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When Did You Know?

When did you know you weren’t the only one anymore?

Do you remember the first time you found out with confirmation of proof or the truth that you had been betrayed by the one you thought was yours? That he/she had cheated? That he/dared to touch, feel, taste another that wasn’t you? I do!

I was 18. He was the man I had been wanting and longing for as much as I could ever have at that young age. He told me he was in love with me, told me special things that aimed straight for my heart, special things that made me feel separated and above anyone else in his life. He made me feel... important.

It started out with suspicious behavior. Things he wouldn’t normally say or do, such as going to church with his friend Ryan. Ryan was by far a church boy, wearing clothes I said he looked great in, but clothes he claimed to hate. Being gone for hours at a time, ignoring all my calls. At this time we were trying to get pregnant—not smart at such a young age, this I know now. But I would give him anything. Anything he ever wanted, I would make sure that he would eventually have it, even if it meant sacrificing something for myself. The way he comforted me when I was sad, the electric spark when we kissed, the feel of his fingers entwined with mine. Everything is perfect, everything is just as God has intended it to be. And I am not a religious person but he has become my religion.

Me being the nosey girl, feeling the little devil of curiosity whispering in my ear, something was not right. Blonde hairs on his clothes, the taste on his lips, the smell on his skin. The hint of sweat not of his own, layered on top of his skin. And when I touched him, it was almost as if I could still feel her touching him. As if I was just the desperate woman collecting traces of their previous encounter.

I started asking his friends, who weren’t too clever with their words or rather didn’t care to be. No, they had other selfish intentions in mind. It wasn’t until Ryan came back to our home without Shaun. “Where is he? Where is Shaun?” I asked, already feeling sick because the answer was being unveiled before my eyes.

“He left with some friends,” Ryan replied.

But Shaun never went to church, how could he meet up with friends at a church. THINK THINK THINK ERIKA!

I called his cousin, who was in Orlando. He tried, but failed to reach Shaun as well. Finally at 2 AM he walked through the door to our room. He had been gone for 15 hours without even kissing me goodbye. The relief and the acid in my stomach were battling inside me. I was relieved to see him safe, to see he had returned to me, but sick because I already knew he wasn’t mine any longer.

I told him I knew he was with another girl all day, told him I was pregnant (even though I hadn’t taken a test yet), and I was leaving him and going to raise the baby on my own. He grabbed me and pleaded with me to stay. He tried to kiss me for hours, told me she meant nothing, that I was his... his everything. The sweetness of those words still cling to my memories to this day. I should have left that day like I had planned. I should have believed in myself harder. Why didn’t I go?! Why did I stay?! Was I not important enough?! Did I not matter enough to myself to save myself of what my future would become?! I knew it! As if I knew he was stabbing me and I kept letting him push the knife deeper and deeper into my heart until it almost killed me. Who knew that 12 years later, three children later, uncountable women later, and an intimate amount of damage from his physical and mental abuse, that I would be looking back stronger, but mortified wondering why. Why did I accept myself as worthless and him as worthy?

So now I say to you. I’ve been made a fool again by another. Two girlfriends at the same time who found out about each other by accident. And he says I’m his everything. Those words! “You’re my everything.” Almost like a warning screaming at me to not listen or else I’ll be damned! Thinking of falling in the same steps from the past. But no! This time... I'M WORTH IT! I'M GOOD ENOUGH! I'M STRONGER!

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When Did You Know?
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