By Joylissa LeFleur
I forgot what it felt like to have peace in my home. Constantly anticipating his unwarranted jealousy, inexplicable insecurities, and unpredictable outbursts of rage, I tiptoed around him daily hoping nothing set him off.
I forgot what it was to look at him with warmth, lust, and love. Instead I gazed at him in confusion, agitation, and fear. Who was this man I slept next to each night? This moody, brooding being who was definitely not the same charming, affectionate person I started dating a few months back.
I forgot that, at one point I thought I wanted to spend my life with him. We would get married, raise children, work, retire, love, honor, and cherish each other for the next 50+ years. Now, I knew that I definitely wanted to leave. I had to go.
I couldn't, wouldn't deal with the ongoing accusations of being unfaithful. The constant questioning about where I was going, where I'd been, who I'd been with. Interrogating me like he was a seasoned detective and I was a stupid suspect he just knew was guilty. Going through my phone and my email trying to catch me cheating, even though I wasn't. I refused to continue to allow him to lie to my face about what he had and hadn't done to me, to others, to my personal belongings. I wasn’t crazy and I wouldn't let him make me think I was. I refused to exist in a perpetual state of discomfort to ensure his comfort. I refused to change into some diluted, picked apart version of myself and climb into a box he created for my life just to cater to his ego.
I loved him, but I loved me more.
I had to leave.
I had to live.
I remember the feeling of the gun muzzle pressed against my left temple. Fear swept over my body like an icy wind freezing me in place. HIs eyes were empty, hollow. It seemed like the words came from his eyes instead of his mouth. Those words I thought people only said in movies: “If I can't have you no one can.”
I remember him telling me to drop the phone. I opened my hand and watched my hopes of someone coming to save me fall to the floor. He said he was going to kill me then kill himself.
I remember thinking, “Oh my God; I'm going to die.”
Yet, somehow, I didn't.
I remember on the day I was certain a man who claimed to love me was going to kill me, that I lived. And that reminds me that every day there are women in similar situations who do not.
***October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you are someone you know is in an abusive relationship and needs help, please call 1.800.799.7233.***