Kelly Smith~Signs in the Rear View Mirror~Episode 3: Introducing The Prince of Darkness…

As I text my final goodbye to Jake, I powered down my cell phone and placed it snug in the back of the seat in front of me. I crossed my arms and stared out the airplane window. I had so many things running through my mind. I had a few hours to be totally alone with just my thoughts. The plane began to move and before I knew it I was 30,000 feet in the air and I felt safe. I felt as if no one and nothing could touch me. I felt a sense of ease because for the next few hours I didn’t need to make any decisions. Yet my mind raced and my heart was heavy. I closed my eyes but could not escape the visual I had of Derek.

For the record, Derek wasn’t a bad guy. At the time, he wasn’t trying to nurture our relationship or go out of his way to show me attention or affection. He went to work each day and came home each night. He coached the boy’s youth football team, played semi-pro himself and volunteered his time in the community. We both spent our spare time focused on everything except our marriage. While he was at practice, I was at PTO meetings. While he ran the kids through football drills, I sat on the lacrosse board. We were always busy. We both worked out and occasionally we would spend time together. For me, it just wasn’t enough. Derek didn’t pamper me enough and wasn’t romantic enough. When my birthday would roll around and he didn’t meet my preconceived expectations, I would get upset and tell him he didn’t love me.  Looking back, I could not have been more wrong. His way of loving me was through providing a comfortable, stable and ultimately wonderful life for the boys and I. Again, hindsight is 20/20. So, it’s no wonder, when Jake began to show me the attention I wanted, it was like a drug. It drew me closer to him, almost like a high. “He always knows exactly what to say and when to say it” I thought to myself on the plane. I was starting to believe that maybe we were meant to be together. Maybe the day he talked to me in the hallway at school when I first found out I was pregnant happened for a reason. Could it be that I got pregnant with my oldest son so I could meet Jake and all these years later, find my happily ever after? In my head this seemed possible, and I was starting to believe that it was fate. It made sense because after all, we had so much in common and it was so easy for him to open up to me and be totally truthful. He shared with me that he hadn’t ever been able to open up in that way with anyone. I felt so at ease around him and was also able to just be myself and he seemed to like me just the way I was. It felt so right.

As the plane began to descend into Texas, I felt my stomach begin to rise into my throat. Jake was on my mind, but Derek was picking me up from the airport. I missed Jake. I missed the way he held my hand, how he understood me and how I felt around him. I was afraid to see Derek. How was I going to feel around him? Would he be able to see Jake in my eyes? I felt transparent and guilt stricken. Per his instructions, as soon as the plane landed, I text Jake and let him know I landed safely. I loved that he worried so much about me already. I tucked my phone into my bag and got off the plane. After collecting my luggage, I met Derek outside at the car. The fact that he waited for me outside was a sure sign that he was not changing his mind about the separation. He helped me load my bag into the car and we made small talk on the way home. Derek was still living in the house, but we were in separate rooms. That night we had a long talk and decided it was time for him to move out. This would be an opportunity for us to see how we felt without each other. I truly didn’t believe we were going to actually separate. In my mind, I thought he would move out and realize how important I was to him, he would vow to change  and we would work everything out. After all, he was the one who needed to change in order to fix our marriage, not me. I was everything a man could want. Again, I could not have been more wrong.

When I shared with Jake that Derek was moving out, I was sort of surprised at his lack of reaction. He asked a few pragmatic questions like “when is he moving out?”, “where will he go?”, “will he pay for the house, bills, etc.?”. I did my best to answer his questions and the weight of what was happening washed over me. It was 3am when I hung up the phone and I sat on the floor of the bedroom that was “ours” just a month prior. I sat against the wall and I sobbed. I was scared. The fear of the unknown overwhelmed me and I had no idea what to do on my own or where to even start in figuring it out. What did my life look like without Derek? I knew he and I had problems, but would we end up divorced? Nothing was certain in that moment. All I knew was that after seeing Jake, I had feelings for him. Strong feelings. It was those strong feelings that help me up off the floor and into my bed that night. I covered myself with the same sheets and comforter that once covered Derek and I… and cried myself to sleep. I woke up the next day with a mean case of cry face. As I moved around the house getting the kids ready for school, I convinced myself that it would probably take anywhere between 5 and 10 days to get over Derek and then I could move forward with a relationship with Jake. Up to this point, Derek was my only relationship and I was incredibly naive to the toll a heartbreak takes on a person. In my defense, I was clueless as to how long it actually took to get over someone and having Jake as a distraction certainly helped me get through the day.

As the days went by, the reality set in that Derek was moving out. I got closer and closer to Jake and began planning another trip to see him. It was perfect timing because his brother’s 40th birthday party was coming up and he wanted me to go with him to meet his family. This had to mean something – he wanted to show me off. I didn’t quite know how to handle this but I was excited and flattered. The day Derek moved out, I went to my sister’s house. I couldn’t bear the sight of  him moving things out. He told me he would take everything he wanted and whatever was left, I could keep. After he called to tell me he was finished, I slowly made my way home. I was afraid to go in and had no idea what would be left, if anything. He did tell me that he had hired movers to help me move to my new place so I assumed he left some items. Derek decided to sell our house and move in with his business partner and I was moving into a house of my own. Jake told me he didn’t want me to be in the same house I lived in with my ex so it made sense. Within a week, we were totally moved out, living separately and our house was for sale. We were officially separated and I was totally lost.

The first weekend apart Derek had the kids, and I hopped on a flight to Boston. I was sad about Derek, but seeing Jake was exactly what I needed. Up to this point Jake was supportive but he didn’t like when I talked to him about Derek, so I learned to avoid that topic. Instead, I talked to my friends about the separation and with Jake all was well in my world.  At the time, I understood why he didn’t want to hear it and I was focused on moving forward. This time, getting off the plane in Boston was different. I was filled with excitement and couldn’t wait to wrap my arms around Jake. I left my thoughts of Derek in Texas and I was focused on my time in Boston. When my flight touched down I text Jake to let him know I had landed. He responded quickly saying he was already at the airport and couldn’t wait to see me. The butterflies in my stomach danced around so happily that I could almost taste their colors. I rushed off the plane and practically ran to the baggage claim. I almost fell as I went down the stairs to meet him, I was elated to see him standing there waiting for me. A soon as I could, I threw my arms around him and hugged him tight. My eyes closed as I felt every ounce of him against my body. I inhaled his cologne and time stood still. He grabbed my waist and at the same time, he kissed my face. In that moment, I had never been happier. We joined hands and together we looked for my bag. Hand in hand, we made our way to his car. Honestly, we could not keep our hands to ourselves. I felt amazing. I felt loved. I felt wanted. I felt things I had never felt before and I was in love with that feeling. With him close by, holding my hand, I felt safe. We got to his car and he had a bottle of water waiting for me. “It’s the little things” I said to myself as I got in and buckled the seat belt. On the way to the hotel, we talked and laughed and I felt free. He had my hand in his the entire way there and each time he looked at me from his seat I melted. Those brown eyes, they got me every time. They held some sort of trance over me and I let them.

That night was his brother’s 40th birthday party. I was meeting his family for the first time and I was terrified. Not yet divorced, I felt what I was doing was wrong, but I did it anyway. Jake reassured me that his family would love me. As it turns out, one of my very good friends, Erika, was married to Jake’s brother’s best friend. So, I relaxed knowing she was going to be there. As we drove to his brother’s house I was quiet. I didn’t know what to expect, but Jake was amazing. He told me to just be myself and have fun. I smiled at him and appreciated how patient he was with me. As we pulled into the driveway, I started to sweat and I am pretty sure I had a small, unnoticeable panic attack.

After walking in and meeting everyone, I felt better. Erika arrived soon after and helped to ease me into the party with a drink. At one point I was standing in the living room talking to a stranger. I had what was probably the second drink of the night in my hand and I stood there chatting with my new friend. I could feel eyes on me. Eyes burning a hole in the side of my head. I slowly glanced over to my left and there was Jake. He was standing next to his dad and they were both looking at me. Jake holding a drink of his own, wearing that smile and showing off those dimples. Suddenly my body warmed and I melted all over the living room floor. I returned a smile and his widened. His dad looked at him then back at me and he smiled. Right then and there as those familiar brown eyes were set solely on me from across the room of a crowded party, I fell in love with Jake Williams.

As the night grew stale and darker, the drinks flowed heavily between all the party guests, (myself included). Jake’s brother, Pete, lit a bonfire at the top of the hill. Jake and I hand in hand walked up the hill to join the group. Waiting for us at the fire was Erika and her husband. Erika disappeared to get a drink and I stayed with Jake and talked to her husband. We continued to talk as Jake made his rounds. A few minutes later, Jake angrily paced around the bonfire a few times then he grabbed me by the hand and quickly led me down the hill toward the house. By the time we got to the door, he was now sort of pushing me in the direction he wanted me to go, but still holding my hand, tighter. I noticed as I tried to keep my balance, his brother and dad were close by looking at us. When we got in the house, Jake began to yell at me. He demanded to know why I wanted to make him look like a fool by talking to another man in front of him. He wanted to know and he wanted to know now. I struggled to make sense of exactly what was happening and when I stumbled over my words trying desperately to tell him what he wanted to hear, he began to call me names. For the first time in my entire life, a man was calling me a bitch… a whore. He was screaming at me and telling me that I had embarrassed him and myself in front of his family. I began to cry and he stormed off leaving me standing alone, intoxicated, scared, confused and in a strange place. As I was trying to figure out what exactly I had done wrong, I looked around and saw Pete talking to Jake. I didn’t know my way around the house so I made my way to the hall entrance, stood against a wall, slid down and cried my eyes out on the hardwood floor.  Moments later his dad found me and he sat next to me on the floor. He said Jake was not good for me. He told me to go home and never look back. He said Jake didn’t know how to treat a woman, especially not a good one. He insisted that he would end up hurting me and that I deserved better. Just then Jake walked up to us, told me to get up and that we were leaving. “You’ve embarrassed me enough for one night and it’s time to go”, he said angrily. Both his dad and Pete tried to convince him to stay because Jake had been drinking, but his mind was made up- he wanted to leave, so we did. We got into the car and headed back to the hotel.

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Kelly Smith~ Signs in the Rear View Mirror~ Episode 2: Heart Wide Open, Eyes Wide Shut…

As we enter any new relationship, we go in blind. For the most part, we trust until we are given reasons not to. That is what I did anyway. When I met Jake for the second time, I had no reason to not trust him. I had no reason to ever suspect him of lying about anything. After all, I went into it not expecting much of an outcome. I lived in Texas and he was far away in Boston…1956.7 miles away to be exact. I was in the middle of a separation with no idea if Derek and I would work things out or not, but I moved forward. With an open heart and open mind, I got on that plane to Boston.

When I landed, I text Jake that I had arrived and I would meet him in the baggage area. He responded quickly that he was almost to the airport. As I got off the plane and walked toward the baggage claim, I had butterflies in my stomach and a dry mouth. I had no idea what to expect. I felt a rush of excitement and lingering guilt at the same time. I was still married to Derek, separated, but married nonetheless. The thoughts of “what am I doing here” and “should I be doing this” were slowly creeping to the forefront of my mind. I arrived at the baggage claim and waited for my luggage to drop. I knew Jake wasn’t there yet, so I waited patiently until I spotted my bright pink suitcase. I scooped it up and walked around the airport with my roller bag behind me, I nonchalantly surveyed my surroundings to see if I could spot him. As I went to sit down, he text me: “I’m here, on my way”. I began to sweat. That sensation of fear and excitement hit me like a ton of bricks and immediately I had second thoughts. My hands were shaking. I had clue what to do when I saw him, so I started rummaging through my bag looking for nothing but hoping to find my composure. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him walking toward me. I knew it was him without looking up because he had a distinct walk. I actually felt him approaching me and was eager and panicked at the same time. Guilt overwhelmed me and I thought I was going to throw up. There I was, yet again, sitting on the floor when I heard his voice.

I looked up and there he stood; dark hair, dark eyes, tanned skin, and that cologne. As I stood up, he opened his arms to me and I was enveloped by him. My nerves began to simmer and I felt myself relax in his arms. We made small talk about my flight and he grabbed my bag as we headed toward the rental car area. I didn’t know Jake very well so I made a reservation to rent my own car.  He apologized to me for this tardiness and explained that he had asked a friend to drop him off at the airport so he could keep me company on the drive to the hotel. On the shuttle headed to the rental car area, Jake and I sat close together, our legs touching. His cologne infiltrated my senses, the warmth of his body floating toward mine, and his presence somewhat calmed me. I looked at him and just felt safe. No idea why, but I did. We had spent a lot of time on the phone talking and texting over the past few weeks and I felt as if I have known him intimately my entire life. As I looked him over, I admired the way he was dressed. He wore a blue and white gingham button down shirt with the cuffs folded up, jeans and those all too familiar penny loafers. For whatever reason, I had always associated him with those shoes. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn he was wearing the same exact ones from high school. He wore them well. He wore all of it well. His familiar smile rested across his face almost the entire time we sat together. I asked him why he was smiling and he said it was because he couldn’t believe I was there, with him, as he placed his hand lovingly on my knee. That sensation made my heart melt and felt myself falling deeper and deeper into a feeling that this just may be going somewhere… and that scared me.

As I sat close to Jake, I thought about my marriage. That sick feeling came over me again and this time I couldn’t shake it. As we locked eyes, I could not help but think about my estranged husband, the father of my three sons. In a flash, I began to relive every moment of the past twenty years with Derek. Everything from getting pregnant, reciting our vows, the happy moments, and to him slowly losing interest in me over time. I can’t say I blamed him. I wasn’t exactly a joy to live with. I was needy, demanding and co-dependent. Although at the time I thought I was perfect. There was so much history between us. So many memories both good and bad. Right then and there…for a few moments, I felt sad and wanted to go home. I was jerked out of my thoughts of Derek as the shuttle grinded to a halt at the rental center. Jake bounced to his feet, grabbed my bag and escorted me off the bus. As we walked, he dragged my bag behind him and opened the doors for me. This was new. And it felt good. “I could get used to this” I thought to myself. Those haunting thoughts of Derek were fading with each chivalrous gesture I was shown.

We talked as we stood in line waiting to pick up the rental car. Laughter ensued and my smile grew as he slightly touched my shoulder and arm in a flirtatious way. He knew what he was doing. Texas was a distant memory and I was fully present in the moment with this handsome man who wanted to be with me. We got into the rental car and drove to the hotel I reserved for the duration of the trip. His car was already in the parking lot when we pulled in. As I checked in to the hotel, Jake was by my side with my bag safely behind him. I know it may not sound like much, but the way he cared for my bag made me feel wanted, appreciated… cherished. It was something I never really felt with Derek. Now, it wasn’t that Derek didn’t want me or didn’t appreciate me, it was that he showed it in a different way, his way. The way he displayed affection didn’t mirror my way of receiving affection. It is only now that I can acknowledge this fact and understand where the wires often got crossed.

When we got to my room, I opened the door and began to settle in. We made small talk as I unpacked and put away my things. We talked about our plans for the next day. He had to work and I had decided to catch up with some old friends. We started making plans for the next evening and I could feel my stomach begin to knot. As we talked, he moved closer toward me and soon he was finally close enough and gently grabbed my hand. We continued to talk as his face got closer to mine. As he slowly moved in, he carefully placed his hand under my chin, and pulled my face closer to his. I could feel his body moving toward mine and I knew what was about to happen. I thought about stopping him and for a moment I thought again about leaving. But as soon as his hand touched my face… my mind went blank and I let myself go. The excitement rushed through my veins, my heart pounded and my mind raced with all the possibilities of what could happen… what I suddenly wanted to happen. We had our first kiss in that hotel room. Moments later, we walked hand in hand, happily moving down the hallway to his car.

That night we had dinner and we talked for hours. He openly shared the details of his past with me. We sat at that restaurant table and he told me about his life after high school. As he moved from story to story, I took it all in with my eyes and ears wide open. I had questions and he had answers. Nothing to him was off limits. I remember thinking how great it was that he was so open. That he was so eager to share so much with me so soon. The way he shared made me feel as if I could trust him, and I started to. I had never met anyone willing to be that raw. His past was colorful and complete with jail time, drug sales, and domestic violence. All the red flags were there that night, but the way he presented them, it all seemed normal and almost romantic. He had reasons why everything happened as it did and said he just felt unlucky. I stared at this man from across the table and felt bad for him. I believed everything he said because he was so “open and honest”. I mean, how could I not? By the end of the night, I was convinced that Jake was a sweet and genuine man with a string of bad luck who just wanted to be loved… and maybe, just maybe, I was the woman to love him.

Jake stayed with me that night at the hotel. I told him I wasn’t ready to take our relationship (whatever it was) to the next level and said he respected that. When he didn’t try anything at all that night, I was impressed. He truly respected my boundaries and that made me trust him even more. The next morning, I had plans to meet up with my friend at the local track for a workout. I woke up before Jake, got ready and I kissed him goodbye. From his groggy slumber, he told me he would call me later and I was already looking forward to seeing him that night. I grabbed my keys, flashed a giant Kool Aid smile and with a little pep in my step, hurried out the door.

In the car, I was now alone with my thoughts. I began to compare Jake to Derek. I focused on the things that were seemingly unimportant yet they meant the world to me. Opening the car door, kissing me gently and being so open with his feelings and his past. When I thought about Derek, I thought about all the times he didn’t wait up for me at night, turning his ringer off when I called and not touching me nearly enough. At the time, I was more enamored with the illusion of love than I was with the reality of the situation and what really mattered in a relationship. My marriage was ending and Jake seemed like a perfect filler for the void that Derek left in my heart. If I knew then what I know now, I would have listened to my intuition when it told me to get my ass back on that plane to Texas. That gut feeling to go home and fight for my marriage.  As I drove, I marveled at Jake’s honesty. I thought about the numerous ex-girlfriends he mentioned and couldn’t believe how they treated him. I could not fathom how anyone could treat such a sweet, honest and loving guy so poorly. I’m sure he made mistakes, but doesn’t everyone?  A man who was set up by his best friend and served time in prison for something he didn’t do. None of that mattered now. All that came into focus was that he was out of jail, safely in my life and the rest was water under the bridge.

The days with Jake passed in an instant and by the time I knew it we were headed back to the airport for my flight home. We said our goodbyes and I boarded that plane with a full heart, hope for the future and a mind in a state of total confusion. I had a lot to consider as I flew back home. From the moment we parted at the airport, I was on the phone with him. Jake wanted to make sure I got through security without any issue and I assured him I did. We stayed on the phone the entire time I waited to board my flight and up until the plane took off, we were texting. I loved the feeling of him wanting to know I was ok. I loved the feeling of being concerned for. I loved the feeling of being wanted. At most, Derek would check on me once a day so this kind of attention for me, was irresistible. As if I were a dry sponge seeking only love and affection and there he was, ready and willing to give me what I craved. All at once I was swimming in an ocean of emotions that were not only foreign but intoxicating. I had no idea that I would slowly drown not only in his attention, but his lies, manipulations, and everything in between.

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Kelly Smith~Signs in the Rear View Mirror~ Episode 1: Meeting Him Again…

I remember sitting on my couch in the living room scrolling through Facebook. I had just gotten home from the gym and the kids were all in school. I was in the middle of my post workout resting routine sipping on a protein shake when I saw his face pop up as ‘someone I may know’. I looked at his face, squinted my eyes and then looked down at the name. Jake Williams. I opened his page to take a closer look.

“Holy Shit”. I thought. “He looks exactly the same as he did in high school.” I said out loud to no one.

I made his profile picture bigger to study his face. His hair was still jet black and trimmed neatly. His brown eyes that shade of deep brown surrounded by perfectly manicured eyebrows. He was wearing a blue shirt that complimented his dark Italian skin. He was sitting behind a desk with his hands folded in front of him and he was flashing that amazing smile across his face. The type of smile that catches you off guard… those dimples. Suddenly I found myself  blushing. He looked as if he were still in good shape. As I scrolled through his pictures I noticed there weren’t many. I thought maybe he just joined and I was right. He had made the page about a month before he popped up on my list of ‘people you may know’. I went back and forth with requesting him as a friend. Back in high school he was a popular jock. He ruled the football field and dominated the basketball court. He always dressed well and seemed to be a nice guy.  I did remember, however,  he had a reputation for being a ladies man and he was rumored to have cheated on his longterm girlfriend. Though I had no evidence of whether that was true or not.

As for me, in high school I was the total opposite of Jake. I wasn’t popular and I didn’t dress well. My parents didn’t have a lot of money and I was one of six kids. I spent most of my time after school and on weekends working and used a majority of the money to help my parents make ends meet. More of a wall flower, I didn’t get a lot of attention from guys. I was skinny, had tooth decay and a head of unruly hair. Jake was handsome, outgoing and owned the room. So sitting there in my living room, staring at his picture, I had no reason to add him as a friend. Or did I?

May 1994

I was in the bathroom of my then boyfriend’s house. Derek and I met during the summer of 1993. We worked together that entire summer. Derek didn’t seem to mind how I looked. I am sure I thought I looked worse than I did, and after getting to know each other, we clicked. When the summer was over, he went back to college to play football and I went back to my junior year of high school. We continued talking and eventually a relationship blossomed. Not long after, we discovered I may be pregnant. Derek was leaning on the counter and I was peeing on a pregnancy test. Not a word was spoken as we impatiently waited to see the results of the only test I ever hoped to fail. Three minutes later Derek was in tears and I was in shock, alone on his bathroom floor. I was 17 and I was pregnant. I was a junior in high school and Derek was a sophomore in college. After collecting ourselves, we got in his car, silently drove to my house and he left. I sat in my room that night with a heavy mind and no idea what I was going to do.

The following day I went to school and mindlessly went to my classes. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I almost made it through the day but in my 7th period accounting class I asked to go to the bathroom. I didn’t make it very far before the tears started streaming down my face. I was breaking down and had idea where to go and who I could turn to. So I didn’t. I threw myself on the floor, sat against a wall of lockers in the hallway and continued to cry. As I sat there with my hands covering my tear filled face knowing the other students were confined to their classes, I heard a voice.

“Are you ok?” the mystery voice asked.

When I looked up I was surprised. No one was supposed to be in the hallway, least of all Jake Williams. After seeing my face, without saying a word he reached for my hand, helped me up and proceeded to walk me to the nurse’s office. He lead me to a room that was safe and empty, sat me down and for the next 20 minutes or so listened to me as I told this beautiful stranger all of my fears. I revealed to him that I didn’t want to be with the baby’s father. I told him I was frightened with no idea what I was going to do. As he handed me tissue after tissue and held my hand and told me that I would be ok. When the nurse came in, he let go of my hand, wished me luck and left. That was the last time I saw his face until it appeared across the screen of my laptop during my post workout routine.

I sat with that memory as vivid as if it were yesterday and remembered how he had made me feel that day. He had been on my mind from time to time ever since. The first person after Derek to know I was pregnant. He consoled me during a time where I was so lost and so confused… and he didn’t judge me. Without another thought, I clicked ‘friend’ and sat back into my couch with the realization that I had just requested the friendship of the most popular guy in my high school. Suddenly I mentally morphed back to the shaggy haired, insecure nobody I was all those years ago. I was no longer the beautiful bikini competitor and fitness model I started my day as.

After finding out I was pregnant, Derek and I decided to keep the baby. We had our son and in the years to follow we did the “right thing” by getting married and soon after we welcomed two more sons. Throughout our marriage we both had resentment and anger and I will admit, most of it was from me. Derek and I loved each other, but not in a passionate way. We began to grow apart and soon it was all too much to handle and we decided to separate. In the midst of my 16 year marriage crumbling, I got a notification that Jake Williams accepted my friend request. I was shocked to say the least. After hitting send on my page, I had completely forgotten I had requested his friendship. Viewing his page was a good distraction from what was going on in my life. A day or so after he accepted, I received a private message from him.

“ I am sorry but do I know you?” it read.

I responded telling him we went to highschool together. He responded “No we did not. I would have remembered you”. After a few messages back and forth, he put the pieces together and remembered exactly who I was. He could not believe I was the same person he went to high school with. He even went as far to say that I was the swan at the end of Ugly Duckling. He was not wrong as I had transformed myself over the years. After 3 kids, I had gained a lot of weight. I grew sick of being heavy and I worked hard, lost weight and started to compete in bikini competitions. I was able to tame my hair, learned how to apply makeup and was living a life that was fit and healthy.

We began to talk frequently and discovered we had a lot in common. I was a personal trainer with a small gym in my garage. He said he was a trainer too so we chatted about workouts here and there. We seemed to be hitting it off, but I was still married and going through a tough time. It had even crossed my mind to stop talking to Jake, but since he lived in Boston and I was now living in Texas, surely nothing could come of it, or so I thought. Innocently, I continued talking to him. We always had something to talk about and he managed to make me laugh a lot. Laughter was exactly what I needed while going through my separation and before I knew it, I began to have feeling for Jake. I wasn’t sure if the feelings were real or if it was because he was there for me during a tough time, again. But they were there nonetheless. I was so confused about how I felt because although I knew my marriage was ending, I still loved my husband. I wanted to fight for our marriage but I also knew he was not the right person for me. Jake expressed his feelings for me and as the seriousness of my separation set in. Jake could tell I was distracted and that I was going through a lot. He told me to get through what I needed to and to call him when the dust settled.

Hearing that from Jake sent me into panic mode. At the time I had no idea why. Looking back on it today it is crystal clear. I was terrified of being alone. Plain and simple. I clung to him because at the time, I felt he was all I had and I wasn’t sure where my life was going. I had never been on my own before. Sobbing, I told Jake I wanted to keep talking to him. I told him I wanted to see him… that I would fly back home to Boston, and I did.  edit-crop-filename_001

Kelly Smith~Signs in the Rear View Mirror. Intro to a Weekly Series…

Why is it you can see things so clearly while looking in the rear view mirror? Why is it you can’t see what is going on in front of your face, but it is clear as day when looking back on it? I have no answer for you, but I have a lot of experience with this. I have been looking back on the past five years a lot lately. Those past years have been sitting heavily on my mind a lot lately. They have weighed me down. I have been trying to figure out why.

As I have been living my life, breezing through my days, I have seen signs. Number signs. I have been seeing the three digits that have reminded me of him a lot lately, 916. At first, I thought it was a coincidence, but then I began to see the sequence more and more. At work. Driving. In my living room. I was starting to think maybe it was a sign to reach out to him. To be with him. To care for him. But the other night while I was talking to my friend about the numbers and what I felt they may mean, she pointed out that they may be showing up because they are a reminder that you are where you belong. Wow. She was right. I didn’t think of it that way. Since that evening, I have not seen that number sequence. I sat with that conversation and decided to write about my relationship with someone I felt is a narcissist. I need to tell my story for anyone who is seeing number signs, street signs, or signs from above, to help them realize they are not signs of running back but signs of survival. Evidence of strength. Signs of being where you are supposed to be. And you are supposed to be free. I need to write to help friends and family of someone who feels they may be in a relationship with a Narc. I need to write for the person who is scared. Lonely. Confused. For the person who right now feels less than, because their partner is telling them by manipulation and they are starting to believe it.

 

I was at my house. The house my three sons and I moved into after their dad, and I divorced. The house was a split level. Upstairs was the oversized living room with floor to ceiling windows, up a few steps was the bar area leading into the dining room. A set of French doors leads to the back deck holding the grill and fire pit. Through another door off the dining room and a few steps down was the kitchen making an appearance straight from the 80’s. Around the corner, sat the master bedroom. Downstairs was a large living area and two bedrooms. My oldest son has his room while the younger two shared. While the kids and I were home and my ex-husband’s parents were visiting, my doorbell rang. Confused, I looked at my kids and went to the door.

Two women were at the door. As I looked them both over with many thoughts racing through my head, I noticed one had a smile splattered across her face with short brown hair and was on the heavier side. While the other one, the one that looked as if she were in charge, lacked a smile, had short black hair and looked as if she were in running shape. But it was her friendly eyes that some how put me at ease even after noticing the gun placed neatly on her hip. As I looked at the gun, the FBI on her blue jacket screamed for me to notice it, and I did.  After a short few seconds we had a brief intro and I was informed they wanted to discuss my then boyfriend Jake. As I let them in, leading them downstairs, I sent my young sons back upstairs to their grandparents.  I told all of them in a shaky voice with a sudden case of dry mouth, that they were there to help me redecorate the house. The kids ran for cover at the sound of anything girly and they left us alone to quietly have a private conversation.

 

Like I said, I have no idea why you can’t see the signs right in front of your face, or the two signs standing on your porch carry guns, but in the rearview, they are crystal clear.

 

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