And some are made from delusions.
When I was a teenager my friends and I spent many hours discussing futuristic relationships. Secrets smiles and girly giggles accompanied much of these conversations. Dreams floated somewhere above us encased within invisible pink bubbles tied with crimson ribbons; the man of our dreams awaited to sweep into our lives when the universe conspired our fated meeting. We could barely wait.
They are the cornerstone of imagination and make the world go around. They form the wings of precious wishes and exquisite desires; and there are none so much as precious as the promising dreams of love to a girl.
My teenage dreams foretold love like no other — he was charming and smart, caring and tender; his smile would light up my heart and quicken my pulse. He was open-minded, sweet and compassionate. He was witty, vulnerable yet strong. Most of all, though, he respected me.
This quality was vital and posed lengthy in-depth discussions among our group. None of us had a history of violent homes, yet we were more than aware of the widespread violence against women that went on behind closed doors across the world.
My convictions were strong; I would never tolerate violence or mistreatment from my future partners. Never.
But the convictions of a girl who dreamed of falling in love fizzled as time moved forward to present a man who she thought possessed the above-mentioned qualities. They say love is blind. Perhaps it is. But I think that an open-heart nurtures forgiveness, tolerance and empathy, and it is those elements of love that can become the foundation under which the narcissist to thrive.
She was giddy. Excitement filled her. The future stretched untouched and perfect beneath his devotion. They would stick together through thick and thin; they would carve the path and create dreams. They would love and be loved. Hold and be held.
But dreams are nothing when the edges begin to crack and the shadows start to loom.
Excitement fades when the constant barrage of demeaning comments begin to chip at your psyche. The convictions of a girl drown in a tsunami of guilt when he kicks you so hard that you can barely walk for a week, or tells you he would gladly do jail time for your death.
“I’m sorry, honey. I’ll make it up to you.”
Some apologies are smothered in golden jewels, international holidays and new clothes. Some even take on the form of a new car.
“I was feeling a little cagey — you stepped on my toes. I’m sorry, honey. It will never happen again. I love you.”
Some apologies are made from delusion even when delivered sincerely.
Goodbye dreams. So long, respect. Enter guilt, self-loathing and everything black.
Black for the single most horrific day that still haunts me — the day the screams of my little boys followed me down the hall as he gripped my scalp and dragged me to the bedroom. Black for the moments my heart split when they watched from the threshold as he flung me on the bed and punched me in the head. Black for the terrified eyes that blinked back at me.
My head pounded. The sound of his voice reverberated somewhere in the distance as he growled. But I felt nothing and heard nothing as I focused on the horrified eyes brimming from the doorway.
Some moments you can never undo. Some moments stay with you no matter how deep you bury them.
I’m sorry for the charred dreams and teenage wishes snatched away by brutality. I’m sorry for betraying the convictions and values that I had so strongly believed in. I’m sorry for abandoning my sense of self-respect, self-love and self-worth. Most of all, I’m sorry for the innocence stolen away from my little boys the day their world turned black.
Some apologies are never too late to be expressed. And some apologies last forever.