“You ALWAYS have to embarrass me! Get your drunk ass in the car!,” I screamed at DJ.

I was seething mad.

Mad that he couldn’t control his new found libation habit for 24 hours.

Mad that he had just rambled on and on about his failed business ventures with my parents.

But mostly mad that he was so drunk that I had to sober up enough to drive us home.

We sat in the car in a thick silence.

I can't stand it when we get like this, and we still had 45 minutes left to tolerate each other until we were home. He’s staring out the window, contemplating who knows what. I was just about ready to pull over and tell him to call a cab, when he turns to face me and decides to break the silence.

"I break, and I break for you Deja, and you don't even so much as bend for me." I roll my eyes... "I never asked you to break for me. You sound absolutely ridiculous. Do you even hear yourself?" It's a little harsh, but it's the truth...DJ DOES sound ridiculous. At least I didn't say stupid or crazy, which is what I really wanted to say. He's unemployed, and right now I'm the breadwinner in our house...he should be breaking, and I am for damn sure bending. He owes me $5,000! If that’s not bending, I don’t know what is. Nobody told him to quit his job to follow his little pipe dream. I start getting even more pissed thinking about tomorrow being the 1st of the month…

I yell, "I'M TIRED OF PAYING THESE DAMN BILLS BY MYSELF! YOU NEED TO BE BREAKING YOURSELF AT A DAMN JOB!"

I instantly feel better...I’m glad I got that one off my chest. He doesn't say anything in response, and I don't care. We used to be so happy, just 6 short months ago. He had a great job! Yes, government funding was changing so he was probably going to lose his job even if he didn’t quit, but at least he would be getting unemployment if he had stayed and waited for them to close their doors. Now he has nothing to his name but the struggle.

I turn on the radio, and the smooth sounds of Jeezy fill the car. I turn the radio back off…I do feel like I’m in the trap, well more like A trap, but I definitely didn’t want to hear about it right now.

I sigh loudly, “Let’s just be honest with each other DJ. Do you think someone else can make you happier than I can?” Looking down at his hands, he says, “I don’t know…maybe…you always say you’re the devil I know.” I reply matter-of-factly, “That is correct, but maybe there’s a better devil out there for you…I think you should explore your options. I’m not sure I’m the right woman for you. You need too much. I will never need you as much as you want me to. I don’t want to fix your plate. I don’t want to cook you dinner every day. I don’t want to pick your dirty socks off the floor. I for damn sure am tired of paying all these bills, and I don’t want to be your damsel in distress, like those other women who need you as their on-call fix-a-boyfriend. I don’t want to be anything to you at all.”

He doesn’t respond, so I ask, “do you understand what I’m saying to you?” I can hear him holding back tears, but he replies “yes,” still staring at his hands. “Good. I’m glad I got that off my chest…maybe you should sleep at Mike’s tonight. I’ll drop you off.” Mike was his best friend. He agrees. I make a U-turn and drive the 5 minutes to Mike’s house.

He gets out the car, and I tell him to wait a minute. I wiggle the yellow diamond engagement ring off my hand and place it in his palm. As our hands graze each other, I feel something but shake it off. We stare at each other briefly. He opens his mouth to say something but decides against it, nods slowly and turns around to walk towards Mike's door. I figure he may need to sell or pawn the ring to get his own place. Giving it back is the least I can do to help. I tell him I’ll bring his things by tomorrow, and hop back in my car.

I turn my radio up, and peel out of the driveway blasting Jeezy’s Trap or Die...Staring at my naked left hand, feeling numb, and craving vodka...

(To be continued...)

XO, Brittany

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