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I don’t know if it was when he tried to drown me in the bath tub or when he was banging my head into the hardwood floor that made me hate him, but I did. It could have been the time he choked me in the bathroom at that party or maybe – when I caught him in the bed with Trina at his momma’s house that pushed me over the edge. I wasn’t really sure.

At one point – the good outweighed the bad, but I can’t remember when that was. It may have been right before he left me that last time to go back to his baby’s momma or right before he took the rent money, started a fight and jumped out the second story window.

Six years had passed and all of that madness seemed so crazy now. I see that a lot of it was my fault. I stayed too long. I grew accustomed to the drama of it and I liked it. I loved the thrill of earning him back. It made me feel good. It gave me a rush. The fights were just a means to an end. I wanted him to stay and he usually did.

He made my heart skip a beat. He made my butterflies flutter. I’d never felt this way. That was why I could never leave him. After the split I was afraid to see him. I even shied away from his side of town, but here we stood face to face to face.

. . .and for the first time – NOTHING HAPPENED.

Nothing inside my stomach fluttered. The butterflies were gone.

I felt peace. I could breathe. I knew loved this man, still. It was just in a different way.

I hugged his neck. I was glad to see him. It was good to catch up. I always wished him well.

We laughed and joked and talked about the old times. It was always funny to hear his reasons for choking me or throwing me around. It helped me to realize how dumb I’d been. I had to laugh at myself. There were no more tears for it. Laughter felt better, anyway.

I thought he had it together. I was happy for him. Then, in one sentence, he ruined it. He messed it all up.
He asked me for forty dollars. I saw that look that had taken me prisoner so many times before, but this time – I looked at my former captor and told him NO. I didn’t care if he got mad, or if he walked away or if he never spoke to me again. I was over this. I was finally over it.

He had changed, too. He didn’t’ get mad and push me around or storm out like he used to. He hugged my neck, said -it was great to see me doing so well and he left.

It couldn’t believe we’d taken that walk down memory lane. I always wondered how I would feel when this finally happened and now I know – – – –

It was good to look back. It was good to see how far I’d come. I had my “Aha Moment.” I finally got it. I didn’t need him to love me anymore. I didn’t feel bound by the need to please him. I was free.

I found myself and my self-esteem. I didn’t have to lease it anymore.


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