That Girl

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“Kristine? She sits over there in the corner by the windows.” It was just after lunch and I had been sitting at my desk when I happened to notice, out of the corner of my eye, coworkers on the other side of the office pointing in my direction.

“Oh I see, you guys put the minorities all the way in the back corner,” followed by laughter. It was a voice I’d become familiar with over the past 3 months. He had that unmistakable deep, booming voice with the west Texas drawl. There he appeared from around one of the columns. He was smiling that handsome smile of his, dressed in jeans, his leather riding jacket, and a blue bandana wrapped around his head.

“Baby,” I said. It came out of my mouth almost instictively, completely forgetting that my coworkers were nearby. “What are you doing here?”

“Well,” he said, giving me a big hug. “I heard there was some holiday that everyone was making a big deal about. Valentine’s day or something?”

And with that, he reached into his jacket and pulled out a pink envelope and a brown teddy bear with a heart attached to its chest. “Awww, honey…” I said, totally and completely surprised.

My coworkers, who had stopped what they were doing to watch, chimed in and started doing their ironic clapping. “Oh stop it!” Brian said, waving them away. I couldn’t stop giggling. Had I been able to show any level of blushing, I probably would have been bright red. In all my life, I’ve never been surprised the way he surprised me that day. That afternoon I became that woman in the office who’s boyfriend paid a surprise visit to her at work bearing Valentine’s gifts. Before meeting him, I didn’t have any notable romantic stories to share with my girl friends. No tales of butterflies, of arguments, laughter, passionate makeup kisses, and surprises like this one. But here I was, and I’ve lived through all of it in the past 3 months.

The teddy bear smelled like him, he said. He had sprayed some of his favorite cologne on it so I brought it up to my nose and I sniffed it. Yes, it smelled exactly like him–cool and masculine. I smiled up at him, “Thank you,” I said, kissing him, totally not caring that my coworkers were still there. “I love it.”

I did. I loved it. I love him. And he loves me.

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So I wanted to let some time pass before I wrote this. I really don’t know how you can treat people the way you do. You act as if you’re entitled to be respected and adored, yet sometimes you hadn’t even earned that right.

I could never figure that out about you, why you think that way.

I let you into my life. I wanted to love you, but after a while I realized I couldn’t. I didn’t want to give up on you, but I had to because you had already given up on me.

In your best moments, you were a beautiful, caring, sensitive individual. You gave your best, and so you expected the best in return. You kiss passionately, love tenderly, and laugh heartily. But at your worst, you are condescending, self-centered, impatient, and mean.

You hurt me emotionally and physically. You bit me, you grabbed me, you left your mark wherever you could. The bruises that formed went deep into my soul. And when I complained, you disregarded it because you thought it was nothing. Everything was about you. How you felt, what you thought.

You called me names. You laughed at me, said I was emotionless, dumb, and dense. That I was in my own little world. You called me a whore, a bitch, and a trick. You thought I was forgetful, that I never listened.

And me?

At my best I was loving, funny, and sweet. I touched you gently, accepted your kisses and your body willingly. I cared for you, kept you warm. I wanted to heal you and make everything better.

At my worst, I was lazy, sloppy, absent-minded, and aloof. I called you dumb, told you to shut up, said you were a pain in the ass, a baby and a complete asshole. At times I shut you out, wanted to pretend you weren’t there or weren’t talking.

They say hindsight is always 20/20. What I realized was I couldn’t let you in any further than I already had. I couldn’t trust you with my heart anymore. I never confided in you because I could never tell which side of you I was going to get that day. I never spoke, because I was always cautious. But nevertheless, I hope you find whatever happiness it is you’re looking for.

You’ll probably never read this because you can’t stand to confront reality. You long for the past, live for today, and only think about tomorrow when it comes.

The Occasional Words and Photos from Kristine macabare