It was in the summer just before my senior year of college that I met him. He was a dark and brooding poet. He loved music, he was brilliant, he loved nature and he had a strong sense of morality and idealism just like me. He had adorable dimples, and beautiful blue eyes and he had a mess of long hair and at some points a beard. I loved it when he laughed. He wanted to spend every minute with me, and I with him. But before the summer was over I had already seen that he was not always the kind and funny intellectual. I think the first incident involved a jealous rage and a beer can thrown against the apartment wall. Later it was a cat that flew across the room. I returned to college, and a few weeks later he came to visit but never left. Because of him, I was tossed out of the apartment I was renting and we had to move in together. Things were always getting broken in that dingy little shit apartment, the glass on the cabinet, the rail up the stairs, my car. And at some point in that year I remember walking to the grocery store, it was cold and the groceries were heavy and I was bitching about it, and when we were nearly at the house he threw the bag with the potatoes in it on the ground, the bag burst and the potatoes rolled all over the parking lot. We were so poor, that I felt I had to pick up those potatoes. So while he was in the house, fuming and getting warm, I was crawling around on the parking lot on my hands and knees picking up potatoes. I was humiliated. Some months later, we were at a party, it was warm and I remember we were sitting on the porch and he was mad because I would not tell him one of the secrets of the pledging process that I had gone through and he was going through soon. He hit me. I was blown away. But later he swore it would never happen again. He lied. That autumn he was going to college in another town, and I was working to support us. I remember one night he grabbed me and threw me on the floor and strangled me. I think I was kicking so furiously he let me go. Within a few weeks my friend Andrea came to visit and saw that things were not so good with me, and shortly after we rented an apartment together. Those were some of the best months of my life.
A year later he came to visit, and in a place of lonliness I slept with him. I got pregnant. I knew within a few weeks that nothing had changed. He was working only 20 hours a week, too exhausted to shower. He was drinking and when he drank he was horrible. Violent. Things always got broken. One night he called my room mate at the time every hour for an entire night, just to get even with her for waking me up when I had an overnight shift. I remembered all the calls and hang ups I got when I lived with Andrea and it set my mind on edge. Another night I walked out of my job and he was sitting in a car with his friend. When he got out of the car the pot smoke rolled out with him, like something out of a Cheech and Chong movie. And when he got in my car I said, I thought we had agreed with a child on the way that we were not going to be doing this any more. He turned to me and said me and (____) decided we aren’t ready to grow up yet. I broke up with him, thinking he would still be involved in our child’s life, and in a drunken rage he threatened to kill me and my unborn child. I ended all contact with him.
From time to time we still have contact, and it is rarely pretty. It usually breaks down into this same argument about how I ruined his life. Of course the fact that he essentially abandoned me and his child to drugs is without merit in his eyes. He did after all quit drinking. And still to this day does not drink. It breaks down into what a selfish bitch I am, of course he has never given me a penny of child support, but that is because I wouldn’t grant any type of custody, nor allow unsupervised visits. I brought it all on myself, he said recently when I asked him for money. Yes. I guess I did. And when the X left and I was a train wreck, his love of cooking and music and that laugh brought me once again to a place where my judgment was off, and for a few weeks I entertained the idea that he had grown, that he had changed. But when he sat down for dinner at my house, he said… “Yes the head of the table IS my rightful place” No I thought it isn’t. And of course things got broken when he was here for that visit. My roof rake, my coffee pot. And the fight over not allowing him to take my daughter Christmas shopping in the middle of a snow storm, because I felt it was not safe, and he told me his judgment was better than mine. And then he berated the neighbor kid for playing in the adjoining area of our back yards. And then I noticed his shoes were nothing more than soles and he had no money for shoes, but was still smoking cigarettes and pot. I had to stop. I saw through the haze of my broken soul that he hadn’t changed one bit. But I had. I told him I could not follow through.
And as for my X. That was the emotional abuse. I cannot go into it, it is too much for me right now. But essentially he withheld sex because I was too fat. Or so he said, he didn’t want sex when I lost a ton of weight either. He basically reduced my role as household servant, and did none of the chores in or outside the house. He quit working forcing me to get a second job and to support his Starbucks habit, and his eating out. Girls would flirt with him, one in particular would call my house, even on holidays to get him to do favors for her. I believed him when he said he didn’t cheat, but later when he did cheat, I was blind. I was too busy carrying his lazy ass through the days, exhausted. He will lie to his dying breath about that too I guess, though he loved me in the morning and left in the afternoon and I haven’t heard from him since. But in between he hit me once, and he hit my daughter about the time he started screwing the woman he left me for. And when he left I was a shell. I didn’t even know who I was any more. My art was never good enough, I didn’t dress the right way, I didn’t deserve his time on my birthday, our anniversary, or Thanksgiving. Christmas gifts came in fours, four books, four scarves. No effort at all, and no effort whatsoever to know or understand my taste. I threw away almost everything he ever gave me and I don’t miss any of it. I didn’t wear the right shoes, home cooked meals would spoil on the stove before he ate them, I think the breakfasts I made and lunches I packed to save money went to the dog because he lost about 10 pounds when the X left. I didn’t read the right books. I watched too much TV, I was lazy and lacked will power and went from being smarter than him to being an art major, what a joke. And women whom he introduced me to, and later became my friends, always became the object of his hatred after their friendship came my way.
Two of the most important relationships of my life have been marked by abuse. No wonder I struggle so much with the pirate. No wonder I fight my own feelings, and feel scared and scarred and frustrated. I am damaged. I don’t want to be. Anymore.