It was just before the stroke of midnight on a Thursday. I was crawling into bed when I heard my phone buzz from the nightstand. I reached for it halfheartedly – its screen glowing with an alert that I had a Facebook message from a name which seemed obscurely familiar.
In between yawns, I opened the message and began reading it when, two sentences in, my breath sliced through the night air with a trail of broken whispers: “You’ve got… to be… kidding me.”
It was the current girlfriend of my ex-boyfriend – a nightmare of an ex-boyfriend, in fact. I had become familiar with her name a few months prior, after having received a screenshot of a conversation she launched with one of our mutual friends – a conversation which revealed her hunt for anything she could learn about my former life with her boyfriend.
I was initially flooded with feelings of spook, mostly due to the fact that I had spent more than a year with my eyes glued to my rearview mirror (and wrestling like hell to escape from his possessive grip). However, I quickly silenced my inner critic by reminding myself that she was likely a victim of his masterful ability to spark insecurity and jealousy where unwarranted. I was happily married, at peace and felt light years from the emotional entanglement of such relationship, so I brushed the discomforting feelings aside and forgot about it.
But, six months later, here I was – this time staring at a lamenting novel in my Facebook inbox. She introduced herself before pouring her anguish into me: a total stranger yet a ghostly figure so familiar. “I’m so sorry to bother you, but I had him arrested today and I need to know… Did he ever hurt you, too?”