Monday, May 28, 2018

Written in April

Do you want to know what I am most hurt by? I'm not even mad, I'm just irreparably hurt by it.

He kept telling me that he regretted not asking my dad for his blessing before he died. But how could that have been true when he had already begun a relationship with his current girlfriend?

I remember taking a phone call from him on March 22. This was the Thursday before his Sunday church date. This was the Thursday before the Monday when he came to my parents' house and chatted with my mom about marrying me for around three hours.

That phone call included him telling me that he thinks about my dad every single day. That the regret was eating at him. That he wanted to marry me and be Claire's father. He was just sad that he wouldn't get a chance to talk to him about it.

But the entire time he was "away," and "fixing" his problem, he was literally just hanging out with his new girlfriend.

Why even use my dad as an excuse? Dad had only been gone for a little over two weeks. It was so fresh. It was all so sudden. Lie. Cheat. Sneak around. But why even say that about Dad? To gain sympathy? It worked. He had Mom and me believing him. He had Mom and me putting our own feelings of grief on hold for his own "issues."

I am stunned by it. And I am irreparably hurt by how confused, and twisted, and panicked he made me feel in the midst of it all.

...

For the first few months of seeing him,  I kept a detailed timeline of the relationship. I assumed from the very beginning that it wasn't something that would last and that one day I'd be writing about it. And, to be fair, if someone were to scroll through my Instagram account, @gracelfleming, you'll find a photo of him with a captain that reads:

Hey, Mista {insert his name here}, I haven't been a girlfriend since 2012, so I apologize in advance for all of the weird moments and awkward scenarios I will be creating. Even worse than the ones that have already happened; it'll never change. On the other hand, I'm not sorry for the fact that I'll always pick the worst candid photos to share with my entire world, {of you, of course}. 

Also not sorry that you'll end up in a second book on a shelf one day whether this relationship goes up in flames or not.

Everyone was well aware. He and I had talked about every part of my past and my present extensively. His too, although it was all lies flowing from his mouth, now admittedly.

"If I had told you the truth, you would have never given me a chance," he said, not able to withstand eye contact.

I laughed, "You're right. I wouldn't have even looked your way." 

He told Alice, "I would look in the mirror and think to myself, 'what is she doing with me,' she's way out of my league." 

And now I laugh at all of these statements. Because still, it's such an insult to any woman that comes after me. He's not willing to be with a woman with whom he "outkicked his coverage," instead he'd rather settle for someone that puts him in that same comfort zone of mediocrity. Of course, he has every right to do that as do the women that succumb to those low expectations. It's just baffling

...

I gave him such a hard time for months. Although, I don't really see it as a "hard" time. I really just gave him space. I left room for speculation. I didn't want to pressure him. I just wanted to observe. I wanted to grow with him and feel comfortable. And I thought we did an amazing job at that, honestly. 

He would push me though, as I've explained before. Even when it came to doing things around my house, he would get so mad that I wouldn't ask him for help. Or, if I did ask, there would be a quick, "I'm sorry," attached at the end. 

Further along into the relationship, we had a minor argument about it.

"Grace, just ask me to do it," he demanded.

"Look, it's not your job," I rebutted.

Half-smirking he said, "I've had my penis inside of you. It is okay to ask me to take out the trash."

I laughed. He laughed. And then I watched him grab the bag from my hand and walk out the back door with it. Eventually, he would come home with a brand new trash can as well. In fact, he came home with two; one for the kitchen and one for my office. 

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