Many years ago, when my ex (the big one) and I were still dating and he still loved me (probably…even now I’m not really sure if he ever did) he gave me a ring. Now this ring had been given to him by his grandfather before he passed away, with the strict instructions that it be given to the girl *Jack was going to marry. It was a simple gold band with the wedding date etched on the inside. Jack gave it to me with much ceremony…that boy knew how to be dramatic for sure…and my sentimental heart swooned. I wore it on a chain since it was too big for me, and felt all warm and fuzzy inside knowing I was the one he wanted.
Fast forward years later to the night I found out my relationship was over. Now looking back, I had to be blind not to see this event coming. For years there had been little whispers, hints of infidelity…nothing definitive..no proof..just whispers…a bachelor party in Vegas where he may or may not have gone “too far” with a stripper (I mean come on..how cliché…and um..ew.)…a weekend where I was gone on a bachelorette party and he and a friend brought girls back to our house (“I’m just trying to help a friend out”)…my sorority sisters complaining to me about how he was flirting with them at our social events (“No he’s just really friendly I promise he doesn’t mean anything by it”)…finding out later from friends that he told a girl at a bar that he and his girlfriend just broke up (an argument doesn’t mean we broke up sweetheart)…seriously…it’s hard not to kick yourself and wonder what FREAKING PLANET I WAS ON not to get that he was a loser…a pathological liar and a constant cheat. He hated himself. He was a terrible person..so he used attention from women to distract himself from the fact that at 27 years old, he still worked as a server at a restaurant, had mountains of credit card debt (which I stupidly paid off trying to get his credit to go up so we could buy a house one day), no degree and was constantly defaulting on our bills (telling me he had it “under control”). I also found out later from a concerned neighbor that he was selling weed out of our house. OUR HOUSE!!!!! How did I not see it? How did I not trust my gut? For years I had been an ostrich with my head in the sand and it took something this big and devastating for me to wake up.
This is how the night went:
Anonymous email to work email.
Printed out email and drove to his work.
Confronted him outside
He lied (surprise)
Finally got the truth.
Walked back to my car.
Fuck it…I’m going back in there and getting that girl to look me in the eyes.
She hid in the back..wouldn’t come out and face me.
He put his hands on me to get me to leave.
I left..called his mom..sobbed in the car.
Took a shower.
Put my beautiful engagement ring on the window sill.
Felt like it was burning my hand.
Calmly packed up all of his stuff in trash bags and put it outside on the front lawn.
He came home at midnight.
“Do you love her?”
“I don’t know.”
He took my engagement ring.
I should have changed the locks.
He would come back while I was at work…take things…I came home to the TV gone from the wall. A gaping hole where it had been. He took one of the couches. Money (even though he had left me in crippling debt). He had already taken so much and it still wasn’t enough. Insult to injury.
I told him if he took the dogs I’d hunt him down for the remainder of his days. And I know I probably shouldn’t be putting something like that out into the universe, but I would have. I might have killed him.
He left them. He couldn’t afford them anyway and was too selfish to take care of anything else’s needs besides his own.
He forgot about his grandfather’s ring. We both did. And this is what stands out to me..the kind of person he is..that he would think to take the TV…but wouldn’t remember one of the most important and meaningful things his grandfather ever gave him.
Reading this back, I recognize that this sounds tremendously bitter. I wish I didn’t have all of this bitterness inside of me. I have had people tell me to forgive him..not for his sake, but for my own..and I’ve tried…believe me I’d tried…but I simply can’t. He did too much damage to me..and my life…and to those that I care about. As the years have passed..and it is incredible to me that it has been years since this happened…this bitterness has eased…like bright angry scar that starts to fade slowly. I don’t even notice it most days until someone points it out and asks what happened.
“How did you hurt yourself?”
And then I remember.
“Oh yeah…well…it’s a long story.”