This is probably going to be one of my more personal posts I’ve posted here. And although I don’t normally get overly personal about my past relationships…the I Will Survive song by Gloria Gaynor (the inspiration for this week’s BFF theme), takes me right back to almost 18 years ago.
I was in love. Very much in love. I honestly thought the man I was dating would be my now and forever. He was in the Air Force Reserves and while we didn’t start out as a regular couple we eventually became one. There was a force of attraction between us that was strong…stronger than anything I had known up until that point. We didn’t just bond physically, we bonded emotionally and intellectually as well.
I was a head strong young 20 something. I knew what I wanted and when I wanted it. When I graduated high school, I wanted to go off to college, party my ass off, find a man, and get married 4 years later. Notice, the education part of that equation wasn’t in my vision of what I wanted. Funny, I didn’t graduate until years later.
Anyway, the timing fit…having him in my life at that point in time. We were very absorbed by each other’s presence. It is a kind of weird sensation…but sometimes just being near him doing nothing special would just take my breath away, my heart would flutter, and I’d almost well up with tears. Yes, he very much had that affect on me.
And I think it was pretty mutual. He used to stare at me to the point that it would almost drive me crazy and then he’d just smile and say, “I could just watch you for hours.” I never understood it because I knew I wasn’t that special to watch or that attractive to look at for that matter. I guess he must have thought otherwise.
There was only one problem with our relationship. We indulged entirely too much into alcohol. I think to this day, I knew my limitations…that of course is subjective. He on the other hand, would go overboard…a lot! Usually we were imbibing together…on occasion when our work schedules wouldn’t line up, I’d find myself tracking him down and getting him home before he wound up in jail.
Unfortunately, our relationship was tested. I vowed to myself early in life that I would never let a man physically hurt me. I figured if a man were to hit me then it was a sign that he really didn’t love me, and I never ever wanted to be anyone’s punching bag. Funny how fate chose this man to be my real test of that.
I came in to his apartment about 11:30 one night, having just gotten off of work. He was watching some movie on t.v. and a couple of his buddies were there, drinking beer and laughing and having a good time.
Now, by this point, we had known each other about 18 months and never once had I ever witnessed him getting physical with anyone. So unsuspecting, I walked in and sat down next to him on the couch.
He immediately bounced up and walked back to the kitchen like he was pissed. Figuring I had done something to upset him, I followed him to the kitchen and simply asked what was wrong.
Suddenly, I was shoved back toward the door and his hand clutched my throat, pinning me up against the door. He was wildly angry and he started yelling at me about being late from work. Where had I been? Why wasn’t I home earlier? Did I think to call? Who had I been with?
I couldn’t answer, his grip was too tight. My eyes watered and I somehow managed to fight his grip off of me. He was really drunk that evening, I could not only see it in his eyes, but I could smell it coming through his pores. He finally let up and walked away.
I took my purse and left. I went to my apartment and I cried tears of frustration and anger. I knew he had crossed a line…a line that was never to be crossed with me. The problem was, I was very, very much in love with him, and although he had done the “unthinkable” I couldn’t just shut off my emotions over this one incident.
At the same time, I vowed to myself that I would never let a man cross that line. And that vow proved to be stronger than even my love for him.
It wasn’t a clean break. He was apologizing the next day, he’d never done that before and would never do it again. The whole time, he was standing before me in tears. What had he done? How could he have screwed up the best thing that had happened to him? He wanted forgiveness and he would promise to do what it took to make sure that he never hurt me physically again.
I finally caved and held him in my arms as he wept, I wondered, “How will I ever survive this? How will I ever let him go? How will he ever let me go?”
It wouldn’t be the only time I took him back in my arms…because my heart didn’t want to let him go. However, I never fully embraced the love we once had and it broke us. My head spoke to my heart and told me I could do better. I could find someone to love who would love me just as strongly and just as deeply and who would never ever lay a hand on me.
I would survive the heart break that followed our eventual break-up.
And I eventually found the real deal.