Dear Diary,

I'm back.

Bear with me, it's been years since I wrote anything here. I haven't had the time.

It's been quite a journey and I have so much to tell you. I'll be brief.

You see, after that night of November 2010, Brennan promised to return in January as a single man, to be with me. January came …and it went. My heart couldn't bear it anymore and I decided to get my mind off of him by going into a relationship with someone completely unlike him. It was February 10, 2011 when this guy reached out to me on Facebook Messenger, just 8 days before Brennan's birthday. This other guy, I'll call him Steven, in my school he was one of the most popular guys, if not THE most popular guy. He was always on the morning announcements and he even had a catchphrase, "And IIIIII'm Steven."

Brennan did break up with his then girlfriend and came back to Florida, March 20-something, 2011. You see how close the dates are, yet just two months too late made all the difference. I couldn't wait anymore. He asked about me. He reached out to me and to my family. He tried finding me. I still wanted to hang out with him, even though it wasn't fair to Steven. The only thing the two have in common is their jealousy. Steven especially did not like even seeing the name Brennan because it reminded him of my Brennan.

Well, Steven is about 5'9, a little less than a foot shorter than Brennan, who is 6'7. Steven also has brown hair with silver strands and brown eyes. All in all, he wasn't my type but he was the first person to ask me out in a state of vulnerability and I jumped to it. For me then, Steven was perfect because he was nothing like Brennan.

I could finally forget Brennan and move on with my life.

Little did anyone know but my true intentions were much darker. I planned on making Brennan jealous and at the same time taking advantage of Steven's upper-class lifestyle to benefit my college goals. After all, printer ink is expensive and Steven lived right next to the university I was transferring to at the time. My intentions were selfish, I was going to take advantage of someone...

Who turned out taking advantage of me.

You see, Steven raped me.

I lost my virginity to a rape.

His excuse? "My ex-girlfriend liked rape fantasies so I thought you did, too." Never mind that I was screaming for him to stop, that I was serious, and I was trying to push him off of me. At the time he was over 100 pounds heavier than me, he's probably more now. I remember the date it happened, too. May 8th, 2011. I was naïve so when that happened, I thought Brennan wouldn't want me anymore. I thought I was spoiled goods, and being with Steven only motivated negative views of myself as a tool, an accessary, and a burden.

He was verbally abusive, always made me feel like I was never good enough. Two times he choked me when I made him mad, until I threatened to call the police the second time. He continued, however, to be verbally abusive. Made me feel small. I tried so hard, Diary. I would cook when we had food, I paid his parents rent money to stay with him, I cleaned up after him and I did all the laundry and dishes. I helped out at his parent's business on top of taking care of the family dogs. I did all this while balancing college full time, volunteering and unpaid internships, as well as working at my own job.

My dad died while I was dating Steven. His death left a big hole in my heart. I developed anxiety and panic disorder. Because Steven berated me and talked down to me any time I expressed anything outside of happiness, I silently drowned in the pain.

I felt so alone.

I tried to kill myself.

I was drunk, Steven was as well. He grabbed my wrist as I was reaching for tape. Drunk me thought I could choke myself with tape since we didn't have rope. He picked me up and laid me down on the bed then he got on top of me. He would get on top of me to put his weight on me so I couldn't go anywhere.

Sometimes when I was near black out drunk he would have sex with me even though I couldn't lift a finger.

What about Brennan?

All these years, what has he been up to?

I Facebook stalked him until he blocked me.

At first I thought it was personal but years later I found out he blocked a lot of people, not just me. Before he blocked me, I went to his profile at least once a day, guaranteed once a week. I was still so much in love with him. So imagine how much it hurt when I found out he got someone pregnant. The picture of him kneeling in front of her on a stage as her belly stuck out will forever be etched into my mind.

Oh, I cried. So much.

I accepted my fate with Steven and resigned myself to this life, as his simple, quiet spouse. For six years I was with Steven, who was always so jealous of Brennan and practically every guy. I had no friends, no family, nothing. Everything revolved around Steven. His friends were my friends, his family was my family, we ate what he wanted to eat, we watched what he wanted to watch, we listened to what he wanted to listen to. For the six years I was with him.

That was until just last year.

Last year I walked into a woman, who works with Steven, riding him on our bed. A woman I helped hire to work his family business. A woman I thought I could finally find my own friend in.

I was so upset. Then I was angry. Within a week I calmed down and realized that if Steven leaves me, I don't just lose Steven, I lose 6 years of everything I've ever known. My family, friends, dogs, everything. I told him it was ok for him to cheat as long as I was still his girlfriend. I know, it is stupid of me, but I was afraid. You know what Steven did after I told him it was ok as long as I stayed his girlfriend?

He dumped me. On April Fool's Day, 2017. It was a Friday. Do you know how I know it was a Friday?

Because he gave me the weekend to clean out all my stuff from his apartment. He wouldn't help, he told his friends and family not to help so it would be a "clean cut break up". He texted me anxiously that Sunday asking if I was out yet. It took two car trips to my sister's house, who I rented a room from until I rented a room from my mom a few months later. I was a mess.

But I was also free.

I just didn't know it yet.

So, Diary, what does my broken heart do when I'm going through love withdrawals? I seek refuge. I seek solace. I seek Brennan.

May 1, 2017.

It had been yeeeeears since we last texted, it had been around six years since we last spoke. One day I was looking through my friends list, unfriending people who were no longer allowed to be my friend, per Steven's request to his friends. I stopped at a familiar name.

It was Brennan's mom. How could I forget she was on my Facebook? I messaged her asking if Brennan could add me again. I missed my giraffe. Within that day Brennan added me on Facebook.

"Notification: You are now connected on messenger!"

I felt like a schoolgirl again, my heart skipped a beat.

My cheeks flushed.

There were butterflies in my stomach and a knot in my throat.

What should I say?

I smiled, "Hey stranger" I said. Send.

"Hello," He replied, "how have you been?"

"Better than a month ago…" Brennan and I proceeded to catch up. He told me about his 4-year-old daughter and I told him about the break up without saying too much. He told me how he had been doing security for a while. "Security suits you." I said. "What are you now, 6'4? 6'7?"

"6'7. I'm kinda tall. With my boots I'm 6'8."

"Kinda?" I laughed to myself. "You get good cell reception up there?"

"Yeah? It's like that? Be jealous, I get the best fruit."

"Is your pimp name Daddy Longlegs, ha ha."

"Nope, it's Shorty 2 Tall."

"Does your mom make you walk around the house holding the Wi-Fi router?"

"Do you run around my feet living on crumbs I drop?"

"I bet you hide all the good snacks up high. I bet you miss me." Oh shoot, should I add the last part? Is it too much? I mean, we haven't spoken in years. So much has changed.

"Yeah, ok. You miss me." He replied

You have no idea. "I'm off to bed, it's good catching up with you. Maybe you can help me move some more stuff out of Steven's garage." Oh, did I mention Steven moved the last of my stuff into his garage a week after he kicked me out? Yes, he did that, too. "Good night, Brennan."

"Dream sweet, Strawberry Shortcake."

More has happened since but I'm on page 4 on Microsoft Word so I think I have to turn this in.

It's good to be back.

Isn't it, Brennan?