To Donkey’s New Girlfriend:
So I see you’re FaceBook official. I’ve heard you’ve spent the night in his home, with the children present. It must be serious. It’s time, then, for us to have a little chat.
I know what you are going to suffer. You’ve waded into the water and found it pleasant, tepid, refreshing. You’ll walk deeper and deeper until you can no longer touch bottom or see the shore. You will trust the water to float you. Lurking underneath is the rip tide. It will snatch you. Pull you under. Drown you.
I know what you are going to suffer, but I cannot warn you. You won’t hear the warning, even blasting at full volume with closed-captioning. I know because I was warned. I threw those warnings to the side. I ignored the red flags. I ventured forward with a man who was not who he presented. So did Sarah. So did Leigh. As will you.
I know what you are going to suffer, and it won’t be pretty. You will lose your voice, your autonomy, your friends and family, and your life. You may even actually lose your life. A rage cannot be stopped with tears, with begging, with apologies, with broken doorways or broken bones. A rage cannot be stopped.
I suffered degradation, humiliation, and manipulation. I suffered when he yelled, when he lied, when he was silent. I suffered when he threw objects at me – remotes, books, chairs. I suffered when he threw me – into the wall, through a door, out of his heart.
I know what you are going to suffer. In a couple of years, so will you. By then the damage will be nearly irreversible. By then the regret will hold you to the past. By then the pain will be unbearable. By then your mind, your body, and your well-being will unrecognizable.
I know what you are going to suffer – fear. It’s the fear, all real, but not tangible. Accusations will accrue. Disrespect is denounced and doubles with each deficiency.
He probably seems quite the catch. He’s ten years your senior, established. He has a Master Degree. He works out, and tans. He says he’s well employed, and spends money like he is. He wears an expensive watch, and labeled clothes. He regales you with tales of adventures past, and evokes your empathy with tales of scorns past.
He probably seems quite the catch. You have become the center of his world. You are his soul-mate. The one who understands him like no on else ever has. He is devoted to how good you are for him. You are his perfect match. You complete him.
He probably seems quite the catch. He goes out of his way to spend time with you. He wants to go to the store with you. To the beach with you. To Disney with you. He is there, with you, always. You are his fresh air. He is there for every free moment. Always there. Always.
He probably seems quite the catch. He is a full-time father, and you a full-time mother, and he seems to understand the trials of doing twice the work with half the recognition. He praises you for surviving single-parenthood for so long all on your own. There is condensation in his compliment, contriving captivity.
He is no catch. He is no man. He plays the victim of a vindictive ex-wife who tried to take his children and run away. Did he tell you I accused him of violent abuse. Did he tell you he did it? Did he tell you I deserved it? Do you know you will too?
It’s not all bad. There will be moments when he will return to the kindness he relied on to tempt you, to take you. He will apologize, beg your forgiveness. He never wanted to do that again. He only wanted your complete devotion. Complete. Devotion.
It’s not all bad. Your demise will serve me well. When you see the light, and you will, and run, and you will, your accusations of abuse will corroborate mine. Perhaps you will not repeat my mistakes, and actually call the police when he attacks you. That police report will serve me well. It will serve you well too. You’ll need that for the order of protection.
It’s not all bad. He who doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.