Sometimes when you’re really deep in love, you are also presented with your partner’s deepest, darkest aspects and once you meet that darkness, it may just scare you. How much are you willing to endure for love? Is true love worth the cost?
Read below to follow Devin as he gets to know Tasha’s demons in a way he never thought he would…
As soon as I opened the door, screams filled my ears. They were high pitched, nails on the chalkboard, type of screams. I put my hands over my ears.
“Hey,” I said to the woman behind the counter. “I’m here to pick up my girlfriend.” I was breathing heavy like I had just run a marathon, and in some ways I felt like I was about to.
The blank-faced clerk looked me up and down.
“Name,” she said flatly.
“Tasha. Tasha Jenkins.”
“Oh, she’s right next door.”
Fuck. That was the room where the loudest screams were coming from.
My brain was a fog. A dark, heavy voice was in my head and it wouldn’t let go.
The stale tequila on my tongue tasted so nasty, it made me want to run out of my body.
I looked up and saw a silhouette I knew all too well and I thought I was coming back to life, but then the heavy energy shot through me again. I curled up into a ball on the stiff bed.
She sat there looking like a shell of my girlfriend. Curled up in the fetal position, she rocked back and forth like she was possessed.
Her sequin minidress from last night was now an oversized white tee and basketball shorts coupled with some of those hospital socks with the dots on the bottom. My guess was that’s what the facility gave her to put on after I dropped her off.
I could smell the tequila as soon as I walked in the room. I shook my head, thinking about how last night was supposed to be a good time for us. We were celebrating five years together, and I was ready to propose.
“What are you looking at?” she said in a scratchy, low voice. She sounded like a full blown man. Her voice was crunchy and deep, and made me cringe.
Though her mouth was moving, and sound came out of her mouth, the voice I heard didn’t seem to belong to her. She continued rocking and closed her eyes. Her eyelids shook and I could tell her eyes balls were rolling around underneath.
I watched her in this trance state and so many thoughts rushed through my head. I thought she’d just drank too much, like she always did when we went out. Sure, it frustrated me that she’d never listen to me when I told her to slow down and honor her limit, but I’d never seen it get this far or last this long.
Her eyes popped open. I wanted to move closer to her, but my body wouldn’t let me.
“You…should go,” the deep voice roared. She twisted herself out of the curled up position and pointed at me.
“There’s nothing you can do about this.” She forced each syllable out, angrily.
She, or whatever was inside of her, groaned louder.
“Tasha is mine.” She pointed at herself. “She’ll never choose you. She’ll never listen to you because you have no power here. Only I do.”
I wanted to believe it wasn’t the real Tasha talking to me this way, saying these things, but it was hard to ignore the truth in the words.
It was true that she never listened to me when I tried to warn her about drinking too much, drinking until she was blacked out and…clearly open to some other shit.
I wanted to punch her for letting this happen. I was mad as fuck, and beyond tired of dealing with this nonsense. We were almost thirty, we can’t keep acting like college kids for the rest of our lives.
I tried to shake myself out of the drunken trance. I watched Devin clench his fists but I didn’t understand why. I wasn’t sure what I was saying or what was going on. It was as if I was blocked away from myself and had no control over my body at all.
I was crying, deep within my mind, but I guess he couldn’t see it. Why can’t he see me? Why can’t he help me? I felt like a prisoner in my own shell of a body.
I watched him unclench his fists and walk out the door. I tried to yell, I tried to tell him to come back. I reached for him, begging him to forgive me for this mess, but the door crashed shut behind him. I was left alone again. The scariest position to be in, yet somehow it was always where I was. Alone.
THE NEXT DAY
“I left her there, ma. I didn’t know what else to do. I mean, I was ready to propose to her, and then this!” I said into my phone.
“Oh goodness, baby, that’s tough. Clearly the girl has a problem. Have you ever talked with her about seeking help?”
“No, I mean, she knows she’s got a problem,” I said.
“Maybe she doesn’t, baby,” my mom said. “Your father took years before he accepted his addiction to weed.”
“Come on, ma, really? Weed is different.”
“It’s a different substance, yes, but addiction is addiction. Sure, your father didn’t have episodes like Tasha, but the effects on me, as his wife, were the same. Before you were born, your father constantly chose being high over our relationship, just like Tasha is choosing to be drunk over being with you. Your father and I almost divorced before he was able to get it under control,” she said calmly.
“But-” I tried to interject, but she kept talking. I didn’t even know my father smoked weed until I was an adult. I guess he really did get things under control.
“Son. You’re grown so I’m not gonna tell you what to do. But I would say if you really want to be with this girl, you support her through this instead of abandoning her. If you don’t want to stay by her side while she overcomes her demons, just move on. It’s your choice to make, because it’s your relationship.”
“You’re right mom, thanks,” I said.
My mom had always been a straight shooter. I wasn’t sure if she knew how spot on she was with the whole demon talk, but I was glad I called her. I always reached out to her when I needed to make tough decisions because I knew she’d make it plain, and most of all, leave the decision making up to me.
I hung up and let out a deep sigh.
I walked back into the facility and today Tasha’s holding cell was quiet. She looked up at me and smiled when I walked in. Through the smile I could tell she’d been crying. I knew as much as I hated seeing her like this, I needed to be here if our relationship would ever survive.
A voice of doubt spoke to me. What if I have to deal with Tasha having these episodes for the rest of my life? Is this really what I want for myself? I felt so powerless and helpless when she got this drunk and messed up. I stared at her, noticing her energy looked lighter today.
“Devin. I’m so glad you came back.” I paused and tried to reach for the right words, but all I felt was shame. Shame that I was powerless to this addiction. Shame that I’d brought him into it, time and time again. I didn’t want to let the words I said next leave my lips, but I knew I had to.
“I really needed you,” I said in almost a whisper.
“You did?” he said. His eyes stretched open.
“Yeah. You didn’t know that?” I said, sniffling.
“No…I heard something else from you. But then again, maybe it wasn’t really you, Tasha. Maybe it was something else,” he said with fear and concern in his eyes.
“I was prepared to lose you, Devin,” I said. More tears drenched my shirt. I couldn’t stop them.
Shame and fear washed through me as I remembered the terrors I’d experienced the night before.
Last night I saw the demon within me leaving my body. In all my years of drinking too much, I’d never seen that before. It was scary and left me feeling powerless and out of control. I realized I was the one ruining my life by inviting this shit in.
Worst of all, I assumed there was no way Devin could ever love me when I was capable of doing things like this. I felt I didn’t deserve it. So I told myself he’d probably never come back, and that I would have to fix this within myself. It was a lonely feeling, but it gave me the push I needed. The push to change.
“I signed up for this,” I said. I held up a pamphlet for alcoholics anonymous that I’d grabbed from the facility’s bathroom.
Devin looked at it and his face lit up like a child’s first Christmas Tree. It was the first time I’d ever even hinted that I wanted to kick my addiction to alcohol.
He ran to me and gave me a huge hug, picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. And for the first time in a while, I felt truly supported. I felt like he’d seen my darkness, and he was willing to help me find the light.
Copyright 2020 by Nia Venus. All rights reserved.
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