By Matt Carlson
He said, “I’m leaving.” Then he added, “I’m going to stay at my Mom’s.” Then he was gone and there we were, the dogs and I, alone. It was a horrible moment. There had been no real discussion. The phantom that had been my boyfriend for ten years left as if he had never been there. Well, he hadn’t really. I continued to pay for the house credit and other bills alone. I’d lived with someone who had always hated himself, always looking for a sexual liaison with a stranger. Someone who hid inside his computer, then within the virtuality of his telephone. They were safe places, his smart phone and computer, he didn’t have to respond honestly to any questions there. He could easily play with the anonymity of it all. I imagined him locked up in a small room asleep with only cables connected to his brain and a computer while an animated character lived his life somewhere; his real body safely locked away.
In December of 2013, he had simply said to me while sitting outside in the garden, in the sun, a cigarette in hand, “I think we should break up. There’s nothing left between us.” It was the first time that it was he who had brought up the subject; I was usually the one that said it. The way he said it was as if he were waiting for a particular response. I didn’t give it to him. On the contrary, I agreed that it was a good idea to separate. But adding, “I don’t think that there’s nothing left between us – I think we are still friends.” He didn’t answer.
There, I was wrong…It takes two to be friends.
The slippery slope that we’d now ventured upon wasn’t immediately visible. I’d somehow forgotten or put aside the fact that I was dealing with someone who suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder; an alcoholic too. Why is it that when we break up with someone, we imagine that they are going to have the same perception of things – or even be reasonable – and are shocked by the reaction we have in front of us? My ex cried that night out on the terrace, sobbing while holding onto his wine bottle and glass. I went to him, to comfort him. It didn’t last long, me holding him in my arms telling him it would be al-right. He didn’t want me to, I hadn’t said what he’d wanted to hear. So, I left him there as his tears subsided in the black of the night, his anger surfacing, on our unfinished terrace. He had wanted me to plead for us, for another chance, to say ‘let’s stay together’ but I didn’t feel that. The on going pain of dealing with this hurt, broken and angry individual had just gone over the top. I had no more desire, no more strength to try and convince him that life could be beautiful – that we could be. Especially to someone who only knew beauty as a concept, as a visual design on a computer screen – his true profession in fact – a graphic artist – well, it all made more sense now.
Our unfinished ruin of a house sat there. The hours upon hours of my own labor upon it, for it, for us, would be the weapon used against me to make me suffer. My name wasn’t on the title and all of the promises of protecting me had gone out the window. My ex would try and take everything away, an attempt to erase my very presence from it – from our mutual project. Even his Mother would add fuel to the fire by attempting with her son to keep our dogs away from me. A five month ‘kidnapping’ of sorts would end up with my going and getting them at the Mother-in-laws house in the country. She attacked me, but ended up falling on the ground as I avoided her with the dogs in my arms, my ex running after me like a maniac suddenly (though he was supposedly unable to walk at this time due to a back problem)…His attack of feet and fist marks left on the side of our mutual car Peugeot – just before I could drive safely away…
Later on I had to respond to incredible lies of breaking and entering, theft of money and of my own dogs and that I had physically attacked and beaten my Mother-in-law! It all seemed surreal – but the hate was only beginning. My ex would continue to lie and paint a new picture far from the reality of what was. I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surprised by the letter from a shady lawyer hired from my ex describing me basically as a monster, turning the truth into a mockery of justice, or the… and the… etc, etc…
Today, I am moving on and recreating a new life. I am still unsure as to whether I want to battle again for at least a return on my investment of my home for over nine years; the fact that I paid for half of his house credit too over that period – a few months paying for it alone as well. I’m feeling like it would take a lot of energy away from me, from moving into a positive direction. Maybe not… Maybe I need to finish the battle in order to move on… It’s either that or accept things as the way they are and put that aside. What is the most important thing here? To move on? To look back? To move on but to at least respond to what was? To get at least a part of my investment back?
I’m still questioning that – if only a little bit.