Usually I don’t mark tomorrow as anything significant in my life. I’ve mentioned it a few times over the years but downplayed the magnitude of it really. I was still stuck in the pain of grief sorting out my traumatic memories. This year is different.
Ten years ago Feb 13th, 2008 I sent a text to the man I had been dating for several years. I expressed that I needed to talk to him about a conflict that I had. A coworker of mine wanted to take me out for Valentine’s Day to keep my mind off of the fact that my partner wouldn’t be home from basic training. It was a platonic date at a pizza place with a few of his roommates but I was still conflicted. I felt like I was being unfaithful to my boyfriend and wanted to talk to him about it.
He called me later that evening. There was the din of a bunch of people in the back ground which wasn’t characteristic of his usual quiet phone calls. After our hellos and pleasantries I asked him where he was and he answered honestly: “I’m at the airport.”
I nearly jumped up out of my bed and yelled with excitement: “You’re at the airport?! You got to come home early?! Do I need to come get you!?”
He then realized his mistake and quickly tried to backtrack and say that he was at the airport elsewhere waiting to pick up one of his friends and take them back to the base.
I didn’t really believe him since he has a very specific vocal pattern when he’s being dishonest. I knew he wasn’t being completely honest. I argued with him a little bit but in the end let it go to discuss the matter at hand. I told him that my coworker wanted to take me out for Valentine’s Day but I wasn’t sure if I should accept the invitation because I felt like I was being unfaithful.
He sounded surprised that I came to him about it, and then sad as he encouraged me to go out with my coworker and have a good time. I could hear the stress in his voice and I started crying, making absolutely sure that’s what he wanted me to do and there was an awkward silence before the background noise increased and he told me that he had to go.
I told him that I loved him and he simply answered: “I know” before he ended the call.
We didn’t really speak again after that until a few weeks later as I quit my job and dropped off some things at his parents’ house speaking to his father in the process. My boyfriend called me that evening, upset and annoyed after speaking to his dad about our encounter that afternoon. Even still, he didn’t tell me that he had returned home. He yelled at me for quitting my job, he yelled at me for ending the lease at my apartment and he told me he had to go without much explanation. Three more days went by before he called me again and finally confessed that he had met someone else and had come home with her.
I don’t know why it took him so long to come forward with the truth. He says he never cared about me, which is certainly true in hindsight, so I have absolutely no idea why he felt compelled to lie to me until the very last possible second or why he kept stringing me along for months after the relationship ended, and has continued to creep around the fringe of my public social media life for years beyond that. Honestly, having matured and being able to look back on our relationship as a whole, the only really good thing he ever did for me was break up with me. Not that he had my best interest at heart, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t drive me right into recovery anyway with his various different shenanigans over the years.
Slowly, especially after his most recent stunt, I’ve realized that the person I saw in him was merely a reflection of myself. All this time I was hanging on to this perceived “good side” of him, hoping that he would recognize it and fight for it instead of giving into selfish apathy. Of course I was holding onto this idea never realizing that the “good side” was only a projection to further his agenda. At least not until our last encounter. Even up until last year I was always willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for his piss poor behavior. I’ve written volumes about it here over the past ten years, still clinging to the tiny shred of hope that he was a good man and circumstances just weren’t in his favor. He was the man who pulled me up off of the living room floor and convinced me not to go kill myself after all. I felt like he saved me, and surely a bad person wouldn’t save someone… This year I’ve finally realized he never saved me. I saved myself. I’m continuing to save myself and rebuild the pieces of my soul that were shattered during my childhood.
I will say I still believe that our paths were meant to cross, which in essence makes us soulmates. Not the classic hollywood romantic stereotype soulmates where we were destine to be together forever and sunshine and roses and blah blah blah. No… hardly, but if you look at the actual Greek concept of humanity as being two souls made of the same stardust, split apart forever forced to wander looking for the missing pieces of themselves…. my ex and I do fit that paradigm.
Both of our souls were broken in childhood (the same stardust if you will) long before we had the opportunity to flourish, and decades before we ever found ourselves entangled with one another. Two broken pieces can never make one healthy whole even as closely matched as we were in terms of relatable experiences and childhood damage. It’s taken a very long time, but I’ve finally realized that in order to break the cycle of abuse I have to leave those parts of myself including my ex and our toxic attachment behind. That’s where my husband comes in. His pieces actually fill in the void left behind from the trauma, abuse and darkness. He doesn’t enhance my childhood wounds, my husband helps me heal them.
I think that’s more important in the long run. Even if my husband wasn’t my love at first sight, and we don’t share freakish coincidental bumping into each other over the years. I’ve made the choice to cauterize my soul wounds and adapted to a better, more healthy life in the process.