Not long after the endless night keeping watch out the window, after a bunch of happy evenings with my boyfriend, a trip or two to the racetrack, a drive in the country with a stop at a funky bar, and, oh, maybe a concert or two thrown in, enough to make the distance between that night’s me and me now so wide that the fear became imagined and extreme, an overreaction, not long after that the phone rang one night.
It was my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, the woman he’d lived with for five years.
“You don’t know me, but I have things I need to tell you.”
It felt like a wood sliver sliding under my fingernail. “Like what?”
She told me about her twisted arm, the black eyes that kept her home from work and the pillow over her face.
She told me about the apologies and the regret. How he would ask for forgiveness and promise not to do it again.
She warned me. “That’s what he’s really like. He’s not the person everybody thinks he is.”
“Nothing like that has ever happened with us,” I told her, only partially lying because it was the threat, the seemingly imminent possibility, of something like that happening that put me into that weird watching out the window place rather than it actually happening.
“He’s different now. That kind of thing would never happen. I wouldn’t put up with it. First sign of anything like that and I’d be done – that would be it.”
I hung up the phone just as he walked in the door, holding a pizza and a six-pack of beer.
I’d been warned.
Stay tuned for Men We Love: Part 3