Do you ever look back over your life and ruminate on the exact moment a monumental event happened in your life that made it change course?
May 13, 2017 2:33PM
This is what I thought as I looked down at a Snap Chat message from a woman who was claiming she was the girlfriend of the man I was currently dating, who happened to be sitting right next to me. I turned to him, "Who is this?" while holding the phone up to his face. He looked bewildered. "I don't know," he replied. The initial message read:
Hello Aisha, are you of relation to Desmond Price?
I was puzzled and turned to him. He looked clueless. I responded to her, "No, I'm not. Why?"
I'm his girlfriend.
My hands started to slightly quiver. She's his girlfriend? I looked into his eyes, searching for something, or anything to be quite honest to confirm that this was not true. How could she be his girlfriend if in the 3 years we've been dating (with a 6 month break within that time) I couldn't get that title from him? I echoed that sentiment to him out loud and he emphatically confirmed the same thing. So, I did what any respectable adult would do: I asked her for proof. As I waited for her to send it to me, my Beloved, was in the background talking about a certain Facebook group that he's in. He had launched into a full scale monologue, expressing that girls from this group liked to cause trouble like this. However his voice was fading as I was anxiously waiting for the incoming messages from the self-proclaimed "girlfriend." I had started to perspire. My hands were moist and shaking.
As I sat in my bed, overheating, I said to him, "This is the second time. This is the second time some chick from the group finds me and messages me some BS. So, what did you do to this one that she's tracked me down? Because, we all know you've claimed me nowhere publicly."
"I don't know! I've never seen her before," he says as he looks for her in the members section of the group to confirm that that is where she is from. "Look, she's in the group!"
As Desmond continues to confirm her placement in the group and exclaim that he does not know why she is doing this, I receive screenshots of text messages between them. His name and number are on the top of the screenshot. It looks like a legit text message but the content is making me dizzy. The woman is telling Desmond that she loves the way he interacts with her kids and it means everything to her. She goes on to express that because of that it makes it hard for her to see a future without him. His response: "My bad lol"
My mind is reeling. I close my eyes. My heart is racing and I don't want to read anymore. "What is she saying?" he asks. "She's sending me screenshots of your text conversation," I reply as I hold up the phone once again to his face. I look back down and continue to read. She goes on to ask him for clarity if they were exclusive and he answers that they are. I look up from my phone and notice that he is in the middle of gathering his things. "Where are you going?"
"I told you that I don't know where my ID is and I'm going to look for it. I didn't plan to stay here all day."
"Do you really think that now is a good time for you to leave!?" I ask frantically.
He continues to gather his things as I read the text messages to him now out loud. The next messages are her expressing how much she's going to miss him and he answered that he was going to miss her too and he would be back before she knew it. She asked if they were going on an outing they had discussed when he got back. She said, "Safe travels. Have fun. Send pictures."
"You're really going to have to make me understand this!" I am not raising my voice.
"I don't know! People can photoshop!"
"I know your text style! This sounds like you!"
"Well, she's seen me post in the group obviously! She could have taken that from there!"
"For what purpose?! What reason does she have to do this to you?!"
As he is putting on his sneakers, a very long message comes into my inbox from her:
My name is Kariba. I am Desmond's girlfriend, or so I thought, after we had a discussion about exclusivity with one another, with the agreement that we would never lie to or cheat on each other. I will not perpetrate myself to be a woman on the “home girl, you better watch out” patrol. Instead, I’ll be nothing but honest and tell you that I am contacting you with a very heavy heart. Desmond and I have been seeing each other since December of 2016. I met him as a member of the (Online Facebook) group. I was intrigued by a response that he posted in the group forum. I private messaged him to compliment the way that he relayed his thoughts. I was truly impressed. I had never reached out to any man by way of that platform prior to him. I really thought he was unique. Conversation between Desmond and I ensued over the next few days. The communication seemed scanty, and because of that I asked him if he was in a relationship or some type of situationship. He retorted by stating that women often “think a break in conversation means there’s another woman somewhere”. I expressed that I didn’t want there to be a woman somewhere who was misunderstanding the relationship between he and her. He again assured me that he was single and was a great believer in transparency. He wrote plainly in text, “No relationship, I told you I’m single already. Misunderstandings can only happen when there’s no transparency and I shared with you that I’m totally transparent so it’s all good on my end”. The text that I’ve quoted comes from the messages that I still have saved in my facebook inbox. Desmond and I met shortly after. We met up at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in the city. We sat and talked for hours. We talked about our belief systems, our families, Black history and culture, my children, Hurricane Sandy, relationship expectations…everything. The next time that Desmond and I met up, I went to his house. I had felt so comfortable with him at Barnes & Noble. It felt like I knew him for a million lifetimes. We watched movies at his house and had Chinese take-out. It was an awesome second meet-up. We kissed for the first time. It was late, and I was tired, so I stayed the night. We did not have sex. I had been celibate for over a year and wasn’t ready to have sex with anyone. The next time that Desmond and I met up was at a (Online Facebook Group) event. My sisters had come with me and I stayed until about 11:30p and realized that Desmond was going to bowl all night. I decided to go home and told him to come over after. He arrived at my house at about 2am and he spent the night. The next day, we watched movies and talked… a lot. We made out and the discussion of sex came up. I told him about my past experiences and why it is that I didn’t share my body with others easily. He was so nurturing. He told me that we didn’t have to have sex. He said that we could wait as long as I liked. He also assured me that when we had sex, he had no intention of just disappearing. Ironically enough, that was the night that we had sex for the first time. I found myself smitten with his charm. I thought that Desmond was God’s answer for all of those silent prayers I recited. We went on dates. He even came all the way to my house to dig my car out after the storm. I thought for sure that he was invested. Our relationship continued to develop. I took my children on a Caribbean cruise in February. Desmond and I were in touch during my trip. I felt so safe with him that I asked if he was ready to meet my kids when we got back. He was enthusiastic. He said that she was ready and that he was confident that things would go fine. I had never introduced my children to a man. They’d only interacted with their father and my brother. Desmond was definitely a big deal for me. I grew nervous as his meeting with my daughters approached. One day in March, they met, and it was magic. My children were immediately enamored by him and that’s when I knew I wanted him to stay. Desmond didn’t initially spend the night when my children were home. He wanted to respect their space and he actually asked that I converse with them about him potentially spending the night. I expressed his sentiment to my daughters and they were elated. They attached themselves to Desmond in such a short period of time. His relationship with them prompted me to speak with him about exclusivity. He smiled at the notion. He told me that I of course knew what his answer would be. He further stated that we should get tested so that we could start our relationship with a clean bill of health. Desmond and I had become exclusive. He told me that as long as there was no lying or cheating we were good to go. He stood by the fact that he had never cheated in his life and had never been cheated on, to his knowledge. I found myself wondering how I got to be so lucky. How did I attract such an anomaly, especially a God fearing one without children. Things with Desmond and I were so easy. If I got upset, we would talk about it. Nothing about our relationship seemed arduous until I had to talk to him about the time lapse in our communication. We definitely texted everyday but there were times where he just seemed out of reach for hours. I knew that he was working overnight inventory and I was also aware that he was a home theater installation consultant by day. I never really quite knew when he was asleep or awake, so I would wait for him to make contact with me first. If he seemed preoccupied, I would ask if everything was okay and he would say yes, reminding me that he was a direct communicator, and further stating that if he had a problem with me or our relationship, I would be the first to know. Desmond and I were in what seemed to be a progressive relationship. He met my siblings. He helped my sister move from the Bronx to Connecticut. He and my sister even discussed plans for a family road trip to Busch Gardens this summer. He and I made plans to visit Ghana this upcoming December. My friend in Ghana was excited to meet him, as I had never spoken about someone with so much enthusiasm. I love(d) Desmond. He was the man that I literally wrote on paper for manifestation during a new moon. On the last weekend in April, Desmond was at a restaurant with my siblings and said that he was going to Mexico with some friends. I was shocked because we hadn’t discussed that before. I remember us conversing about him potentially visiting Washington during football season to watch a game but I definitely didn’t remember a last minute trip to Mexico. He told me that he was leaving during the week and would be back before the weekend. Desmond and I usually saw each other on the weekend because of distance and our schedules. Sometimes he would come in the middle of the week though. Those were the sweet spots. He would spend the night, help me get the kids ready for school and walk with us to the school building. Afterward, he walked me to the train station and gave me a kiss goodbye before exiting the station and walking back to the D train on the west side of Harlem. I loved those days. He was an instant King in my eyes and I always sent a message of appreciation by text message, to which he would reply, “my pleasure”. I discovered that Desmond was in Mexico with you by spirit first, and investigation second. I dreamt that he was in Mexico and called me. On the phone, he told me that he had been cheating on me this entire time. I woke up frantic and blamed the dream on my tea blend. Mugwort is known to kick up some old pain to assist with the healing process. I thought that perhaps I had put too much in the muslin bag. I convinced myself that I was having a nightmare based on some type of abandonment issue that had manifested itself as a response to Desmond’s absence. I event took it a step further by also associating the dream with the experiences I had with my former boyfriend. I theorized that I hadn’t quite healed from the pain of his infidelity. I did my best to remain optimistic. The following night, I had another dream that Desmond had called me from Mexico. He told me that he had something that he needed to tell me. I heard the sound of a woman’s voice in the background and before I could respond, an ocean wave washed me over carrying me into another part of the dream. The wave ushered me into a room where I sat in a circle of women. Desmond entered the room and took a seat across from me. He didn’t feel like himself. He seemed void of emotion. He introduced himself to the women in the group as “Sabrina’s” boyfriend. I said to myself out loud in the dream, he knows my name isn’t Sabrina. While I tried to process what was going on while still dreaming, a woman went to sit on his lap. I stood up and grabbed her immediately and pushed her to other side of the circle, where she landed on the chair. She looked up at me dramatically, with braids strewn all over her face, and then over to Desmond, as if to silently state her disbelief. I turned to Desmond and told him to meet me outside. He responded by telling me no and went over to help the woman up off the couch. He exited the room with her and I followed. The woman looked at me, and I looked at her. She then looked back to Desmond and said “tell her”. Desmond didn’t respond to the demand but I knew what his truth was without the sound of his voicing needing to pierce my ears. He had been cheating on me. The dreams left me disheveled and I waited for Desmond to contact me while he was in Mexico. He didn’t call or text. My gut told me that something was off. I had no trust issues with Desmond prior to my dreams. I went online and began searching for clues. All of the clues led me to you. I am positive that you and Desmond were on vacation together. I am in no way blaming you for anything. Based on the history of the online interactions, Price family love, and timeline of events I put together, Desmond has been cheating on you rather than on me. I assure you that I had no idea. I don’t condone lying or cheating. I endured much of that while I was married, hence the divorce. A part of me feels like I should’ve known better when we initially started talking. I googled him and found him on a “Don’t Date Him” site. Considering that someone had placed him on there in 2008, I felt that even if he had been that person she depicted, he had many years to make a change. He and I had multiple conversations about the consistent I’ve already stated my stance with Desmond. He broke my heart. This is the way I’m choosing to express myself. If you walk or live in a life of faith, as I have, then this letter is a gift. I called my dreams nightmares but they’ve always been God’s way of protecting me. The pain comes now but it won’t last forever, and I have to find my peace in that fact. Desmond is a very special breed of liar. He’s the kind of man that makes me afraid of trusting other men. He showed me that there is no code of nobility in dating and relationships, or better yet, he showed me that if there is one, it’s easily emulated and used as a tool for prey. Before Desmond left for Mexico, things between us were fine. He came to my house right after his overnight shift on Saturday morning. I let him sleep while I went to run some errands. We watched movies and talked, as per our usual. We showed each other lots of affection, as we usually do. He left my home late on Saturday night, citing that he needed to do laundry and get himself packed up for his trip on Monday. I spoke to him Sunday morning by text message, letting him know that I would miss him and he mirrored my sentiment. I have not heard from him since then. Desmond gave me no indication that he wanted to leave our relationship, outside of the fact that I didn’t even know that he was in one with you. I obviously realize that I’ve been played at this point and that hurts, deeply. It's funny, Desmond and I were going to take pictures when he got back for me to place on my vision board. He was so accepting of my practices. I had never felt so free to be me. I’m guessing all of that charm and acceptance is a part of the con. I saw Desmond every weekend, with the exception of maybe 1 or 2 through the course of our relationship. He really had me fooled. His investment felt real. The way he seemed to care about me felt real. I’m an awesome people reader. However, I didn’t read through him. For that, I’m disappointed in myself and will take the necessary time that I need to heal from this experience. You and I seem to have a lot in common. That’s probably why he was attracted to me in the first place. I’m sorry to have virtually met you under these circumstances. I need to close this chapter in my life. Considering that I have not spoken to him since the day he left for the trip, I am under the impression that he has decided to “ghost”, as opposed to having a truthful conversation about his wants and wishes. I wish you the best going forward in whatever you choose to do with him.
My chest was tight.
I couldn't breathe.
He was trying to leave my house. "This is a real elaborate and detailed story to have been faked, Desmond!" I yelled as I blocked his path out the door. "WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!"
"Well, I'm telling you that it's all made up and it seems you believe her. I said I wasn't going to stay all day I have to see if I can find my ID.
"You have got to be freaking kidding me right now. You are going to leave me here to deal with this on my own?! I didn't ask for this! You brought this drama to me! I have NEVER brought any drama your way! Wait! Before you go, she's saying she can send me a picture of you in her house! Let's wait for that!" I say as I start to go back to her message thread in my phone. She sends the picture and I know it's him immediately. "This is you."
"You going to say that's me from a side profile?!"
"Desmond, I know you. Over these past 3 years I've studied you. I know your side profile. I would know you anywhere," I say to him as I look sadly into his eyes. I text her and ask if she can send more. She replies that she can send video.
"Please, just wait for the video and then you can leave!"
"Please move," he says.
"How can you leave right now?! You! Who said that you would work out anything with me! You! Who said you don't run from problems and we'd face them head on! I cannot believe you right now!"
It was in that moment that realization hit me. I couldn't breathe. I grabbed my chest. I looked up into his eyes. "You did this," I whispered.
"Shhh....," I pulled him into the small alcove between my front door and the door to exit my apartment and sat on the floor. He bent down as I gasped for breath. I reached up to touch his face as I searched his eyes for the answer to the one question that was demanding to be asked: Why?
"You did this...you did this...," I whispered over and over.
"No, baby, no. Noooooo."
"She said she called you numerous times. I'm going to ask for her phone number. I just want to see your missed calls. If they aren't in there then we can go forward knowing that she somehow lied about this whole thing!"
"Please, please! Here, she sent me her number!" I say frantically as he pushes past me and exits my house. "All I'm asking is that you show me your missed calls! If this 917 number is not there then fine!
"Showing you is not going to change anything."
"Are you serious!!? I've never asked you for much but do you understand what is at stake right now? If you walk away right now?! This could all be over if you showed me your missed calls!"
He continues to walk away as I stand in the doorway looking like a mad woman. I watch him disappear.
I go back into my house and check on my son who had moved to the back of the house. Unfortunately, he had heard some of the conversation. He was fine. I moved to my bedroom and started pacing. I reread every thing Kariba has sent me. I'm livid.
A whole relationship? He's been in a whole other relationship for the past six months? Aisha, think. Yes, you've noticed small changes. Not too much to fuss over but enough to cause annoyance. He's always had a good excuse though. As much time as he spends on the phone with you and at your house how would he have time?
I look down at my phone, Kariba is continuing to tell the story, apparently he would spend the night at her house on Friday and leave Saturday and come to my house. He just split the weekends between us. His communication with her sucked. Which explains why I didn't feel like we took a hit in that department. He was as affectionate, loving, attentive and caring as he always was. Our sex was just slightly different. I noticed and mentioned it. He stated there was no problem. He even showed up one day with a scratch on his shoulder that he explained away. Were we in a relationship? No, according to him we were only dating. After he got me to come around to his way of thinking that titles didn't mean anything I adopted that belief as well. He would point out people we knew and how they had titles and they had sucky relationships. He claimed he loved me and this was where he wanted to be. I felt we were building something together because his actions would show me how much he wanted me; how much he cared. I went on family vacations with him and his family, we talked about our future, moving in together here and then moving to Africa eventually. He knew I thought and operated like we were exclusive to each other. My fault in this was not demanding what I wanted and what I knew I deserved. I had thought I subscribed to a "No More Boyfriends" rule but now I can see that the title comes with boundaries which leads to accountability. He was able to move forward thinking he did nothing wrong because we were not "exclusive." It's all word play.
I was a single wife, yet again.
I started to get dressed. I texted Kariba: "Are you down to meet up with me to go to his house?" At first she was hesitant but then agreed. Her sister, that Desmond claimed he never helped move, even said she would come down from Connecticut to get us and drive us there.
"Ok, let me know when she's here. I'm ready to roll."
Story to be continued in my upcoming book, "Confessions of a Single Wife" coming December 2017.