Not Where Love Lies
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
I have a story for you, about what happens when you go out with a psychopath when this is all the experience you've had with men. It happened in 2010 when I was 19. He was my first boyfriend - the last for six years to follow - we'll call him Blondie. I worked in a luxurious hotel in Eilat. He was one of the operation guys, setting up events. I was a lobby waitress. Almost sounds like an exciting start of a Nora Roberts' novel. We met only at parties we both worked at, like weddings, bar mitzvahs, bridge competitions. He had a Leonardo DiCaprio kind of look, one that many women would find attractive. He asked me out, and I, with my inexperience, was curious and wanted to see what would happen. He invited me to a pub, and we went, like the start of many relationships. Then we sat on the beach where we had our first kiss. For all Roberts fans, wipe your eyes. It's not going to get any more sentimental. We dated for three long months, where we were almost always together. At work, too, where they used to call us John Smith and Pocahontas. Original, I know. Blondie would come to the lobby and visit me, buy me presents that always seemed way too expensive, and on one adventurous night, on a yacht in the Red Sea, took my virginity. And then I discovered I was dating a stranger. It turned out that I was the girlfriend of a chef, whose speciality was cooking lies. Everything that came out of his mouth was a lie. Sometimes he had no reason to lie; it was merely his favourite sport. He invented a house he bought in Jerusalem, which he had to stop constructing due to money issues. These issues, taking the form of black market debts, were another invention. He invented an ex, who came to town to get back together. She found out she was still in love, the miserable thing. He kept deep frying his fictions, filling the pan to the rim, sometimes tastelessly, sometimes with a bit of spice, sometimes seasoned heavily. Of course, I broke up with him, since every one of his faces made me cringe. My mistake was that after the breakup, we stayed in touch. He used to visit me, with the excuse that he and my roommate had become friends. The same roommate who, while we were dating, hated him with pure loathing. One day, I had to leave the apartment in a rush because I was fired. I was moonlighting at Cafe Joe, which was forbidden. The rebel that I am. Working at the hotel gave you the perks of discounted accommodation at the hotel for employees. A charming little hotel with security at the entrance that didn't allow visits after 11 pm. The very same security which would allow their staff to enter the rooms whenever they deemed it necessary. Once, a guard accidentally walked in on my roommate inserting a tampon in the bathroom. A magical place it was. So when you lose your job, you lose the room. Blondie said he also needed to rent an apartment as he had also been fired from the hotel a few days before me. He suggested we find a place together. "Nothing will happen," he added, wearing a new blonde framed face, "just as friends." And I foolishly agreed. We found a cute rooftop apartment on a building close to the centre, and I paid him for the first month in advance. The contract was in his name. During this time, I worked around the clock at Cafe Joe. I barely managed to unpack even though I only had one suitcase. One day after work, a waiter in the Cafe invited me to his apartment for a drink. I saw no reason to say no; I was an available woman in hard times who needed new friends, and as soon as possible. I remember a conversation we had in his place. It's crazy to remember discussions a decade after they occur. He said, "I'm dying to date someone, but all the girls see me as a friend. I'm always that nice guy they can come and talk to, but no one thinks of me as relationship material." And indeed, he never showed interest in any woman. He was a handsome guy, a hippie-looking guy with dreadlocks and a wonderful sense of humour who always had something to smoke. He loved to flirt with anything that breathed and belonged to the opposite sex but never seriously. His adolescent like manner would scream "fling" in every language. I spent the night at his place, and he didn't once lay a hand on me. In the morning, I woke up tired. I didn't sleep very well. As soon as my friend woke up, he said my phone had been ringing non-stop all night and had kept him up, so he turned it off. I turned on my phone to see what had happened and had almost thirty missed calls, all from Blondie. He left me many voicemails, and I listened to them one after another. They were the most sickening messages I'd ever received. I will not elaborate on what he said because it will waste your time, but it was clear that he wasn't only drunk but also heavily drugged. In one of the voicemails, he said that he was kicking me out of the apartment for being a slut. That the contract was under his name and he didn't want me there anymore. I asked my friend if we could leave instantly because I needed him to drop me back at my apartment. I didn't explain what had happened and he didn't ask. He noticed I was upset. I arrived at the flat at around six in the morning, knocking on the door so loud that I thought the whole building must've woken up. I heard his footsteps coming down the stairs; then he opened the door. I burst in, and all I needed was a glance to realise he was massively hungover. I went up the stairs and into my room without saying a word. He was standing at the entrance, asking what had happened and why I looked tired, whether I was going to work today and how my shift was yesterday. As if nothing happened. He spoke naturally. It made me angrier. I repacked the half that I had unpacked two weeks earlier. When he saw me packing, he started asking questions. Why are you packing and what happened. I put his voice messages on speakerphone and let him hear all his pleasures of the heart, while I continued to pack. When he heard it, he froze, then said he was stoned while recorded it and that I shouldn't take it to heart. I refused to listen to any justifications. I wanted to get out of there. I was angry with Blondie and even more with myself that six months ago I'd said yes when he'd invited me to the pub. He tried to keep me from going and at that moment did something he never did before. He grabbed both my shoulders and yelled, "You're not going anywhere!" He held me tight, too tight; took my bag and threw it to the other side of the room. He grabbed my arms and didn't let me move, I told him to let go, I repeated it over and over, but he didn't listen. Blondie never raised a hand to me, and I knew he was hysterical. I don't remember being frightened; I reacted too fast to feel anything. I was standing near the desk in my room, which had an almost empty bottle of beer standing on it. I kneed him in the nuts, grabbed the bottle and threw it at him. Lucky for him, the bastard doubled over in pain and the bottle smashed against the wall behind him. Glass flew in every direction, on him and the floor. He looked startled. Without delay, before he recovered, I took my small bag and ran outside. I didn't have enough time to grab anything else other than my phone and cigarettes. Of course, I was on edge when I got to work and started the day without a word to anyone. I had the phone in my pocket all that time, and I felt its vibrations. He called. Then he called again and again and again. Evidently, he tried to produce a replay of his best hits from last night. Finally, I answered to tell him that if he called one more time, I'd call the police. In the following months, I was homeless. And yes, it was hard, but Blondie kindly eased the struggle somewhat, as it had come to my attention that he'd been thrown out of the apartment as he couldn't make the rent. He was still unemployed. When I returned two months later to pick up my remaining belongings and move to the new place I rented, the green glass of a shattered beer bottle, glistened on the floor of my old room, glued to the floor. Maybe by a bit of leftover beer or something else. A masterpiece of our relationship fragments and what was left of it. The only way to fix it would've been a complete replacement of the tiles.