Attention Deficit (memoir excerpt)

Robert walked five steps in front of me, which was his way of telling the world we weren’t together. The scars on my face didn’t sit well with him and he made a point to tell me so. His vanity rejected my imperfections but I kept my pace behind his back, feeling the comfortable sting of unworthiness nestled deep inside my longing for his attention.

Knowing he and I were together behind closed doors kept my feet moving in his direction. In my mind that was an exclusive club, one where secret liaisons born from shallow complexities were coveted. In this underground world I was worthy, beautiful even.

When we arrived back at the apartment Robert cut me a line of coke before jumping in the shower to get ready for work. He started his shift as a Pedi-cab driver at dusk. A born salesman, he never had a problem getting fares and as a party-boy, always found buyers for his side job: selling cocaine out of his cab.

He motioned for me to do a line.

“Those jeans are getting tight.”

I looked down at my belly and slid my fingers inside the waist line of my size 2 jeans. Taking a dollar bill and rolling it, I agreed.

My jeans could be baggier.

Standing five feet, seven inches and weighing 116 pounds wasn’t good enough. So I kept on my cocaine diet like a good little girl.

After snorting the line on my dresser, I noticed the clutter piled in front of me. Random pieces of our lives were strewed about; drug store receipts, empty paper bags with beer bottle caps piled inside, and loose papers with different women’s phone numbers on them.

Robert never hid the fact he picked up on other women. Sometimes I called the numbers to tell them he was with me, but it never stopped the numbers from coming.

Tonight I had enough. After Robert went to work I ripped off a piece of the paper bag and used the hand I don’t write with, my right, to scribble a fictitious phone number and name down. The next morning, I was questioned.

“Who’s Steve”?

“No one – just a guy I met.”

He grabbed me and threw me on the bed.

“Where’d you meet him?”

I felt the birth of bruises on my arms as he shoved me against the wall.

“Did you fuck him?”

“No, nothing like that.”

His grasp was tight and I felt the force of his hands shaking me. I never felt so alive.

“Don’t fucking lie to me.”

Burying my face in my hands, tears tickled my cheeks down the curve of my smile.

Only a man who loved me would care so much.


This is a true story that happened to me when I was young and suffered low self-esteem. Although this is part of my story, I don't shed light on domestic violence or any type of abuse lightly. If you or anyone you know is suffering from abuse, please dial 911, contact your local police department or The National Domestic Violence Hotline.