~Thursday, October 29, 2009


This is the letter I wrote in therapy that my therapist encouraged me to mail to him.

Dear S,

This is not going to be the same kind of letter you wrote me. I don't think you understand how horrible you made me feel. You would come home from work very arrogant, armed with evidence of your co-workers' and family's opinions about me, and you would tell me I was weak. I would beg you not to air our problems at work, and you told me work was your family (and essentially more important because you chose to tell them instead of honoring me). And I guess I was weak, because not only did I let you tell me I was nothing, but I believed you. I honestly felt this was as good as it gets and I didn't deserve more from a partner.

You write you're sorry. That you couldn't tell me the truth because I wouldn't love you anymore. My therapist (who has worked with both of your rehab facilities) says that anything after "I'm sorry, but..." is B.S. According to the 12 Steps, you are not to make excuses, and you are certainly not to place the blame on me. And the thing that gets me is not that you were never honest, it's that you continue to lie.

I know that you didn't "graduate" from Uxxxx. You up and quit. Your father called them and spoke to them. And my therapist says Sx is not related to Uxxxx, so it isn't the next step in the program like you said. You called me from Gxxxx Hospital and never told me you were there for your tooth; I had to find that out from your old counselor, making me look like an idiot. And he confirmed to your family that you never had "the flu/pneumonia," but chest congestion. It makes me think that you haven't learned anything. He already told me you weren't doing the program at the old place.

And when are you going to be really honest with me? You act like drinking a case of beer a day was some big revelation, but when are you going to admit about the CRACK? I know, S. I'm sure there is more I don't know, but I know about the crack. And your family does too. It all makes sense now: the constant muggings, your inability to control your bowel movements (crack is cut with laxatives; I've gotten quite an education since I left), the disappearing money you would accuse me of taking, my money you took, and my things you pawned. Not in the name of alcohol. In the name of crack. Your alcoholism is an excuse and a cover up for your crack use. I know what all those beer cans hidden in the bathroom are really for. And when I think about how long I've been finding those cans, I am physically sickened. You stole my car, smoked crack, defecated your pants and then drove home. It makes me feel disgust, rage and unforgiveness.

The fact that you continue to lie to everyone around you makes me think you congratulate yourself for your deceit. You think you are so smart for being able to cover up your crack use while living with someone as straight-laced as me. I am a good person, S, and I did not deserve to be put through that. I have to live with the fact that I lived with someone for years and never really knew him.

I also don't think you understand the effect your lying has on others. You think all you are doing is protecting yourself, but you also really hurt others. You would tell me the things I believed were not real. That the truth was not real. It made me feel crazy. Because of your chronic lying, I was taught not to trust myself. This is what happens when someone has a feeling and we're told it's wrong or inappropriate. Or when we confront a lie or inconsistency and we're told we're crazy. I lost faith in that deep, important part of myself that senses truth, feels appropriate feelings, and has confidence in my ability to handle life's situations.

I believed what you told me about myself, that I was crazy and wrong. It made me think, "You're okay. You must be because you told me so. So it must be me. There must be something wrong with me." So I abandoned myself.

Do you understand? Your lies made me lose faith in me. One thing I've learned from my own therapy is that I was right in my feelings more often than I gave myself credit. I'm not as wrong as I thought I was.

The one thing that I've wanted to tell you—that I need to tell you—is that your lies and manipulation of me stop now. That's what you were doing when you called me and told me I had to decide in that instant whether I was going to speak to you again. It was emotional blackmail. And I wasn't ignoring you; I was waiting until my next therapy appointment so I would know how to respond in a healthy manner. I don't want to feel wrong anymore. But you had to have a response that moment, and when you didn't get one, you used pressure to intimidate me. That tactic will not work anymore. Unless you can approach me humbly and honestly, I don't want to have any contact with you. Even one more lie. I'm serious. I am done with the lies. And lying is a symptom outside of addiction, S. Just because you're currently sober doesn't mean you are honest. It is a character trait and a personality trait.

I'm doing well. I've learned to trust myself again. I'm standing up for myself. I'm happy. My job is secure and I love my new apartment. The Femme Fatale no longer hides under the bed and acts three years younger. I'm direct. I ask for what I want and I move on if I don't get it. I expect more from people. I'm not wasting any more time. I'm no longer going to let any man treat me the way you did. You hurt me physically, emotionally and mentally.

I gave you everything, S. My heart. My home. I supported you on several occasions after you had gotten fired from Fxxx and Cxxx. I loved you. And you threw it all away for drugs and alcohol. Not only was work more important that me, but so was crack and beer. And Erica. I sat in our apartment and watched you go out with another girl. You've already admitted to me you were trying to start a relationship with her and I am sick of you now trying to deny it. No more.

By the way, I no longer believe you found that gold earring on the floor at work and brought it home. And I no longer believe that cocaine baggie I found in your dopp kit was old. I no longer believe most of what you told me. Like we were going to get married. You had it made taking everything I had to give.

In the two years we were together, you never made a single move towards anything. Not to get your license back. Or to pay your bills. Or for us to have any semblance of a life together. But I believed in you and thought one day you would turn your life around. I believed I was that important to you. But I know better now. My leaving wasn't good enough for you to get help. You had to wait until you were squatting in an empty apartment with no power and no scooter. You were perfectly happy doing what you wanted and living in squalor.

You choked me. You lied to me. You took swings and me and you bloodied my nose with a book. You write you're sorry, but you never acknowledge any detail, instead just providing a blanket apology. A one-size-fits-all fix-it. I deserve better than all of this, S. I know that now too.


This is the e-mail I received from him yesterday.

i received your letter the other day and i have to admit i laughed but i guess you expected that. look i did alot of really stupid shit under the influence of alcohol and drugs. the reason i contacted you when i went into treatment was to appolgize for the things i did to you and us. now i realize how you feel and all of the sudden your completely right and i was wrong for everything. yeah when hell freezes over. my therapist has told me you were just as stupid as i was and i have to agree this time. good luck on your life from here on out because you will need it! and FUCK YOU and your family and i hope you don't see any of mine because it won't be pretty, good day you waste of life!

~Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Trying to figure out the L-O-V-E situation. Does he or doesn't he? Do I? Don't I?

"What do you like about me?" I asked Christopher. We were cuddling in front of the TV and he had stepped things up a notch by resting his head on mine.


This is Christopher's response when he doesn't want to answer a question.

"What do you like about me?" I repeated.


"Stop deflecting."

"No seriously, what's the question?" he asked.

"What do you like about me? What makes me special?" I said exasperated.

"I like everything about you right now," he answered nonchalantly.

"No! You can't do that! Wait... right now? As in 'Now, but not later?' You attached a clause to why you like me?"

"You picked up on that? And who says clause?" he laughed.

"Do you like me for my astute observations? Or for my grammatical wit?" I pressed.

"I like everything about you."

In Man World, this is probably a great compliment. However, in Woman World, this means I don't like you enough to give you one specific reason, or even to make one up, but I don't feel like being in trouble with you right now. I huffed.

Christopher squeezed me. "You don't like that answer?"

"I'm disappointed."


"I'm disappointed that you can't articulate why you like--"

"You're the best friend and the best girlfriend I ever had." He spat it out so quickly that it sounded more like You're thebestfriend andthebest girlfriend Ieverhad.

"What makes me a good friend?" I prodded, still looking for one single, unique detail.

"You don't judge. You are a good listener. You think logically."

"What makes me a good girlfriend?"

"You put up with my bullshit. You watch football with me. You're honest. You're loyal."

And there it was. The single detail that I knew was mine: loyalty. I have a hard time giving myself compliments and finding good things about me, but one I can easily say is that I am the most loyal girlfriend you will ever have. I don't cheat. I don't try to upgrade. I don't even really crush on celebrities (except for Gerard Butler whom I openly call my boyfriend). I usually like to boast this to my boyfriends, but I never said this to Christopher.

"How do you know I'm loyal?"

"I just know."

~Monday, October 26, 2009

A New Season

Saturday morning I woke up early, excited. Christopher was holed up in his apartment watching college football games of universities that neither of us attended. I had other plans.

I hopped out of bed and made myself a bagel. The sun was peaking through my french doors, but the air was still crisp. I think it's my favorite kind of weather. In my jammies, I began winterizing my apartment. The quilt on my bed got folded and put away and I fluffed the duvet across the mattress. Summer clothes were put in the back of the closet while the winter ones were moved forward. Boots took the place of sandals.

I cleaned, wiped, dusted, sprayed and vacuumed. I emptied out the vacuum bag. I even de-dog haired under the bed where the Femme Fatale sleeps.

In the bathroom, behind the paper towels and glass cleaner, I found a glass bottle pump that used to contain expensive lotion. In my old apartment it sat on the counter until my ex used up all of the (scented and sparkly) lotion masturbating. I quit buying moisturizer because I never got to use it, but kept the nice bottle in case one day I would like to refill it.

I smiled when I found it. Today was the day it would be refilled. I found a plastic bottle of some Victoria Secret lotion I always forget I have and married the bottles. The glass bottle sits back out on the counter.

I often forget how free I am. I still don't carry cash because my ex used to go in my wallet and take it. He would say we were together and everything is "ours," specifically my money. If he ever had money and if I ever needed it, I could have it, he would tell me. But we both knew that he never had money and I never needed his.

The other day I met Harvey and our group of friends for sushi. When the bill came, everyone put down a $20 bill except for me, who placed a credit card with CHECK ID written all over it in marker. Funny thing is, the places my ex used to take it to never checked the ID, but all the nicer places I go to do.

I don't use cash because my boyfriend used to steal from me, I almost joked. But I knew it wasn't funny, and I knew they wouldn't laugh. It still embarrasses me.

I used to like tuna. I loved mixing tuna salad with cold pasta. I loved heaping it on sandwiches. I loved dipping crackers into it. I even enjoyed Hamburger Helper's tuna tetrazzini mix. But the ex hated the smell and would complain so constantly and so loudly that I stopped eating tuna.

I think I'm going to have some tuna.

~Thursday, October 22, 2009

Man Jammies

Last night, I trudged over to Christopher's to watch some bad Wednesday TV. I went over there already in my jammies because I had been feeling tired and worn down—a lot of people are work are on the cuff of getting sick.

Christopher opened the door for me and I handed him a paper sack containing my leftover dinner I brought for him and a half of a bottle of red that I brought for me. I flopped down on the couch.

"Do you want a bubble bath?" he asked me.

I sighed. A bath sounded lovely. "Yeah, maybe in a little bit," I nodded.

"I already made you one."

"You didn't!" I stood up in disbelief and checked the bathroom. There was a bubble bath waiting in the tub. I peeked my head out the door, "When did you make this?"

"About 10 minutes ago. It's still warm."

Wordlessly I walked into his New York-style kitchen and poured myself a glass of red wine and headed back to the bathroom. "See ya!" I called out behind me.

Christopher followed me in, lit a candle, and put it by the tub for me. He got me my own fresh towel and left it on the lid of the toilet seat. He flipped off the light. "See ya," he called as he shut the bathroom door.

I never complained to Christopher that I wasn't feeling well; he did that entirely on his own. As I laid in the tub, I tried to figure out his motives for doing something selfless and nice.

I pulled the plug out of the drain and got out of the tub. I looked at my jammies on the floor and wished I had clean clothes. Magically, Christopher opened the bathroom door and handed me a fresh pair of his pajama pants and a white t-shirt.

I snuggled up to Christopher on his cream leather couch. "Why did you do that?" I prodded.


"Be nice."

Christopher chuckled. "I can be nice," he said.

"Is it because I was unshowered and you were secretly trying to get me clean?"

"No, I was doing it just to be thoughtful."

I delicately brought up the insensitive comment that brought the tears. I didn't accuse him or make him defensive, but asked why he said it. I said it really hurt my feelings.

He said he misspoke and didn't mean how it sounded. I believed him; I knew that was the explanation all along. And even though it still upset me, I like that I knew him well enough to not blow it out of proportion or strike back accusingly. It didn't turn into one of those epic battles that happened so frequently with the ex. So many of those times I felt like a bad person for contributing to those fights, but when I realized that when I'm handled in a different way, I can respond differently. When I'm not being attacked, I don't attack.


Last week and Christopher brought over his laundry to do at my apartment. It was one of the first freezes of the season and we always use the coldness as an excuse to have sleepovers.

"I brought my men's pajamas," he confessed.

"You have man jammies?!" I shrieked. "I love man jammies!"

"Yeah, they are the kind that matches."

I got so excited my voice became a high-pitched whisper. "I LOVE matching man jammies!"

He put them on so he could wash the clothes he was wearing. Sheepishly, he walked back into the living room sporting his blue plaid matching man jammies. His belly poked out slightly and he looked about 54 in them. In my mind I pictured him wearing the blue plaid matching man jammies in our living room in winter as a family with children surrounding us when he was actually 54. In that moment I thought that I loved him. The power of matching man jammies is strong.


How do you know when you love someone? I know that seems a silly question to ask at 28, but I think in the past my idea of love has been somewhat skewed and unhealthy. And when I think about it, I've never had healthy love modeled for me. My dad left for another woman when I was little. My memories of their marriage consist of me sitting on the top of the stairs with my brother and listening to them scream at each other. I was too young to know what they were saying. Then my mother married this other man, and we know how that turned out. In my diaries when I was 9, I wrote that mommy married him to give me a daddy and that she was unhappy and getting divorced. I knew that 20 years ago. I've never even lived with a roommate that was in a happy committed relationship. I don't know how healthy things are supposed to be and it makes me question myself a lot.

I know that when I'm with him, I feel almost intoxicated. Days in which I get to see him, he's the highlight of my day. I feel all squishy inside when he looks at me gently. The affection that I once complained that I didn't get enough of is bountiful.

And I realize there is a stage in a relationship in which everything is gooey and rose scented. And I know that's probably when I am. I guess I want to know about real, lasting, we're-fighting-but-we'll-work-it-out, relationship love. My mom says I'm due for another therapy appointment to work some things out. I don't want to spend $45. So I'm asking you, Internets. How do you know when you love someone?

Is it man jammies? Or is it love?

~Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Maybe I should have had another hobby for the past 4 years

I had a dream last night that Christopher found my blog. In my dream, I had logged in at work in the morning and checked my e-mails of blog comments. There in the header of the e-mail was his e-mail address. The comment was complimentary of some post I had written about his father. It literally read, "I like the Q&A you did with my father." But with the big discovery of this hope chest of my wishes and dreams, Christopher refrained from acknowledging and responding.

In my dream, I panicked because Christopher knew every thought I had at every moment in our relationship. He knew that I was questioning if he loved me. My playbook was exposed. And he let me know through this simple comment.

It's made me question if perhaps this blog is causing me some personal injury. With every stilled image in my mind that I photograph in words, I am getting a little more invested in him. I wonder if it's healthy to be doing this three times a week.

In reality, last night I had a wonderful time with Christopher. We met up with M-Joy and had a nice dinner together. M-Joy even gave her approval of him, proving that I am indeed not a bad boyfriend picker outer nor an all around bad judge of character.

Afterwards Christopher and I snuggled on his couch under his childhood blanket. I was high from the evening and was contemplating that maybe I do love him. I even contemplated telling him so. I knew I wasn't ready, so instead I opened my mouth and invited him to Thanksgiving with my mother and me.

And Christopher said something so insensitive that I cried as soon as I got in my car to drive home.

I know Christopher, and I know he has a tendency to say things harsher than he means them. As Breeza commented before, he has no tact. Deep down, I know he didn't mean what he said, but it didn't stop the words from cutting me down and leaving me to question things.

On the teary drive home, I ended up blaming the blog. Maybe I am investing more than he is. Maybe this is the problem with having a blog dedicated to one aspect of my life. I dedicate too much time thinking about him and how to word out the small details of my love life. Maybe I wouldn't feel the same way if I didn't write.

But then I think about how he acted after he said what he did. He brushed my hair out of my eyes. He told me that I looked cute wearing the scarf I knitted last winter. When my face flushed (out of sheer horror over what he said), he held the back of his hand to my face and asked if I was feeling okay. He asked me to spend the night. He held me. Told me my hair smelled good. He tickled his fingers in mine. So I know I'm not romanticizing how he feels about me, because I know he feels about me. I know it like it's real and tangible. It's a truth.

But I'm still left feeling confused.

~Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yours, Mine and Ours

It has been a solid week since the marriage conversation. Neither or us has brought it up again, which is just as well because, really, it's a bit premature to be fighting (He'd stop me here and insist it was just a debate and not a fight) over something like that.

Last night Christopher found this new tavern that takes the spot in a building where one of the first dance clubs I went to in the city was located. You can tell the nightclub used to be there by the red velvet curtains that still hang in the VIP section, which makes it even more awkward in its sports bar conversion.

I licked wing sauce off of my fingertips. I was acutely aware that there was still some left on my face, but the limited number of napkins on the table did not allow for frequent face wipes.

"So, have you heard from your father since he and your mom went to Vegas?" I asked, making small talk.

"No, and you know what? He called last night and left a message saying for the first time ever that I didn't have to call him back. They were going to gamble their ass off."

"Asses," I automatically corrected.


"Asses. Your mom has an individual ass, and your dad has an individual ass. They do not share an ass." He hates the grammatical genius in me, but I can't stop it.

Christopher shook his chicken wing at me and spoke seriously, "Sarah, don't you realize when you get married, things become 'ours' and not 'individual'? our marriage. Our kids. Our checking account."

My mind immediately scoffed at the idea of joint checking. As if. I'm a bit territorial and I wonder if Christopher has picked up on this yet. Just this morning, I wouldn't let him take a box of cereal home with him. I told him I paid for it and he can eat all the cereal he wants at my apartment, but he can't take it home for his exclusive enjoyment. It is, after all, my cereal.

Then I panicked because Christopher was talking about marriage again. Not in any way that applied to us, but he talked about marriage in a way that meant he understood the basic principle of it. And he said "when," not, You know, those poor suckers getting taken by the government.

And then I got kinda giddy at the our statements, as if he was talking about me. Our marriage. Our kids. But knowing Christopher doesn't like to be wrong, he's probably just finding another angle in which to be right.

I quickly recovered. "So you are talking about the marital ass? They are gambling their marital ass off?" I snickered.

Christopher didn't say anything as he picked up a new chicken wing. Maybe he wasn't trying to be right after all.

~Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I used to watch TLC's Say Yes to the Dress, the bridal TV show dedicated to finding the perfect wedding dress. Needless to say, it was the first series I cancelled off of my TiVo when I moved out of my last relationship.

I was always confused when the blushing bride would sit down and gush about her future husband as a picture of him flashed on the right-hand side of the screen, right above the dress budget of thousands of dollars.

"I'm just so lucky," they all inevitably said.

Really? I thought as I pushed more popcorn into my mouth. Because if I married my current boyfriend, I would be marrying an alcoholic who is incapable being a genuine human being and sometimes puts his hands on me. That doesn't make me feel lucky at all. I'd be all sitting in front of that camera saying, 'I want to change a bazillion things about my fiance, including everything about him, but he'll do, I guess.'


Christopher asked me the other night about marriage.

Instead of jumping up and down shouting 'Yes, please!' like I really wanted, I shrugged, "I don't know. I think it sounds lovely and something I eventually would like to be a part of."

Then Christopher launches into his problem with marriage, like the proper Libertarian he is. Essentially, the government wants to control people and ruin their lives through marriage. "But I have no problem staying monogamous in a long-term relationship, I just don't want the legal contract," he finished.

What the fuck ever. I've heard this argument from conspiracy theorists before- mainly commitment-phobic seniors in college and a specific alcoholic. I am sick to death of this stupid argument.

Christopher gave me the opportunity to argue why I did want marriage. And because his arguments where governmentally centered, I responded in kind.

  • The government wants you to be married. That's why they set up a tax break just for married people.
  • You get your spouse's social security benefit when he/she dies.
  • You also inherit 401ks tax free.
  • And if marriage was bad, then why is the government trying to keep the gays out?

I felt pleased with myself for giving an answer that was based on logic and not emotion. But this invariably backfired on me.

"I can't believe the only reason you want to get married is for the tax break," he snorted. "It's the first thing you said, so it is your main reason."

I tried arguing that he stated he didn't have a problem with monogamy, just the legal contract, so my response was also based on the legal contract part. He stayed with his original response about my callousness for talking about death benefits. It was a tricky conversation for me, even saying the word "marriage" to a new boyfriend and trying not to scare him off at the same time.

"With your background of your parents' divorces, I can't believe you would even want it," he pointed out.

"I'm not talking about divorce," I corrected. "I'm talking about marriage. You seem to think the two are interchangeable."

I then launched into some stat that blames the baby-boomer generation for the divorce rate, followed by another stat about rate of divorce on couples who wed after 25. I believe in marriage because I have to. Because the alternative is too depressing for me to get out of bed in the morning. I'm making different, smarter choices than my parents, so I will be different. M-Joy says so, my therapist says so, and my mom says so.

And then I did something that is completely uncharacteristic of me. I fled the living room in a flurry of tears and flopped down on my bed. I felt like the one thing I believed in was being attacked. I felt like everything in my life is attached to a struggle. I was beginning to feel lucky being with Christopher again, but this conversation led me to believe anything more with him would be an uphill battle. One I'm too exhausted to fight at the moment.

Christopher followed me into the bedroom and quietly spooned me. After a moment he said,"Alright, it's negotiable."

I guess I won that round, but I didn't feel any better. I knew the truth. I would never be the blushing bride who declares herself lucky in love. I've always had the feeling that I'm never going to get married ever since my father moved out of our house and the boys in elementary school would bully me until I cried. No one's ever going to love me enough to declare so legally.

~Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hips don't lie

The other night I was able to tear the boyfriend away from football long enough to play some Wii Fit. We have a tendency to drink too many beers and decide to play the balance game, or even worse, to do the dreaded fitness test that makes fun of you and tells you how weak your muscles are.

I think I am currently 32 on the Wii Fit and the boyfriend, who had been drinking all day, was 48.

It was time for the fitness test and I loosened the draw string of my pajama pants and dropped them. If I was going to weigh myself in front of the boyfriend, I needed everything that worked in my favor.

I never put my pants back on. I was kind of hot and kind of sweaty from kicking his ass on the hula hoop game. The boyfriend's hips are as rusty as the Tin Man's. I stepped on the Fit for another round. I panted as my Mii danced with 4 and then 5 hula hoops at once.

I stepped off the Fit, pleased that I had broken a new record.

"You made me hard," he said.


"Watching you play the hula hoop game with just your shirt and panties on made me hard."

In my competitiveness, I never considered he'd be staring at my ass the whole 3 minutes. If I had known, I would have slipped my wide-leg pajama pants back on.

You see, my ass is my biggest part of me. Whomever I date has to be an ass man. It's not freaky huge, but it's noticeable and makes jeans purchases annoying. And you can't have a full ass with skinny-minny legs. Nope, your thighs are going to be as full as your ass.

And I may have flecks of cellulite in both.

So the idea of my handsome boyfriend, ticket holder to the gun show, staring at my cellulite ass clad in 5-year-old panties (that's right, the pair from Wal-Mart with the elastic fraying away at the sides) while I was gyrating away to the hula hoop game horrified me. Horrifies.

All I can think is that he must really, really like me.

~Monday, October 12, 2009

One of these things is not like the others

This weekend Christopher packed a bag to spend at my place. I thought it was cute because he lives so close by.

Amongst the toothbrush and t-shirts, he packed:

  • His chenille throw that I curl up in whenever I'm at his apartment.
  • Doggie snacks for the Femme Fatale, the first dog he's ever really "lived" with.
  • 6 discs of DVD porn.
Two out of the three made me swoon. Proved that he thinks about me and things I like, and tried to provide them for me. Two out of the three.

I'll let you guess which ones.

~Friday, October 09, 2009

Rocky Morning

A rare Friday spent apart, I went to happy hour with gal pals Harvey and Dee and was in bed and asleep before midnight. At 4:30 a.m. I was awoken by a phone call from Christopher who had some big, insomniac revelation.

I laid in bed and lazily spoke to him. I kept my eyes closed and re-adjusted the sheets over my shoulder. Then the glass on one of my bedroom windows shuddered as a large object crashed into it.

I bolted up in bed. "Did you hear that?" I asked into the phone.

"Hear what?"

"Something just hit my window. It was either a large rock or a bird."

Christopher continued his conversation about the perfect Saturday he had planned for us. My mind wandered to the bird that had to have died on impact against my window. The poor, stupid and now dead bird. That flew into my window. The window with the blinds drawn, so it wouldn't have looked like the sky. The window that is flush against a very exspansive and imposing building. That doesn't sound right.

Just then, my window shook again as something else crashed into it.

"Christopher, there is somebody throwing rocks at my window. And these aren't pebbles. They are huge rocks from the sound of it. I'm surprised the window hasn't shattered yet."

I was no longer lounging lazily in bed, but now curled in the fetal position with the blankets tight in my grip. These weren't friendly rocks being friendedly thrown.

"Who's doing it?" he asked.

"I am not getting out of bed and sticking my face in the window that someone is aiming at!" I cried. "I don't want them to know I am home!"

Another rock hit my window. I yelped. Other rocks missed and I heard them bounce on the sidewalk 50 feet below me. I tried to figure out why of all the windows along this huge building against the street, mine was being targeted. Then I remembered it was a cool night, so I left my balcony doors open because my doggie loves to sit outside. Actually, I had been doing it all week. And usually when I get up in the morning, I find the Femme Fatale snoozing outside. I felt safe with the decision to leave the doors open because my apartment is so high up. Then the iron balcony railing stung on impact.

I gasped with the realization that my dog may be outside on the balcony. I hopped out of bed and kept the lights off and Christopher connected to my ear. As I approached the balcony door, I crouched low so no one could see me and pulled it shut and locked it. The Femme Fatale was not outside like I feared. I turned around to head back into the bedroom and stumbled across a large rock that was lying on my living room floor. Someone had aimed for my balcony and it landed inside my apartment.

I started crying. Someone was attacking me and I was scared. Christopher told me not to be so dramatic. I said there were rocks in my apartment that were large enough to kill the Femme Fatale upon impact. Large enough to kill me if struck on the head. I told him I was going to hang up and call the police. Christopher told me not to, that it was probably just drunk teenagers.

I continued to cry. I was alone in the dark in this big space. Christopher, still skeptical, got in the car and headed to my place. I was grateful he woke me up before this happened and that he was on the line with me throughout the ordeal. I don't know how I would have reacted if the rocks woke me up.

After I had closed the balcony door. The rocks had stopped. Christopher knocked at the door a few minutes later and again I was grateful because he lived so close by. I was afraid to look out the peephole and afraid to open the door.

"Alright, where is this rock in your apartment?" he asked.

I led him into the living room and Christopher turned the lights on. "There," I pointed.

"Holy shit, that rock is big enough to kill you!" he gasped.

"I know!"

He unlocked the balcony door and stepped outside. There, on the balcony between the Femme Fatale's fleece blanket and my basil plant, was a shoe. A motherfucking shoe.

"Why is there a shoe on your balcony?" Christopher was still having trouble believing me.

"I don't know!" I sneered. "Why in the world would I have a single, dirty, man's shoe?!"

It was then Christopher believed me. I kicked the shoe over so I could see it. I checked to see if it was the old boyfriend's. I didn't think it was.

"Do you think your ex could have done this?" Christopher asked as he checked the rest of my apartment. Christopher had read my mind without me saying anything. If it was just drunk teenagers, why weren't other apartments targeted? Why just my bedroom window and my living room balcony on my floor? There are easier windows to hit on the floors below me or further up the sidewalk.

"I don't think so. I made sure he doesn't know where I live, nor does he know anyone that knows where I live. Besides, he would have to know the building layout to know which apartment is mine from the street."

"Yeah, okay."

A few nights later, Christopher asked again if I thought it was my ex. I told him no. But am I positive in my response? Absolutely not.

~Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Last night I came home from work, unlocked my apartment door, and was greeted by Christopher, who just didn't make it home Sunday night. All 3 minutes away. He grabbed my Whole Foods reusable bag from my grip and carried the groceries into the kitchen, where he started preparing chili.

I poured myself a glass of red wine and sat on the couch and queued up that day's episode of Dr. Phil on the TiVo (Fine. I watch it. Whatever.) With the change of seasons it was getting dark earlier, but Christopher had already turned on the living room lamps. I kicked off my shoes and burried my toes in the shaggy carpet and took a sip of wine. I looked around. My apartment felt cozy for the first time ever.

Christopher's been sneaking the "love" word into his language. Lying in bed one night, he asked why I loved him. The next week we were crawling into bed and he mumbled as much as he loved me, something or other. Frankly I never heard what he said following that.

I've been through this before in my last relationship. He would insert it in sentences—even just say it—and I was convinced it was because he couldn't hide his true feelings from me. So I made the grand official announcement first and it blew up in my face.

So, not this time, buddy. I'm not falling for that twice.

Until... until I slipped into bed last night and Christopher tucked the sheets around me as he made pillow talk. He made a (bad) joke, then stopped.

"Do you love me?" he asked.


"Do you love me?" he asked again.

I held my breath. As much as I love things about him and love spending time with him, I just am not at a place where I could love him. It's still a bit early and so far, we've been taking things slowly.

I viscerally stammered. "Hm, wh- eh, huh... do you?" I eventually worked out while removing the responsibilty from myself.


"Do you?" I repeated meekly.

"I meant, 'Do you love the way I act?'" Christopher got serious. "Sarah, that is a heavy word," he lectured.

"I know it is," I agreed, relieved.

"No, I don't love you," he answered.

"Gee, thanks," I nervously laughed. Just because I'm not ready to feel it and say it, doesn't mean I don't want to hear it. No one wants to hear she's not loved. Especially that way. If I had been forced to answer the question, I would have gone with Almost or Give me a little more time or at the very least Not yet. Never I don't love you.

And the inner girl in me is screaming, Then why did you ask? and HOW ELSE CAN YOU TRANSLATE 'DO YOU LOVE ME' ?

~Friday, October 02, 2009

The Truth Will Out

It's Saturday night and we're still playing Truth.

"Are there secrets you're not telling me?" Christopher asked.

I lit up, "There are tons of secrets I'm not telling you." I waved my hands in wide circles to illustrate all that I'm not telling him.

And of course—of course—when you admit you know something that someone else doesn't know, that person has to know it. You could say you know something that would destroy their lives, and they would still beg you to tell them.

Christopher starts probing me about what I'm not telling him. "Tell me," he orders.



"Because," I said, "All of your secrets make you look like a rock star and mine make me look like a loser." I had just finished telling him about a karaoke incident gone bad.

"Why, because I kissed that girl?"

"Yeah," I whined.

"That doesn't make me look like a rock star," he mumbled. "I still feel really bad about that. Just give me a hint," he probed.

"It makes me feel bad about myself," I mumbled.

"And?" he asked. "Tell me. You know I'm not a judgmental person." And he's right. He isn't.

"If I tell you, there is a 100% chance that I will cry," I prefaced. "Are you sure you want to deal with tears?"

Christopher didn't say anything one way or the other. He just watched my face. I looked away. It had been bubbling up in me for some time. Any time that I felt close to Christopher in the past couple of weeks, I wanted to tell him, but I always ended up restraining myself.

Now here we are in the safety of my apartment, and I'm feeling connected to him again. I know he isn't judgmental. And in the back of my mind, I want him to know because it's become such a defining life moment for me.

I stared down at the carpet with Saturday Night Live playing on the TV in the background, and I told him this story.

It was the first time I ever admitted the true nature of my past relationship to him. And I was scared—I was terrified—because really, that story makes me look bad too. I didn't immediately leave. I stayed around for another month and had to endure something similar before I was ready to come home.

My mouth felt crooked throughout the entire story. I left no detail out for Christopher. I told him about crying at the car wash. I told him how my hand felt after punching him. I told him about my mother taking pictures of the scratches on my neck in a Wendy's parking lot. And you know what? I never cried. I came pretty close, but there were no tears.

Christopher, as I expected, absolutely 100% did not understand for even a millisecond why I didn't immediately leave. I tried flippantly telling him that I had to learn some things the hard way.

"No, I don't accept that answer."

I sighed, "Because when you are told that you are nothing for long enough, you start to believe him. I honestly thought it was as good as I deserved." And that's the truth, I think.

"But why would you even let someone talk to you like that?"

Because I suffer from severe self-esteem delinquencies. "I don't know," I shrugged. "Stockholm Syndrome?"

Christopher got agitated, "Are you really going to blame Stockholm Syndrome?"

"Er, no," I shrugged again. "I don't expect you to understand," I mumbled. "I know a lot of people don't. It's kind of like cheating. You think you know how you would react and then it happens and you're emotionally attached and you begin to make decisions that you swore you never would."

I felt like I was gagging on myself. I was telling the hardest, most unflattering thing about me to the person I crave approval from the most and he was asking some hard questions. There was silence.

"I need you to acknowledge and respond to what I just told you," I said. "I mean, do you want to run out the door?"

"A little," he smiled awkwardly. He pulled me into his side. "It's a lot of information and it's going to take me a little while to process it, but I need you to do one thing for me. Get over it."


"You cannot compare the two of us and be afraid that I am going to do the same things he did because I'm not him."

Oh holy shit, I can't tell you how disappointed I was in his response. He made it about him. I wanted him to be more understanding of why I panic. It may have nothing to do with him, but it doesn't stop my anxiety from being real. I wanted to be coddled. Be told everything will be okay. That he'll be gentle with me. I wanted the girl response. I came close to tears again.

"I don't want you crying a single tear over that douchebag waste of life!" Christopher growled. He was angry.

"It's not about him! It's about how I feel about myself!" I exclaimed. "That's how I opened it with you—it makes me feel bad about myself!"

Christopher quietened down and thought for a moment, "And how can I help? With how you feel about yourself, how can I help?"

He just did. I needed to feel compassion.

"Nothing. But know that I work on it every day." I told him about therapy and he agreed it was probably a good idea that I go.

He poured me a glass of my wine that I was all too eager to gulp. Within minutes we were all smiles again.

"You know how you lived with that one woman when you were 27?" I asked. "The one you said you knew all along wasn't going to work out?"

"Yeah," he admitted. "I knew it had like a 5% chance of working out."

"And how long did you live with her?"

"Nine months."

"So you made a 95% bad decision and you spent 9 months making it right. That's what I did. I was trying to make a bad decision right."

"No," Christopher argued. "I made a bad decision right by leaving." He looked at me,

"And so did you."


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