Posted by: bourbonmama | 22/04/2009

WBW # 15: The Big Ex, part 2

continued from here.

June 25, 2000, the beginning of the end. It was a Sunday, just like every other Sunday, Travis cooked dinner while I was at work and had it waiting on me when I walked in the door. This night was special. There were roses on the table, and the candles were lit. The smell of marinated steak wafted through the air. “Just in time,” he said with a grin on his face.
“What’s all this about?”
“Nothing. Just wanted to have a special night with the woman I love.”
Things had been rocky. I figured this was his way of making up. And what a fantastic way! I can still see the reflection of the candle flames in his deep brown eyes. I looked down at my hand and the diamonds sparkled yellow and gold. It was the most perfect night we’d ever had. So sweet and intimate. I never wanted it to end.
But, like all good things, it did. Travis woke up early to go to work, I barley noticed the swift kiss on my cheek before he ran out the door. I left for work later on that afternoon. All I could think about was the night before. I couldn’t take my mind off of Travis. I smoked my last cigarette on the way home and decided not to stop. I wanted to see him first, hold him, kiss him, tell him I loved him. I ran up the flight of stairs and put my key in the lock. Strange, the TV’s not on. I called for him as I walked into our apartment. No answer. Then I saw the legal pad propped up on our couch, it was spotlighted perfectly by the hanging lamp in the corner. He must have gone out for something, I thought to myself as I walked over to the couch. That note looked too long to say “be right back.” My hand was shaking as I reached out to grab the yellow pad. Something’s not right. He had left.

“…You deserve better. I do love you and want to spend my life with you. I think we need a break [we all know what that means]. I think it will be the best thing for us. I’m sorry if I hurt you. I will love you forever….”

My knees turned to jell-o, my heart pounded, my throat closed, I fell back on the couch and cried. Now I was pissed that I hadn’t stopped for cigarettes. Later that night, he calls, “Did you notice my note?”
“No, asshole, I missed it.” I hung up on him.

That night is a blur. I went to a girlfriend’s apartment and tried to drown the pain in alcohol, it didn’t work. I stayed with her that night, not wanting to run into Travis. Apparently he came home that night expecting me to be there. When I wasn’t, he called my parents house looking for me, at 2 am, drunk. I know, bright idea, huh? He said he was worried about me.
I came home later that morning. There was another note (the boy loved notes, what can I say?).

“…I am sorry for hurting you. I don’t want to break up. I just think we need a break from each other. Please, please call me. I don’t want you to be mad at me.”

I know, right? I had an appointment with a mechanic later on that day, so I had my dad follow me and hung out with my family all day. He had taken everything that was his and left all of my stuff. He said he would leave the phone and electric turned on for another week, but he packed up the phone (I have no idea how he expected me to call him without a phone to plug into the wall). The next week, we took his name off of our lease, switched the utilities over, and closed our joint bank account. We split the money down the middle, even though I made almost double what he did, go figure. When he dropped me off at my apartment that afternoon, he asked if I wanted to watch the fireworks together. I told him not to mess with my head, if he wanted to go on a date, we could. That was July 1st. He came to pick me up, brought me flowers, and held doors open for me. When he dropped me off, he asked if he could come in. He fell to his knees and wrapped his arms around my waist, resting his head against my stomach. He cried, real tears, begged me to let him come home, told me he had made the biggest mistake by leaving. Now, I had the power, the control. “You made your bed, Travis, now go lie in it. This was never my decision.”
I watched his red Honda Civic pull out from the parking space below the balcony feeling triumphant. He knew he’d done something incredibly stupid, and now he was hurting, too. Later on that week, my brother Jason called and asked me to come and live with him in Lexington. This was my family’s plan to get me away from Travis, making sure I didn’t get back together with him. I had until the end of the month to decide. He was coming down for Shellie’s wedding and I could just go home with him. When I told Travis a couple of days later, he said, “Maybe it’s the best thing for you.” (yes he did love to play mind games) I based my decision on his behavior. I was still completely centered around him. If he’d asked me to stay, I would have. I called Jason and told him I’d be coming home with him for a little while (I certainly never expected to stay for 9 years).
Every month on the 21st, we celebrated our anniversary (or monthiversary), I wanted to spend one last night with him, make it special. I asked him to come over and I’d make him dinner. He never showed, so crazy girl that I was, I go drive by where he was staying, his car’s out front, but when I call over there, his friend tells me he’s not there, he’s in Chattanooga.* I packed the last of my boxes aside from clothes for the next couple of weeks. I no longer had any reservations about leaving. There was nothing there for me anymore.
A few days later he calls and makes plans to have lunch that weekend. He’d love to see me once more before I leave. I should have said no, I don’t know why I said yes. I was a glutton for punishment. Of course he never showed. I call our friend, Steve, who (or is it whom? I never know) he was staying with and ask if Travis is there.
“No, honey, he’s out on a date.”
“A what?”
“A date, sweetie, didn’t he tell you?”
“Tell me what? We were supposed to have lunch together.”
“Honey, he’s been seeing someone else. I’m sorry for you to find out this way. I told him he needed to be honest with you.” This is when I lost it and turned into a psycho ex-girlfriend for a few hours. It was pouring down rain, I got in my car and drove over to Steve’s house. I sat outside waiting for them to show up. I had all the time in the world, he had to come back eventually. Steve came out with a big black umbrella. He told me to go home. He was not going to have me get in a fight with Travis in front of his house.
“I don’t want to fight with him, I want to talk to him. He owes me that much!”
“Yes he does, but you can’t force him to give you an explanation. I already called him and told him not to come back until I said it was cool. If you don’t leave, honey, I’m going to have to call the cops. I don’t want to, but you need to go home and cool off. I’ll give you a few minutes.” He turned around and walked back to his house. I watched him disappear behind the door. I lied my head on my steering wheel and cried (I did a lot of crying that month). A couple minutes later, I looked up and Steve was peeking at me from behind the curtains. I started my car and drove home. I never saw Steve again, but I am so grateful for his kindness. He knew what I needed to hear and was a true friend, even though I didn’t see it at the time. July 28, 2000, Shellie got married. The next day, I loaded what I could in my ’85 Ford Escort hatchback, and put the rest in my parents garage for safe keeping. I said good-bye to my family. I filled up my tank and drove the five hour drive from Johnson City to Lexington, never looking back.

Yes, there is just one more part to this story. Next week, you’ll get the epilogue. I hope the suspense is worth it.

*I found out later, he’d gone to meet his new girlfriend’s parents. Yes that was fast, I think she was around long before I was gone.


  1. Oh wow. Is it bad that I find this story captivating? It’s almost like fiction, but sadly it’s not. I know all too well the damage of an abusive relationship….

  2. I hate waiting!!!!!

  3. Yaya–Captivating is totaly what I was going for! And, yes, my life is stranger than fiction.

    Shelli–The suspense is half the fun!

  4. wow. i love this. very powerful stuff.

  5. i love your first response, “no, asshole!” about getting his note!

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