I woke up two days later in Jax’s room, alone and emotionally hung over. I felt like I was waking up from a bad dream except the shock and adrenaline didn’t go away. In fact, they were just getting started. I wasn’t going to relax and settle back into reality. I was already there.
Besides the breakup, and the stint at the Golden Gate Bridge, it had been a very colorful few days.
After begging and begging, I had eventually worn Justine down. She agreed to give it one more chance, stop seeing the rock dude, and go to therapy with me.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, I like to think of myself as an exceptionally talented human being. I had pulled off the impossible. However, I couldn’t let it go at that. I said “ You mean it?” over and over, which may sound cute, and I know it sure felt cute in the moment. The excited boyfriend, overcome with joy, in disbelief, bouncing on the bed.
But after I said it for the twentieth time, something snapped Justine back to reality. I wasn’t cute, I was crazy, and an asshole. I had worn her down again: she no longer meant it.
You can imagine what happened next— the usual, i.e., sobbing, pleading, cowering, yadda yadda.
Justine left for her mother’s house at some point, and I found myself sitting in the truck that evening, rocking slightly and listening to static, the official soundtrack of the end of the world. Something about it was soothing; it matched my insides, in the same way dubstep music matched the insanity of my days of addiction and alcoholism.
“Ping!” My phone had a new text message. It was likely one of the friends I’d been talking to, but every time it dinged I thought it was Justine, with a change of heart. She had come to her senses! I was the world to her!
Rats, foiled again. It was just one of our closest friends, Chelsea, who I hadn’t heard from in months.
“You were right,” her text read.
“I was right about what?” I replied.
“Everything, he’s abusive. Emotionally, physically, I can’t do this anymore. I’m done. I need your help.”
We hadn’t seen Chelsea in months. We met her early on in our polyamory, when we were still dating people together as “Team Justine”.
She is a beautiful, sweet, incredibly intelligent woman, who popped into our lives at the right time. We loved her, and had developed a really strong connection. We knew her dreams, her fears, her flaws, and knew she was a member of our tribe. When her new boyfriend Jeff came around, and they decided to be monogamous, we were so happy for them.
Jeff seemed like a good catch on paper. He was a passionate animal rights activist and environmentalist, a vegan, marathon running musician. However, it turned out he had several tiny issues. For instance, he decided we could no longer be friends with Chelsea.
Maybe my shadow recognized his at the time, but it was then that I told Chelsea my prediction.
“This man is going to isolate you, control you, and hurt you. Call me when you need me, I will be there.”
We met down the street from her house, and went over a game plan.
When we got to her house, the move was in full swing. Jeff had thoughtfully brought his new girlfriend, and one of her friends, and they were moving things out into an aged blue station wagon.
He said, “Hey Chelsea,” like good old neighbor Jeff, then nodded at me and said “Sam.”
Chelsea’s body language showed fear. Without saying anything, she locked herself in her room, leaving me in the common room to watch Jeff and the two girls haul his life away.
An hour later I asked Jeff if he could wrap things up and finish moving another day.
“You have no idea what’s going on Sam. Okay?”
Jeff had no idea what was going on: it would have been so therapeutic to toss him down the stairs. I’ve been to jail once before, so I knew that tonight I probably wasn’t remotely well enough to be in jail.
“Jeff, I’m not here to judge you.”
Shouting came from Chelsea’s room. “WHY ARE YOU BEING NICE TO HIM!”
She then came barreling out of her room, rattling off times he had abused her. I held her back, why he listened stoically, like Dexter Morgan. I could see the two other women had been primed for this, and they smirked too, like “Wow, she really is crazy.”
We went back to her room. I asked if she was wanted to file a police report. She didn’t. So I went back out and helped Jeff bring the last of his things to the station wagon.
I knocked on her bedroom door.
“Hey Chelsea, Jeff is gone. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Thank you.”
“Okay, is it alright If I go home now?”
I turned and headed out, but before I could close the door behind me, locking myself out, something made me walk back to her bedroom and knock again.
“Can I come in?”
I walked in. Chelsea was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall, heavy-headed, chin resting on her chest. She looked up at me, with the sweetest smile, doe-eyed and said, “Hi.”
The floor was covered in empty pill bottles, with a few pills of different shapes scattered around.
It took me a second to put it all together, and when it clicked, all I could say was, “You didn’t seriously just do that did you?” Like, Why would you do this to me? I came to help you. Like be medium helpful.
Drowsy and slurring, she said “Yeah, I’m sorry. We should probably get me to a hospital.”
So I helped her to her feet, and off we went.