He Had That JFK JR Hair… you know, the kind with manly tresses. This is a major problem for me since, at this point in my life, daydreaming has become my full time job. This hair, his hair I mean, well…it seems like the only semblance of a physical attribute of his I can hold onto because his heart I cannot hold. But it wasn’t always like this.
He came into my life when I was anxious for an unadorned, prepackaged New York moment…generally feeling desperate and waiting for my prince charming like all the other little gay Drew Berrymores there at this Michael Bastian trunk show.
You see, all my posh friends were there when I first met him, poised and standing around mostly waiting for the end of the night, meanwhile the DJ was dead set on fulfilling some savage proclivity to play nine-inch-nails. I almost left after overhearing these girls next to me talk in non-sentences, things like True Life: The 90’s Destroyed My Eyebrows. And there he was in the corner, looking like Mika in draped leathers.
We met, chatted, and exchanged numbers.
“I wish you were my boyfriend, I bet you’d be a good one… LAWLZ” is what he messaged me after I gave him my gin-soaked business card and went home.
Had I known then the emotional abuse to come, I think I would have kept the card (it was my last one after all). Anyway, now I’m here pouring the whole story out to paper or keyboard or whatever. And well, I have to be completely honest about what happened: I was in an abusive relationship with the love of my life for nine years. Yes, nine years.
Things were great until they weren’t. It basically all started the moment I couldn’t remember the last time we had sex. Then came the news of his carnal indiscretions. The songs I once listened to about cheaters and infidelity took on a new meaning, a real meaning. The monogamous contract he failed to uphold, when it was all “baby this, baby that,” all of a sudden became so trite. It was just noise really, but still I stayed.
Why you ask? I wish I knew so as to at least be able to explain those brief years of losing my goddamn mind. Most of it still seems like a blur; the slamming of our bodies and the dropping of my heart, the words of disgust and sorrow that cut me down back to start.
And even though some time has passed, the nostalgia still surreptitiously thrusts into my psyche. The sense of pain comes back when I hear young couples fighting on TV. When this happens I get a dazed feeling between my eyes and my brain swells and pulsates, hurling me into a clammy clutch of palms on my knees, sitting still to let it pass. It almost feels like watching one droplet of sweat fall onto your Mac while your being ravaged to a Grizzly Bear song, serving ecstasy and debt at the same time. Something that feels good, but you know that it’s wrong. The most wrong thing about all of this is that I still crave the good in him. I’m addicted to the nice guy he was before he transformed into a bloodthirsty monster. I hate that a part of me will always love him.
Sometimes I still shiver with anger because holding on to the beautiful strength of this clean emotion is an admission of my self-deprecating addiction to him. And frankly, I wish he actually hit me, or did something, to have any kind of proof to show the police…a clump of hair, an scabby bruise…all of that would have been better than carrying this emotional weight around. But even still, no one would have believed me; from the outside it looked like everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
I remember when I told my mom about the emotional abuse. She responded with, “That’s good mijo, it’s because all you men are just bears with furniture. By the way, I’m having an MRI next week. If it’s good, I’m buying myself a new stove. If it’s bad, I’m buying myself a new stove.” I laughed, but I was completely devastated inside.
Warm tears slithered down for three days after, and sometimes they still do when I think back to that day I told her. It was the day I left.
They say running is a solitary endeavor; but somehow for me it seemed like I needed all the help
I could to get out of there.
It’s not easy to run when you have no resources and nowhere to go.
It’s not easy to leave when you are threatened with additional emotional violence.
It’s not easy to run when you remember how it used to be,
Or when they romanced you during the good times.
It’s not easy to leave someone you love.
And, primitive and spine chilling all at once, you can’t regret something you learned from, well, isn’t it pretty to think so anyway?