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We all make mistakes from time to time. Sometimes they are astronomical, sometimes they're so small nobody really notices. Sometimes they hurt nobody, sometimes they hurt everyone, and the ones that seem to do the most damage are the ones that hurt someone special.

I've never been an INCREDIBLY needy person but I've been ignored and abandoned in the past. There is nothing in the world that will make me jump to conclusions faster than the feeling of abandonment. It's a scary idea to me, to have so many hopes and dreams wrapped up in someone I trust with my heart only to be betrayed in the end, left hopeless at the end of a dark road, alone and scared.

When I was only 18 years old and living in Arizona, I fell head over heels for an Italian man named Mike Cerillo (Sir-ill-o). He was good to me, treated me fairly well, and didn't get as violent when he drank as many of the other people I knew at that time. He only punched me in the nose once and that was when he was trying to teach me self defense. We were in a swimming pool and he had too much to drink and he lost his footing... so on and so forth.

Mike had me move in with him when my other living situation had soured. I had nowhere to go and he was crazy about me. I packed up what few belongings I had - it amounted to two trash bags full really. It wasn't much.

I had been living there for a couple of months when everything happened all at once. Mike had a friend moving to New Jersey and he was going to help Cappy with the move. They loaded up a truck and drove away after Mike kissed me goodbye. I didn't know at the time that I would never see him again. Had I known, I don't know what I would have done differently.

The trip was supposed to be for a week. Mike would be coming back and we would resume life as normal. I went to work at the 7-11 each day and came home each night. I would eat and go to bed, then wake up and shower only to do it all again. The whole time, I kept thinking that Mike would come back.

When the phone call came in, it devastated me. I heard Mike's voice on the other end.

"I'm going to stay in New Jersey," he said. "I found out that some of my family is in the Italian Mafia out here and I've decided I'm going to stay with them. I can make better money out here. I want you to come out, too."

I knew then that I wouldn't ever see Mike again. It broke my heart. I had been abandoned for the Italian Mafia.

Until tonight I've never told that story to another living soul - and yet here I am putting it on public display for all to see. This story took place in 1998 - and in 1999 I was already living in Arkansas, married. One night the phone rang and my exhusband answered the phone.

"It's for you," he said.

"Yeah?" I wasn't expecting a call. "Who is it?"

He asked and I heard a voice mumble on the other end.

"He says his name is Mike Chirolo." People often mispronounced Mike Cirillo's last name, but I never had. I didn't recognize the name and so I took the phone.

"Who is it?" I asked.

The unmistakable voice came across the other end of the phone. "You know who it is," he said.

Immediately I hung up. I'm not sure why I did - other than it scared the Hell out of me that this guy who left me for the Italian Mafia had tracked me down when nobody else in the world had been able to - including my own family.

The phone rang.

I picked it up and hung it up again without hesitation.

The phone rang again.

Again I picked it up and hung it up right away.

The phone rang again. And again. And again. I ignored it.

Scared out of my mind, I explained to my exhusband that this was a dangerous man and that I couldn't talk to him He shouldn't have even know where I was.

To this day I don't answer calls from a number I don't know.
It could be Mike Cirillo - the man who abandoned me for the Italian Mafia.

I've been abandoned a few times in my life. I've been left behind locked doors for 23 hours with no food or drink. I've been lied to, made to believe that I was loved, and told more times than I can count by someone I cared about that they would always be there.

Abandonment scares me. Being alone is fine if it's a choice. Trusting someone to be there and then feeling like it might have been misplaced is incredibly painful.

Tonight I made a very serious mistake. Someone I care very much for hasn't been speaking with me very much lately and I felt abandoned - so I erased contact. Without warning, without explanation, I erased contact. I ran in fear, thinking that if I didn't run, I would be sucked back down into that tornado of waiting and hoping, only to be let down in the end by someone telling me they would never be back. Mike Cirillo wasn't the first, and I can almost guarantee he won't be the last - but I shouldn't let the fear make me run or act on impulse. If it's worth fighting for, I must stand and fight.

The person I ran from tonight is certainly worth the fight.

I'm hoping for a White Lotus - a symbol that I've been forgiven for my fear.

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