Flashes of dark memories keep polluting my vision. All I’m trying to do is remain present. I want to be healed. I want to be over this.
Your hands covering my face and your arms wrapped around me so tight that I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was going to pass out from suffocation. I feared for my life. I was so afraid of you.
I remember you slamming me on the ground while you barricaded me when I tried to kick and move. Why didn’t anyone hear us and come help? Where was everyone? My dorm became a place of rotten tears and silent screams.
You’re on your way here right now. I sit at this coffee shop and anticipate what you might look like. Will your head be buzzed like the time after our big fight and I thought you might be crazy? Will it be shaggy and sweaty from the heat of this miserable summer day? I’m imaging you with a hat on, jeans shorts cuffed above the knee, and an oversized t-shirt showing your collarbone tattoo.
All the flowers in this coffee shop are dying.
Seems fitting for the occasion. We will be sitting across from one another while the vase of dead flowers watch over our conversation.
I moved to the other side of the table away from the people walking in.
I don’t want to upset you.
I don’t want you to watch as my eyes gaze upon the business of the building.
I know how you get.
That night when we were in the foyer and you got more and more upset with me the more people who walked in.
I couldn’t help but have my eyes drawn to the movement in the room.
I’m still haunted by that. Ashamed to break eye contact from anyone.
I never wanted to upset you. I didn’t mean for us to abuse each other.
My appetite has diminished completely. I’m nervous because I don’t know which person you are going to be today. I’m nervous because I don’t now if you’re going to like who you see.
I don’t know what you want from me.
Why are we meeting at all?
Why do I even talk to you still?
Usually when you have to call the police on someone multiple times, you stop all contact with them. But not me.
I’m an idiot.
It’s only a few more moments until you walk in. My back is turned toward the door. I won’t see you first.
I kind of like it that way.
You’ll walk around and sit your things down, maybe you’ll be upset that I turned away from the door. Maybe you’ll recognize why and you’ll notice the fear in me.
Part of me wants to leave but too much of me knows that I have to stay. I have to do this. I have to see you and I have to uncover who I am with you now.
The lunatic inside me needs this and obviously the lunatic in you does too.
I was right about the hat.
Khakis. Collared shirt. Glasses.
I wanted to share my anxious journal entry from the day that I met at a coffee shop with my ex. June 2017. Almost a whole year ago. It was so scary but I needed to do it.
Honestly, I typically wouldn’t recommend meeting up with the person who abused you, but for me, I needed to see the person who was haunting my dreams and know that I was stronger than him. I was stronger than the scariness of the dark that was held over me for so long.
He wasn’t as scary as I remembered him being. He was less conniving. Less threatening. Funny even. Gentle and sincere. He apologized and listened as I talked about the trauma our experiences left on me.
It was nice to hear that he was sorry for what he did. His excuses didn’t mean anything to me but I was glad that he was trying to figure out his own madness.
Before that meeting, I would get wild anxiety heading into the city terrified that I would run into him. I would get this cringe and sick feeling like he was going to be right around the corner… and a couple of times he really was.
I was so haunted. My dreams were haunted.
Those repressed memories I tried not to hold onto would flash in my mind while I was driving and would block my view. I didn’t know how to make them stop. I thought I had tried everything.
I tried to move on to someone new. Forget the past. I tried to journal and get out my thoughts. I tried counseling. It wasn’t until I faced my fear and gained back my power that I finally felt the pressure release.
I will be forever thankful that he was willing to meet with me and listen to me. I know so many people who will never get the chance to hear their abuser say that they’re sorry. Forgiving someone who will never mean it is hard work. Trust me!
It has been almost a year now since that coffee date. Close to the beginning of all the growth I’ve accomplished. I am light years away from the person I was then. So much healthier and happier. I’m not afraid of breaking eye contact with people anymore. That simple thing is so freeing!
My hope is that you find that strength to take back your power in whatever way that means for you. Mine was facing the darkness. Yours may be cutting your hair, moving, new friendships, whatever it may be. The power is inside of you and if you can’t do it yourself, reach out!
Thanks friends for the journey. I’m here for you.