Charles* and I had been in month three of dating, and things were not going well. The guy had paranoia tendencies, and had accused me of communicating with other guys. I was not and there was nothing to indicate that I was. Furthermore, we were casually dating and not in a committed monogamous relationship, so he had no right to make accusations even if I was. This wasn’t going anywhere, and we both knew it. I was unwilling to defend myself against unnecessary accusations made by an insecure man, so I ended our dating relationship late Saturday night while he was at my apartment.
Maybe I should have done that over the phone instead. I really thought it would be as simple as me saying it’s over, him saying okay, him leaving my apartment, and is both proceeding to live our best lives separately. Charles became irate, began a lengthy monologue about how horrible of a person I was, called me everything but my God-given name, and further alleged that I had been lusting for his brothers-in law. The entire time I lay across my bed, waiting for him to finish saying what he had to say and leave. His outlandish statements were not factual, and I didn’t care to defend myself any longer.
“Yeah, I saw you looking at my brother-in-law!” he yelled passionately. “I saw you looking at Marcel’s* dick when we were at the waterpark! Then you tried to look at me to see if I was watching you, but I caught your ass!” As he spoke, he became even more irate, and motioned to hit me as I lay in bed, but stopped mid swing.
I was so bewildered by his entire statement because that never happened. My morals weren’t set up to be so disrespectful. Sure, I have eyes so I saw his brothers-in-law when they were in my presence, but I never viewed them with any sexual desire. I had never spoken a single word to one of them, and the most I said to the other was “Oh, sorry” because I was standing in the way when he went to throw away some trash. Additionally, his sisters could and would fight over their men, and I know how to pick my battles. How can someone create a scenario in his mind and uphold it as true? I told him to leave and he refused.
“I ain’t going nowhere. You can call the cops, you can call your ex, you can call your brothers,” he yelled. Police and black men had more tension than ever and he wanted me to contact them. We both resided in Louisiana at a time where the recent murder of Alton Sterling and subsequent mass shooting of Baton Rouge police officers were still fresh on everyone’s mind. I hesitated in contacting the police at the risk of him being another hashtag on social media after they used deadly force on his stubborn soul. I thought about him before I even considered me. We didn’t need the establishment all in our business.
During his allegations, my phone alerted me to a new email with a sound. Charles assumed that this was a text message from another male. He stormed into my kitchen and began digging in my cutlery drawer. Assuming he was looking for a knife to physically assault me, I jumped out of the bed, and went to lock myself in the bedroom. The bedroom door, however, did not have a lock.
Fuck. My. Life.
When he saw that I had gotten up, he told me that he was not going to cut me because God was holding him back. I didn’t believe him, but there was nowhere for me to run. He approached me with a knife in one hand, and made a quick movement with his other hand to hit me. Again, he stopped mid swing. I repeated my request for him to leave. He refused.
Charles walked over and grabbed my phone to read what he thought was a text message from another man, but was actually an email. He was unable to unlock my phone, which angered him even more. Instead, he began grabbing items that he had purchased for me, and cut them all. He then threatened to pour red juice all over my carpet, but decided against it when he realized that I owned a carpet shampooer. He was strategizing and looking for ways to hurt me without physically touching me.
“The police are gonna have to drag me out this motherfucker,” he proclaimed. “I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, so I got time, and I got nothing to lose.” He still had the knife in his hand, and finally decided to sit it next to the bed on the nightstand. In reference to the knife, he said, “Let me put this down before I do something that I shouldn’t.”
He went back to allege that I had been lusting after both of his brothers-in-law, and became enraged again. While I was laying in bed, he again made a quick movement as if he was going to hit me, but did not. Instead, he cleared his threat to gather as much phlegm as he could and spit at me twice. The first time hit my shirt, and the second time he missed me entirely.
I got out of the bed, grabbed my phone, and attempted to walk as calmly as I could into the bathroom – the only door inside my home with a lock. He tried to block the doorway of the bedroom to prevent me from exiting, but I slipped by. I locked myself in the bathroom and immediately dialed 911. I calmly explained to the operator that I needed police assistance for a domestic situation. The operator dispatched an officer to my home, and said someone would be at my apartment shortly. Realizing that she was about to hang up and let me wait for an officer to respond, all calmness went out of the window. Maybe I had been a bit too calm, and she didn’t realize the severity of my fears. I burst into tears as I asked the emergency operator to stay on the phone with me until the police arrived because I was too afraid of what might happen in the meantime. Charles was screaming at me directly on the other side of the bathroom door, and I wasn’t positive that the lock on the bathroom door could hold his wrath.
The emergency operator heard me explode, and she sprung into action to calm me down without actually saying “calm down.” I tried to answer all of the questions she asked as Charles screamed at me.
“How long have you been dating?”
“Has anyone been drinking?”
“What is he wearing”
“What kind of car does he drive?”
“Are any children or pets in the home?”
“Does he live there with you?”
At some point while on the phone with the emergency operator, I heard the front door open and close, and I no longer heard him yelling directly on the other side of the door. I assumed that Charles had left the apartment, but I was too afraid to unlock the bathroom door and verify this assumption. I stayed on the phone in the locked bathroom with the emergency operator for 12 minutes until the police came into my apartment and introduced themselves to let me know that it was safe to come out of the bathroom.
Charles was still in the neighborhood, so the police apprehended him. I didn’t know if he stood outside waiting for them or if he had tried to run off like a coward. I told the young officers that I wanted him to leave the premises, but wouldn’t bother pressing charges for the damaged items. Because I felt unsafe at home, I requested that they wait a few minutes for me to pack an overnight bag to leave. I quickly packed my carry-on luggage, which still held toiletries and underwear from a recent trip, and drove one hour west in the heaviest fog I ever experienced to my mother’s house because I had nowhere else to go at such a daunting hour. I took an alternate route because I was afraid that Charles would be waiting for me at a corner, and would follow me. As soon as I left, he called me nonstop for 10 minutes, but I was too afraid to answer the phone and escalate the situation further.
This entire thing was new to me. My parents would get in disagreements, but they never even got loud and it never escalated to physical assault. No dating partner had ever been so disrespectful as to spit on me. When I got to my mom’s house at 3:00 am, my brother was there visiting with his girlfriend for the weekend. Now, how could I tell him that someone pulled a knife and spit on his baby sister? I told my mom, and hurried to my old room.
Tune in next month for part two.