In May 2014, I did the only thing I could think of. I drove to my abusive fiance’s parents’ house, where he was living, gathered up all of my things I could find, and broke up with him. I came under the pretense that I had moved back in with my parents (who I has asked to come with me because I was terrified of what would happen when I dumped him) and needed the rest of my clothing and personal items.
I managed to make it with most of my things and an all encompassing sense of relief that it was finally over. But, of course, it wasn’t over over.
He contacted me a few days later to tell me he wanted my engagement ring back. I had tried to give it to him multiple times during the breakup conversation and he insisted that I keep it. He also wanted me to return a house key his parents had given me to their house. I told him I wanted the $300 printer I paid for that he had started an argument with me in order to keep when I was attempting to flee.
The situation resulted in him accusing me of extorting him for my printer and attempting to convince my friends (none of which had ever liked him) I was a horrible person. He told me that his mother was going to sell my Waterford Christmas ornaments and Santa cookie jar on eBay to pay for changing their locks.
With no desire to maintain a connection with him or stretch this situation out any further, I packed up the key, the ring, and mailed it back to his mother. Then I blocked him and his family on all social media. Right before I did, his mother sent me a long email I couldn’t even bare to read and immediately deleted.
The thought of this toxic woman delighting in the opportunity to sell my cherished Christmas decorations, made me feel sick. I just wanted to be done and away from all of them. But they were just ornaments and a cookie jar. I made it out alive and that was what really mattered.
Through the years, I would sometimes feel a twinge of regret. Wishing I would have remembered to grab Santa and my ornaments before I left. But they were gone now. And I accepted it.
Cut to December 27, 2023.
On a tour of a house in the Dallas Arboretum, I saw a large figurine that reminded me of my cookie jar. I pointed it out to my friend and told her why I no longer had it. I didn’t think much of it as the tour continued. In the last room, there it was. I saw the exact style cookie jar I had left behind.
I was shocked. I told my friend, this is it! This was my cookie jar! For some reason, I thought there was no way she would believe me. Mostly because I hardly believed it myself. This cookie jar had been discontinued prior to 2005. What were the odds?
After I got home, I told my husband the story of the cookie jar and how much I missed it. After I finished, it hit me: There is this website we call eBay…
I hopped on the site and easily found several of the cookie jars. I found one for a good price (albeit a higher price tag than I originally bought it for at outlet prices with my employee discount) and bought it.
Why? Because that relationship took many things from me, including physical objects that brought me joy. I don’t know if his mother sold the original cookie jar on her eBay account or if they used it every year from then on to serve as a reminder of what an evil person they thought I was.
But one thing I do know: I missed out on so many things in my life due to different kinds of abuse. There are events, milestones, even celebrations that were out of my reach and will always remain that way. But for everything else?