Once upon a time, there was a young woman who never knew what she wanted. She drifted aimlessly from one man to another, believing that each one would help make her complete. Alas, the young woman never really realized that in her quest for a relationship and for meaning, she had no idea what to do with one when she found one.
Her endless cycle continued when she was with one man for seven years. Even when their relationship turned to poison, and another woman was introduced, still she stuck around. It occurred to her to leave the relationship, but at the same time it made her heart ache unbearably to do so. And so she remained.
There were times when she watched her former lover with the new lover that she began to contemplate walking away, preserving what was left of her dignity. The younger model was surely no match for her, and yet knowing that he preferred this one to her was not enough to make her leave. He whispered sweet words in private, how he longed to keep her close and he couldn't bear for her to leave. And so she remained.
There came a point in the twisted menage a tois that the lover chose to go back to her. In fact, they became engaged. The young woman was thrilled that she was being chosen, that her efforts over the years had paid off and she would finally be rewarded.
Still, the young woman should have known better. As surely as he had been unfaithful to the younger model with her, how could it not be expected that he would be unfaithful to her with the younger model once more? Still, the young woman was blinded by her desire to have this relationship work. But was it really that? Perhaps it was a combination of that desire along with the sweet words that were continually fed to her like subliminal messages. 'Please don't go,' he would say. 'I love you and want to make this work. If you love me, you will stay here, with me, and only me. Why do you need to go out with your friends when you have me? It would hurt my feelings if you left me here.'
And still, the young woman remained. The blinders on her eyes left her narrow-visioned, and she did not realize the truth. In fact, things were looking up: the younger model would be leaving, moving far away, and it would finally be just the two of them. Oh, how the young woman rejoiced. There was nothing that seemed sweeter!
Until one day.
There came a day when her sister called to her, as they lived close by. Her sister told her that a terrible thing had happened. She could see the hesitation in her sister's eyes, but she could not imagine what could be the cause.
'Please, just say it,' she begged her sister.
Her sister took a deep breath, and revealed the venom within: 'She's not going after all because she's pregnant. She's coming back.'
At first, the words did not sink in properly. The young woman blinked, trying to understand what was happening. A very curious sensation was rising within her, something hot and fiery, something that felt as if it were stretching its wings and would make her explode with the force of it.
Finally she had a name to the feeling: rage.
Confronting her lover, she left. Only to return the next day.
Promises of fidelity and a new life were wrapped around her ears. Desperate for the heartache to stop, she believed. She wanted so badly to believe that she could still have that perfect life and relationship.
Time passed on. They remained a couple, much to the disgust of those around them. The lover sneered at them, telling the young woman that they were trying to rip them apart, and it would be better for her not to see them.
'It can be just the two of us,' he would tell her. 'We don't need anyone else.'
And she believed. In fact, when her family would invite her over, she would face an agonizing decision process: going would mean having fun and seeing her family, but going would also make her lover very upset. It was the same with invitations of her friends: to go would be to set free and enjoy a carefree time, but her lover would be angry, as her friends would likely tempt her.
So she remained.
More time passed. At long last, she made a friend who was somehow able to reach her slightly. The new friend invited her to come visit her, first in California, and then on a stunning week-long getaway to Europe.
These invitations infuriated her lover. Convinced that her new friend was trying to steal her away, to corrupt her mind, he tried and tried to make her see how foolhardy this was, that this new friend was a poison to her.
And yet... the young woman did not relent this time. She enjoyed her new friend, and saw something strange whenever they spoke: hope. In the veiled aura of her life, whenever she spoke with her friend, she could see the cracks that surrounded her, and began to wonder what else was out there. For the first time, her veiled life felt like a prison.
So she visited her friend in California. And then she went to Europe.
This was the beginning of the end. After all, once you see your life as a prison, and the lover in your life as a captor, what else can you do but try to break free?
In Europe, the young woman found the freedom she had been searching for. The world was not covered in threats and ties that restrained; it was filled with wonder and beauty and mad British boys that made her laugh and see the sun. Thousands of miles away from her lover, with almost no contact, and the young woman found something else: possibility.
When she returned home, it was with a desperate secret, one that she knew would likely be a punished offense if he knew: she had met two men in Europe, and had found pleasure. Her friend had been correct: there were other men out there in the world, men who could be kind and loving without being Machiavellian and cruel.
Still, all secrets will out. Her lover, angry with her upon her departure as well as her return, sought to find whatever secrets may be there. And after much searching for her journal, he found what he was looking for.
Enraged and infuriated, for the first time it appeared that he might take his love of mental abuse to the physical realm as well. But he did not. In fact, he did something that she had realized would likely happen, but did not truly brace for: he ended their relationship.
If there was an iron-clad rule that made ex-lovers automatically separate, it's likely that things would have been better for both. But there is not. In fact, her now ex-lover remained in their shared dwelling. While she cried and tried to deal with the fact that not only had he abandoned her, but she was also pregnant, she also had to determine who the father was.
Alone and yet not, the young woman sought solace anywhere she could find it. Guilt made her a hermit, and her ex-lover approved of this. In fact, he suggested to her in a moment of extreme weakness that they could remain intimate while he sought another place to live.
In her weakness and desperation, she agreed.
For the next few months, as she prepared for her child, she submitted in ways that she had never done previously. As much as she had given of herself before, it was nothing compared to the desperation that inhabited her now. Wanting to stay with her lover, knowing that her actions had caused her heartache, she tried everything to stay with him now. All the past looked cloudy.
When she was seven and a half months pregnant, her ex-lover announced he was moving to another state. Terrified at being left alone after so long, she made a frantic bid to keep him there once more: she asked him to marry her. He refused.
She helped him move his things out, waddling all the way. And on a cloudy day in May, she watched her ex-lover drive away, and she cried as she had never done before. She was alone.
But it wasn't the end.
Even when he was gone, he tried to keep tabs on her. He said it was for comfort purposes, to make her feel better. Every night she had to call him, let him know what she was doing, how she was doing.
Not a week after he left, the young woman had her child. Joy is usually associated with new life, but for the young woman it was as if despair had been given form. A child of her own, with no father in sight, it looked to be the worst event of her life. She grieved, knowing that she had to carry on now for the sake of this new life. A son.
Eventually, after many calls with her ex-lover, her brother in law had enough. One night, when he was calling her, her brother in law refused to let her answer her phone. Terrified, the young woman stared at the phone, knowing he would be angry if she did not answer. The phone went silent after many rings.
But a minute went by before it rang again. She tried to answer it, but her brother in law would not allow it.
At last, her brother in law picked it up. And he let loose a diatribe that had been brewing for years. Furious with what had been done to his sister in law, he told the anathema exactly what he thought, and that he was not to contact her again.
When he hung up the phone, the young woman stared in wide-eyed wonder. Surely it had not just happened! Even though the distance between them was hundreds of miles, it was as if she could feel the rage building.
Something changed, however. As she listened to the words her brother in law yelled, they seemed to penetrate the fog that clouded her mind, and in those words were truths she had not dared to face.
The man she had loved was a monster. He had abused her to the point where she felt guilty for upsetting him, had not dared to leave the house for fear of the rages he would impart on her. Even when he was no longer hers to call her own, she felt devoted and doting on him to the point where she was little more than a slave. She realized that her venture to Europe that caused the breaking point, and it was later that she realized it was the best thing that could have happened to her.
She would never have had the strength to leave him. Only forced separation had done it. She realized with muted horror that she would have remained in that waking dead state for as long as he would have permitted it, slavishly devoting herself and spurning her own life.
Suddenly there was light in the world again.
With a child to raise, she felt the world was still an impossible giant, but at least she could do it without the threat of anger pointed at her every day. The ties that had bound her were finally cut.
With a heavy heart, she faced the world again, free for the first time. Pure love is as selfless and giving as all the stories say. It is a sad truth that that love can be tainted, twisted and used to someone's own means. What the young woman had first thought was love grew sick, mutated into an obsession that nearly ruined her mind.
Today the young woman is still in the light. She doesn't have to worry about answering the phone anymore. And her little boy is growing up in pure love.