Yesterday, I met a friend at our favorite pizza place in your neighborhood. It was her suggestion and, because she doesn’t know my Story of You, I said sure. Quite honestly I said sure because I didn’t want to have to explain anything other than “it just didn’t work out.” That’s my normal go-to when people ask what happened to us. In many ways, I wish that was true. Because “it just didn’t work out” sounds so much better than my boyfriend showed a moderately high risk of physical violence towards me.
Driving the many miles from my city to yours was surreal. I was reminded of the amount of times I made that trip. How I was filled with so much excitement to see you at the beginning of our relationship to the uncertain dread mixed with hope that you would be nice from about week 3 and on. I was also reminded how inequitable our relationship was. You made the reverse trip to see me, what, 5 or 6 times maybe? I don’t count the weekends you brought your children to my home to forge a faux family. I mean you driving to me. Just me.
As I drove and got closer to your neighborhood, my heart began to race and I kept reminding myself to breathe. The chances of me running into you were very low, that I knew. And, if for some crazy reason I did see you, I would simply ignore you. If you engaged me for any reason, I had my phone on the ready to dial 911 and pepper spray at hand. Thankfully, fortune favored me and I had a quiet, breezy lunch catching up with my friend. The time went quickly and, although there were moments that I felt distracted, I kept up my end of the conversation without any mention of you.
After I hugged my friend goodbye, I could have easily driven by your apartment, the place I both hated and loved. The place that brought me joy and an infinite supply of unpredictable pain. The place where I told you, “No more” the first of many times. But I turned the car eastward, hopped onto Lake Shore Drive and drove home, my Spotify playlist Though She Be But Little blaring in the background. It was a beautiful day to face (although not anywhere near conquer) my fear of you and the memory of the James you turned out to be.
I still feel broken. I wish that you would tell me that you’re sorry. And even more than that, actually be sorry. I know that will never happen and I am learning to accept it. I’m not the same Jenny I was before I met you. In some ways, it’s incredibly sad. But the Jenny who will never entertain someone like you again? She’s light and sweet and kind and funny and loving. Even still.