Sinking to the bottom of the ocean
by Matt “Naj” Najmowicz
One summer I had learned what it was like to love someone, and little did I know there was a price to be paid when you do actually love someone.
Kayla and I had been an item for about a solid year. However, there were signs that as fast as we were together, we had begun to unravel slowly. I had no idea what was going on externally with our relationship. I wasn’t capable to see things outside of our relationship that would ultimately doom us. There was something outside my periphery that was going to put a stranglehold on everything, and I was powerless to stop it.
About a month into our relationship, unbeknownst to me, I had apparently entered into a relationship with someone else: Kayla’s ex-boyfriend Mark. The issue was, a lot of times Kayla had to go visit Mark because he was sad or upset. At first, this seemed very innocent. She still had some sort of empathy felt towards Mark. How could I fault her for that?
At the time we loved each other, we were going out constantly, we worked together, and I was feeling euphoria and vindication that I was certain was going to last till the end of my days. The vindication I had felt was simple: if you treat women right she will love you forever. This was a Disney movie naiveté that everyone at 20 years old is conditioned socially to believe and act in accordance with.
True love will last forever, right? The Mark situation eventually devastated everything.
Kayla, one night at her mom’s house, got a phone call. She picked it up and she mouthed to me that it was Mark. She went into another room and after a few minutes was screaming on the top of her lungs. Kay came back into the room I was in crying. Bawling her eyes out, she told me that she couldn’t see me anymore. Evidently Mark was very upset that I was seeing Kayla. Kayla told me it was over. I was irate. She told me she was still in love with Mark and she was confused about what she felt with me. I walked right out of that house into my car, I slammed the door shut and I remembered how lonely the silence of the car had felt. I had been abruptly dumped.
Time had passed, and I still wanted to try to be friends with Kayla. On one hand I had felt some cruel injustice had been delivered onto me. On the other hand I was convinced that I simply was not a good enough person to Kayla and in some way Mark was better.
Kayla and I were still friendly to each other at work. We still worked well with each other and we still had fun at the workplace to an extent. However, after a certain amount of time I beared witness to the true nature of Mark and Kayla’s relationship. It was all clear one Sunday night.
One night Kayla came into work with a black eye. Everyone including me was freaked out by it. I asked Kayla what happened and she gave me some sort of excuse as to what happened. I believed her and continued with life not thinking anything of it. Week after week, there would be a new bruise on her and there would be a brand new excuse as to why she had bruises around her neck or fingerprint bruises on her arm.
A coworker came to me and told me that she had to have been beaten by Mark on a pretty regular basis. I had no idea what that meant. I was utterly naïve to what domestic abuse was.
I confronted Kayla one night when we were taking out trash to the dumpster. At first she was utterly upset at me for even asking her, then she emotional broke down her walls of denial and started to sob. She copped to Mark being an abusive and evil person. On top of that, she told me that her mother Elizabeth had an abusive ex-husband followed up by an abusive, at the time, current boyfriend.
I was 20 years old, and I had no idea what all this meant. I had to go to my mother to explain to me what domestic abuse was, I really had no concept of that. My mother and father never hit each other, the fought like any normal couple but there was never one time of violence I could remember between the two of them.
I asked my mom to talk to Kayla, she agreed talked to her. Kayla thanked me for having Mom talk to her and had told me she felt better. Kay agreed she needed counseling.
About two weeks later, Kayla quit her job. She turned off her phone and pager. She told me that she was leaving. She left. Weeks and weeks went by with people asking me what happened to Kayla. Customers would ask me what happened to her and why she wasn’t at work. I told all of them I had no clue what happened.
I had no clue what happened, even in our relationship. I sit here now in present day, and I still don’t know what happened. I wonder if my relationship was just one long goodbye from Kayla. Maybe she had enough from the constant drama. I don’t know. All I know is that I had spent a year watching an absolute angel sink to the bottom of the ocean slowly and I was absolutely powerless to stop it. She was gone, she wasn’t coming back.
Someone once said that grief is the price we pay for love. It was safe to say that anyone who met Kayla loved her and we all wept in silence when she was gone.