My abuser Jason (not his real name) and I had gotten into one of our epic fights. The kind where he would wear me down with a steady stream of mental pin balls – shot straight through my long list of insecurities. He would berate me for hours until I understood that I was worthless, unlovable and ultimately lucky to have him. He may have broken up with me then. I can’t remember. He broke up with me so many times – waiting for me to beg and plead with him to take me back. The whole process would often run from sundown to sunup. It was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. My stamina has never recovered. Even now when I fight with my husband, 15 years later, I shut down at the first sign of criticism. All I want to do is make it stop.
I was walking down the stairs from Jason’s dorm room, tears streaming down my face, when Jon stopped me. I didn’t know Jon very well at the time, he was better friends with Jason and his roommate, so I certainly didn’t expect any support or sympathy from him. I tried to walk by him without drawing attention to myself. He looked me in the eyes and asked me what was wrong. I told him that Jason and I had had a fight. He offered to walk me back to my dorm room. He sat with me for what seemed like hours. I don’t remember what we talked about. It doesn’t matter. I do remember that he made me laugh, and that he never forced me to tell him what happened. I don’t know if I did or not. What I do know is that he saw that something wasn’t right and he cared enough to stay with me until the pin balls stopped bouncing around inside my head.
Jon and I are friends on Facebook. According to his status updates, he just returned home from the hospital after undergoing major heart surgery. Otherwise, his Facebook page shows a young, healthy and happy father and husband. It’s obvious that his sunny outlook on life and innate kindness are still there.
I never thanked Jon for his act of kindness. In the darkest of hours, when I felt completely alone and hopeless, he reminded me that I was worth something. I’m glad that today I still have the chance to say thank you for the gift he gave me 15 years ago. It’s stayed with me all this time. Thank you Jon – may your recovery be swift and peaceful.