Retrospect

I wrote this the day of The Incident, before I knew about The Incident. Possibly before The Incident even happened.

I never got to post it because of The Incident, so I thought I’d post it now, since it’s on my mind again.

It’s funny, I was going to write a post about him last week.  About how I hated that I was starting to like him.  About how after fearing and hating him for so long before meeting him, I now had to adjust to having him around.  But how adjusting hadn’t been as hard as I thought.  His shy smile and goofy laugh made it impossible to fear him.  His dorky excitement over simple things, like having brought me candy bars or chicken nuggets, having made lasagna or showing off his new tattoo.

Slowly, I started to let my guard down.  She said he had changed, that he was better.  I had only heard the negative stories, but she now says there had been good times too.  I believed her.  I believed he had changed.  That he was better now, trying harder. Turning his life around.

It happened overnight.  One night he’s at our apartment, hanging out as he had been for so many nights before. The next day I run into her, she looks upset.  She texts me later apologizing for being out of it, tells me they had been fighting.

She says he’s gone crazy again.

I had no idea how literally she meant it.

It didn’t take me long to figure it out.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t afraid.  I was more confused and annoyed than anything else.  Afraid for her, a little.  I knew I wasn’t in danger, and she insisted she wasn’t either.  This has happened before, he’s all talk and intimidation.

I don’t want to take that chance.

“Don’t worry,” she says, more than once.

Somehow, those words never seem to actually make worry go anywhere.

The system has failed her before, and I hope it doesn’t fail her again. I hope it can keep her safe this time, keep her from having to look over her shoulder for the rest of her life.  Keep me from feeling like I need to text her every few hours to see how she’s doing, where she is.

We laugh and we joke about it while it’s happening – partly because it’s all so ridiculous, we can’t believe it’s happening, partly because we can’t let him get to us. Can’t let him win.

Someday I’ll tell the story of last night. It’s right out of a movie.  Not until it’s over though. Which will hopefully be by the end of the day.

I had no idea how wrong I could be.  How it wasn’t even close to over by the end of the day. How it had barely even begun.

It’s like some kind of Lifetime movie. I keep waiting for the cheesy happily-ever-after ending, but apparently M. Night Shyamalan is directing this one, because it seems like there’s a new twist at every turn.

I’m not going to fool myself into thinking it will be over soon.

A coworker and friend made an excellent point today though. When it is all over, all behind us, we will have an EPIC story to tell.  Which sounds like silver lining to me.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 12/22/2010.

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