EDITORS NOTE: This is part three in a series. To start at the beginning, start here. It’s a bit of a personal journey/experiment in writing and self-reflection and with any luck, some catharsis. All comments are welcome, but please always keep them respectful.
There was so much time spent on New Year’s Eve, looking back, reflecting, becoming horribly depressed about all she’d experienced. She was seeing things in a new light. She kept thinking she’d moved on, but she hasn’t. In fact, much of the reason she’d been talking to a counselor, her “special friend,” for a couple of years was because she knew there were issues, but couldn’t quite put her finger on it. She’s holding onto a lot of anger, a lot of hurt. She can’t seem to figure out how to let go and move forward. There’s always hope of healing right, even this late in the game?
She kept talking online because by then, despite her struggles, she still had friends there. That’s when she heard from Darrell again. Suddenly, he wanted to talk again and was super flirty. One night, they were chatting and somehow it’d come up she’d “seen” other guys during their silence. At first, Darrell was a little upset but managed. But once he heard about Shane, he lost it. The meanness returned! In trying to defend herself, she found herself telling Darrell she never even wanted to have sex with Shane. He bluntly asked her if she’d been raped and all she could do was say: “I don’t know.” Darrell was cruel. He said mean things to her including accusing her of nearly jeopardizing his health if he’d allowed her to come visit him in Dillon, a small mountain town. He told her he’d been staying single for her but in retrospect she found that to be a load of hogwash! He’d previously told her he was consistently single because there weren’t any women where he lived, so it was clearly just a way of belittling her yet again. Because it was so necessary at that point right?
She’d revealed to Darrell that there hadn’t been a condom and he freaked out because it could have mean if Darrell and her had sex, it would be risky for him. While true, it seemed an unnecessary point to make after it’d been made clear she’d been raped. Of all the mean, hateful things he said, the only favor he did for her was make her realize she needed to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and to take care of herself. Well, he also finally made her realize she’d been raped and she could no longer deny it. It wasn’t useful to do so.
So with all of that said and done, she quit talking to Darrell. She ended up calling one of her best friends who didn’t live too far from her at the time and talked about all the hurt. They arranged a time to go to Planned Parenthood to get the testing done. She tested for all the major STDs, especially HIV. The testing was necessary not only because of the lack of condom but because between “the incident” and the talk with Darrell, she’d been instant messaged by someone claiming to be Shane’s wife and she said Shane had been sleeping around with many women. The whole thing was very odd but no chances could be taken. She’d have to wait for results for most of the tests but fortunately, the AIDS/HIV test would only take 15 minutes. It was only the longest 15 minutes of her life. She was incredibly grateful to her friend for being there with her. That support was a saving grace! Some days she still longs for that basement in Pueblo…what a safe place it’d become for her during those days.
Just as those things were happening, she was invited to be in another friend’s wedding. While she was getting ready for all of that and trying to put the recent dating horrors behind her, for some reason began talking to “Nick.” They hit it off but of course she was hesitant. Finally one night on the phone, they exchanged their sob stories. She’d filled him in on her experiences and he told her of his own nightmare. She liked him but knowing his story, she didn’t feel he was ready for a relationship and given all she’d recently been through, she didn’t want to chance it. But instead of listening to some friends’ advice and even her own intuition, once again, she agreed to meet him and to see where things would go.
It started out great, he even ended up spending a week with her in Salida. It was wonderful. Then it all went wrong, like every time before. Suddenly, he wasn’t talking to her as much and he was always spending time with his neighbor, who was female. She wasn’t the jealous type but she could see warning signs. She was right about his cheating, but with the wrong woman. He’d gone to California for a vacation and to see a friend. She didn’t think anything of it, because again, she wasn’t the jealous type, but that was when it happened. She didn’t know this until after talking to a mutual chat friend, “Tim.” Tim told her Nick had been online and bragging about how he was going to be a father. A what?!?!?! He’d allegedly impregnated this woman during his trip there. Until now, all she knew was the he’d broken it off with her because it wasn’t working out, NOT because of his impending fatherhood. That was it…the rage took over. She called him up and let him have it with two barrels! First – how could he cheat on her knowing full well everything she’d already been through? Second – how could he be so insensitive as to think that information wouldn’t get back to her through the chatroom and mutual friends? He had been bragging! He didn’t appear to be remotely concerned about how it would make her feel if she found out about his cheating or the baby. She wasn’t totally convinced he really was the father given the story she’d heard but that’s neither here nor there. How could he? So much emotion all rolled into one. Hurt, anger, frustration, confusion…it was all there.
She quit sleeping in her own bed for a while because she couldn’t stand the idea of being in it, knowing full well he’d been there with her. Nick even had the nerve to call her up one night to bawl his eyes out after his new girlfriend miscarried. What is wrong with him? What made him think that he had any right to talk to her about his baby or the girl who ruined their relationship? What an asshole! It was such an incredibly selfish thing to do. And yet somehow, she tolerated it enough to talk to him and even be civil because despite how hurt she’d been, it sucked to hear him cry like that. To this day she’s convinced the other woman was lying about the pregnancy in some fashion but even that night, if she was wrong and there was a miscarriage…what a terrible experience to have to go through.
Then it was done…for a while. It figures Nick would try and make things work with her months later and she was still so in love with him despite it all, she caved. She caved despite having the opportunity to be with someone new, “Jeremiah,” someone she knew would be good to her. The reason she gave Nick another chance…he proposed to her. They weren’t even dating at the time and she’d told him about Jeremiah and he appeared to become jealous. Heaven forbid she’d be allowed to move on from him. She fell for it. She wished she hadn’t. She couldn’t bring herself to say ‘yes’ to his proposal given everything but she told him that they should be together, work on the relationship and he agreed. But within weeks, he apparently was cheating again. This time the woman made contact via Facebook. There were photos that clearly indicated infidelity and the woman’s message was obnoxious to say the least. That was it! She left Nick a voicemail when he wouldn’t answer and she immediately left to take back his things including a stupid plastic ring he bought from the grocery store one night as a token. She took all his things back and left it for him on the doorstep. She never did get her Live CD back from him either. While it seems inane, she’s never fully forgiven him for that…possibly because the woman, whom he’d eventually married, had a child with and divorced in a year’s time, broke it! That nasty woman broke her CD! Unbelievable!
She still gets so angry with Nick, even though they’ve eventually started talking again and are friends, to a degree. There are days when she wants to message him, yell at him and call him nasty names because how could he do all of that to her? Ruin her chance with another guy, cheat on her a second time, cheat at all, lie to her and all while knowing everything that had happened…how could he do that? She has to find a way to put it all behind her – to forgive and move forward; he’s finally moved on, so why hasn’t she? He’s happy so why can’t she be? How unfair it is for him to find happiness and for her to only find more misery. And there was more to come even after him.