It's not your Fault

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  • Publiceret: 19 apr. 2019
  • Opdateret: 19 apr. 2019
  • Status: Igang

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1. Short Story, Woven

It’s not your fault

            There were a lot of things that happened on the night of January 8, 2014. A phone call from my sister. A genetic suicidal tendency, inherited from my maternal grandmother, that had to be grappled with, the call I made to my fiancé, and finally the mass destruction of all that tied ‘us’ together. The phone call I made though, that was the life changing moment, the game changer, the Dues Ex Machina—I was going to make changes I didn’t want to make and be saved from myself. I wasn’t sure at the time that I believed that the man I loved would have married someone else, just weeks before our own wedding, I know that I didn’t want to believe. But somewhere deep inside I knew that I could trust my baby sister more than my fiancé. My sisters call was short, 40 seconds at the most, she told me she was sad to have to tell me the truth, and I just said ‘thanks.’ I wasn’t sure I believed that he had lied to me just days before, when he had called me on the day of his wedding to tell me that he was sorry he couldn’t be with me at my grandmother’s funeral. Didn’t he love me?

*

For my 20th birthday Peter gave me flowers. Some at my door, some on the hood of my truck, some at the entrance to the store that I worked at. It was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me up to that point. What a loving fiancé.

*

When I called his voice was quiet, he knew that I knew. The raspy sound made my heart break all the more. But rage got the better of heartbreak.

*

2 years later when I’d go to see a psychiatrist—Dr. Salo—he’d tell me that my decision to leave Peter was very ‘adult’ and that many people would have stayed with a married man. I remember feeling like I wanted to be first choice, not a side dish. At the time of the call I wanted … who knows what I wanted, I sure didn’t.

*

When he answered the phone I shot a string of ugly profanities at him. Words I hadn’t even used when I had stopped caring about the morals I had been taught growing up. My constant question was why? Why? Why? Why why why why why why?

*

My best friend Miah helped me to deal after I left. Jeremiah would come to my home and tell me it was time to get up, he’d go to my closet and pick out outfits for me to wear—who knew I’d have better style after the breakup? I remember a Sunday morning shortly after he said to me, “we are going to church, get up.” He yanked the covers off me and told me that if I didn’t get up he would dress me. It was comic, even to my dull mind, that I who hadn’t been to church in 4 years was being urged by the guy who hadn’t been in 12 years. He’d been talking to his angel mother and she told him it was what we needed, so he decided to go for me and dragged me along—for my own good. I sometimes regretted giving him a key to our house.

*

“I can’t believe you, YOU lied to me. How long have you been lying to me?” silence and a pause, “I’m sorry. I’ve been engaged to Mindy since October.” I was furious, and rightly so, I couldn’t control my voice, who would do this to another human being? I paced in our home, the one I had purchased and renovated for us, and raged.

*

Just months before, in October, I had called Peter as I writhed on the floor of our bathroom in the worst pain I’d ever experienced in my life. Eventually I passed out and when I awoke I’d lost my baby. It was pretty obvious I’d miscarried by the gore I found myself lying in, and by four months along, I knew that I had lost my son, our son. My fiancé had been gone for work that week, he wasn’t there when I needed him. When I called at that time there was no answer for almost two days. I knew something was wrong with this but swept it aside choosing to trust instead. I always avoided the little red flags.

*

“You’ve been engaged to someone else for over 3 months, and you didn’t think to break things off with me? We are supposed to get married in less than 3 weeks.” Another string of profanities, accompanied by severe character judgments, followed. No apology could possibly be acceptable. “Why would you do this, why would you do this? 

*

After, I got a lot of “it’s not your fault” and “how could you have known.” Yet, there were red flags all over the place—hiding his phone, playing the waiting game, making up stories so often and well, and how could I ever forget the attempts to put me in the wrong in all things. No matter what it was that I confronted him about I always ended up feeling like all that was wrong with our relationship was because I couldn’t be better. Like the time we were supposed to go camping for the week at lake Poozie, I knew he had a week off from work. The coldstorage plant where he worked was closed, yet he left in the middle of the week to “go to work” telling me that it was a special assignment. Or the endless waiting on the front stoop for him to come home at night--only for him to tell me the next day he went to his brothers house and stayed the night--never showing up. The little red flags were everywhere and I kept on activily ignoring them.

*

“Joy, please, don’t do anything we’ll regret, I’ll see you when I get home.” My rage overcame me, my voice was not my own as it ripped my vocal cords into streamers, ready to be displayed at a grotesque party. My palms welled blood, fingers clenched so tight I thought they may never have straightened again. I didn’t want to start over.

*

It’s not my fault. One day Miah and I were discussing some of the crap that had happened between Peter and I and for the first time I was willing to admit my fault in all that had taken place. “I was manipulative, he tried to get out of the relationship a few times, but I kept him there. I am just as much to blame for things falling apart as he is.” Miah’s response was not the customary “it’s not your fault,” instead he said “Yeah, you messed up, but not as bad as Peter did. You didn’t deserve what happened. But, I’m glad you can see the mistakes that you made.”

*

“I will not see you when you get home, I never want to see or hear from you again. That is the only way you can make this right.” I hung up. I turned the phone off. I changed my phone number. My rage having been spent, turned into an overwhelming sadness. I sat alone, exhausted and broken. What do you say when there is nothing left to say, when lies are spent, when tears are shed, when heartache sets in, when faith is shattered, and darkness is all that remains grasping with gaunt merciless wisps around the broken, tattered heart, clinging to any shred of happiness with its inky black claws, digging and plunging further and further into a hopeless soul, until all light is gone and the night is one eternal round, a round of eat, sleep, drink, and repeat, when the light is grey and twinkles only, when hope has come to nothing, when loyalty is lost, when all strength has failed, when sleep becomes the only respite, a sleep whose dreams may or may not be your friend, and when being brave is all that you have left—what do you say when there is nothing left to say and hello becomes goodbye?

*

It’s been over five years now since the night that my heart broke. If you’d tried to tell me then that there would come a time when I rarely if ever thought of that night, or one of the painful events surrounding it I would never have believed you. As it is, I may not think about that night consciously, but on occasion I wake to my husband rocking me, telling me, “it’s just a dream, shh, I’m here.”

*

Sleep didn’t come easy, or at all, that night of the call. I was wake too long. I took all of his things from the house and loaded them into my truck, the same one I had sat in and contemplated suicide just hours before. I took the whole heap and dumped it off the end of 3rd street canal, I doused 4 years’ worth of memories in gasoline and lit it all ablaze. There was the handmade wedding dress I’d worked so hard on, the baby bassinet I had designed and built, the “Big Bang Theory” coasters he had made me for Christmas. Second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour I coped. 8:00 am came and off came 36 inches of Hair. By noon I finally told my family. 6:00 pm brought a trip to the store for sleeping pills. Made it through the night. Made it through the week. Made it through the month. Made it through the year.

*

Almost a year later I saw Peter again for the first time. His curlicue hair and blindingly white teeth stood out from the dirty snow, . I was in my truck, doors locked, and I rolled down the window just a crack. I told him that I was leaving town, and that I’d forgiven him. He had set aside his shovel and came to my truck, his 6’5” frame darkened the window—encompassing me. The overwhelming need to drive away reminded me of the past. He asked me to call him, so we could “make up.” I left forgetting why I had stopped in the first place. I had meant it when I said I’d forgiven him—at the time—but sometimes I have to forgive him all over again. Sometimes I don’t remember why I forgave him in the first place. But every time I have to forgive him again its like a ruler last time I started at an inch next time I’ll start at an inch and a sixteenth. I don’t have to start from scratch, the raw feelings of betrayal—hate, anger, inadequacy—don’t come crushing down on me like a heart attack. Time really can heal all wounds, I just need a few hundred years’ worth of time.

*

I lost my fiancé, I lost my home, I lost my truck, I lost my friends, I invested a year and a half of my life and more to rediscovering my faith, and after all that I finally gained something real. I understand how real the love I have now is because of how fake my relationship Peter was.

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