You warned me.
And I’ve been thinking about you.
You said, this is not the man you want to love. This is not the man you want to announce to the world loves you. This is not the man you want to take home to mum and dad. This is not the man you want to have a child with. This is not your man. You said.
You took a day out of your life to sit me down and list the number of things that made you believe that I should not give him a second look.
You sat me down. You pleaded your case. You looked me in the eye. You asked me to not heed my love-tinted eyes. To remove the blinds. To see him for who he is.
Woman to woman, you said, you were talking to me woman to woman. And so you told me all the bad things that he had done to you. How he had treated you like trash when all you had ever been to him was good, loyal, faithful, and all those nice things.
You said that despite how he portrayed himself to the world, that he was not worth shit. That I should find someone else to love because you, you’d been there, you’d done that, and you’d got the t-shirt. That you could attest without a shadow of a doubt that he was not worth shit.
I listened. I really did. I considered what you were telling me. Must’ve been important to you if you could take a day out of your life to just talk about him. We weren’t friends or nothing. But you had managed to track me down and pin me to this seat. So here we were. In a bar on a Friday afternoon. I listened. I sipped on my beer and listened.
You said you were looking out for me. You had no vendetta against him. That you didn’t want another woman going through what you had gone through with him. I took the opportunity to ask about your thing with him. How long did you date? Five years, you said. Five years that you wasted, you said. Did you have any children with him? I asked. One child, you revealed. One child that was a result of his disdain for condoms. I asked why you broke up. Because of you, you said. That was me. You were referring to me. I was the reason for your breakup.
Hold up. I was the reason for your breakup? Were you telling me the truth or lying to me? I didn’t know. Because when I started dating him, he had said he was going through a breakup. How could the breakup have been because of me when I met him while he was going through it? I guess I should have let what you were saying to me sink in.
You looked me in the eye. Waited for what you had said to sink in. It didn’t. My defenses went up instead. Why should I believe you? Why should I believe you over him? A man that I loved? A man who loved me? For all I knew, you could have been a bitter ex. Or an ex still in love with a man who was trying to move on. You could have been out to sabotage him because you didn’t want to see anything good come to his life. And yes, I was the good I was referring to here.
So I finished my beer. I tried my best to be civil and not say all these things to your face. In my mind, I pitied you. I thought how pathetic it looked when a woman tries so hard to hold onto a man that was no longer interested in him. I promised myself never to be this woman. Never to be you. And as this thought crossed my mind, my lips curled in a sneer. I think you saw that. Because you got up from your seat and thanked me for agreeing to meet with you and then you left. Your beer remained untouched.
I shrugged my shoulders and pulled your untouched beer to my side of the table. Might as well. Then I saw that you had left some money to cover both our beers. For some reason, this bothered me. Why were you doing this? I swigged your beer and put the bottle down. Then I took out my phone and texted him.
“You won’t believe who I just had a drink with!” I hit send.
“Your ex! (face with rolling eyes emoji)” I hit send again.
“Really? (thinking face emoji) What did she want?” He replied.
“She’s full of crap. I think she misses you (grinning face emoji, winking face emoji)” Send.
“Too bad for her. I’m in love with you now. Crazy in love (face with heart-shaped eyes emoji, beating heart emoji)”
“Nothing and no one can make me stop loving you. Not even your ex (three beating hearts emojis)” Send.
I put my phone down. I felt like a hero then. Loving him unconditionally. Regardless of what you or anyone had to say. I was a hero for sticking by him. Believing him and shutting the world out. Being on his side. Protecting our love. Choosing him over everybody else. Us against the world and shit.
Only it wasn’t. Only I shouldn’t have done any of that. I should have listened to you. I shouldn’t have been a hero. I was a fool. And love was specifically made for fools like me.
Today, three years later, I have a child with him too. I’ve loved him too. Given him my all. And he’s taken it all. Now I have nothing else to give. I’m beat. I’m done. Another woman is in the picture. Another me. Another fool. I’m now you.
I want to see her. I want to warn her.
I want to tell her not to pause her career for this man. Not to have a child with this man. I want to tell her to run from this man.
So I wait. I’ve ordered a cup of coffee. Her coffee will be on me just like my beer was on you three years ago. I’m paying it forward I guess. I’ve been crying so much lately that my eyes are puffy. I moved back to my mother’s house last week after finding out about her. When I discovered he was cheating on me with her, when I saw the text messages that they’d been sending each other, I decided to save her number. I decided I was going to warn her just as you’d warned me.
I didn’t listen to you, but maybe she will listen to me.
I sip on my cup of coffee and wait.
Maybe she’s not as foolish as I was.
I hope she’s not as foolish as I was.