* Written by Sharonia for YettiSays 8th Annual Self-Love Month | “Shedding Layers” Post Series
Dear Chief Detective,
You always taught me to look for the signs—the changes: newfound attention to detail, wardrobe, new colognes, a sudden obsession with the gym. Your subject’s schedule shifts. He comes home later. He leaves home earlier. He suddenly has acquaintances with whom he parlays after hours. Not only does his behavior change, but suddenly, his belongings do too. This shirt, that sock, that deodorant– none of them are his but have somehow taken root among his things. And then there’s our favorite– senseless explanations of his whereabouts, i.e. stating he was at a grocery store that closed two hours ago, or a friend’s house we have never heard of. No matter how it begins, doubt always snowballs. The weight sends me spiraling, speeding downhill as I succumb to my growing need to know. I need answers, detective. I need you.
You sweep me up like a sudden summer wind, ripping my door off its hinges. We’re in a hurry. We have to collect our evidence.
“I assume you’ve checked the phone?” you ask with a flip of your notepad. I nod quietly. “He has an iPhone, right? Have you checked all the other devices? iPad, Macbook, Apple Watch? You know they-”
“Sync,” I say. “They all could be synced, yes, I know. And while he may have had time to delete his texts on his phone, that laptop is probably a goldmine. ” I check. “The threads don’t match. The laptop has more than the phone,” I respond with a sigh. You suck your teeth, disgusted.
“Amateur,” you say, “Did you let on that you know?”
“Good,” you swipe a checkmark on your notepad, “Step one – check.”
“Keep quiet,” you always told me. Hold it all inside. Silence is key. But not the silent treatment, no. Never the silent treatment, “Partners notice subtle changes in behaviors, especially when they’re up to no good. So keep your shit together.”
It’s you who keeps me together. When my findings aren’t solid, you are my voice of determination. I have always been difficult; I always need to see it to believe it. You direct me to step 2: Follow the Lead.
I need a day off and a car with tinted windows. First stop? Coffee. A good meal is always next. I forget to eat under stress. We then begin our day of work – at his job. We find his car and park close enough to see him, but far enough to not be seen. We wait. Once he leaves work, we do too, always a few cars behind to not be seen. We study his stops through shaded eyes. The gas station. A restaurant. Another gas station. A house.THE house. Her house. You tell me to let step two do all the work for us – and it works, doesn’t it? And so does the liquor. A present you’ve stored in the back seat because you believe in preparation. A toast – to the best of the best, you’ve done it again detective. No one fools us. Only I can make a fool of me.
You lead me home in pieces. A mascara-stained shirt. Buckled knees… A heart filled with enough hate for a homicide… maybe a suicide.
We have done this flawlessly, time and time again. Observe and execute. You’ve taught me to perfect the craft, with souvenirs to prove it. I want you to remember those times as you accept this letter of resignation.
I am resigned to love. To live my life in the company of those who I trust, those who I don’t have to case. I am resigned to a love that is solely for me, from me. We’ve fooled everyone but ourselves into believing that being one step ahead of indiscretions gives us any sort of upper hand. There is no power in knowing he hurt me, and allowing him to continue. We are not our mothers and our grandmothers, prisoners in an unfaithful love for the sake of our children, money, a roof over our heads. We cannot travel this path of self-destruction hand-in-hand any longer. We are different, don’t you see? We have their knowledge, we have their strength. And we have a chance for better.
I know you’re smiling as you read this. I can hear you saying “don’t call me again”. And I pray that I never will.
Your (former) partner in crime
Sharonia, Writer + Blogger, Website Coming Soon.