i had driven all night and most of the day.
only once did i have this feeling that i was
doing the wrong thing, that it was not going
to end well.

i remember the stretch of road i was on when
i felt it, that feeling in my gut. expressway,
barren, bleak, farmland all around. the Midwest
in march. nothing to look at, nothing to do but
think.

and for a moment i saw the future and it was
horrible. but my heart shook off the feeling.
i told myself i was imagining things, that i had
your words to protect me.

i sat in the parking lot so long, i fell asleep and
woke up just as you pulled in. i saw you in my
rear view mirror. i'll never forget the way you
threw up your hands and shrugged, a smile
on your face.

and the moment i first touched you, made you
real. i had thought perhaps i'd made you up.
but there you were, you long hair in a ponytail,
a leather jacket against the cold Springfield
afternoon.

we kissed briefly. i'll always remember the taste
of your lips in that instant. i didn't like how you
looked. i was surprised. i'd imagined you much
different. i'm sure it was the same with you.

we got in your car and drove around, looking
at apartments. you showed me where you worked,
started introducing me to your life.

for 3 days we made love. i made love, anyway.
i don't know what you thought we were doing.
i gave you pieces of me i'd been saving for a long
time.

then on Sunday, while you slept, i sat and looked out
the window. i knew. i knew.

you woke up and said you had to go and get some
things from your house, but you never came back.
you got on the computer, i was on mine, and i knew
it was over when you asked me, "what will you do
now."

i seemed calm, i know. but inside i was dying, in
shock. how could this have happened? i remember
before i left you said, "if we meet and you don't like
me, i'll die." i guess it didn't occur to me that you'd
not like me.

now it's been almost a year since that happened and
there are many days when the thought of what you did
eats away at me. it's joined together in my mind with
the rape and the agony that i endured. all part of the
pain.

if you had been able to tell me the truth, it would
have been so much better. i didn't know how
deep your need to "be safe" was. i had given
up everything i knew. i had moved halfway
across the country to be with you. i considered
myself so weak, i was sure you were stronger
than i.

i was so wrong, it almost cost me my life.

there were times when i prayed to die. one time i
took all the pills i had, 20 Elavil. i threw them up
very quickly. deep inside i knew you weren't worth
dying over.

now glenn says you were a fool.  it brings me little 
comfort. even when my gut tells me he is right.

you kept saying i was sick, but you never understood that
it was the way you made me hide that made me crazy.
it was the lies and the cowardice. you kept asking me to
give you time, to be patient. to wait. to hide. to lie. to
be quiet. i couldn't do that. i still can't.

one man taught me the value of truth when i lied to him.
you taught me the value of truth when you lied to me.
there's an odd sort of synchronicity there, and sometimes
i can appreciate it.

most times i just wish it had all never happened.

it all just gets passed down, you know. what you did
to me will someday, before you die, be done to you.
and there are vows you swore...vows you broke.


i still wait for the day you realize how deeply you hurt me,
how much damage you did. i wait in vain for an apology
that does not include self-serving rationalizations. it will
never come.

so i'm going to write it. i need to hear it.

"i'm sorry i hurt you so badly. i wish i had told you
the truth. the problem was not with you, but with me.
i'm sorry."

it is only now, when i feel safe and loved,
that i am able to face all that happened. i 
take responsibility for the things i did wrong.  
i let you use me twice, three times, over and 
over.  i was lying to myself, denying what i saw 
in your eyes.

i was a fool.

but thank you for making me see just how
very strong i am. i took care of myself. i 
kept myself alive. i functioned.  i didn't 
give up. i am proud of myself for those things.

i can't hate you anymore. it only hurts me.

tonight i told glenn, "your only competition is a ghost."
and that's what you are.  a ghost of a man.

goodbye.
 

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