true heart break didn’t happen till I was 21 years old. Sure, I’d been dumped before. But I’d never had my heart broken. You had to actually be in love with the person in order for them to have that kind of control over you.
And that is what love gives people. It gives people the chance to hurt you, the chance to control you. Don’t believe me? Read my story.
I was 19 years old, fresh out of rehab for a heroin addiction that had nearly killed me. I’d just moved into an apartment with some friends I made from the halfway house I had been staying at in the months following rehab. I’d gotten a job working at the local target a few months before I went to rehab, and they were happy to see me back. I was doing well in my community college classes, and overall was a very happy person.
I was also reconnecting with old, non-druggie, friends, trying to get back some semblance of a normal life. That’s why I was ecstatic when I heard from Miranda (name changed to protect privacy). We’d been best friends since 8th grade until I moved the middle of my sophomore year of high school. We tried to keep in touch, but this was back in the day before myspace and facebook took over the world, so we lost touch.
I also went back to the church I’d attended as a kid with my parents. I’d made some friends before everything went to hell, and I was eager to reconnect with them. I was hoping they would be a bit more accepting of me than my other friends had. I didn’t tell many people outside of church what I had been up to over the last few months, but those I did tell reacted poorly, not calling me back and even going so far as to tell my other friends what I had been doing. I could understand it, but it hurt just the same.
The people at church were more forgiving, and I fell back in with Samantha quickly. She’d met someone, and they were going to get married that April. She was younger than I was and so was he, so I was apprehensive at first. Neither of them had any money, and I’d seen what happened to couples who got married young, especially if money had been an issue. She assured me that it would work out though, so I dropped it. I didn’t want to pry, and it was her decision to make.
A few weeks later, I would meet Robert, a friend of Miranda’s. I’d known Robert back in high school before I moved, but we’d never really became friends. He just hung out with us because he had a huge crush on Miranda. They had dated for a while after I left, but nothing ever came of it. We started talking back and forth, and soon I felt the need to make sure Miranda was going to be okay if things went anywhere with Robert. She promised me it wasn’t a problem, that she had invited him that day a few weeks back just so we could meet.
Our “courtship” went rather slow. Robert was very religious, and at the time so was I, so he was very up front that nothing sexual was going to happen between us unless we were married. He didn’t even kiss me until we’d been dating for three months, and even then it was only because I kissed him first. I thought I was in love. The first year of our relationship was nothing short of wonderful. He respected me, he supported me in my goals, and he even got me a promise ring on our one year anniversary.
Then something changed. Samantha had married Michael and all but disappeared for three months. Miranda was having problems with her boyfriend, so I didn’t really want to be around her, mostly because all she would ever talk about was the last argument she’d had with James. It was depressing to be around, and we just drifted apart. But then they both came back into my life with a vengeance. Samantha felt bad about abandoning me, and Miranda and James were in a better place, so we all started hanging out.
That’s when the problems started. Robert and Miranda were very close friends, and him and Samantha bonded quickly as well. I would come to find out that this is when he had started sleeping with both of them. We’d have arguments that would go on for hours, and I couldn’t figure out why we were arguing. He was calling less and less frequently, then I would find out through friends that he had been hanging out with Samantha, Miranda, and their significant others. Without me.
So naturally, I started to not trust him. I was only 20 years old, and this was the first person I ever really cared about. I’m not proud of what I did, but I understand it. He would later say this is one of the reason’s he broke up with me, but I know now that he was just tired of having to be so careful all the time. Eventually, we would break up more than half a dozen times.
Obviously, my relationships with Miranda and Samantha deteriorated quickly. If I was upset with Robert, I was absolutely furious with them. How could they leave me out of everything, even if they knew Robert and I were having problems? I know NOW, but back then, I was really frustrated. I didn’t understand why I was losing my two best friends, and it hurt.
On the plus side, I got a full-time job which helped me to be more independent, and I was making other friends in college, so at least I had a life outside of Robert, Samantha, and Miranda. It would be the only thing that kept me sane in the end.
Fast forward to May 2006. I was preparing for finals and working, with barely any time for a social life. I hadn’t seen Robert in a few days, so I stopped by his apartment on my way home from work. We ended up getting in another argument, so I left. I was exhausted and didn’t have the energy to even think about arguing with him, so I left before it could blow up. Again. Little did I know that I had left my work schedule for the week with him.
I didn’t hear from him for two days. I figured that if he hadn’t called me by the end of my shift, I was going to call him. This was getting out of hand, and I was tired. I was going to break up with him, I decided. He had grown more distant as time had gone on, and I was just done. I didn’t want to have to deal with it anymore. I wasn’t even speaking to Miranda and Samantha, and I wished I wasn’t on speaking terms with Robert. It was then that I knew we were done. He would just make things easier for me.
As I’m walking to the break area at work, I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket, a text message. Its from Robert:
“Don’t call me, text me, or email me. Don’t come over. I don’t ever want to hear from you again.”
Needless to say, the next ten minutes were hell. I was in the middle of my shift. I was already in trouble for taking too many sick days, so I couldn’t afford to go home.
But I couldn’t get up off the floor of the break room, and there was no end in sight for the sobs. I had mascara running down my face, and I couldn’t get my body to stop shaking. I was having trouble breathing, and it felt like the room was spinning. My shift leader for the day said I had just passed out when she walked into the break room looking for me. I’d forgotten my soda and she knew I was planning on taking aspirin for a headache, so she was bringing it to me.
She let me stay in the break room for the rest of my shift, then insisted that she and her roommate drive me home. I called my sponsor on the way home, begging her to meet me at home. She’d spend the next month and a half by my side, never letting me go anywhere alone. I lost my job and moved back in with my parents for a little while. I would find out later that this is when Robert started dating his first boyfriend, John.
I enrolled in classes again for the following Fall, thinking that the worst was over. My heart had shattered that day, but I did what he asked. I deleted his number from my phone, his email address from my contact list, and his IM SN from AIM. I never went over, except to drop off the things he’d given me, and even then I did it when I knew he wouldn’t be home. It was a slow and painful process, but I was healing. I spent more time crying than not, but I went out with friends and got on with my life. I put on a smile, because I knew that eventually I was going to be okay.
Or so I thought.
Even though I’d deleted his number, I still remembered it, so when it showed up on my cell phone on that September evening, I answered. He asked me to come over, and I agreed.
I walked over to the door and knocked. He told me to come in. Just as I pushed the door open, he yelled, “It’s all your fault!” and pulled the trigger of the gun he had aimed at his head. He didn’t miss, though I was praying he did while I dragged myself over to him.
His neighbors called the police when they heard the gun shot. The cops said I was curled protectively over his torso and would scream at them to back away every time they got close. Finally, I passed out and they were able to get to me off him.
The next thing I remember is waking up in my old dealer’s house, a line of heroin waiting for me on the table. It was two weeks after Robert had killed himself. They’d taken me to the hospital, but then released me into my old dealer’s care, saying that it was the only number I would give them to call. How I even remembered the number is a mystery to me. I ran out of Jayme’s house and ran all the way home, a solid six miles, half of it uphill.
I don’t remember what happened in those two weeks. Robert’s mom says she asked me to do the eulogy and I apparently told her to go to hell. Jayme would later tell me that I’d been at his house for two days at that point. I didn’t even go to the funeral. My mom says Miranda and Samantha tried to call, but she couldn’t find me. She’d reported me as missing when I didn’t come home for three days. She never even thought to call Jayme, I’d been clean for so long.
Miranda and Samantha would blame me for Robert’s death. His mom would try to convince me it wasn’t, but I was spiraling out of control. I checked myself into rehab this time, not even waiting for my mom to tell me I had to. I’d only stay for four weeks, but I knew I wasn’t going to use again. My family deserved better, and I wasn’t going to hurt Robert’s mom further by sending myself to an early grave.
I don’t know that I’ve ever recovered. I don’t think you ever recover from something like that. But I’ve learned to deal with the pain, or I’ve grown strong enough to where it doesn’t have the same power over me. I don’t talk about it often, simply because its behind me. Its a part of my past, and I don’t like dwelling on it. Part of that is because of the first few months after his death, and how I reacted. I lost contact with all my friends, did poorly in school, and withdrew into myself. I would spend hours crying, barely eating anything.
A year later, my dad would get non-hodgkins lymphoma, and I would have to be strong for him. I had to take him to his chemo appointments every week, and I think that had a lot to do with why I’m able to talk about it now. I had other problems to focus on, so I had to put my issues aside for the moment.
I’m not angry anymore.