f o r g i v e n e s s


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Today is one of those days. Those days where you just don’t care anymore. Where you just want to take one last drive alone down the Pacific Coast highway and launch yourself off a cliff at 150 mph into the end. Yeah, I’m having one of those days.

I just want to listen to sad songs and let the tears flow hard. I want to look at the photos of my bruised face from when he beat me up. I want to run my fingers over the scars that were left when I tried to escape from him while he was doing 40 mph in his El Camino. Or when he was so frustrated with me that all I remember is crying, a bright stinging light and waking up several minutes later on the floor of our trailer under the kitchen table with a busted lip – only to crawl into the bed for rest and have him hold a gun to my head while he told me I could never leave him or he’d kill me. I lied to him the next day and said that I was going to go shopping with my mom so he’d leave. I packed up everything that was mine & loaded it up in my moms car and never went back. I saw him a few days later & he was a wreck. He begged me to come back, I wouldn’t. I can still see his face. I can still feel myself want to get into the car & leave with him. I was 17.

I found him after my husband moved out. He was at an old friend of ours house. He was homeless. He’d been living under a bridge in Sacramento. He makes monthly bus trips back (to see his PO) to our hometown (where I still live) and stays at that friends house. All his back teeth were missing. His clothes were filthy. He was still using. Apparently his little brother (little J) went missing after the two of them had an argument. Three years passed and he was finally found. He’d hung himself from a tree in the Canyon here and had been there for those 3 years. He (big J) ended up losing his job, then his house, then he lost his sole custody of his daughter. Falling prey to the addiction didn’t end when I left him when I was 17 like mine seemed to.

His new life was a stark difference from the way he had grown up. He came from a family that had alot of money. They lived up in the hills, amongst the very upscale private golf course. Just steps from the Country Club. His Dad had a big black Rolls Royce. They traveled all over. Had homes all over. But not a one of them was genuinely happy. Ever.

After we reconnected, we kept in touch over the phone on just about a weekly basis. We talked about old times alot. We sorted out the domestic violence. We buried the hatchet on pretty much every bad memory we each hung onto. He admitted that he still loved me and never stopped loving me and he flat out said he wants me back. I had already sensed that stuff coming. I just knew. I told him he needed to take care of much more important things in his life right now. For one, having a stable place to live sans drugs. He needed a job, a vehicle, to start seeing his daughter, to clear up all his legal stuff. But most important was he needed to quit using. I made sure he knew I wouldn’t end up on his arm even as just a friend if he didn’t snap out of it.

Then he disappeared. I called all over the place looking for him on his birthday. He was just … gone. No one saw him. No one knew where he was.

Then last week…he calls. Eight months he’d been missing. I was relieved that he was safe, but curious as to where the heck he went. He told me that my encouragement & support & nonjudgmental honesty made him stop & look at his life and where he was heading. He said that he decided to get clean & checked himself into a 13 month live-in program and that this had been the longest he’d been clean since we were together 16 years ago. I’m proud of him. I wish everyone had someone that supported them the way I did for him. It feels good to know he’s getting healthy & that maybe he’ll get his life back on the right path. It feels good knowing I changed his life for the positive.

It’s strange how I can forgive & forget. He’s the same person that wanted to kill me at one point. And here I’m helping save his life.

Today is no longer one of those days. I feel pretty good now knowing he’s out there somewhere being productive and healthy and that soon his daughter will have her Daddy back in her life.