It was 10 a.m. on Sunday February 20, 2011 and I woke up to see his face near mine; with his curly, dirty-blonde hair, that crease down his forehead and the mole on his left cheek which was already so familiar. I wriggled over until my nose was touching his face and kissed his cheek to wake him before I shifted my weight to my left and threw my leg over his hips so I was straddling him.

Wake up, I’m hungry,” I said.

He groaned, “I hate you.”

“No you don’t,” I replied.

“You can’t prove that,” he said.

I kissed him deeply and his hands came up to grasp the back of my head. I pulled away. “See.”

He pulled me back to him and we rolled so that we were side by side, facing each other.Large and small skillets

“I’m hungry,” I repeated.

He groaned again, “Alright, fine.”

Wearing a t-shirt and a pair of his old Frisbee shorts, I went out to the kitchen and started grinding some coffee. He joined me shortly wearing a pair of generic green mesh basketball shorts and opened the fridge asking me what I would eat in my omelet. He handed me a frying pan and while I heated it and melted some butter he began chopping the onions. I browned the onions while he chopped the peppers and added them to the pan. Standing in the kitchen in our pajamas, we worked in a simultaneous harmony that suggested this was a well-rehearsed routine. Dancing with each other in the 2 square foot space between the counter and the stove, it was just another mundane Sunday morning that should be repeated every Sunday for the rest of our lives.

Six days later, I said goodbye and with tears in his eyes and rolling down my cheeks, I would drive out of the parking lot for his building and drive the 1,800 mile journey back home.



Every once in a while life decides to take everything away. When this happens we’re usually crying or sobbing and complaining and want to know what we did that was so incredibly terrible to deserve. If we’re lucky, later we receive a massive karmic wave of good fortune.

I’m pretty sure that’s what is currently happening to me. I’m surfing a pretty massive karmic wave. It’s a tidal wave of good karma: fingers crossed I land on a damn nice beach.


The differences between men and women seem so objective and imaginary sometimes that we forget that there really are some concrete, undeniable differences. The most obvious is that men can’t bear children. From this one difference leaks a flood of differences – differences of opinion, failure to understand how hard some situations can really be, and how unfair some opinions really are.

Right now my skin crawls when I think too long about how unfair it is that I just had to do what I did, that I was coerced by everyone around me who knew because of his opinion on the subject, and that he forced me to suffer it alone. What really bothers me is that I know he’s telling everyone only half the story. The half that makes him look good. The half that makes my actions seem irrational, demanding – even crazy and I can’t in good faith share my side.

I have to hold my tongue, bide my time, allow the secrets to melt me from the inside out until it’s no longer inappropriate or obvious that I’m talking about him. I have to wait until my intent can not be misconstrued. I have to wait until telling my story is simply me sharing my side of the story and not an attempt to slander his character.

I’m angry with him for everything that happened or that he didn’t do, but I’m especially angry that, again, I am in a position where I have to keep secrets and it’s his fault. I’m angry that he couldn’t make me hate him enough that I could ignore any damage I may do to him by being completely honest. I’m angry that I can’t just write here, right now exactly what happened, exactly how it made me feel and exactly why and I’m angry that it’s all because of him.

Mostly I’m angry that I’m so incredibly sad and I’m angry that there isn’t a single decision I’ve made in the past ten days that was actually mine.

My sudden return to activity…

…has something to do with that fact, I think, that I’m finally ready to own my life. For whatever reason I have decided that the only way to move on is to declare loudly, proudly, and without worry that yes, I did this, yes, I experienced that, and yes, I survived and somehow I’m still a person. Not only that, I’m a person who can still believe that I’m good, that my intentions are usually pure and that I’m mostly unselfish. There are so many things that I’ve been afraid to talk about, afraid to be honest about, and afraid to admit for so many reasons that they were blocking my ability to say anything about anything.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The time I spent with him is almost as fractured as my memory of what he looks like. The moments we shared, the moments we didn’t – they drip through my mind penetrating every surface, pooling in the dark hidden places I dare not explore. The time before is a blurry glowing mass of life before innocence was lost. There are so many nights while I lie in bed that my thoughts slip, tripping over the quiet dark of night and fall until they drown in those pools. This is when I remember the most. The feeling of complete exhaustion as my grandmother tucked me into the freshly made bed in my childhood bedroom after a long day in June filled with so much screaming, crying and pain. The numb horror which filled my core as I washed a blood clot down the shower drain with my big toe weeks earlier, wondering if that could have been my child. The claustrophobic panic that gripped me when I came home to find an empty dresser after I’d received an apocalyptic voicemail. If every person we meet teaches us something, he taught me what it feels like to be scolded by a bailiff to get off the floor in the lobby outside a courtroom when. He taught me that I have the kind of defensive reflexes you can only know you have once you’ve truly been afraid. He taught me how easy it is to allow someone to completely strip you of every sense of identity until you wake up one morning a pale shell with no memory of life.

The part that no one talks about is the horror of trying to remember who you were. That living like that is the easy part. It slips into your life one tiny sacrifice at a time. One unspoken sacrifice, one microscopic chip of self-esteem, until eventually there is nothing left for him to take. The friends who once cared have been ignored and mistreated for so long that they no longer have your phone number. The family who was concerned has been lied to in so many ways it seems impossible to even begin to tell them the truth. The things that once occupied your time have receded into oblivion and his needs, his whims, his thoughts and his manipulative logic are all that remains until he too is gone.

The truth is surviving is easy. Survival is instinct. Recovery is something entirely different.