...when you repeat the same mistakes.

    I began visiting Voldemort at his friend’s house; he was staying on the couch after his mother had kicked him out. Sitting on a balcony, we would share cigarettes and talk about life. Things felt easy again. We were friends—best friends—and I was happy; but like my relationship with Alex, I spiraled downward and left myself vulnerable to Voldemort's affection. The friendship turned sexual after my 23rd birthday.
    At that point, I had offered to let Voldemort stay with me. He still had yet to get his G.E.D., and was unemployed—other than dealing copious amounts of pot and pills—but I still wanted to fix him. I pushed him to earn his G.E.D. and get a job. He applied for half a dozen entry-level positions, until finally finding work as the overnight, drive-through operator at McDonald’s.
    Things were going fairly well. We had a tight group of friends, which were far less poisonous than the previous group we shared. Gail and Chris, Gail's sister Ellen, Carmen, and Ross became our family; and in January 2009, we came out to everyone as a couple. I remember feeling excited for a new beginning with Voldemort, but apprehensive—knowing that when a relationship ended, it was usually best to let it.

Enchanted—why is it that you have some part of me enchanted? There’s nothing about you that I like enough to base a relationship—nothing that dictates my having to have you for anything other than the obvious. So why is it that there’s a little part of me which feels as if I have to have you—as if I want you to like me more than you say you do?

    We had our friends over nearly every night, and were attending parties together every weekend; but things eventually turned angry again. I never liked to yell or offend people outright, but Voldemort was not as sensitive or tactful. He would raise his voice and call me names when we would argue; and after a while, I stopped resisting the fight.
    I had also stopped resisting Voldemort when he wanted to have sex and I did not. I was lonely and desperate, so when he asked and I said no, I would let him manipulate me. “I'm not in the mood,” is something I often said, but he always knew how to counter.
    “Let's just take a shower then,” or, “alright I'll just rub your back;” and before I knew it, we would be having sex and I would be feeling used—ignorant to the coercive rape. However, once was never enough. Not only would he finish right away and demand to go again in order to achieve satisfaction, but I was also waking up to him inside of me on more than one occasion.

It’s quiet. Half past three in the morning and all that’s heard is the chirping bird outside of my window, and the reflexive faking of a moan. “How did I get here?” I ask  myself, as I feel him inside of me. “I know I was just sleeping, so how is it that now we’re having sex?” It wasn’t the first time I asked myself that question, and it wouldn’t be the last.

    Our fights became increasingly aggressive. Voldemort would constantly yell at me to shut up, in the same way I heard him yell at his soft-spoken mother. I hated it. I hated him. Our resentment towards each other crowded the tiny apartment we shared, and we ultimately called it quits, losing our group of friends in the process—having gotten tired of our fights, they refused to pick sides—but we continued living together. He was more than my once boyfriend. We were intertwined in a co-dependent way, and I cared for him. He reminded me of my father.
    With Voldemort, I had experimented with MDMA. We bonded during these trips, having sex maybe once or twice more; and at some point, I thought I had gotten pregnant. We never used protection and I was not on birth control. Like Alex before him, he would pull out and it was fine; but my period was late. Truth was, since I had always wanted to be a mother, the possibility excited me. The pregnancy test was negative; and the devastation we both experienced felt like a sign. I needed purpose and he needed a reason to keep me around, so on September 4th 2009, we tried to get pregnant. Two weeks later, the test was positive. I was 24.
    Around that time, we received notice that Voldemort had failed to attend a hearing regarding a marijuana possession charge that he had incurred years earlier. Apparently, he had been riding in a car with friends which was pulled over. The police officer soon found weed and paraphernalia in the vehicle, and charged all of the passengers with possession. Because he had failed to attend the hearing, there was a warrant out for Voldemort's arrest. His public defender helped him avoid the 48 hours of drug addiction classes; but he still had to serve 6-12 hours in jail. Voldemort was scared; and I wanted to be there for him. I drove him to Key West to serve his sentence, and sat in my car the entire day while waiting for him to get out.
    A few weeks into my pregnancy, we moved into a two-bedroom apartment; and I started to experience what I would consider all day sickness. I never threw up, but was always nauseous and disgusted by all of the foods I used to love. Along with this sickness, I also had persistent, depressive mood swings. The mood swings paired with the nausea made going to class and work every day unbearable. I soon left school while continuing to work at For Eyes until about a month or two before my due date. I put all of the earning responsibility on Voldemort for once, and just tried to stay sane. Depending on him made me love him again, and our on-off drama was back on.
    I considered it my duty to make sure Voldemort was pleased. I forced myself to have sex with him every day, sometimes twice a day, regardless of desire. I worried that if I faltered, he would lose momentum and fall back into bad habits. He had graduated from fast food to management, running a Sugar Heaven candy store. I survived off of mostly candy for many weeks—gaining a total of 60 lbs. during my pregnancy—and barely ever left the house. Voldemort, however, was out almost every night. His extreme extroversion was the mirror opposite of my introversion. He made friends everywhere he went; and I wanted nothing to do with anyone.
    After a few weeks, Voldemort lost his job at Sugar Heaven, but had no trouble finding another position as the night manager of a tropical restaurant in downtown Miami. Working in that environment exposed him to miscreants and hard drug addicts—and those were just his subordinates. He failed to come home on more than one occasion—adopting a cocaine habit—leaving a trail of evidence in the form of baggies, inappropriate texts, and even women’s clothing in the trunk of my car.
    We fought constantly, but he denied everything. There was always a perfectly reasonable explanation. I was the one that was being irrational—hormonal. I felt defeated and sorry for myself, but more so for my unborn child; and spent a good chunk of my time crying and singing to my growing belly. I sought solace in our once friends, reconnecting with Chris and Gail, and soon rejoining our little group.
    Chris was there for me when Voldemort refused to build the baby’s crib. He helped me put together the nursery and served as godfather when the baby was born. Gail, being Chris’ fiancĂ©, was godmother, and my new best friend. Things were far from perfect, but I was no longer alone.
    On Wednesday, May 26 2010, in the wake of waiting room drama between my family and Voldemort's, my son was born. He was perfect. My father left the hospital without seeing him, but I did not care. I had created a beautiful little boy—one that I could raise to be honest, trustworthy, and kind.

This is a spell for true love,
A promise I ask from just one.
I beg that he appear to me—
Just for a moment for me to believe.
I want us to come together—
And to love each other forever.
So tomorrow, I hope to see with my heart,
The one that will never tear it apart.
His name will sound like romance,
And his voice will sway like a dance—
And remind me of a beautiful song,

Known to me all along.


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