Until a week ago, I lived in the West Village with my boyfriend, and we shared the best dog in the world, Lucky. Over the holidays, my boyfriend told me that he had to go on a work trip. He appeared stressed, so I tried to not push him and assumed that he'd back in a few days. A week passed, then ten days. I worried, then, tried to not worry. I distracted myself. I meditated a lot. I wrote. I gave him space, which is extremely hard for me someone like me to do.
Finally, he returned early in the morning, it was grey dawn. I was sleeping as he burst through the apartment door with his largest suitcase. Immediately, I thought that was odd, because he never packed for business trips. Typically, he brought only his briefcase. I realized that he must've planned to be gone a long time; my mind was racing. He didn't make eye contact and pushed me away when I approached him. As he was taking off his tie, I asked him where he'd been. His throat constricted, his voice sounded strange, “France.” I was trying to process this but I was also giddy with excitement because he was finally home. Then, he told me that he wanted me out of his life. He didn't love me anymore. I had to move out, or he would change the locks. I'm not a criminal, I didn't need a threat. I moved the next day.
I thought we were having a rocky time because he was stressed about work. Yet, I always thought things would work out between us. I had no idea that he was capable of doing this. I've never had someone cheat on me. It's difficult and confusing to process, because I still love him, I can't turn my heart off in a moment. I merry-go-round through denial, sadness, pain.
When my mind is wicked, it plays tricks on me; flashing images of my boyfriend and a woman in luxurious hotels. Leaning their heads back, laughing, pouring champagne down their throats. Taking a bubble bath together in a gold tub. Kissing at the top of the Tour Eiffel. Whispering into one another's ears in smoky cafes with fogged up windows.
But then, I recall that it probably wasn't that great. I've taken vacations with him. They were fun, but never as much fun as this France trip painted by my imagination. Anyhow, he was back, so whatever happened during the trip, those days were over. They are history. I'm the one resurrecting them in my mind using my creative talents for drama, intrigue, colors.
My heart cries me to sleep. I wish he was holding me. I wish I could hear the dog snoring. I wish I was waking up, walking the dog, and grabbing coffees. I miss the cocoon of our life together. The sweet, small thing shared. I miss those things.
Then, I start to recall all of his character assassinations in the last few weeks. There was definitely a point where a normal gal would have left. But, I can be slow to process relationship changes. He would shout at me, “You are never going to be successful.” “You live in a fantasy world.” “You are not attractive enough.” “You are too old.” “You would have already made it by now.” “I can't be with a loser.” “I fear for you, because you're going to end up alone living on the streets!” This had been going on for weeks. I was just too shocked to accept it.
One clear image comes into my mind. We were upstate, and I had woken up with this great idea for a book; I saw the whole thing and I was telling him about it. He started tearing me apart, “Nobody cares what you write or make, when are you going to get that? I'm trying to do you a favor.” For a flash, I saw him, really saw him. We were on the stone patio. His face was red, puffy with anger. I could see his shiny scalp under some hair, the sun or his anger was making it pink, dotted with sweat. His stomach was sticking out of his shirt as he shook his arms at me in the sun. For this moment, I came to, as if my head was suddenly above water, and saw him in plain light. He was a terrible, sick man threatened by my creativity and my ever-buoyant spirit. “I grew up a long time ago and stopped chasing rainbows!” He said and went on and on. Then, in a riptide, fear pulled me back down, submerging me into the dark waters of unworthiness.
At first, his words didn’t affect me. I reasoned he was probably just stressed with work. But then it happened; I started to notice that all his negativity was seeping into my core. That was when a warning light went off within me. I knew I could not let his opinions start to make a home inside of me, lay eggs, breed, fester. Nonetheless, I tried to be as helpful as I could. (Note: that what I chose to do was double-down on denial and people-pleasing.) It angers me to think that I was helping him so much with his business and when the time came that he wanted fun and adventure, he reached out to another woman. For those of you who don’t know me, I've a Masters in Fun and Adventure.
When he was throwing me out, he explained that I was never good enough for him. He'd found someone a lot better than me. He told me that I'm a failure and he needs to be with a winner. He said he felt sorry for me because I was just another psychotic woman growing older and uglier in NYC loving some guy who doesn't love her back. I thought we were in a loving relationship with problems, but many of which were improving. I respected him. I thought he was an honest man. He told me that I should imagine all the worst things possible that he could have done, if that would help me get over him. In a flash of lucidity, I said, “Get over yourself.” For a moment, I remembered the greatness of who I am. And I said, “Your loss.”
But, that strength vanished as I walked on Fifth Avenue. Reeling. Terrified. Heartbroken. I wanted to get fucked up. I wanted my arm above my head, holding a bottle of vodka upright emptying it into my mouth, throat wide open. I had to stop drinking four and a half years ago. This is the first break up that I've had sober. I've drank over a lot of relationships. The pain is bedrock deep. I thought this guy was the one for me. But, I have to trust that if we were meant to be together, this never would have happened. I keep sensing a higher plan at work, doing for me what I could not do for myself.
I bummed a cigarette from a construction worker with an orange vest, though I don't smoke. I called my friends. I called my mom.
I ran into an old woman I know whom also doesn’t drink. I felt like such a lunatic, I tried to avoid her. She ended up taking me to lunch. She told me about her two divorces. Without knowing me very well, she said, waving her hand, “Eh, you have wandered around France drunk plenty of times.” She was right. She said, “He resents the fact that you don’t drink. He did this to push you out of his life completely.”
Over the last few days, I keep recalling a guy that I sat next to in a coffee shop a few months ago. He asked me the directions to a certain store. His eyes were bright blue. He was incredibly handsome. He said, “I just moved from LA to NYC. My wife of nine years, I loved her more than anything. I found out she was cheating with one of my friend for over two years. I decided that I must turn this into a positive thing in my life. I have to change for the better.” I couldn't believe his strength. I am not quite there. My eyes are not as bright as his, yet.
The worst part is that I still have not seen the dog. I completely took care of Lucky. I'm no closer to comprehending how my boyfriend, my best friend, my lover, my life, could treat me this way. The moment he walked into the door from his trip, I was just so plain happy to see him. I loved him. It felt pure. Real. But, that was my love. I am pure, real, and no pain will ever prevent me from pouring love out more.