Once, during a conversation with an abusive ex, he looked at me and said, “What happened to us?” Within the year that we had gotten back together, he was reflecting and thinking aloud on what had broken us up for an extended time before. At first, his question left me speechless because I realized in that moment that he had forgotten the things that previously broke us apart. And, perhaps, he had forgotten the things that were keeping us together. For example:
He had forgotten the time that he called the police to have me put out of his house during an argument that he wanted to end; upon ensuring my safe departure, one of the officers said, “I believe you, and if I were you, I would leave and never come back.”
He forgot the time that he threw my things out of his front door because I wasn’t packing them up fast enough upon his demand to GET OUT.
He forgot the time that he slammed the door, and locked the door in my face after throwing my things out of the door onto the concrete roadway at his front door, while I was standing there, left to pick up those things.
He forgot that his weapon of choice was almost always the telephone and, in particular, the block feature.
He forgot the many times he hated me as if I were his worst enemy in one breath, and then said he loved me in the next.
He forgot the many times he threw us away, as if our relationship meant absolutely nothing to him; by the next day he would call to see if I was “okay” and to say “I’m sorry.”
And, he forgot that the most important thing in his life was hanging out (drinking, and smoking); being with me came after he did all those things, and often to the point of complete oblivion.
He forgot the time that we went to the store and he was pacing, fuming, and finally yelling at me in front of the salesperson that he was ready to go; according to him, my transaction was taking too long.
He forgot about the many times that he came over to “see me,” and he pretty much passed out within an hour of being there.
He forgot the time that he hung up on me when I was telling him about the nail in my tire and that I was potentially facing a flat tire or the need for a brand new tire.
He forgot the time that he accused me of sleeping with one of his cigar buddies who I didn’t even know or care to know.
He forgot the time that he was so drunk and boasting to his buddies – with me in his presence – that he didn’t care about those b****** ( referring to the women who had just left a local establishment), and that he was, proudly, “a player.”
He forgot the time that he walked out of my apartment in his underwear because he got mad at something I said (and I have the pictures to prove it).
He forgot the times (plural) that he walked into my apartment, yelling, that if anyone had anything to say about any noise coming from my apartment to come and talk to him (WTF?).
He forgot that out of nowhere on a trip he accused me of wanting to sleep with the housekeeping staff at the hotel where we were staying, because they kept knocking on the door (to check on our need for cleaning services).
He forgot – during that trip – he said (via text from a bar) that he had taken the car and was half way back home without me.
He forgot when he used to say, “Don’t let anybody mind f*** you,” but he tried to mind f*** just about everybody he came in contact with.
He forgot that when I needed to go to the emergency room he was too tired on his day off to get up out of his bed and drive me to the hospital.
He forgot the times that I dropped what I was doing to come and help him, including the time that he had a flat tire; and for the time that he was too drunk to drive home on his own (actually, for that, I was glad).
He forgot – on the day of a recent outpatient surgical procedure – that he didn’t even bother to come over or call me before he went to hang out, smoke and drink with his buddies. And that night his phone died, so he did not – allegedly he could not – show up til five o’clock PM, the next day.
He forgot the many times that he spewed and condoned hateful words and contempt for black women, and thus for me as a black woman on a regular basis (he also harbors hate for many others, but he doesn’t dare say it outloud in public).
On the other hand,
He must have forgotten the time that he said to me, “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”
He forgot the time that he took “full responsibility” for the breakup of our relationship.
He forgot that he said “I love you” at least twice a day.
He forgot the time that together we made it through, able to walk away unharmed – for the most part – from a devastating hit and run accident.
I suppose he forgot that he said he didn’t want any other woman in his life, but me.
He forgot that he said we were perfect for each other.
He forgot that he said that he would always be there for me.
He forgot how much he seemed to beam with love when we were out together.
He forgot that we used to make each other smile and laugh from deep within.
He forgot that when we reconciled, after quite a bit of time apart, he said that he would never hurt me again.
He forgot the many, many times he said “I am sorry” for hurting me.
He forgot that he said that the way that people break up says a lot about the kind of relationship they had.
He forgot that he said to me that the relationship would take care of itself; I was never quite sure what that meant for him.
He forgot that he would call to say he missed me when he lived just three blocks away.
I guess he forgot that I would often wait for him for hours when I could have gone to sleep or gone on to do whatever I was doing – without him.
He forgot that when his phone was not operating properly that I would wake up at five in the morning to call him just so that he would not be late for work, and when I did not have to be up for another hour and a half.
He forgot that I loved him like no one I have ever met, and I told him that on a regular basis.
He forgot about all the food that I prepared, with love, so that he could have a good meal at work and plenty leftover at the end of the day.
He forgot that I often complemented him with words like “Hey handsome!” He rarely accepted those complements.
Apparently, he forgot that he turned and walked away from us when I – rightly – implied that he might not be there for me on the next big thing in my life.
While it is convenient for him to forget, I will not. I will remember everything that happened: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Perhaps the totality of these memories, and especially the painful ones, will keep me from accepting the future apologies that will come when he attempts to say “I am sorry” for the umpteenth time without meaning it and without doing anything to address and change his abusive behavior, which only becomes more complicated with each so-called apology.
Frankly, it is a relief that I don’t have to tolerate his madness and hatefulness any longer, yet I am saddened to know that he will be doing these very same things to the next woman who dares to love him. I’m sorry that she – and more likely it will be “they” since he actually prides himself on being “a player” – will be subjected to the anger and abuse that is controlling him and his relationships with women, and all because he has chosen to deny the reality of who he is deep-down under all the things and people he uses to try and cover it up.
He may choose to forget, and others – especially his so-called friends and associates – will both encourage and enable him to continue hurting black women and himself, but I will do my best to not forget: to recall and remember all the things that happened with us; and, because it would drive me insane and make me culpable to repeat and replay this horribly incredible emotional rollercoaster any longer.
There isn’t a cell in my body that hasn’t already told me that I deserve to have a better man and a better life. I know it, and so does he, which, I believe, is one of the reasons why he chooses not to remember.
© 2019 annalise fonza, Ph.D.