Night Terrors

Share a story where it was very difficult for you to forgive the perpetrator for wronging you, but you did it ā€” you forgave them.

I don’t know how it started. It just did. There he was, and so was I. A conversation was happening like nothing had happened. We were going through the formalities of “Hi. Hello. How have you been?” He said he’s ok. Typical response, even though I can clearly see it in his eyes that he wasn’t. He’s in defense mode to look like he’s ok. “Finals have been rough. Stressful; a lot to do in a short period of time,” he says. That might be the reason behind his eyes. The conversation keeps going. He’s doing well with school, and he’s loving his high school teaching gig. His meetings are keeping him busy. I tell him about my life for the past 3 months. How I’ve been working at 2 different schools. The people I’ve met, and the new environment. He’s being playful. Frankly, so was I. Can’t remember how it happened but we ended up hugging each other.

I remember the touch of his skin, and how his hair feels as I ran my fingers through it. He gave me a little squeeze of a hug, but not letting go. This was my cue to hold on tight, too. I remember his smell. I’ve always told him it was distinct. He was the only one I knew with that smell (although, I have to admit there’s this one exception when a customer at work had almost the same scent as he did and it made me feel very confused). He breathes a sigh – not too heavy – but enough to know that he was content this moment happened and it turned out better than expected. I remember people, oh so many people!, passing by. Somehow we went from being in the privacy of our old room – his apartment – to a side walk cafe where people are just frantically going through and fro. Then, the topics to he and Steve. I have to pry over and over to get him to tell me about Steve. I remember that feeling of hearing the voices in my head battling it out. I know I shouldn’t ask because I already knew that the answer was going to devastate me. Again, I had to know for my own comfort without walking away not know what really happened. Maybe there’s a sliver of hope he’ll say he’s miserable without me, and that he regrets leaving me.

Nope. He says he’s happy with Steve. They’ve been official for a month now, since November. He’s really happy he decided to leave me for him, and that the sex is the best he’s had in a long time, he says. They’ve been spending a lot of time in each other’s house, and he’s really happy he’s with Steve now. He tells me that what we had for 4 years is over, and that he’s become a better person after making so many mistakes staying in our relationship. He’s glad he’s spending the holidays with Steve. He’s not planning to go home to his parents (drama – different story), and he’s glad to stay with Steve in the Bay Area instead. They’re both busy with their upcoming last semester of their Masters program that they both have a good excuse to stay here and not go home to their parents for the holidays. “Did I mention the sex is great?” he asks. “He’s aggressive. It’s like he knows me and does exactly what I want without me telling him anything.” Those words were what my voices were warning me this whole time. The pain is like a knife that pierces the heart. Sounds dramatic, I know. But, at that very moment he said those things I really did feel a tightening feeling in my chest. I guess it doesn’t make sense, unless you’ve been through something similar. Then you’d know. He basically concluded with the point that it was my fault that the breakup happened. That if I had been a better boyfriend he wouldn’t have been tempted to cheat on me the past 4 years. If I had been a better boyfriend, he wouldn’t have been tempted to meet all these guys online, and talk to them and do things. If I had been a better boyfriend, he wouldn’t have told Steve that he was in love with him, and waited to make sure that Steve liked him back before he broke up with me. If I had been a better boyfriend, he wouldn’t have fallen out of love two months before he broke up with me. Basically, I am miserable now because of me.

And then I woke up. Screaming. Shouting. Angry. Sad. Miserable.

There are other details to this dream that I can no longer fit into the puzzle. Like, my sister and a coworker was there. He, of all friends that I have, would be the last I thought would even be in any of my dreams. So random. All I remember is that they are there, by a fruit

stand in an outdoor market, hovering and keeping an eye on me. There was also an African woman, some kind of mystic. She was wearing bright orange clothes typical of African celebratory fashion, with a very bright orange headdress. I don’t know what they’re called. She was a person with some magic or witchcraft, but with eyes that were gentle. She was not scary at all. The only thing I vividly remember is that I am trying to cross this bridge, an over pass that crosses a freeway of some sort. This over pass was crowded, very crowded! People pushing and shoving, carrying their goods to be transported or sold for the day. It was hot and dusty, it was chaotic. Then, a hand grabs a hold of my arm and there she was. The mystic in orange. In that quick moment that she gets my attention she looks at me dead in the eyes, with a firm but gentle look, and she says in a reassuring voice, “Hang on tight. Don’t let go. It’ll be over.” I only remember her and my meeting with her an hour after I’ve been roughly jolted from my sleep at 6 in the morning. I don’t know where she comes from, who she is, or why she’s even in my dream.

I’ve been having dreams about him for the past 4 days. But each day the dream feels more and more real. This last one I can feel how he feels, feel the touch of his skin. I remember clearly his voice. And his smell. It’s so distinct I can clearly remember how it brings up memories of days long gone. It was real. I was there. The whole experience was like something I was actually living. It was his touch that freaked me out. How I can feel his skin. The whole dream was surreal, and unnerving. I thought I was making progress. I thought I was moving forward. But this feels like a major step back for me. A major blow to what little progress I was making in moving on with my life.

There are so many things I wish I could have done, so many things I wish I could’ve said. But there’s no turning back. Closure, they say, helps a person heal. Forgiveness, they say, is an important step to moving forward. That, you can’t really be over that person, that situation, if you can’t learn to forgive them in your own heart. Once you’ve forgiven them then you will find peace within yourself. But, how do you forgive the person whom you trusted the most but breaks it the worst? You give them your heart and your whole and they give it back to you in pieces. The worse part is that you crumble into a million pieces never to be the same person again. I know after this I have a much harder time trusting people, even the ones who are close to me already. There’s no guarantee they won’t leave me or hurt me like they did. And the saddest thing is I know I will not love again the same way. There will always be the hesitation. Always guarded. Always wondering if I’m setting myself up for heartache.

Forgiveness needs to happen. But only in due time. The heart still needs time to heal. Not enough time has gone by. Nor has it gone fast enough. In the end the only person you can trust, the only one you can truly depend on, is yourself.

Now, I just go to bed and sleep. I’m afraid, in all honesty. I can’t take a fifth night it in a row screaming and crying from a vivid dream with him. I’ve been trying to stay awake. I can’t fight the tiredness anymore. I wonder how he’s doing. I wonder if I’ll ever survive this. Time to cry myself to sleep. In the end, I am alone.


One thought on “Night Terrors

  1. Pingback: Actions speak louder. Cliche but so true! | The Hempstead Man

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