September 24th is my Independence Day. Today marks the first anniversary of leaving you and being on my own. Miss me yet? I sometimes wonder if you do miss me, and maybe even feel remorse for how you treated me. Perhaps you only need the companionship of your partner. You two deserve each other. You didn’t realize that I knew those stories about your friends were false. One wasn’t even in the country. I figure it just stoked your ego, and I’d have pretended to believe you had you said you were Christ.
In a way you were my Jesus when I needed a savior. I would not have made it without you and your partner. You took me and my cats in when no one else would. You loaned the money to cremate my mother. You made me more happy than I have ever been. I am grateful to you forever for that, and in my weaker moments I wonder which of us is more the villain in this story. There is a part of me that will love you until the day I die and a part of me that despises you.
I am not the same cowering woman who fled from you last year. I am stronger and smarter than most would believe, let alone myself believed. I survived and thrived. I have my many dark moments, but I am alive and living alone. As it stands now, I never want to live with anyone again. In my own space, my mental flaws are my own and burden no one but myself. I never want to depend on anyone again. I already depend enough on the judgments of others to this day. I still absorb everything. Being in my own enclave helps. I can’t live up to my own standards, let alone anyone else’s. I am free.
September 24th, 2012, the day you throw me away, is a beautiful day. September, the month of loss. September 11th, 2001, the day America changed. September 13, 2011, the day my mother died. September 24, 2012, the day I lost you. I stayed the weekend with my best friend and am apprehensive that you again won’t answer the door like the previous day. I came to check on my cat, but you didn’t answer the door that Sunday for spite. But not today. Today your partner answers the door. I prepare for my departure. The social worker comes at 11 am to take me away to my new life. My plan is to grab what I can, set it on the terrace and hope to God I get out without incident. I go through the Game Boy bag I gave you and take my games, leaving your games and the bag, because I am not a thief. Then I grab my stuff from my bedroom and put it outside. In the kitchen, I grab my great grandmother’s pitcher and sit it outside. I don’t dare grab my mother’s footed dish she used during the holidays for cranberry sauce. Your partner commandeered it and is in his drag area holding some of his jewelry.
I am in the kitchen taking food I know is mine: drink packets and candy. I leave some of the candy for you, a final token of my esteem. You’ve been smoking a bowl and hold the smoke in your mouth to blow it into my hair as you come up behind me. If I have any self-respect it must have exited stage left, for I do not acknowledge what you did. “What are you doing?” you ask.
“I’m just getting ready to leave,” I say. “My social worker is coming at 11:00.”
When she comes, you slam the door in her face, saying that we have unfinished business.
You have me sit in the living room. Me on the couch by the floral floor lamp you decided to keep for your trouble while I was in the hospital and nursing home. Your reasoning, I didn’t ask for it while I was begging to come home. Your dog, the fawn pug, jumps in my lap, but I am too disconcerted and afraid to pet her. “You aren’t taking anything from this house until I get my $120.00. Lady, that’s the only reason you’re still here.”
“Talk to the social worker about it,” I say. What else could I do? I don’t have the $120, and they put me on Benefits Management, so you can’t milk me dry from that and the other money you say I owe. I honestly feel bad, but I gave you so much money here and there. You stole my netbook and my Nintendo DS too. And I pawned the netbook I now own, giving you $80.00, so I could watch you buy two whole rotisserie chickens for you to each have your own. I remember hoping this would soften your anger, but when I asked to sit out with you and him at the TV, you said, “I’d rather you didn’t.”
You tell me I can’t have my stuff until I sign a paper saying I will pay. I try to get away but you block the way to the door and your partner is blocking the hallway which leads to the kitchen and is also a way out. “OK, I’ll sign it out in the hall” (the hall outside in our building where my social worker is. Now that I am out there, I become braver even though I sign the paper the partner makes me sign (under duress). “ I gave you f’ing money all the time!”
“Lisa, I swear to God if you don’t stop yelling at me,” your partner menaces, but the social worker gets in front of me. I think your partner would be mean enough to hit me. And so I leave empty-handed, but you later call and say my stuff is on the terrace. I guess you didn’t want the law called on you and I would have to retrieve my mom and my cat. The other stuff, I love you too much to call over. You keep my great grandmother’s pitcher, an unmarked repaired thing from around 1900 that is of little value except spite value. I want my outdoor lounge chair, but you took all the chairs inside. My mom’s recipe book with her handwritten recipes is still on your book shelf, I forgot to grab it in the havoc. But my trash bagged clothes, my dolls, and my mom’s remains (the box put inside a laundry basket) are there, and I find my cat.
In December, I find some ornaments of you and your man. Fearing they were of sentimental value, I have someone drive me to your place and I put them at the front door. That night your partner calls and demands why I left them there and didn’t knock. Did he tell you about that, about him getting his mangina in a twist over my good deed?
One last thing, our vacation in D.C., I knew you inflated the price on our prestigious room at Motel 6. I knew you weren’t going to a play after 9 pm at night. Y’all ditched me to check out the sights, probably the vibrant gay district they have there. It’s cool, though I’d have enjoyed seeing it too. Everything was exotic. I paid $250.00 to sit half the time in the room and dog sit.
One last, last thing…Maybe if you told your partner all the stuff you told me about him to make me like you exclusively, we might have been friends. You told me it was drugs that made him want to be admitted to the hospital, not pneumonia. You knew I would dislike him for that while my mother still lay in the morgue below. You take the cake at what psychology calls ‘splitting.’
OK, there. I said it all that needed to be said. For the things I did wrong, I’m sorry. It was my first time living somewhere without my mother, and I was inept, clumsy, lazy. I still miss you and wish you were the person I adored so much. I know you do well for what you suffered and that you are not a bad person, just a deeply flawed one filled with a lifetime of hurt.