I was in a long-term relationship until Memorial Day weekend 2019. I had fallen head over heels for this guy quickly a few years back and it had been a whirlwind of crazy, both good and bad; but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Time passed, we grew closer, and unfortunately, we ended up butting heads more frequently too. We tried new foods, saw new places, and overcame fears side by side. He had his baggage, and I had mine, but I truly didn’t think I would ever say goodbye to the man that I pictured growing old and grey with.
I’ve always had a habit of ignoring red flags and I did a lot of that during my relationship with him. There were days where we were oh-so-wonderful and those days made me forget about the toxicity that had grown between us.
In the spring of 2019, he bought us a beautiful house, and we moved in, slowly but surely making it our home. A beautiful greyish-blue color, with snow-white accents and a lake-front view. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect. Honestly, I could’ve lived in a cardboard box with him and would’ve been ecstatic just to have been living with the man I loved, but this was a bonus.
Room by room, day by day, the empty shell we had moved into was taking on such character. As the days passed on, our future became more visible. Decorating for Christmas, hosting barbecues, kayaking on the lake on Saturday mornings, filling the house with children. We could see it all.
After about a month of moving things in and situating ourselves more comfortably, we decided that we wanted a pet. Both of us are huge animal lovers but wanted to wait a few years to get a dog until we were fully settled in and able to spend more time at home.
Cats are easier than dogs but still provide that same much-needed unconditional love and warmth. So, we played rock-paper-scissors, tossed coins, made a list of pros and cons, and I just couldn’t help but rule every reason we shouldn’t get a kitten out. So, we did our research and picked our perfect little baby from a litter in the Carolinas that was rescued and being sent to New York. The kitten was so small that they couldn’t tell if it was a girl or a boy. We made two lists of names and narrowed it down to only a handful. We waited by the phone to hear if they’d finally figured out the gender so that we could pick a name from the proper list.
Finally, we learned that our baby was a girl!
Every single day, Amazon and Chewy packages full of goodies and supplies for our new fur baby were delivered to our door. We counted down the days until she would come home to us. Less than one pound of heaven with pitch-black fur and crystal-blue eyes, she was beautiful and we couldn’t wait to love her.
I spent so much time worrying about the house, school, work, and preparing for the kitten that I somehow was ignoring how unhappy I had become. In very short timing, our once-in-a-while disagreements became a daily occurrence. I went to school and worked full time, yet come home and cook and clean and do laundry to make sure he was never without. I packed him lunch every day of the week and I always showed him how much he was adored and appreciated. He still never seemed to appreciate me anymore, and I lost all the confidence I had.
I finally started to wake up. I begged for time, attention, and affection. For the first time, I could see how uninvested he was in me. It’s not that he didn’t want me around, he just wanted me around on his terms. I felt lonely. I wasn’t his top priority anymore; I’m not sure that I ever really was. It’s almost as though the huge move into this beautiful house had scared him into thinking he was losing his youth, and instead of continuing to grow up and mature, things were going backward.
I was always alone while he was out enjoying his hobbies with his friends. I would suggest weekly date nights and small romantic activities, and he would complain that we didn’t have the money. He always had the money when his friends asked though. More often than not, I’d lay awake at night wondering what I was doing wrong and why I wasn’t enough.
The beautiful life that was being built in this house had quickly become a thing of the past.
Time was flying by and I had a huge decision to make.
I could stay and live the rest of my life “dealing” with these lonely nights, letting him treat me poorly because I didn’t want to let go of the perfect image I had of him in my mind. I could get married to him; keep watching as he did whatever he wanted, raise kids with him, and live in misery feeling trapped forever.
Or I could finally leave. I could walk out the door and ignore the fact that I had only just settled in there and would have to uproot my life again. I could take all of my things and walk out with confidence knowing that someday I would find the man who would never leave me feeling lonely or unimportant, the man who would want to spend his time making memories with me instead of with his friends while I watched.
I was so sick of asking for affection, so sick of feeling unimportant, so sick of being lonely with a man I wasn’t even married to yet.
So, I did what many people are too scared to do, and I left.
I packed up everything that was mine (which was everything), and I walked out the door. He was out with his friends when I left, and I never got to see him again. It was painful and stressful and left me feeling like a baby deer all over again, trying to stand alone for the first time. Through the pain, I knew I made the right decision. I moved back into where I had lived before, and naturally, I felt like a train wreck.
All the while, my kitten was just days away from arriving. It slipped my mind, as the move threw me for a loop. My entire life was in a disheveled mess of boxes and bins, but I had already become attached to her; there was no way that I would give her up just because my plans had changed.
I picked Banshee up a week later and from the second I saw her I knew that this was exactly where I was supposed to be. She looked at me like she recognized me. Something about her seemed human. She responded when I called her; she grabbed my face with her two front paws and kissed me right on my mouth, and she didn’t leave my side for a second.
The love and affection I get from my little Banshee is out of this world. She loves me harder than I ever knew to be possible and I love her even more. I begged to be loved for a while, and I didn’t even realize I could get it for free. I think that knowing she was on her way to me, subconsciously made me feel stronger when it came time to leave him.
Several months have passed now and as I sit here with Banshee on my lap while her body blocks the computer screen, I’m amazed at how destiny never ceases to find its way.
I go to sleep with her next to me every night and I wake up to her sweet little sandpaper kisses every morning. She’s changed my entire life and taught me so much already. I went from not wanting to be alone, to being content on my own and working diligently at becoming my best self. I know the right one will come along, but until then, I have my Banshee right by my side to remind me of my strength and to share smoothies with me in the peace of our little home.
I thought I had rescued her, but it turns out that she rescued me.