I’m trying to help out a friend who’s going through rough times. The conversation, in big part, has been about relationships lately, and how it is important to stand for who you are, and what you believe in. If you don’t look out for yourself, you might ultimately pay for it. Boy do I know that.
This has brought back memories of a time long past. Actually it’s not that long ago, but my life is so different now that it seems almost like a different life, not mine. Now I’m happily married, healthy mentally and physically. I lead a “normal life”, whatever that means.
Last night I had a dream about it, reliving that Friday night that changed my life so radically. At the time I was in college full time, working full time, and taking little jobs here and there to try and keep afloat. I was living with my boyfriend, who didn’t have a job, or anything else.
It had been a long day; morning in class, afternoon and evening at work, then a stop by the Baro (college bar) before heading home. At that point I wasn’t drinking much, 2-3 beers, just enough to debate some political issue that I didn’t care about. I love to debate though, so…
On my way home I stopped by the ATM to get money to go grocery shopping in the morning. At last I would have real groceries! There my world crashed: minus $3.73. Not only the $50 dollars I had was gone, I was in the red.
Then it dawned on me, he took my card this morning to get milk and bread for breakfast. Oh no! Not again! I got home, he was drunk, the fridge was empty, the milk was on the counter (since morning judging by the fact that it was warm), and the stack of bills on the half wall was huge. For the second time in my life, I completely lost it.
I was yelling, incoherently I’m sure, throwing dishes, the fact that I didn’t hit him isn’t for lack of trying, even drunk he was quite agile. This had happened once before, not too long before that night. The first time he had been too drunk to know or care about what was going on. Not this time.
“You are insane you know that?” he yelled at me “Completely insane. They should put you in a hug me jacket. I’ll tell them how insane you are, and they’ll see why my life is such a mess.”
Years of trying to help him, to encourage him, to get him sober, educated, motivated when everybody had pretty much given up on him came crashing down on me. Honestly I lost track of a good 10-15 minutes, I do not know what happened during that time. When I regained my senses, I was standing in the kitchen, breathing hard, a knife in my hands. He was nowhere to be seen.
I froze for a few seconds, afraid of what might have happened. Those were the longest seconds of my life, until I heard him pull a chair in the bedroom.
“Thank god I haven’t done anything to him YET.”
That “yet” haunted me for a long time. I dropped the knife, crashed on the floor and cried. I don’t know how long I sat there, but the sun was up when I finally got up and went back to my life. It would never be the same though…
I was terrified by what had happened, I kept hearing in my head “I haven’t done anything to him yet” and finishing the thought with “but it will happen”. Things had to change; I found something in me that I had never seen before and it frightened me. I was so alone. My family would never understand, I was too proud to talk to my friends. I did try to open up to some of my friends, but somehow I could never find the right words to explain what had happened, how bad things had gone. I closed up on myself, and decided to figure myself out.
My first move was to stop drinking. I was never a heavy drinker, more the sociable type, but at first it seemed to me that alcohol had made me lose control. I know better now, alcohol doesn’t make you crazy, it just remove your ability to hide it from everybody. Then slowly, one step at a time I rebuilt myself, and my life.
I look back now, years later, and I realize that he was not at fault, neither was I. We were just not meant to be together. In reality we were toxic for each others. It’s just sad that it took so long for us to realize it.
It was hard to break it up. No matter how much you know that it’s over, that things need to change, there’s always that doubt, that pain, that sense of defeat. You have to accept that what you thought was meant to be wasn’t. That the person you thought you knew turned out to be a dream, that reality is quite different. It’s a hit to your heart, to your pride, in our case to your wallet too.
I had known for over 2 years that this wasn’t going anywhere, and yet I was waiting. For what I don’t know, I guess I was waiting to hit “rock bottom”. To this day I wish I hadn’t, I wish I had been woman enough to just accept my loss and move on. I could have lived my life without going through that Friday night. Really.
There are far worst things than being alone.