I met my X at a street party in Hawaii.
He singled me out in a crowd of hundreds. The first thing he said to me, before introducing himself, was that the previous guy I had been talking to was a total loser.
He had been watching me.
His gaze was intense, but his eyes were beautiful. He had a restless energy about him, but also emitted a directness that felt like honesty. He was inquisitive and very charismatic, and the world felt like it stopped around us for a moment. Then we parted ways. The next morning he called me. The thing was, I hadn’t told him where I was staying. I joked with him on the phone, and asked if he was a stalker.
He’d searched me out.
I didn’t give it much thought when I said yes to a date. We hung out in town, then went for a drive. Even though his vehicle was dilapidated and filthy, I had hopped right in. At some point I realized that it was dark, we’d been driving for what felt like an hour, and I had no clue where we were. Why had I got into this stranger’s truck? Then he pulled over on the side of the road. My heart raced and I got ready to run. But he kindly invited me over for tea.
He had driven me to his house.
It seemed like a kind offer, and when I agreed, he drove forever into the jungle. His house looked the same as the inside of his truck. When he mentioned he had a kid, I felt relief. He was a single-parent. A cool dad. He spent the next two hours finding out everything he could about me. He believed you could learn everything about a person in the first twenty-four hours of meeting them.
Nothing bad happened. I wasn’t harmed in anyway. We talked, we kissed, he took me home. But now I can see the signs. He was jealous and possessive before we had even met. He had stalked me around town to see where I was staying. He had planned all along to drive me to his house. And he asked all the right questions to understand the kind of person I was.
As for me, I second guessed my intuition. My gut feeling. I was nervous when I got into his truck. I was scared when he drove way out of town. I worried that he would hurt me. I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable. But I told myself on repeat that I was overreacting and being dramatic.
Why had I ignored the signs inside of myself?
Because I wanted to be polite and agreeable. Because I was lonely. Because I had low self-esteem and self-worth. Because he lavished me with attention. Because I thought his actions were romantic. Because I didn’t know what I was doing with my life and he seemed like he did. Because I felt seen.
To my younger self, I love and forgive you. You did the best you could with the knowledge and awareness that you had. You can make a thousand mistakes and I will always love you.