Shawn and I had many problems. In fact we had broken up in the summer for a short while because we fought so much. But we got back together, thinking we were stronger than ever. Regardless of the lies. The arguing. The clashing personalities. I felt like I had invested so much time to make it work and sometimes things were great. In the fall we got engaged but the arguing became more personal. He didn’t want a big family. I did. He didn’t want to get married in a church. I did. Everything I thought I liked about him before was now gone. Sounds stable right? This is what I had chosen for myself because I’d given him my heart. I was not thinking critically. There’s a reason you don’t give your heart out. It complicates everything dramatically and makes easy decisions foggy. This notion brought me to seriously pray for an answer. This couldn’t be all love had to offer… And why on earth did I think it was my job to stay? It wasn’t.
I was accustomed to calling Shawn when my shifts ended at work to check in and talk to him. Well the night that I talked to Joseph, I did not call to check in. In fact, Shawn drove to my sister’s house where I was living at the time and had been waiting for me in her driveway most of the night. So when I showed up for school he already knew I hadn’t been home. I knew our talk would have to come right now and not later in the day like I had planned. Inhale…exhale.
We went to his car where I told him I had stayed with a friend from work the night before. (Pretty much true? ish.) I expressed my unhappiness in our relationship and reminded him that we always fought and it was more work than happiness. He assured me it would be better after the wedding, even though we hadn’t set a date and he couldn’t seem to remember to put more than $75 in our wedding fund over the 3 months we had been engaged. He swore that he would change. I told him about Joseph and said that I wanted to be friends with him and he said, “Great! I’ll be friends with this Joseph guy too. We can both be his friend. No problem.” And I said “I don’t think you understand. This isn’t working and it’s not going to work. Ever. We can’t force it anymore. We’re not meant to be and we’re making each other miserable. I want different things…” At this point he was shaking his head and saying “Nope, no…” Then he started up his car. “Where are you going?” I said, completely freaked out by this point. He said, “We’re going to my apartment where we can talk about this.” I said, “I want to talk here!” But he was backing out.
He drove me to his apartment and insisted I get out of the car so we could “Discuss things.” Against my better judgement I went upstairs with him. He locked the apartment door and asked me once again to work things out. When I said, “We are really done this time.. For good…. I’m sorry.” He went and threw up. He came back to me and grabbed the cordless phone. He called his mother and sobbed to her that I was being irrational and I was breaking up with him. I was panicking by this point because I felt trapped. I looked at the door and then he came back into the room with the phone on his ear and said, “Give me back the ring!!” I slipped it off and handed it over to him and he went back in his room to lament to his mom. I busted for the door!
There was no way I was getting stuck here with him not letting me leave, which had happened other times I tried to end things. I unlocked the door, slipped out quietly then bolted down the hall! I ran so fast down the carpeted stairs and out to the parking lot. I ran to a neighborhood near by and tried to stay off the main streets constantly looking back to see if he was following me. I had no idea where I could go. I thought a gas station would be the first place he would look. So I jogged 2 miles to the steak house I worked at. I banged on the back door until a cook let me in. The store wasn’t even open yet. I told him my situation and asked for a ride back to school to get my car. He wasn’t able to leave and take me because he was prepping all the food. So I called my sister and left her a message on her machine where I was. I hadn’t been able to get ahold of her because I found out she was working at a different store and unable to leave to come get me.
So I decided to call Joseph. Please answer, please answer… I really needed him to come get me! There was a part of me too, that feared he would think I was a little nutso to be calling him to come rescue me because we had just spoken ya know, ALL NIGHT about our hopes and dreams and how we fit into each other’s picture… What if he didn’t really mean any of it? That was a huge possibility. I’d been schmoozed before. He did ask to kiss me. What if that was all he was after? I really did drill him quite a bit about everything. That could scare someone away! It would be unfortunate because we seemed to really connect. But, I had gotten OUT of that relationship and I was SO relieved!! Either way my prayers were answered.
The other line picked up and it was his mother. “Hello, is Joseph there??” I asked politely. She said, “No. He’s sleeping.” Ugh. It was 10 am. We had been out all night. Of course he was sleeping. I was not about to ask his mother who I’d never met to please go wake up her son so I could talk to him. She didn’t know me. This was awkward for me. I also wasn’t going to explain to her that I’d been with her son all night and then dumped my fiancé and I needed her son to come get me. Nope. She’d hang up on me for sure. So I left a message with her, completely deflated. I was stuck here.
The phone rang at the steak house after I hung up with Joseph’s mom. I answered like a hostess but it wasn’t a reservation. It was Shawn. Oh God! I just wanted to cry. “How did you find me?” He said, “I’m at your sister’s house. I got in through the garage code and I checked the answering machine figuring you called her. Let me come and get you. I’m calm now and I promise I’ll take you back to your car.” If EVER there was a boulder in my stomach it was then. I was so emotionally and mentally drained. I reluctantly agreed to let him come get me, since it was my only option.
He drove me back to school. Staying there seemed safer to me with everyone around. My eyes were almost swollen shut from crying. I was a mess. Every fiber of my being wanted to go home and sleep.. to process what had just happened. But I couldn’t. I had to work at 4. It was the shift I told Joseph I would cover for him.
At some point during that endless shift that seemed to never end, Joseph called the restaurant to talk to me. I told him I broke up with Shawn. He said “Already?? I figured you wouldn’t pull the trigger for a while.” I said, “Well, I told you, you coming in to work was the sign that I was supposed to break up with Shawn. So I did.”
The very next night Joseph and I closed down another coffee-house.