It was June 3rd at 0735 that I last heard Kristen’s sweet, beautiful voice. It was the last time I ever used a prison phone. Even now the phone represents pain and anguish. I just didn’t know what to do. She told me two things that day that rocked me to my core. Normal for me became faded hope beyond the horizon and I was standing in loss and covered in ashes from the blaze she set all around me. The messages exploded in my head like the IEDs once did in Baghdad.

BOOM!! The first was that she was marrying Lee. You see, Lee is illegal to the United States. Its definitely not the biggest problem in the world, but when you couple that with her need to control someone into a marriage so she can get what she wants, including her citizenship among other things, it is a problem. Its a giant effing problem. Lee is Canadian. Her home country would pay for these medical problems that she used as a crutch to be so verbally abusive to my family, but Kristen’s resources and cash flow are much more at her fingertips. Especially Kristen’s sympathy, uncertainty, orientation insecurities and her “want to be happy”. This vulture was feeding on the ones I love.

How could Kristen’s life possibly be better by dragging around this anchor? Now she wanted to be legally tied to her? Did Kristen love her in just five months of engaging in this? Is this the flame that is making her soul warm, the one fueled by toxic carcinogens? Does anyone else know about this? Am I the only one in the dark? Surely the world saw so much of this unfold on social media, right? Didn’t more people notice that Lee never smiles in pictures?

Clearly, my time in Kristen’s life was over and she didn’t have the decency to come right out and say it any earlier. She didn’t have decency in just coming out. I have empathy for her for the latter. Coming out must be brutally hard to some. Maybe she really had no clue about her true orientation. This was all new to her, too.

But god damn it, I was her partner. If not her partner now, her bestie for sure. We had trust and respect and a relationship beyond reproach. Years of connection. A child. We were the fucking Kennedy’s. I would have helped her be the best “out” she could have been if she truly didn’t want me romantically anymore. Now she fucking hurt me so deeply. “Don’t view the present through the prism of my past,” I told myself. I can’t help it. She kicked me to the curb, ruined my future with my family, and gave everything we had to someone who could give a fuck less. I’ve been here before, GOD DAMN IT!!! Just to be out… Just to be warm… Nobody comes out in a fucking vacuum… Real people love you! I’m a real person who was, is, affected by her coming out irresponsibly. But there was more…

BOOM!! Message two… I finally asked and Kristen finally admitted that she was being physically hit. If she’s being hit by this bitch, what is Megalodon witnessing? Is my daughter getting hit when nobody’s looking? This isn’t part of the coming out process. This isn’t even acceptable human behavior. Lee had an open warrant with the police for domestic violence. Yeah, I found that out now, too. My soul cracked. I sobbed and pleaded for her to do something. I hurt so bad for what was happening. She reiterated that she deserves to be happy. She would make this disaster work. The ground shook and everything we built fell on June 3rd. Broken… shattered… why…? “Kristen, why would you let this happen? You deserve better, we deserve better!” But I didn’t say that. I wanted to, but I didn’t. I wanted to build her up. But the reality is, I had. For five months I met her half way and then some. Five months. That’s all. I went from future husband, to friend, to guy she knew, to nobody worth jack shit. Its a long fall from heaven. My angel just watched me drop.

What more could I say? “Gee dear, no one can put out the fire that’s burning what we built, but I’m glad its keeping you warm.” Be a lesbian if its who you are, but be strong, confident, capable, honest with yourself. Be the best of yourself, to yourself and DEMAND that others do it too. Always. Forever. Never fail to see the beauty in the mirror and know that God made you wonderful, whoever you are. Never let anyone drive you off the cliff of self doubt into a sea of abuse. People need you to be wonderful. A six year old girl may be looking to you to learn to be a strong woman. Be strong and be bold. Be good and be healthy. Be you and be true. True to your values.

I ultimately asked a few friends to try and help end this shit show and get the authorities involved. It panned out as could be expected and nothing happened. She wasn’t ready to admit to the law what she admitted to me. Kristen had been angry that things got ugly. Maybe she still is. I heard she may even be a reader of this story. I really complicated her life by saying something. I’m even empathetic of that, but I have confidence that she was shaken into some level of reality and that my kid is safer for it. Its heartbreaking that I’ll never really know how her experience turns out. I know I love her and I want amazing things for her.

23 days went by without any meaningful contact until the day of our seven year anniversary. Her email that day ended with “We will one day get back to what we know as normal.” I hope we can get there, babe. Until then, to all the followers of this story, be just like everyone in the LGBT community and communities all over should be… be responsible. Don’t burn down the village trying to keep warm. Get help if you need help and make sure you love those who support you as much as you should love yourself… Kristen showed me that years ago.

Much love to Jeff, Valerie and for giving me a platform to share this and for supporting the healing of so many of us, regardless of who we are.

Rory Andes