I met Molly, James’ ex wife, at one of their children’s birthday parties last fall. Right before cutting the birthday cake, she walked up to me and said, “I hope you know that James is putting on quite a show for you.” I nodded and replied, “I know he is” and then I started to cry. When the party ended, we quietly exchanged cell phone numbers.
Several days later, I told her what was happening and through sobs asked, “Did he do this to you, too?” And she said, “Yes.” What I learned from Molly is that I was not alone. You cannot begin to imagine what a gift that was to me.
That simple word. Yes. It changed everything for me by providing validation and planting a seed of hope. There was no more of the thought that lingered in the back of my mind that maybe I was wrong about James abusing me. And as much I wished it any other way, I was not wrong.
Molly said something else during that conversation that left me speechless. She said that she gladly took any verbal lashings from James once I started dating him because she hoped that by her doing so, she was protecting me. I’m still in awe of that. And it wasn’t just words, she really did that for me.
This month has been really hard. And when I get to a place where my thoughts turn inky black, I replay her “yes” in my head. Because that means, as awful as it is that we both were hurt, I am not alone. I hope she knows that I love her with my whole heart. That she is one of the strongest women I have ever met. That her “yes” was like winning a golden ticket to starting a better life as I saw her bravely do.
I sometimes wonder what I would say to James’ queue of broken hearts. If I was asked, I would give them my own version of the “yes” Molly so graciously gave to me. I would tell them to trust their instincts and walk away from the disaster to come. There is no question that the shes exists. And whoever they are, I love them. They do not deserve this either.