During the month of April, I was trying my damnedest to keep up with National Poetry Writing Month and write a poem each day for all 30 days of the month.
So, when my therapist told me I had PTSD, I took it as great fodder for a poem. I wrote the following:
I was recently diagnosed with PTSD/ A collection of letters I’ve heard/ On CNN/ Paired with numbers/ 9-11/ An abridged version of the alphabet/ That takes me back to a hotel room/ In Austin, Texas/ When he jumped out of bed/ Reached for an invisible rifle/ At the knock on our door/ And the faint, “Housekeeping.”/ I have PTSD/ My dog tags were sold on eBay/ My boots brandish high heels/ I’ve never been overseas/ But I’m tired of swimming/ My ankles are still sore from the chains I wore/ I couldn’t tell you the exact moment/ I earned my set of letters/ What bomb went off/ The IED exploding beside my chest/ When you said/ I’m leaving today/ Like it was an MRE waiting to fall at my feet/ Your rucksack already packed/ No time for a salute/ I was in the trenches/ Your covert operation/ Kicked sand in my face/ I reached for my letters and numbers/ AK-47/ But you, armed with the grenade/ Threw it and ran/ Camouflage/ To my feelings/ Don’t ask, don’t tell/ Ignore my purple heart/ Covered with a patch/ That says it all
My poetry (and participation at a weekly open mic) was something D didn’t really support. He said he did, but often acted jealous when I went, accusing me of flirting with men there. He could never attend because of his work schedule.
I showed him my poem on PTSD.
“Looks like you wrote about something you know nothing about,” he said.
I was silent.
A few days later, I wandered over to Matt’s (my ex that I’d recently run into) Facebook page, and saw a post on his page about “7 more days ’till the wedding!”
Considering I had just seen him a month prior and he mentioned nothing about a bride-to-be, and considering about 14 months before that, he was asking me to sleep with him, I thought there was no way he was about to get married.
So I Googled his name along with “wedding,” and sure enough, up came a few wedding registries and a site on The Knot, complete with a picture of him and his fiancée. The site was created on March 5, 2012, less than 2 months after I told him to get out of my life.
My heart thumped and I swear my jaw traveled through two floors to hit the ground beneath me with a THUD.
It wasn’t the first time I’d found out my ex was getting married. In fact, all of my exes are married. To say the least, it’s never fun news to get. However, in this case, it was a little different.
For starters, it was pretty obvious to me that he was cheating on me with this girl and vis versa. I’m not a genius, but I think it’s safe to say that after we had a conversation on January 9, 2012, he didn’t meet someone the next day and propose before March 5.
The real sting for me was recalling numerous conversations we’d had about getting married—he insisted that getting married was never a plan of his, and this always bothered me because I did (and do) want to be married. Now, obviously, that was just one of his many lies to me, because he did want to get married. And now he actually is married.
And yes, I know. He’s an ass, he’s the worst, he’s a douche, I deserve better. But I’m not sure, even as an award-winning editor, that any words I write can describe what it feels like to know that a person who betrayed you, did so to such a degree that there was a ring in his pocket the last time you slept together. It is sickening.
That day, on Gchat, Matt came online and I decided to send him a message asking him about the wedding.
Me: Getting married Saturday?
Matt: I am.
Me: I am shocked.
Matt: I guess I am too… but I’m excited.
Me: The shocking part is the math. It doesn’t add up. You slept with her and I at the same time?
Matt: No. It was a very quick process. We hadn’t been together in over 3 years.
And that was the end of that conversation. Sure, part of me wanted to tell him all of the times I knew there was overlap in the relationship he was having with her and the one he was having with me. But the majority of me knew that at this point, nothing I could say would make him understand, and really, I felt I was at a good place in my life.
What Matt didn’t realize is that a picture of him and his bride, proves him completely wrong.
In July 2011, I flew across the country to see my friend for my birthday. Ironically, Matt flew there too. He told me he was going with his sister and her husband. But there is a picture on Facebook of him and his then-girlfriend at Wrigley Field. Behind them, is the date on the jumbo screen: July 2, 2011.
On that same date, Matt called me and sang me Happy Birthday and tried to meet up with me several times. Little did I know that his girlfriend was sitting right beside him the entire time. We slept together the following week.
In a way, finding this out answered a lot of my questions. It explains why Matt was never around, why he treated me like shit, and why he hid me from his friends and family. But it didn’t do much for my trust issues.
I knew Matt was fooling around on me. But I didn’t know he was living a completely double life without my knowledge.
The Saturday of his wedding, I spent the day drinking, and for the first time, I cried about it. I never wanted to waste more time on him, but I know I am still dealing with the hurt he left for me.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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