Valentine to an Abusive Ex-Boyfriend

As Mended heart Valentine's Dayanyone who’s ever gritted his or her teeth through this Hallmark holiday named for a Christian martyr knows, Valentine’s Day isn’t always a happy day.

It is with this in mind that I dredge up a ghost of valentines past. I wrote this piece in 2002 and posted it on my original website, Cruel but Just, which was a pre-Blogger attempt to warp hearts and minds on the Internet. I haven’t thought of this guy in years so don’t go all psychoanalytical on me. I’m just saying that there are worse things than being alone.

Hi W,

I just got home from the latest Rush concert and thought of you. All 235 hairy, girlfriend-beating loser pounds of you. Do you weigh even more now? It’s been a long time. I know I won’t find you on, since you’re a high school dropout. I guess you couldn’t take the pressure of Algebra.

I was remembering the first concert we went to, the Signals tour, 1983. Those were the days, huh? After you’d been arrested for tipping over gravestones but before you were banned from school property for giving booze to underage kids.

Nearly twenty years later, I’m at the Vapor Trails tour. Front row, right in front of Geddy, getting a smile and a wink as I sing along with him, not missing a lyric. I’m wearing my Signals tour shirt. You didn’t buy me that t-shirt—I had to get it last year on e-Bay. In fact, back then I had to pay for our tickets with money from my after-school cashier job. I couldn’t afford the first row back then—but you couldn’t afford the last.

Right before the encore, Working Man, (which you never were, by the way) Geddy points to me and has a roadie give me a special t-shirt, one of only a few printed to say it’s directly from him. My husband is psyched, gives Geddy the thumbs-up and tells me I’m hot. He’s happy to see me having a good time and tells me I’ve still got it.

I might not have lived to see this concert if I’d stayed with you. You might have killed me one day for talking to the mailman. You’d already choked me for pretending to rip a page out of a magazine and tried to throw me in front of a car for some reason I can’t remember, but which I’m pretty sure didn’t warrant that kind of reaction.

You were so frustrated when I got that scholarship, you told me you’d thrown a bottle of shampoo against the wall when your thumb covered the “n” in “collagen.” I was tempted to tell you that spelled COLLAGE, not COLLEGE. It would’ve almost been worth the beating I would have gotten.

You were so angry that I wouldn’t give up the scholarship and move in with you and your mom. You didn’t understand why I couldn’t be happy with that. And now you sit in your shitty little apartment on Main Street, maybe eating a little watered-down Dinty Moore. Remember how you used to add water and a bouillon cube to stretch it? Do you still return cans so you can buy another six-pack of generic beer?

I have to tell you, though, how much you helped me all those years ago. You scared me into running away from my hometown to New York City, where I met a wonderful man, married him and lived happily ever after (with all the bumps in the road a normal person would expect, but no tosses into traffic). Oh, and I got to sing with Geddy Lee. So, you see, you did me a real favor back then. But I’m not going to send you a thank you card.


Copyright Magick Sandwich


18 replies
  1. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    This is beautiful, Kath. I mean, yeah, sad and horrifying to remember the things we tolerated, but beautiful to realize how much we've grown and learned to respect ourselves. Yay You!!! xo ~ C.

  2. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    Thanks, Carrie. I wasn't sure if I should post this. I was afraid of the reactions I might get. I'm so happy you were the first person to comment. You were there.

  3. slommler
    slommler says:

    It is always amazing to me how memories jump up out of nowhere and bite you in the butt. This was well said dear one. Congrats on your happy life!! Well deserved too!!

  4. sarah
    sarah says:

    I, too, was in an abusive relationship, for 6 years of my life…but, I had a kid with the guy! I was just a stupid teenager (I had just turned 19 yrs old) who thought he was 'the greatest' because he was old enough to buy beer..LMAO!! He smashed my face into a coffee table on my first Mother's day, stole my pain medication after I had to have teeth pulled (because he smashed my face in so much) and made us (my son and I) go without food, heat, water and electricity more times than I can count!
    I finally got out of it, recently met a great guy, well 2 years ago, I met him (after yet another loser, this one wasnt abusive though–the opposite in fact…a momma's boy) and I am due to graduate "Collage" (LOL) this year!!!
    I am earning my Criminal Justice degree, as a matter of fact, because I want to stop worthless (fish) crap, *'bass turds'* like him, for the rest of my life!
    Yay me!!!

    Thank you for sharing your story…

  5. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    SueAnn: Thank you!I am happy! Sometimes I forget how good I've got it.

    Sarah: Thank you for sharing your own story. I'm happy you made it out and I hope you get to collar at least one of these cowardly bastards in your new career.

    Congrats in advance on your collage graduation!

  6. mary w.
    mary w. says:

    sure do!! i think she thought we were smoking pot!!
    i think it might've been the whiskey….all i remember is your friend, W, adding his own "touch" to their beverage!! and they thought it tasted like flintstone's vitamins.

  7. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    I just told the story to my hubby and he said that then old W. did have one use. That was satisfying, wasn't it? Nobody'd believe it, but you've got a devilish twinkle in you, Mary, and I love you for it. You can make me laugh remembering some dark times.

  8. HermanTurnip
    HermanTurnip says:

    You win. Hands down, you win. This is one of the best posts evar. You know, I'm not surprised that people like this exist. It's a cold, cruel world. Congratulations on finding the light!

  9. Janna
    Janna says:

    I'm so glad you found a happy ending to your story. As you mentioned, things could have turned out SO much worse, and I'm glad they didn't.

    You mentioned that there are worse things than being alone.
    That's really true, and yet I tend to forget it so often. I sometimes get sad about living alone/single, but that's not really so bad. Thanks for the reminder.

    Tell your husband how much you love him. :)

  10. botheyesshut
    botheyesshut says:

    Hi Miss Kath,

    It's my first visit and won't be the last. I like your style.

    This isn't a supportive, good-for-you comment, though.

    I've been trying for the last few moments to describe the way I feel having read your 2002 anti-valentine, and everything I come up with sounds unintelligent or juvenile to me; my emotion resulting from it isn't invalid or anything, it's just that there aren't any proper reasons to articulate them — kind of a if-you-can't-say-anything-good… sort of principle.

    Now please, understand, I like your writing, and I love your earnestness, but why write a letter to a void? If the demon's exorcised, why name him?

    Poisonally, I've been literally and figuratively kicked around before, and I understand how it is to have things escalate beyond one's ability to realize what's happening before it's too late, so of course I offer my condolences and respects, but really, why the time spent? Seems to me that spending a page's worth of editing and revision on memories better eschewed than reviewed is antithetical when the page itself says, "I'm past that, now."

    I don't know you and I realize I have no idea what I'm talking about, therefore, but the 'net bulges with "I'm better now, so eff you" poetry and prose, and I see too little resistance to it for my liking — not because my dissonance is a more-correct point of view, but because there is another, equally valid, perspective that people like me feel would be too impolite to mention.

    That perspective may be most concisely phrased like this: if you want to communicate your dismissal of someone, tell them to go f*ck themselves — or better yet, don't tell them, or anyone else, anything at all.

    Yeah. I sincerely hope I've succeeded in writing the way I feel without unintentionally becoming a dick, but hey, as a writer you know that we have to take responsibility for our publishings, right? Right.

    Very pleased to meet you, Miss, and thanks for writing; at the very least you've given me a sound reason to say that which has been gestating in my mind for some time now.

    I'll be back to read more if'n I'm still welcome, ha ha.

    All My Most Heartfelt Respects,


  11. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for your kind words.

    @botheyesshut: Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful response. You're right, of course: you don't call someone on the telephone to tell her you're not speaking to her anymore. Just stop picking up the phone.

    So why post something about an extremely painful period of my life if I am "over it"? There are a couple answers to this. The simplest is that I'm not over it. I never will be. I wrote that I am to discourage amateur psychoanalysis. It is a part of me now, although it doesn't inform my daily actions or inhibit me in the present.

    I was angry and vengeful when I wrote that piece in 2002, though I never expected W. to see it. I lashed out sideways. I am not angry now, by which I mean I am not consumed with this abusive part of my past. Nonetheless, when I think of it, I become sad/angry/etc. in the moment.

    I don't usually post things like this on my blog. I have written many true stories about my life but they remain offline. I've learned over the years that painful things are much more palatable to readers when they're sarcastic and/or funny. It's also less maudlin, in my opinion.

    Another answer to your question is that I posted it because I wanted to. If blogging is narcissistic to begin with, why not write about myself?It may add nothing to world discourse on abuse. I'm certainly no expert. But this expressed excavated emotion for me and seemed apt on Valentine's Day.

    I originally intended to write about a silly Valentine's dinner my husband and I had at a fancy French restaurant a few years ago. Perhaps I'll write that one for next year if I'm still blogging.

    I write because I can't help it. Blogging is a wonderful outlet for that. I think most writers want to be read. I'm grateful that you did and that you held my feet to the fire and made me address this a little more closely. A short, hopefully humorous post doesn't always lend itself to that.

    • Alice Orr
      Alice Orr says:

      Hi Kathcom. I just read this to my husband. He’s the wonderful man I met after my own experience with an abuser. J. and I believe you are a woman of great courage and grace and outstanding wit. You are indeed, as someone else already noted here, the winner for sure. Not only a winner in the relationship choices olympics, which can encompass brutal episodes indeed – but a winner in the life olympics as well. In fact, in our eyes, you are wearing a shiny gold medal right now. Blessings. A


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