For my safety’s sake we will call my boyfriend by the name of “Carlos.” Three years ago he drove into my life like a Mac Truck. That is the only way I know how to describe it. When I met him he spoke to me like someone out of a movie. His voice was so soft, so sweet. It sounded like an angel whispering in the breeze. It had me floating toward him on the air, doing whatever he said. Whatever he wanted. Even his physical touch felt like an angel’s kiss. Such a gentle man … would never, could never do any harm.
The first time he told me he loved me was only within the first two weeks. He wouldn’t stop telling me how much he wanted me. Needed me. Had to have me around all the time because I was so perfect for him. I was so beautiful and someone else might try to “get a hold of me and take me away from him.” Those are his words, not mine. This went on for about a month. He would constantly tell me or give me reasons why I had to be around him all the time. He needed to feel loved. He couldn’t help it if I made him feel the way he does about me. “Erica, you’re perfect. Erica, you’re beautiful. Erica, I need you. Erica, I’ve never felt like this about anyone in my life before.” Can you hear his angelic, whispering voice drifting into your ears like it did mine? Hypnotizing you like it did me? “Erica … Erica … Erica … Baby, I love you … ”
Carlos was the perfect man. We went out to dinner anywhere I wanted. We went to see any movie I wanted. He would surprise me with little things that he knew I liked or were my favorites. He used to smile at me and look at me like he was admiring fine art. I was always told how beautiful I was and was always complimented. HE was always the one not wanting to upset ME. He always wanted to please me. He was perfect. Now I know there is no such thing as perfection. Now I am the one not wanting to upset HIM. But for very different reasons …
It was three months into our relationship the first time he hit me. I will NEVER forget what was said or what was done. I wanted to go home (by this time I was staying over his house so much I basically lived there), but we had “plans.” We always had “plans …” I started by telling him I was going home because my family missed me. I hardly ever saw them anymore. That was my mistake. I told him what I was doing, not asked permission.
The look on his face was like none I had ever seen before. The smile fell away and was replaced with pure hate. He started screaming at me, “You’re not going anywhere! We have plans to be together! Why are you doing this to me?! Why can’t I come with you?!” What was once a sweet, angelic voice was now a harsh one like broken glass cutting through me. This wasn’t the man I met three months ago. Who was this stranger standing in front of me? I tried to stand up for myself (back then I still tried to defend myself, but not anymore). He just wouldn’t have it.
The next thing I knew I was slammed against the wall with his face an inch from mine. He whispered, “You want to go? Go ahead. I won’t stop you. But you’ll see what’s gonna happen. We have plans and we will keep them.” His voice was so filled with venom I could taste it. I was so stubborn back then I still tried to fight back. I told him I was going and he would have to do more than just threaten me to stop me. Big mistake … He threw me on the bed, wrapped his hands around my throat, and choked me until my face turned bright red. I COULD NOT BREATHE! The whole time he had this look on his face like he liked what he was doing. He kept saying, “You want to leave?! Go! What’s the matter?! Why aren’t you trying to leave now?! Get up and go!”
I truly thought I was going to pass out. But he let go of my throat and got up. He looked absolutely devastated. Absolutely, pitifully, devastated. He had tears in his eyes and he pulled me into his arms in an affectionate, loving embrace. I could hear that hypnotic, soft spoken voice whispering in my ear, “Oh, baby, I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry! I don’t know what got into me. It’s just that I love you so much I can’t bare to be apart from you for even a second.” He pulled me back from him at arms length with his hands on my shoulders and looked into my eyes with his tear filled ones,“You’re not going to go are you? You do know this happened because you tried to leave, right? You upset me. It’s not my fault that you make me feel the way I do. If you act the way I want you to and do what I want you to do then we won’t have silly problems like this one. Right? Right, Erica? Baby, I love you. That’s why this happened because I love you. I love you, Erica. I promise I will never hurt you again … ”
That was three years ago. Now I get the occasional black eye, bloody nose, bruises here and there, grabbed, pushed, etc. Or his favorite thing now is to slam me against the wall and floor and choke me with his forearm so he won’t leave marks that people can see. He’s a clever one, Carlos is. He follows me everywhere I go. He watches my house so I won’t leave. He’s even been known to rent a vehicle so I won’t recognize the car he’s in when he follows me. On a few occasions when I had the audacity to call the police for help he turned on his charm and had the police eating right out of the palm of his hand. I ended up looking like a crazy, hysterical, typical overreacting female. On another occasion I even ended up getting arrested. I know better now not to call for help.
I won’t ever try to leave him because he’ll “slit my throat and shoot me in the head.” Those are the words Carlos chooses to use now to show affection. I’m not even sure if what I’m saying is an overreaction or not. He doesn’t always leave a mark. I mean that both figuratively and literally.
I can remember a time when I used to enjoy being intimate with him. I felt safe in his arms. He took care of me. He was a gentleman and the perfect lover. Now I don’t even know who he is! To say I fear being intimate with him is an understatement. Sometimes people aren’t in the mood. But that is not acceptable to him. The first time I told him no I thought he was going to kill me. He looked at me and said in that chilling, venomous voice, “You don’t ever tell me no! Do you understand me?” Before I could so much as try to change my mind so he wouldn’t get violent, he threw me down and did what he wanted to do anyway. I tried to fight him off but he just laughed at me and said, “The more you scream ‘no’ and the more you try to fight me off the more turned on I get! So go ahead, baby! Egg me on!” These days I don’t always try to fight him off anymore. Only sometimes when I just can’t take it and I feel like I’d rather claw my own skin off then have him touch me. But I still don’t know what you’d call what he does. It can’t be that harsh, disgusting, depraved “R” word. It can’t be! Can it? Well, in any case, now I know I “don’t ever tell him no …”
It isn’t that easy to walk in my shoes, but somehow I do it. This isn’t so much a cry for help as it is just a cry for someone to tell me I am going to live through this. Because I’ve got to tell you, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think, “There’s no way out … He will never allow me to leave him and I will never know what freedom tastes like. Or happiness … ” So, if there is someone out there with a kind enough heart please let me know. Please tell me I can live through this and there is a way out. Not the way out I keep thinking of …
Thank you for listening.