My first Thanksgiving break at UB. Our last face-to-face reunion.
I was a bit nervous going in. Joseph assured me that it would be fine. And if I felt scared or unsafe, he was entirely reachable. Taken aback, but….happy. Yes, happy. No one was ever looking to stand for me like that. Everyone always just assumed that I could take care of myself, no need for assistance. It was nice to feel human. Nice to have someone realize that even I could not deal with some of life’s great challenges. I felt so safe, safest I had ever felt.
He asked about shopping that Sunday for the week. Confused, I reminded him that I must leave Sunday morning. I still had classes, and finals to take.
That face. He had no intention of having me leave.
Thankfully, Arthur was kind enough to venture 45 minutes out of his way to come get me. The relief I experienced when I saw his headlights beam across the driveway….
Very little conversation after that. A phone call every few weeks, demanding money he felt he was owed. Threatening my cats, Mama, myself.
Last time I heard his voice. June 2013. Threatening, as per usual. About my cats. I was distant the whole time. I felt my ability to care for his anger slowly fade away. His threats held no value anymore. I was too far away for him to do anything to me now. Still frightened, but I had lost the ability to want to continue any communication after that day.
After that were Facebook messages. He had deleted Mama and I from his account, but he still managed to send a message every few months or so.
Happy Fat Tuesday!
A concerned message about Snowpocalypse ’14.
Despite the fact that I knew his threats carried no weight, I still went into panic mode when a simple message would come through, sometimes being so bad I became unresponsive, or worse, aggressive.
103rd year anniversary of the sinking today.
April 15th. Yes, indeed. The anniversary of the sinking. He recalled all of those years of aquarium visits, memorabilia collecting, and repetitive viewing of Titanic. The anniversary seemed to be more memorable than my own birthday, I suppose. Although, to me, it was sometimes more important than my birthday.
I acknowledge his message. Answer his inquiries about my cats and how I was. I let him go.
I felt….calm. No hyperventilating. No bursts of uncontrollable anger and panic. Just…peace.
Later that night, after spending an hour under the stars for my Astronomy class, I gulped in the air in triumph. I did not know then, but I had won. He had lost his grasp.
I had feared this day could never come. Feared that anxiety he had instilled in me would always remain. Feared I would remain broken, unlovable.
I thought he destroyed me.
But he didn’t.
Today, I have been smoothed over and made to glow. My edges defined. All together now, assorted pieces formed beautifully, cohesive not up close, but from afar.
I am mosaic, strong and beautiful.
I am mosaic. Hear me roar.