It was 3 o’clock in the morning when I was awaken by the sound of the key being placed in the lock and with the opening of the door, I heard Kevin walk into the kitchen. Assuming I was already asleep, as he often did lately after coming home from hanging out all night. Now I’m fully awake and decided to lie quietly and try and listen to what was going on in the other room. I could tell that Kevin had been drinking again because I could hear him slurring his words as he talked to himself while in the kitchen.
As I lay there I hear him coming, so I lie still and pretend to be asleep. But instead of Kevin coming to bed he passes our bedroom and walks down the hall to the spare room we both use as an office. In utter disbelief I hear Kevin pick up the phone receiver and dial a number, and almost don’t know if I should try to pick up the phone on my night stand to listen in or try to overhear him from down the hall. One problem, I realize that I can’t hear him over my heart pounding so I carefully pick up the phone receiver while pressing down the button with my other hand.
At that moment all of my suspicions were confirmed, my intuition and gut feelings that Kevin wasn’t being honest or faithful in this relationship were true. As painful as it was to hear, I couldn’t put the phone down, I had to listen; had to hear it with my own ears. There would be no denying or persuading me that “people were telling lies on him” this time.
As Kevin proceeded to sweet talk the other woman, pleading with her to meet him for another rendezvous, even saying how his unsuspecting fiancé was asleep and would never know.
My heart just sank. I reflected on how I had adored this man, how I had felt special because such a handsome and debonair man had chosen me. The thought of how I would fill up with pride as all eyes would be on us whenever we went out; thinking somehow we were the picture perfect couple. By now my thoughts were drowning out the conversation between Kevin and the woman on the other line, but I had heard enough.
What took only five minutes to break my heart would take a lifetime to heal the hurt. In that instance, I became painfully aware of what I needed to do next. All kinds of thoughts were running through my mind, should I say something and let them know that I was on the other line, should I put down the phone and storm into the other room and confront him or just simply hang up quietly, pretend to be asleep and confront him in the morning? Needless to say I laid there unable to sleep replaying what had just happened over and over in my mind.
Eventually it became to painful to try and hold it in. I couldn’t take it, couldn’t take the sight of him lying in the same bed next to me sound asleep anymore, so I woke Kevin up and confronted him with what I knew. After what seemed like several hours of him denying what I knew I had heard with my on ears, Kevin decides to try and flip the script, play blame the victim; a technique he had come to rely on in the past, but this time finally, I was not having it. As much as it hurt, I knew things could not go on this way. It would be impossible to pretend everything was okay, to continue to ignore the whispers and rumors about the man I loved.
It was time for a reality check. I knew on that beautiful spring morning, that it was time to move on. It was time for me to demand respect and love, just as I had always given it, and the only way to have any resemblance of self respect, I would have to walk out of that front door for the last time.
Since Kevin worked the afternoon shift I decided to go about the day as if last night didn’t happened. I went to work and waited for Kevin to leave at 2:00pm. Knowing he would not be expecting me to follow through on anything that I said earlier, since he was used to getting his way and I was always going along to get along.
But this time was different; my mind was made up, so much so that I even called my brothers to come help move me out of the apartment. While I was waiting on my brothers to show up with the moving van it became clear that this was the perfect time to reflect on Kevin’s and my relationship. I saw in hindsight all the warning signs that I ignored before. For instance, when he would choose to hang out with the guys playing poker and drinking beer every weekend instead of spending some of his weekends with me, or how he would always seem to be the one getting caught up in situations that would only happen to him and later have to explain to both the police and me.
It dawned on me that I had been making excuses and allowing this irresponsible behavior because I was afraid of what would happen; would I lose him, would he become angry and walk out; this time for good? Suddenly, I could hear my mother’s voice reminding me that she taught me better than this or my father’s voice saying “sweetheart you will have go through about a thousand guys before you find the right one”.
I remembered it like it was yesterday how I would be embarrassed when guys would come over and my father would give them the third degree asking “what are your intentions with my daughter?… or what do you want to do with your life”? What had before been minor irritations and old fashioned ideals turned out to be advice that should have been adhered to. They would now go in that box of “life lessons learned” hopefully to be recalled upon if I ever found myself in a similar situation. Eric and Mike pulled up in a moving truck instead of the van because it was the same price and they thought being a woman I might have more stuff than I anticipated to take with me and would need a bigger truck.
Eric asked was this it this time, because he had heard this all before, heard how I was tired of being disrespected and lied to or ignored only to make excuses and decide to stay in the relationship. Mike, being the more level headed of my brothers suggested that they would talk to Kevin when he came home before I decided to throw in the towel. But I had made up my mind; that this was the right decision and no matter what people was going to say, no matter how hard it was going to be to get used to being alone at night that I could not turn back now.
Knowing that if I had hesitated and tried to be rational about what I was about to do, I would talk myself out of it. It became clear that in order for me to survive and hold on to any shred of dignity I was going to have to deal with this huge hurt so that I could start the healing process. As Eric and Mike were loading up the truck, Kevin called and said he was coming home early because he had a hangover. Now they had to move quickly since we no longer had all day to pack up and move. Let me tell you it was the fastest I’ve ever seen my brother’s move. In fact, before Kevin had made it home they had packed up the truck, my car, and left with no hint of ever being there.
We even had time to stop by the market, buy some fresh fish and went to my mom’s house and started cooking, laughing and crying at the turn of events of that beautiful spring day. Back at the apartment, I left Kevin something to start his new journey as well… a lonely ironing board in the middle of the floor and the half eaten sandwich that he had left the night before.