“You think you’re so perfect! That’s why your boyfriend is cheating on you!”
It slipped out, I could tell. She tried to take it back, tried to cover up what she said but it was too late. I don’t remember what she said after that. All I know is she said my boyfriend was cheating on me.
I screamed, “No, he isn’t!” but in the back of my mind I asked, is he? My mind couldn’t process that. I couldn’t handle what that would mean if he was.
She told me it was not true. She only said it because she was angry, and I readily believed her, but I knew deep down inside it might be true, but I just couldn’t handle it. It would change everything. I didn’t know how to deal with a cheating boyfriend. I didn’t know how to live with the pain and the shame.
So I believed. I accepted her lie and my own, and I kept loving him and kept being a good girlfriend. I kept believing he was only hanging out with the boys. When he left me, he was with them doing what boys do. When he slept with me, I was the one who made him happy and he was the one who made me happy. I was his girl, his only girl. He loved me and I loved him. Yes, that’s the way it was. That’s the way it will always be.
It will be another year before I could no longer lie to myself. Before I could no longer deny the truth. I still wasn’t ready to accept it, but by this time I had discovered who she was and where she lived and it hurt like hell. I felt my heart bleeding and I felt heavy like lead. I was sinking, but I could not cry. I could not let anyone see me weak and sad. I had to pretend all was well. I had to act like I didn’t care. I was lying, but what else could I do? I couldn’t handle any more; I already had a heavy dose of truth I was trying to digest.
I could pretend all was well, but only so much. I couldn’t let him touch me anymore. I couldn’t let him caress me and moan in my ear knowing he was singing the same song in hers.
My mother said you could tell a man is cheating if he starts picking fights with you so he can leave. My boyfriend did that a lot. He’d make it seem like I had done something to tick him off, then dramatically get up and storm out the door.
But on one particular day, my heart stopped and my mind stalled. All I could think to do was beg him to stay. It was too much to bear knowing he was leaving me to be with that girl. I couldn’t let him go. When he refused to listen, I literally wrapped myself around him and he dragged me across the floor. Yes, I had sunk that low. Finally, in another dramatic fit, he agreed to stay for thirty minutes. The tension between us was thick. I was completely aware that though I had his body, his mind had checked out. When I asked him a question, his answers were short. I could tell he didn’t want to be here.
I was happy when the thirty minutes was over because I knew I lost way more than I gained. When he got up to leave, I did not try to stop him. Filled with shame, I stood at the door watching him as he walked away. I knew that he would go to her and they would have a good laugh at how he dragged me across the floor while I begged him to stay with me.
I promised myself that day, that no one would ever bring me to that humbling, debilitating state again. I will never again beg any man. If I have to die or if I lose, I at least retain my dignity. I decided that day my dignity was worth far more than any man.
So as I watched him walk away, my first stream of angry tears flowed from my eyes and I said from my heart, “Go to hell. Do whatever you want. I won’t beg you to stay when you want to go. Go your way, loser and I will go mine…
“sigh” …even if it takes me a little longer than you to get there.”
© D.L. Lunsford