I was walking home late one night and shivered as the cold wind blew my way. My hair was everywhere, making me grit my teeth and try to keep warm.
I reached my house and came up the stairs, still a little buzzed from my Girl's Night. Every girl I knew and loved was there to show support.
I lived in a big city and wandering around late at night would be scary under normal circumstances. But I wasn't much concerned with it tonight.
I put my key in the lock to open the door and slipped into the safety and warmth of my house. My ex's boxes were still there, waiting for him to pick them up.
I closed the door, locked it and turned on the lights so I would be able to see more clearly. Everything was silent.
I made my way upstairs and turned to walk to my bedroom. It was a big house and I was all alone.
I decided I needed to take a shower before going straight to bed. It would soothe me after a long day anyway.
Before I went to the bathroom, I left the window slightly open to get some fresh air. Then I hopped into the shower and relaxed under the stream of hot water.
I wrapped a towel around me afterwards and went to pick out what to wear. I threw my pajamas on the bed and closed the window before it could get too cold.
I put on my clothes and went downstairs to check the locks. Everything seemed in order except... the back door was open.
I went to the kitchen - just a few steps away - to grab a knife in case someone was in the house. As I turned away, to search the drawers, the back door slammed behind me.
I turned around and saw him standing there. Michael.
He had a bottle in his hand and swung around dangerously, as if he might lose balance at any moment. I didn't dare take a step towards him.
"I'm sorry," he slurred, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "I'm sorry," he repeated, kneeled before me and started to sob. "I never meant to hurt you."
"How did you get into the house?" I asked, not willing to discuss the matters of our breakup.
"I love you. Just you," he insisted. "You're drunk, I'm calling Ernest to come pick you up," I told him and picked up the house phone to dial his best friend.
"DON'T LEAVE ME!" He shouted, getting more upset by the moment. "Keep your distance," I said, careful not to upset him even more after I took a step back. "Stay here."
I walked into the living room to get some privacy. Finally, his best friend, Ernest, picked up the call and I felt relief wash over me.
"Hi, it's Andrea. Michael broke into my house in the middle of the night. He's drunk and I'm scared. Please come pick him up - soon."
"Of course, I'll be right there," Ernest said and dropped the call. I sighed and slowly walked back into the kitchen, where Michael was nowhere to be found.
I walked around the house to search for him, with a knife gripped in my hand, but he wasn't here.
Then I heard a noise upstairs. I slowly followed it and saw him, as I stood on the threshold, holding my shirts and hugging them. He seemed to be having a meltdown.
"Take me back," he begged and I sighed. "You betrayed my trust. You broke my heart. You lied. You cheated. You used my hard-earned money to buy her gifts and spent it to pay for the hotel."
Michael sobbed. "She didn't mean anything." I simply went on. "I don't care. I deserve better. I don't deserve a guy who comes home every night only to point out the things I didn't do that day.
I don't deserve a guy who treats me like I'm replaceable, who steals money from my purse to buy himself liquor and to spend it on his lovers. I deserve to be loved.
And it's something YOU are not capable of." Michael sat in silence and stared as if his whole world turned upside down. And then I heard Ernest's footsteps.
"Hey," he said and I nodded as a greeting. "Michael, what are you doing on the floor? Come on, this is getting sad. Let's go, man."
Ernest put Michael's arm around his shoulder and helped him up. As I watched them leave, I couldn't help but feel devastated. So many years of my life wasted on somebody like that.
I wish I could take it all back. I wish I could see my worth before it came to this point. I wish things would be different.
Better late than never, I guess.