After I sat and stared at the phone in complete and utter silence for approximately 30 minutes, I started panicking. Why didn’t I ask more questions? I need to know who this girl is! I called my bestie and my roomie and put them on a three-way (I wasn’t even 21, so this was acceptable. LOL!) and explained what just happened. They both encouraged me to call her back. When I did, she answered again. After being sure that we were discussing the same Jeremy, Keisha explained that she and Jeremy had been together for 2 years (he and I had only been together for 6 months) and that she had no clue about me. I was equally clueless about her, so we were pretty much stunned. Neither of us was mad at the other. In fact, we just sort of got the info that each of us was looking for and then we hung up. It was very civil.
I called Jeremy to confront him and, of course, he feigned ignorance about Keisha’s identity. (In case you were wondering, me misdialing the number by one digit was obviously God’s way of letting me know about this situation. Turns out that Keisha and Jeremy shared a cell phone account and the two phone numbers were exactly the same except for the last digit. I’m dead serious!) Anyway, Jeremy said he didn’t know a Keisha and I cursed him out, hung up, and vowed never to speak to him again. I cried for days and he called every day, multiple times a day, telling me how much he loved me, and how he was so sorry for everything (by now, he was admitting guilt). He wore me down after about a week and I took him back. We sailed along smoothly for quite a while.
Fast forward… another 6 months go by.
By this time, I am a college senior. I have moved out of the dorm into an apartment and am basically loving life. On this particular day, Jeremy was at my house, sitting on my bed, watching television while I showered. I walk into my room still damp from the shower and he says, “Your phone was ringing. I didn’t answer it.” I notice that my voicemail light is blinking. I call the voicemail service and I hear this:
“Bitch, if I ever hear about you messing with Jeremy again, I will fuck you up.”
My heart sinks, stomach drops, and I look at him. He has absolutely no idea what I have just heard. I say his name and he turns to me, recognizing just by the tone and the way I have said his name that something bad has happened. I replay the message for him and he lies and says that he doesn’t recognize the voice on my voicemail. I redial the number, cuss out the chick who answers the phone, and break up with him again. I put his ass out on the spot and don’t accept his phone calls for a two weeks. Two Saturdays later, he shows up at my door at 7am, begging my forgiveness. And, guess, what everyone? I took him back! DUH!
God, I was so stupid.
I am ashamed to say that it took me getting played by this dude twice more before I finally cut him loose for good. By the time we broke up, we were pretty much living together and I simply got fed up. One day I snapped. I emptied the closets and his dresser and put all his clothes in the middle of the living room floor. Then I went to my parent’s house and waited it out.
I had left a note on top of the pile that said “Get all your shit out of my house by tomorrow morning or I will throw it out of the window.” We lived on the 15th floor of a building that overlooked the highway. I was tempted to sprinkle his designer clothes and sneaker collection all over I-495. Not because he did anything that day. His track record had actually been pretty decent in the days leading up to our split. He had decided to go back to school to get his bachelors degree, which he hadn’t even started when we met, my aunt got him a really great job in the federal government where he was well-liked, and he decided to retire from his illegal side gig. Things were looking up for him. But the sum of all of our experiences was enough to send me over the edge.
By the time I returned to our apartment later that week, his things were gone and so was he. And we didn’t speak again until two years later.
By now, it’s 2004 and I am in the middle of studying for the bar exam. My 25 birthday is spent sitting at the dining room table studying some God-awful outline on secured transactions (whatever that means!). My friend Kyra asked me to go on a double-date with her. I think that BLIND double-date + birthday = disaster, but for some reason I agree to go and wrap my studying early so that I can meet her in Adams Morgan for our date. Turns out the double-date was a rouse for a surprise birthday party that my friends had planned for me at my brother’s Adams Morgan condo. It was a really great party!
I don’t know what crack my friends were smoking, but some genius thought it would be fun to invite all my ex-boyfriends to the party. Robert was there. So was Jeremy. It was the first time Jeremy and I had seen each other since the night before I set his clothes in the middle of our dining room floor 2 years prior.
He looked good. And, apparently, he thought I looked good, too. He was acting very… protective a.k.a. stalkerish. He was sort of hovering, which was annoying. I kept thinking, back up off me, dude!
Before he left the party, he asked if he could speak to me on the terrace (gosh, I miss that condo!). We walk up to the roof and stand looking out over the DC skyline. He told me that he had gotten a promotion at his job and was making even more money. He was also mid-way through his bachelors degree. He was like a totally different person. Then he clears his throat. ‘Oh Lord, here it comes,’ I thought.
“[Brown Girl], I’m so sorry for the way things turned out. You were exactly what I needed at the time, but I was too immature to realize that. I am so sorry for everything that I did. And, truthfully, you are the best thing that ever happened to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t met you. You motivated me to go back to school, you got me my job and turned me into a legitimate working man. You showed me that there was so much more to life.”
We are silent.
I don’t know what to say! I had hoped... dreamed... that one day he would acknowledge that he had made a mistake by letting me go. I had comforted myself by saying that one day he would realize how great I was and he would regret cheating on me and breaking my heart so many times. Now, here he was, telling me everything I had wanted to hear. And although his words were satisfying, I didn’t get as much joy out of it as I thought I would. I looked at him and really searched inside myself. I was happy for him. Genuinely happy that he had attained all that success. Genuinely. But his regret was too little, too late. All that trouble, all that heartache, that whole emotional rollercoaster that I was on for those years we were together was so much time wasted! I breathed a sigh of relief, kissed his cheek, turned my back to him, and went back inside to join the rest of the party. I was over it. I was (finally!) over him! And coming to that realization was the most satisfying thing of all…