I left work that afternoon and went back to his house where I had been for two weeks. My usual routine was to be picked up at 5:00pm, go back to his house, and sleep straight through until morning, where I’d be dropped off at work. It was pure misery. I missed my dog, I missed my bed, and I missed eating. I hadn’t eaten dinner in two weeks, either.
That afternoon at work I was at my breaking point, but nobody knew it. I cannot remember exactly what happened on the ride home, but I walked into his house and turned around. “I want to go home?” I said. I am sure it was half-hearted. I didn’t want anything. Well, that’s a lie. I wanted somebody, anybody in this situation to pick me, to choose me, to ask me to stay. But nobody ever did. I bounced between them clinging to words to which I applied meaning that probably wasn’t there to begin with.
I packed my bag and got in his car. My God, I didn’t even own a car then. And he drove across town to take me back. On the way I was silent, but he talked. “You’ll just be unhappy when you get there. Nothing ever changes. I’m not doing this again. “
I didn’t have an inner voice then. The dialogue that ran in my head was his; and most of the time it was what he was really saying.
“You’re just giving up. Like you always do. Anything that is hard, you don’t want to have anything to do with it. You just throw your hands up and say ‘Nevermind!’”
We got closer to home and my stomach churned. It was becoming increasingly evident to me that I didn’t have any clue about what I truly wanted. I couldn’t make up my mind. I didn’t have an original thought in my head. I couldn’t remember the last time I did, actually. My mind was blank. I rubbed my eyes and hoped something would come to the surface but it didn’t. My palms began to sweat, my breathing was shallow. Either a marching band was playing in the backseat or my heartbeat was literally busting out my eardrums. I couldn’t see straight. Two more miles, I’ll be there. One more mile, this will stop. I see it, I see the finish line. The tears streamed down my face. I didn’t know if I was happy or sad. I still can’t tell, actually, when I recall that moment.
I opened the door, stuck a foot out. He’s home, I’ll go in. “Does he know you’re coming?”
I texted him as I walked out the door. He said to come on, we’d figure the rest out when I got there.
I didn’t know what to say. So I lied.
“Then I’m going with you. I’m going to make sure he takes you back, what’s your plan if he doesn’t? I’m going to tell him what you deserve and how things are going to be from now on. We’re gonna have ourselves a little chat.”
I didn’t want that, did I? I wanted him to disappear, for the month to have been a dream. For things to go back to the normal we had enjoyed for so long. It was messy, but it was better than this. Maybe. Maybe I didn’t want that. Maybe I wanted to get back in the car. Who knows? Who cares? Someone just tell me what I want.
I shook my head, and begged him to let me leave. I was so close. I turned to walk and he grabbed my wrists. He stared me straight in the eyes and he gripped them too tightly. “You don’t want this. You don’t want to go back.”
Blank . Nothing.
I blinked a few times, stood for a minute or so.
“You. Don’t. Want. This.” He shook my wrists with each word, as if it would wake me up and I’d suddenly realize he was correct. He didn’t know it, but there wasn’t anything in there to wake up. I would never make the choice, because I didn’t know how.
We stood for too long. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. He pushed me toward the car.
I got back in the car. He drove in silence. I cried in loud, heaving sobs. He pulled over and told me to stop. I stopped. I walked into Walgreens and bought ibuprofen, Pringles, and a Mountain Dew.
He texted back and asked where I was. The ‘other he’ took my phone. The next day he gave it back and there was the “don’t come back” message. It was over and done with. I never had to have an original thought on the matter.
Sometimes I am thankful I didn’t go back in, but sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if I did. I guess what I regret was that the choice wasn’t mine. I can’t get closure because I didn’t make the choice. Even if I chose, for myself, to walk away, and I was still sitting here today in the same position…it would be an easier pill to swallow because I did it. But as it stands, I didn’t. And it is what it is.
I swear to you, to me, to anyone who will listen that I will NEVER be without a choice EVER again.