From the Girl who is now a Woman

She was sitting at her desk like any other typical work day. She had her usual apps open on her windows desktop. Outlook web mail, Access, Excel, Facebook, Cricut, and Pandora. She was designing a new a website while humming along to a song by Odesza when all of sudden her computer made a quick sound. She looked down at her windows bar to find a red symbol on her Facebook tab indicating that she had a message. Out of habit she clicked on the notification and laughed when she saw whom the message had come from. The message included a music video that she did not open, or listen to for that matter, on account of its popularity on the radio. She rolled her eyes and shook her head in a dissatisfying manner while deleting the message. She then closed her Facebook tab and continued on back with work.

The drive home was practically non existent to her. Her mind was foggy. Every emotion she ignored and hid while at work after receiving that message finally came too. She began to feel sick to her stomach. Questioning, “Was that supposed to be a joke? Some sick joke? Why would he do that? Bruno Mars? When I was your man? Come on!” She was wishing she’d never open the message once she saw who it was from. She should’ve just deleted it. Her feelings were extremely hurt and heart ached. She pulled into the driveway of her home and got out of the vehicle instead of parking in the garage. Her routine was disrupted. She walked into her house, straight to her library where she grabbed a notebook and an ink pen, plopped down on her brown leather chaise near the window. She dried the wetness that was found underneath her left eye with the sleeve of her, soft, cashmere sweater. She then opened the unused notebook to the first page behind the cover. Blank. She touched the pen to the lined paper and began to write.

She loved him so much that she hated him. I guess that’s a strange concept to wrap one’s mind around. However she was certain the very reason she hated him was because of the abundance of love she had for him. 

Why did she love him so much? Long ago? She asked herself the same question as she lie on her bed after seeing him earlier that day. It had been a year since they spoke but he called her, and like always she came to him. He needed a ride that day. He ordered food and asked her to take him to go pick it up . During the first part of the drive he explained that he got into some trouble and his drivers license was suspended. She listened without giving any advice or concern. She continued to drive and then it started. He began complimenting her and pointing out certain features he obviously hadn’t noticed before; because they were there months and even years ago. “Your lips look so beautiful and thick. Can I kiss them?” She looked at him with a half smile, “No.” then she chuckled saying, “You’re funny.” He tried to hold her hand and she pulled away. “Whoa! When did your hands get so big?” He asked her in astonishment. She rolled her eyes, annoyed, laughed and looked down at her hands. As she was flipping them over to look at her palms, “They’ve been this size ever since I was i can remember. I have my grandmothers Cherokee-Indian hands. They’ve always been pretty big for a woman.” 

She was extremely uncomfortable sitting next to him, she was pretty certain it showed because the conversation went silent, but only briefly. They had a quick ‘catching up’ conversation on account it’s been a year since they’ve spoken or let alone seen each other. Eventually those short 20 minutes came to an end. Before he got out of the car he asked if he could hug her. She thought to herself for a moment and agreed; knowing that this was it. -This would be the last time I hug him… Forever. Her conscious mind told her. She reached out her arms. This HAS to be it -she told herself again. They hugged and before he closed the door he bent back down and looked at her, “Don’t be a stranger now.” She smiled without saying a word and then drove off. When she got home she went for her bed to lie down because she was feeling overwhelmed with emotions. She was extremely confused as to why she was currently experiencing these feelings because she no longer loved him. In fact it had been over 2 years since she had any real affection towards him. 

A painful expression came over her face. “Why did I use to love him so much, long ago?” she asked aloud as she rolled over on her back to face the ceiling. She placed her hands on her tummy and sighed, “I mean he did everything to me that one person could do to hurt the one you love. Why did you stay with him?” She lay there silently waiting for a response but the room was empty. Just her and her bed.

She began to think about the day they met. It was pretty strange on account they met from being complete strangers. She was sitting in her moms driveway on her phone when he walked by. She noticed him but didn’t think anything about it. He obviously lived in or near the neighborhood. Simply just another passerby. One that she’s seen several times before this night. She found herself outside her mother’s home quite often than inside because she despised her mother’s then husband. Almost an hour went by and he was walking back the direction whence he’d come from. This time she wasn’t occupied so he stopped at the edge of her driveway and said “hi.”

“Hello.” She answered back in a questioning tone not knowing what he wanted. They exchanged names and he asked what school she went too. She explained that she was in college rather than the school he was referring too. That was it. 5 minutes of small talk.

A few nights pass by before she’d see him again. This time she was sitting on the concrete of her driveway enjoying the summer evening and to her surprise there he was again. This time he sat down next to her with a piece of paper in his hand.

“What did we talk about?” She asked herself while she was staring at the ceiling of her bedroom -slowly coming out of the memory she was reliving. She rolled over on her side and gazed out her window. She inhaled deeply and then her mind went back. There was a phone number on that piece of paper. His number. She remembered thinking that was odd because most guys ask for your number rather than give it. She considered it quite polite.

Her eyes began to close instead of continuously peering through the glass of the window. She was trying to remember that evening. The conversation was a bit fuzzy but she remembered two hours of nothing but smiles and laughter on that summer evening on Eastfield.

She couldn’t write anymore. She closed her notebook and held it tightly in her hands. She felt very anxious and uneasy writing this particular passage but she knew she had too. It needed to get off of her chest. Out of mind out of sight she thought. Backwards right? Well not for her. Once she writes it down the memory leaves her mind and no longer becomes bothersome. However she felt as though she should continue writing. Not continue because it was a great passage but because she NEEDED too; for her. So she re positioned herself on the chaise and re opened the notebook from her clammy hands.

She opened her eyes with a smile to see the sun rays coming through the trees from the opposite side of her window. That was it -she thought. That night was the spark. She continued to lie there on her side looking out at the greenery, when she winced. Her mind was going back to a memory that she buried deep within. She remembered the night him, and her hung out at her cousins apartment.

They were dating but not in an actual relationship just yet. It was still very new. She invited him to her cousins apartment because her boyfriend was of age and there was liquor. The apartment actually belonged to her cousins boyfriend. He was a police officer and was working at a local jail that evening. So it was just the three of them. 

She closed her burning eyes and laughed, “Ha!” She then shook her head because they did some serious underage drinking that evening in a cops home. Her eyes remained closed and she went back.

Drinking ensued, conversations were had, laughter was involved, and then she rested her head on his lap while he played with her hair. The next morning she woke up on the couch slightly hung over. There was nothing unusual to her. In fact she woke up happy because they had a fun and drama free evening. Which was great because her cousin was very dramatic and sobs just about every time she drinks.

“Wait a minute!” she yelled aloud rolling back over to her back and staring at the ceiling again. “She was dramatic,” she remembered aloud. “She talked about D putting his hands on her and being addicted to sex. Ha! I can’t believe I forgot about that.” She began to laugh because years passed by after that evening and she learned the story was in reverse. It was all her and not him. She shook her head, “anyways I don’t have time to dwell on shit that’s not mine.”

Staring at the ceiling she went back to the morning she woke up happy on the living room couch.

They all three spoke for a while and then they left. She took him home, but he was silent during the drive until she almost pulled into his driveway. “I think something happened last night.” She looked at him, “What are you talking about? What do you mean? Happened with what?” He wouldn’t look at her. While looking at his hands, “Something happened with your cousin.” She was silent for a moment trying to comprehend what he was telling her. Her stomach turned and hands went sweaty and cold as they gripped the steering wheel. He spoke again, “I know we didn’t have sex but I’m pretty sure we did stuff.” She angrily pierced the side of his head with her eyes without saying a word. He got out off her car and she watched him go into his home.

She drove back to her cousins and confronted her. Her cousin began to cry as she apologized. “It was an accident. I’m sorry. We were so drunk and then we blacked out. You feel asleep but we weren’t tired -So we continued to drink.” 

“So you’re telling me you were drunk but blacked out. If you blacked out then how do you know something happened? If you blacked out- shouldn’t you have been passed out?” Her cousin just looked at her with tears in her eyes.

She held her car keys violently in her fist. “This is the second time! The second time you’ve done this to me. First Robert and then him! Only Robert -you fucked while we were in a relationship. One and half years with him! Down the drain. I was supposed to lose my virginity to him. NOT YOU!” She threw her keys at her cousins face and imagined attacking her, but when she came too she realized it wasn’t worth it. She wasn’t worth it nor was he. “Fuck both of you!” she yelled as she swept up her keys from the carpet and slammed the door behind her.

She sat up on the bed and felt sick to her stomach. ‘Am I about the throw up?’ she asked in her mind. Not because she was remembering how her cousin and soon to be boyfriend betrayed her but how she continued to talk to both of them afterwards. That’s what made her sick. She ran from her bed to the bathroom and vomited in the toilet. She rested her head on her crossed arms that lay on the toilet seat.”Why was I so forgiving?” she asked herself. She thought for a moment. She lifted her head up, sat and rested her back on the bathroom wall with her legs stretched out. She tilted her head back. She was relaxed.

She remembered that she valued and respected that this boy told her, what her own cousin, probably would’ve taken to the grave. But not him.

“He told me. I respected that I guess. Hell! I even went to the doctor with that fucker when he thought she gave him an STD.” She smacked herself in the forehead. “Oh my God! I was so fucking stupid. Naive.” She got up and rinsed her mouth out. She looked at herself in the mirror. Stared into her own eyes as she rested her palms on the counter tops. “That should’ve been the first sign! Actually, that was a sign… but you ignored it.” 

Her cellphone rang. She closed her notebook and rested it on the windowsill next to her chaise. It was her boyfriend. He was away in Vegas on a bachelor party for his soon to be brother in law. They caught up on each other’s day and exchanged I miss yous’ and I love yous’ before hanging up. She walked out of her library to go make herself dinner. However she was depressed. So she ordered pizza and decided to have some wine.

The wine was numbing all of the feelings she just experienced from writing. It was exhausting. Exerting yourself and putting it all on paper, reminding yourself of the past. It was very hurtful. She realized why most authors drink and why Hemingway said what he said. ‘Write hard about what hurts.’ She took her glass of wine back into her library and this time she sat on the floor with her notebook and begin to write again.

After rinsing her mouth she felt relieved. She walked into the kitchen of her one bedroom apartment to get some water. This apartment was her second. It was cute, petite, and a lot nicer than her first one. As she grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator she remembered moving into her first apartment. She remembered thinking that she could have her boyfriend over anytime she wanted. That’s what he became -he was her boyfriend. “Boy did I regret that one.” she said to herself while walking back to her bedroom. 

She laid back down but this time under the covers. She started to remember the move in, the house warming party, the nights of him in her bed, the nights they made love, the nights they fucked, the arguments, the lies, the loneliness, the tears she cried at night. She rolled over in discomfort and began to stare at her ceiling again. 

Most people don’t have a house warming party until they physically purchase their first home. However she was 19, two years in college, a great job at Emory with room to grow once she graduated, a Ford explorer, and now a place of her own. She was winning! She shrugged her shoulders why laying in bed, “Why not have a party?” 

Her friends and cousins were there. His friends were there which eventually became mutual friends or associates to the both of them. That night was when it all changed. He disappeared for a few hours and several people heard him say that he was going over to his other girl’s house in Carrollton. 

She closed the notebook. Walked into her kitchen to pour another glass of wine. She rested her elbows on the the island in the kitchen. She began to sip what was now her third glass of wine while giving herself a pep talk. She felt the tension in the back of her neck going to the top of her shoulders. She rolled her neck a few times and then she walked back into the library. She turned the lights on because the sun was no longer providing a guide. She sat back down on the floor. Pen to paper.

It hurt her when she heard what was said. In fact he did leave but he came back about two hours later. While he was gone she began to drink heavily. Alcohol was her weakness. Actually he was her weakness and alcohol was her companion. When he came back she confronted him of what was said to her from several people. He angrily denied it. They argued, but like usual it was swept under the rug.  

She pulled the covers over her head, “I would say some pretty mean things to him. But. He deserved it, didn’t he?” She asked herself. “He brought the worst out in me and I, him.” Then she laid there thinking about everything she did for him. 

“I cooked meals for him anytime of the day when would stay at my place, I’d let him come to my home at 2 or 3 a.m. when he was done hanging out with his friends or some girl. I’d help him with his school work, I let him borrow money, I let him call me anytime he needed a ride. I’d let him drive my car before he purchased one of his own. Hell!! I risked my freedom and job moving precious cargo to and from Carrollton. If a man loved his woman, he would never put her in that predicament. He wasn’t a man!”

She pulled the covers from over her head to let the sunlight enter. In fact she removed all of the covers because now she was hot. She became so angry that her body temperature was slowly increasing. “He never wanted to talk, about anything. He always shut me out. He was always high. His friends, studio, and weed mattered more than me. Very rare did he ever take me out on a date. In fact I can only remember two! Fuck! He didn’t even show up to my college graduation ceremony. His ‘so called friends’ had some alcohol for me at their house afterwards.”

She called them so-called friends on account they all tried to get with her. “Girl, if you were my woman, I wouldn’t have you hanging out with me and all these other niggas. I would treat you right.” Another would say, “When you leave him, I’ll be right here.” The most popular, “He doesn’t deserve you. What do you see in him?” One even tried to have sexual intercourse with her and told her that it would be their secret. She would always turn everyone and everything down out of respect for her boyfriend and ultimately herself. She also ignored the fact that more than one person would tell her he didn’t deserve her. She heard it but never took heed. 

She got up from her bed and began the pace back and forth in her bedroom. “I was so pathetic!” she yelled as she threw her arms up in the air in disappointment. She began to remember all the times she would sleep at his house waiting for him just so she could be next to him. His mother allowed it too. Little did she know the times her son would come home and she’d been there for hours trying to stay awake. She even slept in his bed while he was in Panama because she missed him. Only God knows what he was doing but she hadn’t talked to him so the scent was the only thing she had. She was attached.”I just wanted him to love me the way I loved him. Miss me the way I missed him. I can’t believe my stupidity. I honestly hate him. Seeing him today disgusted me and now I know why!” 

She went back into her kitchen to grab a beer out of the refrigerator. She took a sip and as she pulled the beer away from her lips she looked at the bottle. “You? You’re the reason.” She walked to the sink and poured the beer down the drain and threw away the bottle. She realized that she turned to alcohol anytime she couldn’t cope. “I will not be that person again. Not for anyone.”

She sat on the couch of her living room and remembered him sitting there. He had been to her new apartment once. He needed a ride from his cousin’s house because he was under the influence and car less. She took him back to her new place. Nothing happened. She made sure of it because of all the times before. Not to mention she was seeing someone. However she once cared for him and hoped he would do the same if she called. It had been about a year and a half since there final break up. So she was prepared to say no if need be.

She got up off of the floor of her library after knocking her glass over. Luckily, it was empty. She probably would’ve broken down in tears if it had got on her notebook and carpet. More so the notebook than carpet. It meant so much to her already. She bypassed the kitchen looking at the bottle of wine sitting on the counter top and entered into her bedroom with the notebook in hand. She sighed as she began to flip through all of the pages she had written. She wasn’t sure if she should be angry, happy, or sad. This was coming from her heart, from the past, she was pouring her soul onto these sheets of paper.

This obviously was quite meaningful to her because she typically puts her work through the keyboard of her laptop. Not tonight. She felt the need to write from her own hand. It felt better. Felt real. She finally sat in her king sized bed and opened to where she left off. 

Breaking up was very hard for her. She never understood the reason behind it other than he just didn’t want to be in a relationship. She laid her head down on her living room couch. “I can’t blame him, he was young and not ready. I just wish I could’ve seen it that easily years ago and saved myself from all of the heartache.” The last time when they finally ended it she had moved back to her mothers house from her first apartment because she didn’t want to renew the lease. It wasn’t the best place to live. He called her pleading that she come outside so they could talk. She said No. She was done with the title. ‘relationship’ That was it. They were no longer together. 

A few times after that he would call her up. “What are you doing?” or “where you at?” was basically code for let’s meet up and fool around. 

I was soooooooo stupid. I did that shit to myself.” She laid there on her couch beating herself up about all the times she met him to have sex even when they weren’t together. His apartment in Marietta, back of her truck, in a hotel, etc. “Life! I guess you really have to live IT in order to learn, huh?” She rolled over on her stomach and buried her face in the cushion of her couch and she began to cry. She told herself that she would never talk to or see him again. That she would never shed another tear over him ever again. He wasn’t worth it. Her tears were more so from anger than sadness.

Once she was done crying she sat up and decided to write a letter. She went to her bedroom where her laptop was. She took the laptop back to her living room and sat down on the couch. She sat the laptop on her thighs, opened the WORD application on her windows computer.

“To the boy who broke my heart more than once,

I loved you but now I’m pretty certain I hate you.

I was good to you. I was great for you. I was there for you no matter what. Where were you? Where were you when I wanted to see you or sleep next to you? Where were you when I moved out of my apartment? I helped your mom and you pack up and move to Marietta but your friends helped me move back to my mothers.

Why couldn’t you ever be sober? Why did you always have to be high? It wasn’t just the Weed but you started experimenting with Molly and other pills. Was I not good enough for you to be sober around?

I loved you! Did you even love me? If you did, you had a really funny way of showing it. I shed so many tears and created bags under my eyes because I tried to get you to understand my feelings. I wasted my time and effort with nothing to show for it. 

Every time I finally left you alone, you would contact me. Were you trying to torture me? Was it a game for you because every time I came back you pushed me off to the side again. I eventually became ‘your hit it and quit it’. 

I remember looking through your phone when I heard you were cheating. There were texts and pictures from several girls. It hurt me to my core. I can tell you I’ve never looked into another man’s phone because of that. I feel if someone is being dishonest it’ll come to the light. No need in snooping. Not to mention I’ll never be with someone I can’t trust.

We never really did anything or went anywhere. Most of what I remember is hanging out on a couch at someone’s house or in the bed of one of our homes. Other people were always around. Very rare was it just us two. You know out of the few years we knew each other I can only recall going on two dates. Once to the movies and Applebees and the other to Hibachi because it was my birthday. I honestly don;t know what we did for valentines day IF we did do anything. I just wanted to go places with you. Didn’t matter where.

I did and still care about you and I hope that you turn out to be a great man with a stable job and home. Find yourself a wonderful woman to spend your life with. – 

“I was that woman.” She exclaimed as she stopped writing and looked up from her notebook. She then went into the kitchen and poured that fourth glass of wine which emptying the bottle of Cabernet that was sitting on her kitchen counter. “Almost done,”  she huffed underneath her breath. “You can do it.” She looked at the time and it was 10:00 p.m. She was shocked to know that she had been writing and contemplating for five straight hours. She walked back into her bedroom and saw the notebook lying open, asking to be finished. She climbed back into the bed, sat her wine on the night stand next to her. Ink pen in her hand.

I hope you eventually settle down and have some kids. Being with one person for the rest of your life is a little scary. However i hear from older married couples it’s totally worth it and couldn’t imagine their life without their partner.

If you choose to continue a career in music, I hope that turns out successfully for you. It can be very hard and require many of years. Be prepared.

Our relationship had its ups and downs. We had some good times and I will continue to carry those great memories with me as I grow. We were quite a silly pair together. Our personalities meshed well with one another. We had what the other person lacked. Think about it… we laughed often but those laughs eventually became silent and eventually non existent. It was mutual. I’d be fooling myself if I said this was all you. I know it wasn’t. I played a part. 

We became rude to one another because we were both young and didn’t know how to approach one another with an issue. I knew how to push your buttons and believe you me, I did. You hurt my feelings constantly to the point I never felt like I was good enough for you. I’d question myself often on why I was staying around. I knew there was a Man inside of you and there was good. I wanted to see it so badly because I wanted the best for you and I KNEW he was in there. I knew I was good for you too.

I use to be angry with you when you’d contact me out of the blue. My mature self now realizes that the person I needed to be angry with was me; for every time I allowed myself to come back to you, even if it was just for one night. Wasn’t your fault. I subdued myself to it. 

I would like to apologize for any Hell I caused you or any hurtful things I might’ve said. One time I said you were “Nothing.” That sticks out in mind the most because you made me feel like nothing. I took it out on you. I apologize if I was annoying or in the way of something or somebody. I’m sorry if I tried to force you to talk to me and open up when you didn’t want too.

I’d also like to apologize for an ex of mine. He knew about you and went behind my back and took your number out of my cell phone the same day you commented on a photo regarding banana boating on my Facebook. He had his friend call you but the girl he was dating was a friend of mine so she told me. When I confronted my then boyfriend about it -he lied so I cut things off with him. I hope you know that I was not and still am not that person. He lied and went behind my back. I don’t take that crap anymore. Thanks to you.

I’d like to thank you. You actually helped me grow. Made me realize what I want and don’t want in life. I know what I want and don’t want in a man. I’ve experienced how a young woman is supposed to be treated when dating. It feels so great when someone treats you like a Queen and wants to spend their time with you.

I also learned how to fight off temptation. Though I thought about it while we were together. I want you to know I never acted on my thoughts. I felt bad for even thinking about it here and there. I respected myself and I respected you because I loved you. I stayed true to you and to every person after that. I don’t believe in fighting fire with fire. I DO believe what goes around comes back around.

Last thing I learned was we never realize what we had until it’s gone. Whether it was good or bad. So I’ve learn to analyze my life and not what everyone else has. Appreciate what I have because it’s mine and that nothing is and never will be perfect. 

Lastly, A piece of advice. LET PEOPLE IN… or you’ll end up alone.

-From The girl who is now a woman”

She looked at the cursor blinking on the screen next to the word ‘woman’. She breathed a huge sigh of relief as she clicked the ‘X’ symbol in the top right screen of her letter. As she was trying to exit out, an icon popped up asking:

‘Are you sure you want to exit this page without saving?                  YES or NO’

She looked aimlessly for a moment and then she clicked the yes button firmly. ‘She was certain that she didn’t want any more reminders of him.

She closed the notebook and stared down at her aching wrist. She had finally finished.

But she wasn’t finished. “I’d also like to thank you because I’ve never cried over another man again when they make me sad. I’m much stronger now. Except for today.” She took the notebook and the glass with the remaining wine outside. She lived in a hilly area in North Georgia so it was quite chilly and windy.  She had a blanket wrapped around her as she stood in front of the fire pit in her backyard. She drew a match and tossed it in.

She sat down next to the fire to use the light to read the six hours of writing she put into this notebook. Once she was done reading it she closed it and held it tight in her hands against her chest. “I don’t hate you anymore.”

She stood up and gazed into the dancing flames. Still holding the notebook to her chest, “I also don’t regret you but I wish to never think of the bad again.”

Closure. That was it. She just gave herself closure. She accepted the past.

She dropped the notebook into the fire and watched the flames rise higher as the fire was being fed. The flames went from orange to green as the exterior of the notebook melted away. She sat back down in front of the fire to watch the papers she had written on for hours disintegrate into thin air. As if it never existed.

Wearing her long sleeved cashmere sweater, pajama shorts, and wrapped snug in a blanket she felt at peace.

-Phelinne Levi