He stumbled into my apartment that night inebriated to all hell, enraged, wanting to give a little anger for what he got. On the phone 10 minutes prior to his arrival, he told me he just wanted to talk. By the time he’d taken two steps into the living room, he was screaming at my roommate.

“This is such bullshit! Why the fuck is this happening?! Why didn’t you tell me this shit!”

John, my roommate, was also a good friend of his, and he was screaming at him instead of me, perhaps because it was safer. He wanted to hit as well, and he began to beat on John.

“I’ve lost my best friend!” bellowed Jason, so loud and so frightening I backed up against the wall. “I didn’t deserve this! All because of that bitch! That fucking slut!”

The fucking slut he was referring to was me. He was angry because his best friend admitted to having feelings for me, and because after Jason and I broke up several months previously, I was dating someone else. Nothing ever happened between Jason’s best friend and I, but for some reason, the idea of this being even the slightest possibility was driving him nuts. And he was seething at the fact that I was seeing someone else, even though he was the one who’d left me.

Apparently, all of this made me a bitch and a slut.

Backed up against the wall, I was shaking horribly. I didn’t know what to do or think. I’d never seen him so upset before- at least not about me. He continued wailing towards John, falling to the floor, and John mouthed at me to leave. “Now,” his lips said silently.

I ran next door. My kind neighbor, who’d been used to similar craziness with my previous roommate, tried to console me. My attempt to borrow his phone proved useless. My hands were shaking too much.

After the police came and went on noise complaints, I walked quickly back over to the apartment and into my room. A half hour later, Jason came into my room to talk. I held my breath, watched him seat himself, and I brushed at dried tears on my face. He apologized. He began to read to me the biting, maudlin poetry he’d jotted down while at the bar. He was claiming he didn’t understand me. That I confused him.

He thought that I was in love with him, even after he broke up with me. He thought he could return whenever he pleased, and that I would be waiting. Perhaps he had been used to this before? He’d been stalked by both men and women before- his physical beauty and charming personality was the do-in for several. But perpetual heartache was not my style. I was not some Mariana forever awaiting his gentle fingers on my cheek.

But he was sorry for his craziness, he said as we sat on the floor that night. He was sorry for spitting out that he’d had sex with three other girls while we were going out. He was sorry for not realizing his feelings. So he was sorry, and would I want a relationship now? Could we start again?

His eyes, round and enveloping like soft blue peaches, devoid of anger now, were destroying me. I sat in silence for several minutes, feeling like the slug I had foolishly murdered the day before in the kitchen. Salt pouring over the slimy creature, it writhed in anguish, melting into slug slush like a wicked witch, for what seemed like forever. I’d felt so awful for causing that. I felt its pain once again, looking into Jason’s eyes.

I’d pushed him out of my heart before, but he was pushing himself back in. I felt so weak. Something told me this had little hope for a future if we tried, but I worried so much that if I didn’t try, I’d never know. And I hated to see this man so upset. I hated it.

Do I dare? And do I dare?

“Are we going to do this?” He asked again. “Answer me. You’re killing me.”

I reached over, put my hand on his shoulder blade. I had to try.

Had to try. That was my excuse for my weakness.

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