Let me try to give a little clarity to what we’ve been discussing.
Everyone has a relationship with someone, usually early in their dating life, that ultimately shapes the person they become for every other significant other.
When I was 21, my first love, AlwaysDrunk, broke my heart. An alcoholic, he was incredibly incapable of being the person he promised he would be. At the beginning of the end, I saw the writing on the wall and ended things. He found me the next evening, in my usual watering hole. It was hard to mix up the social life in SmallTown, Connecticut, so we all ended up at the same bar. He begged me to get back with him. I agreed, but told him to “Cut the shit.” He promised. But he never made good on that promise.
A few nights later, he was all over some girl right in front of me. I asked him what the hell he was doing. He had no answer. I left the bar in tears. But I wasn’t alone. TheCop followed me out. I only knew TheCop through friends, we had never really had an actual conversation other than being introduced months earlier where I noticed he couldn’t stop looking at me. I hadn’t seen him since that night. I still remember though, The Cranberries song “Linger” was blasting on the radio. Aah, 1994.
TheCop told me to get in his car so we could talk. He wanted to drive down to New York City to get some late dinner. I agreed, but only on the pretense that other people came with us. We grabbed three more people from the bar and drove into the city. On the way, we stopped to pee and this girl and I walked for what seemed like miles across a field so we could squat without the guys seeing us. We turn around and they are about 10 feet from us. So, she says, “Screw it, I’m going in this bush.” She parted the branches and walked in. Except I saw her head disappear and heard her scream, then heard a splash. Apparently there was some sort of ravine and she fell into a pile of mud. When she crawled out, her white shirt was soaked in mud, and she tossed out her shoes and socks. But we kept going.
We get into New York, and stupid TheCop went the wrong way. (It’s a big joke up there that you can’t take the goombas out of Connecticut because they get the shakes, and get lost.) Long story short, nothing is open by the time we get there and we go home. But not before TheCop tries to kiss me. I pushed him off, still upset over AlwaysDrunk, and went home.
This started an entire summer of cat and mouse. TheCop was the chaser, I, the chasee. I was at a similar place in life then that I am now – not really wanting anything serious. But emotionally, I was exhausted and felt like maybe I needed a diversion to get through this hell summer of not being with AlwaysDrunk, at least until I go back to college. Let’s just do it in bullets because it’s too traumatic to relive. Things I remember well:
- Me and TheCop having some sort of fight and him calling over and over and over to the point where my mom said, “You better talk to him, I think he’s suicidal.”
- Us having another of our infamous fights and him showing up at my house, ingratiating himself to my parents.
- Me breaking up with him and him following me all over town, scaring the hell out of me. One night I was walking to my car from the bar, and he was hiding in the woods, breaking branches, trying to scare me into thinking someone was after me.
- Me telling him I wasn’t in love and wanted to break up. He then climbed on the roof of my parents house to sit outside my bedroom watching me sleep.
- Him admitting several other disturbing things he did when we were broken up at one point – following me, following my friends, showing up at my friends jobs.
- He followed me back to college in Miami, and tried to become best buddies with my friends. We had a fight because he called me “The bitch” in front of my roommate. He ran out of the bar as though I did something wrong. I followed him, he raised his fist to punch me, but some guy started yelling, so he punched a telephone pole instead and took off into the ghetto. I called the cops and they came out to get my story before looking for him. I remember hearing the guy in the parking lot saying, “I see this guy storm out of the bar and he’s about to punch that girl over there…” Yeah. That was bad. TheCop got mugged and spent his night at the MDPD. Miami Dade Police baby.
- Me feeling incredible relief when he was out of my life.
- SmallTown Connecticut police investigating why TheCop was in that neighborhood at that time, and rumors surfaced (untrue from what I knew) that he really was selling his badge for drugs, because no one in their right mind would walk down Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove. TheCop asked me to testify on his behalf so he could keep his job. I said no.
- Him calling as recently as two years ago, hearing another man’s voice in my presence, and screaming, “I’M THE ONLY MAN YOU WILL EVER LOVE NOW GET RID OF HIM.”
Though the actual relationship was 6 months, this maniacal behavior went on for the better part of 12 years. I still cringe when I see a Connecticut area code show up on my phone. I’ve moved several times and he always manages to find me. I sneak back to my parents house for a day and he just “happens” to drive by their house and see my car. I go home to their house and 3 hours after being in the front door, the phone starts ringing and the hangups begin. Everyone gives the knowing glance and says, “It’s TheCop.” Some people are just so crazy they can’t be reasoned with.In many ways, this relationship with TheCop ruined me. I developed a huge aversion to any sort of control, real or perceived. But it also fine tuned my senses to a point where I can see the signs. I recall having fights with TheCop where I would say “You’re a great guy but…” and launch into 8000 insults of why I hate him so much. All he would hear was the “You’re a great guy” part, and would end up showing up at my door, or making some sort of other threats through my friends that if “Velvet doesn’t call me, I’m gonna…” It became impossible to live my life. I finally stopped returning his calls and eventually he got the hint. I mean, as much a hint as he could get.
I remember like it was yesterday, being out with my roommate senior year, and walking up the stairs to our apartment and hearing the phone ring. I broke into a full sprint fumbling for my keys saying, “I have to get the phone, it’s TheCop.” I missed the phone, he hung up and didn’t leave a message. My roommate said, “I’m only going to ask you this once. Are you in an abusive relationship?” It was time to put the sheet over that one and call the time of death. That sort of control is infective. You start to just accept it as natural that you forget what it’s like to make your own decisions. So now I’m incredibly independent? You bet your ass.
Back to present day. A lot of the phone calls and off blog conversations I’ve had with some of you remind me of exactly that point in time 12 years ago. Sometimes being in something, it’s harder to see it for what it is. But some of my best, most level headed friends are freaked. And that is the only truth that matters.