I think I knew it on Christmas.
When the gift you got for me,
was really a gift for you.
“So everyone knows you’re dating a black guy,”
But I’m the ignorant one.
Or maybe I knew on my birthday?
When you didn’t get me so much as a card.
Seeing my tears, you called me privileged.
Two hours later you happily ate cake with my friends.
No, I think it was your birthday.
When your comments led to questions.
With answers that didn’t add up.
With me spending upwards of $300
on an unappreciative boy.
Or maybe it was my first time away from you.
Two weeks with my relocated family,
I spent most of the time apologizing for other people’s actions.
Blocking random people who liked my photos.
Just to please you.
Maybe it was the time I turned my back.
For you to have the last word.
I think it might have been the time I cut off friendships
with people of the opposite sex.
Because – you didn’t believe in being platonic.
Or it could have been when I went dress shopping
and didn’t tell you which store I was going to.
Or when I got an oil change and you wanted
to “make sure I got there okay.”
No, it had to be when I drove you to work four times a week.
To a job I got you.
Never receiving a thank you or a dollar in my gas tank.
When you claimed, you couldn’t pay me back, but placed
a bet on a boxing match.
What is so insane, aside from the two of us,
is that none of these little moments caught my eye.
I was so accustomed to being used and taken advantage of that,
it all seemed normal to me.
I always thought abuse was physical.
And you never laid a finger on me.
But you didn’t have to.
You hurt me every single day with just a look.
A word. A tone.
And I sat there and took it.
Not once, but twice.
I don’t know what’s worse.
The fact that I saw nothing wrong with it.
Or the fact that you saw nothing wrong with it.
Or maybe you did.
And you just didn’t care.
You drew a constant circle.
Silly little girl.
You’ve done it again.
You successfully made yourself a prisoner
in your own relationship.
You thought you called the shots.
You thought he was different.
But you were.
Two years ago, you would have stayed.
You would have stayed until he made you leave.
You were strong enough this time.
And I am so proud of you.