, jupiter doll. but i can assure you: you’re not alone.

      loving and leaving m. are (and will always be) some of the more difficult things i’ve had to put myself through. and although i could never forgive or forget the things he put me through so much, for so long, at such a young age- i will always remember how effortlessly we loved each other in the beginning. how effortlessly i know he still loves me now, despite everything.

      i’m glad you (and your children) got away. you’re so brave.


      – e

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