Guest Writer: R. L. Norman
As I sit here, I swear I can feel the walls closing in on me. I don’t know how much more I can take of this “quarantine thing.” But they say, “It’s for my own good.” I’m not so sure about that: I’d rather be with my family and friends during this time. I miss them.
While I’m in such a contemplative frame of mind, let me tell you a story that I’m sure is quite applicable to this quarantine thing we’re having to live through.
I live in Washington, DC, have a good job and a nice home. Life was great except for one thing: I was lonely and alone. Even though I did have my share of the company of men, I didn’t have that special man to call my own.
One night, I was out at a club with friends, and this guy named Tyrone just walked up to me and introduced himself. I was a little taken aback by his boldness; however, his allure and charisma won me over. I will admit he was a charmer, and I fell in love with him quickly.
After about a year of dating, we moved in together. Tyrone worked in law enforcement and was very well known. Meanwhile, I worked for a health insurance company as a customer service representative.
We had a very fulfilling, loving life together. During the week, we’d have a quick breakfast together, kiss each other goodbye before we left for work, and text each other periodically during the day. Every night we would kiss each other hello after a hard day’s work. I cooked dinner for my man every Sunday through Thursday. On the weekends, we ate out or ordered in.
So. in the beginning, our relationship was great! Tyrone wined and dined me, treating me like a king–and sometimes a queen! ( LOL.) We went on trips together and threw numerous parties for our family and friends. We even went on what we called “date night.” Life was wonderful!
But they say that when you first meet someone, they send their representative to gain your trust, confidence, and love for them.
And then after you feel happy and comfortable, the real person shows up.
Well, that’s what happened to me! The real Tyrone showed up.
One day, I had to work late. I’d intended to call Tyrone to let him know. But my being on the phone all day did not give me a chance to do so. So, I texted him instead.
I got no response.
When I finally arrived home, I was met at the door by Tyrone—who was incensed! Immediately, he demanded to know where I was.
I tried to explain to him what happened; however, Tyrone accused me of cheating on him. During all the back and forth yelling, he suddenly struck me across my face.
I was shocked as I stared at him in disbelief! As Tyrone walked away, he informed me that he had to know where I was–at all times.
After Tyrone calmed down, he pleaded with me to accept his apology. He swore he would never do it again.
He was “just…upset.”
So, I believed him. We got back to our wonderful life.
Then shortly after that, Tyrone accused me of flirting with someone while we were on one of our date nights. I pleaded with him to calm down, that I was NOT flirting.
But before I knew it, he grabbed my fingers and twisted them! Tyrone broke one and fractured another.
I was stupefied! Speechless.
And once more, he apologized. Tyrone swore he would never do it again.
And I forgave him! I believed he was sincere.
I also believed it was my fault that he did those things!
And, I believed I could change him.
As time went on, Tyrone became more and more controlling! I found myself checking in with him before I did anything. I found myself blaming myself for all the abuse. And after a while, he deliberately—and with calculation–kept me away from my family and friends, as I made excuse after excuse for my obvious injuries.
As I slowly became more and more isolated, family and friends worked hard to find out what was going on. They tried their level best to get me out of this toxic and dysfunctional relationship.
However, I was too in love and being controlled.
I just knew I could change Tyrone! Besides, it WAS all my fault.
I was always nervous around him because I never knew what kind of mood he’d be in–whether he was going to be in a good mood, bad mood, or just plain crazy!
But, remember: I loved him.
And then the coronavirus hit the world! And we had to practice social distancing.
The best part of my day was when Tyrone went to work. I worked from home. The slamming of the door every morning was a blessing. Every time he left, the tension in the air would suddenly disappear and I would exhale. The days were wonderful!
But the worst part of the day was the sound of his key in the front door when he came home! Instantly, the tension would appear once again.
And I went back into my private hell.
Time and time again, I wanted to leave him–but never did. As mental and physical abuse became worse and worse, this private hell went on for some time.
But today, my now ex-boyfriend and I are still practicing social distancing.
But there’s one big difference.
We are not just six feet apart. He is six feet under.
He struck me one time too many–and now I am in quarantine! In jail.
You see, while I was preparing his dinner, Tyrone attacked–yelling at and grabbing me!
We tussled for a moment. And when I spun around, the knife in my hand found its way into his chest!
I’m not sure if I did it while defending myself. Or, maybe I did it because I’d truly had enough of his abuse.
Either way…I am here. Quarantined.
And I hope that after they find out the circumstances of my situation, I get a pardon. I hope to go free and get back to my marvelous life before him.
The preceding is a story, a piece of fiction. However, that is real life for many people today. Years ago, I was living my own private hell with an abusive boyfriend. Back then, I wished someone had helped me escape.
So, if you know someone whom you suspect is in an abusive relationship, please try to help them. During this time of the pandemic, being trapped in your home with your abuser is a living hell. Without a doubt.
When there was no pandemic, I lived with my abuser—which was pure torture. Then, I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening. I loved him and gave him every excuse for everything he did to me. And I gave my family and friends every excuse for my behavior, as well as the marks and bruises on my body.
Some people are truly crying out for help like I was. If you suspect someone is being abused, please do everything you can to help them escape their particular private hell.
You don’t want them to end up being quarantined, being trapped like the guy in my story.
Inside, my heart cries invisible tears that no one can see.
If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).