He instigated fear. The contrast between his calm and pleasant demeanor and my feelings of terror every time I saw him was unfathomable. Well-educated, intelligent, nicely smelling, fit, and smiling, he did not look like a fairy tale monster. Nevertheless, his presence brought shivers up and down my spine. My friends thought I was cuckoo, their “girl, you have a screw loose, go and eat something or talk to a therapist” made me guilty. His excessive concern about my wellbeing brought about shame and remorse; he loved, he cared, and I kept rejecting him quietly panicking when he was around.
I could not loudly demonstrate my concerns. He never raised his voice, but I was fearful to answer back and disagree. Once I got brave; I took a deep breath, and looking straight into his eyes, I gasped out “I am afraid of you”. He quietly stood up and went into the kitchen. I heard him using the water and ice dispenser in his refrigerator, he came back three minutes later with a glass of ice-cold orange juice and a sparklingly bleached smile.
– You think too much, silly, – he smiled watching me gulp the juice, I felt stupid.
His friends were polite and intelligent as well. They wore comfy cashmere sweaters and designer pants and discussed marketing dynamics and sales strategies. They lived in safe neighborhoods, played golf and went boating on weekends. Their women were skinny, classy, and quiet. No one ever was rude or disrespectful, they smiled, always said hello and goodbye. I always smiled back responding to their greetings and farewells with the same pleasant demeanor, but deep in my heart I knew talking beyond “the dinner is tasty, I have enjoyed your company” was not acceptable.
One day I lost my job and gave him a call; my unemployment did not kick in timely, and I needed help to pay the bills. He did not answer, I left him a voicemail prior going to bed. A loud banging sound woke me up at around midnight. I opened the front door and got hit by December coldness. He was standing on the porch, I could not see his face, but I felt the anger through the freezing darkness.
– Are you ok? – I forced a smile and waved him in.
He did not move, he had a bottle in his hand, I got surprised, drinking was not about him, he was into healthy lifestyle and daily exercising.
– Are you ok? – I repeated shivering as the coldness was crawling under my PJs.
– You disappointed me, – the voice was muffled, I stepped back shuddering at the smell of alcohol. – I wasted all my time with you. You got everything gifts, shoes, cruises, but you want more. Now you decided to quit your job and sponge me off. You are like everyone else.
He kept talking slurring words and getting angrier. I kept standing at the doorstep frozen with fear and ice-cold weather. Suddenly he punched the wall right next to me, I screamed and rushed inside. The front door slammed behind my back. I heard the screech of his car as he took off.
I brew green tea and took a warm bath prior going to sleep. When he called me the next morning, he was sweetly polite as usual.
– You scared me last night, – I was expecting clarification and apology.
– I felt used, and I overreacted
– But, I was scared, – I still believed he would dismiss my fears with humor and a fine dining invitation.
– You will deal with this my love, when shall we meet again?
– I need to be by myself.
He kept stopping by with flowers and fruit. Every time I tried to discuss that night I was given Swiss chocolate and new clothes.
– Don’t you see, I am afraid of you. – He laughed, gently stroking my hair while switching the TV channels.
My friends kept calling me cuckoo. They were jealous. He was always attentive, courteous, and intelligent, he was smart, well-educated, and as perfect as a smiley guy from my favorite family yogurt commercial. I felt guilty and stupid, I panicked for nothing.