After starting a new chapter, I moved back in with my mom and started a new job. I eventually saved up enough money to live in a 3 bedroom duplex that was half renovated and probably not technically livable. But I was really happy. I didn’t have any roommates. I was a block from the Santa Fe trail. My illegal neighbors didn’t talk to me but made me a nice bench to smoke on when I sat outside. I would give my friends their address when inviting them over because...I found that really funny for some reason.
It was fall. There was an element of crisp newness in the air. I was dating again. I was dating handsome men all of asian descent. I only realize that now looking back on this event. I was going out every night. Meeting new people. I wasn’t sleeping much and laughing a lot. Drinking champagne on my lunch breaks.
Yet I felt like everything was being held together by strings. My sanity. My financial situation. The dark cloud of matrimony lingering. Though I wanted to act as though nothing bothered me. That my life was a big joke and I was getting the last laugh. I felt impulsive and destructive. I didn’t care anymore if men liked me. Which was probably the most attractive thing about me at the time.
One day, Ashley and I got out of work early. I started chanting that we should day drink and text my friend Justin to meet up with us. We headed to our regular day drinking spot off lower Greenville at Truck Yard. I, of course, lost my ID a couple nights before at Ships during a night where I decided that throwing drinks was an appropriate way to announce you’ve had enough to drink. Retelling this story I would just laugh and reply, “Classicccccc.”
If you don’t understand, you’ve probably never drank with me.
So the waitress said I couldn’t drink without an ID, but I wasn’t going to let that get in my way. I asked my friends to order a pitcher and I’d just drink off of the actual pitcher. I’m thinking at most I only drank two beers. I talked trash about the fact they wouldn’t let me drink. Laughed a lot. Then we decided to head over to Dallas Beer Kitchen across the street.
I was leading the way through the exit when crossing my path was… Matt. I didn’t even stop walking I just turned around outside the exit and mouthed to my friends, ‘WTFFFF’. But as I did Matt turned around and asked to speak to me. I nervously laughed and gave Ashley the crazy eyes like ‘SHIT DAWG WTFFFF’. So I said, “I guess?” looking bewildered at the sudden turn of events. Then I changed my mind and interrupted him and told him we were actually leaving but if he stopped by DBK later maybe we could talk. He agreed.
Walking across the street, I just kept saying, “How did he know I was here? You think this was a coincidence? No...no… it’s too weird. He should be at work right now…” My friends were just kind of laughing but they liked Matt. They didn’t ...I guess… see anything wrong with it. Heading over to Dallas Beer Kitchen I felt pretty sober. Matt headed straight over I guess because when I saw him inside he was already at the bar and bought me a drink. I accepted the drink but said, “You know what? No we can’t talk. You owe me so much fucking money for busting out my window. You’ve never repaid shit. You're a shitty person.” And like that he hands me $200.
Not like that repaid all the awful things he did but I needed that money at the moment and so I decided to sit down with him for a minute. While I was sitting there I text one of the guys I was seeing to meet me up there to hang out. I wasn’t planning on talking to Matt long.
That’s the last thing I remembered before waking up around 1am the next day. That guy I had been seeing said he showed up like 15 minutes later and I was slumped over at the table and Matt was trying to drag me off with him. As in he had drugged my drink. As in … I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t told that guy to show up. The guy stopped him and Matt tried yelling at him that I was his wife. He was confused because I hadn’t told him I was married or ever got married but still thought the situation was too weird to leave me in considering I was just texting him.
I didn’t really talk about it. I just went to the fridge and got out some wine. I laid in my empty living room with a blanket, shaking and texting people. This guy came out there really concerned and asked me if I had a drinking problem. I laughed and said maybe. It didn’t seem to matter. I drank til I fell asleep.
Over the next two days, I really started to fall apart. I remember driving on the way to work and listening to Kevin Devine thinking...this is the beginning of a dark time. Like you're standing on the edge of a cliff at all times. You're balancing and making it look like you're fearless and having fun, but the whole time you want to fall off because the impending doom of what’s to come is so paralyzing you’d rather at least be in control of your own demise.
Maybe that’s hard to understand. Knowing Matt was still around and could still hurt me made me feel like I had no power in the world. I never mentally dealt with anything that went on. The world doesn’t allow for getting help and paying bills and surviving. I was depressed in a way that was probably mostly invisible. At least I thought I was doing a good job of acting okay.
Within two days, I walked out of work without saying anything. I went home and packed up my stuff out of my house. Within 24 hours after that was on my way to Denver. I just wanted to be so busy surviving that I didn’t have time for my sadness. I wanted to be so distracted. I could be at a party and the second I get to my car I would burst into tears. My heart felt so bad. Like a literal ache inside. I felt sick when people were nice to me. That felt even worse. God forbid anyone ask me with concern how I was doing. I would have just fallen apart. So I surrounded myself that were more self absorbed than I was.
What I found in Denver showed me something I’ll never forget. I went and stayed with my friend Danni. I had known Danni socially but not too well. She’s always been a super nice girl and I really needed a way out. Danni was more that supportive and hospitable. I applied for job. I met her friends. She let me stay rent free on her couch.
On the night that ended up being the last night I was there. I took her and her boyfriend to his surprise birthday party. See, she called up all his old friends and arranged this whole dinner at one of his favorite restaurants. It was such a simple act. Like probably something that someone who cares about another person would just do. At the dinner his friends were welcoming and nice. Took an interest in talking to me. Asked how Denver was treating me. They just seemed like such nice people.
Ten years from then… I won’t have any old friends to call up. I won’t have someone who cares for me enough to have a party. Even if I did it wouldn’t have gone like that. It would have involved a screaming fight in the car and… too much alcohol...God I fucking hated myself. I didn’t feel good enough to even be around those people.
The next day I just quietly packed up my stuff again and got in my car and started driving. I didn’t belong anywhere. Maybe I did belong with Matt. He probably hates me as much as I hate myself.
I made it home with $10 to spare. No job. My mom said she didn’t want me moving back in with her. I stayed one night at my brothers. Then I mistakenly … or maybe appropriately answered a text from Matt.
I know how this is even harder to understand. For me, it was taking that jump into the abyss. To have control over my misery. Just because I left him didn’t mean what he had done wasn’t controlling everything I did anymore. It didn’t seem to matter what I did. I was being weak. I didn’t want to fight him anymore. I didn’t want to fight to survive. It was so exhausting being strong all the time. I had made a lot of mistakes and I didn’t know where to go anymore.
Walking back into his house was frightening because I knew how hard it would be to get out again. But mostly I didn’t care. I was ready for this to be over.