It was a crisp fall day. My best friend and I were sitting out on the basketball court watching my new next-door neighbors play a little one-on-one. That is when I noticed him. I mean REALLY noticed him. I turned to my friend and declared, “I’m going to marry that guy someday.” She looked and me and retorted, “What if he wants me instead?” I fired back, “What would he want a flat-chested little bitch like you for when he can have me?”
To this day, I still have no idea what it was about him that I was so drawn to. But somehow I just knew I was going to marry that guy.
When I was thirteen, my mom and I would babysit my younger cousins. Our new next-door neighbors would bring over clothes that their kids had outgrown for my cousins.
One day when I was sitting at the bus stop on my way to school when A approached me and introduced himself. Then he left for his English class. It was a game of cat and mouse over the next few months until my fourteenth birthday. I was standing outside in the freezing cold with my new pet iguana perched on my chest. I was waiting for my mother to come home. Just then, A was coming home. He stopped to talk to me for a minute before going inside. He was interested in my new pet, and a little shocked to see that green lizard perched so contently on my chest.
It was Christmas day when I decided I wanted to be nice and thank A and his cousins for the clothes they gave my little cousins. So I bought a card in Spanish and a single yellow rose. I tucked it carefully into A’s newspaper box, knocked on the door, and ran inside.
Later that night A came and knocked on my door. I stepped out into the cold December night, and he handed me a letter along with an amethyst necklace with a little man hugging the stone. Then he left and went to a party.
I went inside and read the letter. It read:
“Dearest Clara, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”
On that letter, A had drawn a picture of God’s hands putting a broken heart back together. On the bottom of the page was a rose with a scroll. Inside the scroll, it read, “I love you.”
Enamored by A’s declaration of love for me, I waited up for him to come home. When he did, I could hardly speak. So I handed him a little pink teddy bear holding a heart that said, “I love you.” He kissed me, then went inside.
The next day we were outside talking. A kept asking me to come to his room. When I told him “no”, he got angry and told me he was going to Lollipops, which was an under-age strip club. That was the first red-flag that I didn’t see.
Over the next several months, A would repeatedly break up with me, just to come back drunk or high on cocaine and beg me to take him back. Like a naïve and foolish little girl, I did. That was the second red-flag that I just didn’t see.
Over the next couple of weeks, A continued pressuring me for sex until I broke and gave in.
One time while having sex, A had the audacity to tell me that he was imagining me as his ex. The one who gave him blow jobs. The one he wanted to marry. I was crushed. Yet, I did nothing. I stuffed the hurt deep down inside and ignored yet another burning red flag.
Fast forward to our first Valentine’s day together. A wanted to spend the night with me. ALONE. He and my mother agreed that he would pay her $100 to let him spend the night with me, ALONE. One more flaming red flag that I stuffed down and ignored.
The pattern of break-up-and-make-up continued throughout our entire twisted relationship.