I’m excited to share another post from my friend Angela, who shared this piece a while back about anxiety. I love when she shares with us because reading pieces and blog posts by women being vulnerable and telling you about the times that they felt confused and scared is a rare find in the blogging world, and I appreciate her courage.
I wrote this piece about a past relationship to learn a lesson, to remember just how deep I allowed myself to sink. I wanted to show myself that I was hiding in denial from something so grotesque, I am almost ashamed to share. But here it is, because I have learned that keeping my mouth shut about this is the only thing I feel ashamed of anymore.
Run and hide, it’s gonna be bad tonight, ’cause here comes your devil side. It’s gonna ruin me. It’s almost like slow motion suicide watching your devil side get between you and me.
Devil Side by Foxes
The sound of the pool queue clattering to the floor silenced the bar. His anger erupted with screaming profanities and then he was running away, leaving the fallout from his outburst on me.
I felt the blood rushing beneath my skin and the eyes of everyone in the bar watching me with pity, or maybe disgust, as I scrambled to pick up his queue and follow him outside. I called his name, but he ignored me, disappearing into the night.
“Are you okay?” a friend of his asked, stopping me from following him.
“I’m fine.” It was a lie I was accustomed to telling. It was as easy to say as my own name.
“No you’re not,” he said.
I began to cry and pleaded for his friend to let me go so I could pick him up and bring him home. Excuses for his behavior bubbled out of my mouth. I had played this role so many times. I was an expert. But his friend knew better.
“You don’t have to feel this way,” he said.
“I know, I know, please let me go get him. I just want to bring him home,” I pleaded.
“He’s drunk,” the friend said. “Are you going to be safe?”
“Yeah, I know. I’m fine,” I insisted but I was thinking, Who cares about me?
I found him a mile up the road and pulled over. He was fuming and shut off, a shell of the man I believed still existed. He pulled his queue from my car and threw it violently at a lamppost, shattering it. A man was watching cautiously from his yard, looking like he was contemplating calling the police. Cars passed slowly, drivers staring as if they were watching a film.
I begged him to get in the car and come home and just let it go. It was just one bad game. My words set him off and he screamed at me. He got big and scary and I thought he was going to hit me. He assured me that he would never hurt me, but I had watched him do plenty of things I didn’t think he was capable of doing.
Finally, he got in my car and I drove him home, crying the whole way. When I parked, he sat in the dirt and threatened to run away. He said he hated his life, he hated his job, he hated that I cared so much, and he hated himself. He didn’t say it, but I knew he hated me too.
For over two hours, he spat vitriolic words at me, acidic insults that cut me down to my greatest insecurities and I sat with him, trying to act impervious, trying to bring him back.
For neither the first time, nor the last time, I coaxed him down from his ledge and got him inside. He fell asleep quickly but I was awake all night wondering why the man I adored was so deeply troubled. How had one bad game of pool spiralled into this?
I pushed down the nagging feeling that I was in danger, that I was sacrificing my happiness for someone who felt more like an addiction than a partner. Somehow, believing that I loved him made his actions, his violence, his anger, and his cruelty irrelevant.
It felt so natural to put myself on hold to help him, but the longer this went on, the more I realized that I loved a footprint of a man long gone. He had dragged me down with him by asking for my love and then refusing to help himself. I suffered through the rest of the relationship, feeling trapped and insecure, until it came to a fiery end at his hand.
The man who told me he didn’t want to be with me anymore was not the same man I had met at the beginning of the year. The mask he had used to enchant me had fallen off. He had stopped trying to hide his tortured life from me. All that remained was an angry, dependent man who was determined to lose everything.
When we said goodbye, I cried. It felt like an arrow being pulled from my stomach: deafening pain followed by a rush of sweet relief as he walked away for the last time.