This past month has swept me off my feet. I didn’t know how soothing it would feel to get all of this off my chest. The response has been more than amazing. I was never expecting the outpouring of support and I never thought I’d be reading so many stories similar to mine. This was a journey I was definitely meant to take.
Now let’s get back to business.
A couple of years after I had my second child and my parents split (Till Death Do Us Part), we ended up buying a house. Not because we made a load of money or had savings of anything more than to pay the bills…if we were lucky, but from a settlement from a lawsuit stemming from a prior arrest. This time (shockingly), he was wrongfully arrested and he was awarded enough to put down on a house in a decent neighborhood. Perfect. A quiet, closely knit neighborhood where everyone would eventually get to know what goes on inside our home. Exciting!
I guess at first I tried to keep things mellow so every neighbor didn’t hear the screaming and cursing that went on inside. Maybe if I keep the windows sealed shut all winter and the television going they wouldn’t hear the name calling and threatening. Yeah, right. They heard. Everyone heard. We were the loudest house on the entire block. Needless to say, I kept to myself. I said hello here and there but I did not make friends with too many people for fear they’d want to become close and come into my home and know my business. Instead, I socialized with the parents from my children’s school. They lived in the area but a distance enough that they didn’t know how loud our house was. That worked for a while. I made great friends. People that I am still close with today. A few I have become close enough just to discuss how my husband has issues but never coming close to the topic of abuse. I don’t think anyone suspects anything that sinister. If they do, they’d never straight out ask me. My stories are simple, we argue everyday because he is an asshole.
Soon, I started a new job at a bank that was not local to our home. With that of course came the third degree. Does anyone try to hit on me, have I bumped into anyone I know, etc. All of which were answered honestly “no” which was never believed anyway. Not to mention each night I got home at a different time. So that meant I must be meeting up with someone. There should be no reason I get home at different times. I must be meeting someone. Isn’t that what all women do? No matter how loyal i remained I still got blamed for things I wasn’t doing. Even though in my heart I was still connected to My Love who I hadn’t seen since before I had my second child. I missed him. I know he missed me. I needed to get in touch with him…if nothing else but just to keep a level of sanity throughout my marriage sentence.
It didn’t take long before I managed to get a hold of him at work. The sound of his voice just washed over me with such a comforting tone. Just in listening to him my heart was happy. Even my senses were happy. All of a sudden I could feel him…smell him. A peace of mind I hadn’t felt in years just calmed me. We spoke for a while. Here and there. He was with someone new. Someone I knew. I had worked with her in the past. No one significant just a co-worker. So I let him be. It’s not like I was able to see him. Not in this new neighborhood. Everyone pays attention to everything that goes on. Not that they do anything about it but they all know.
About two years later I transferred to the local branch of the bank I worked for. I was close to home and now there should not be too much of a problem with my husband. After all, it was close enough that he could walk right in anytime to make sure I was actually at work.. To make sure I wasn’t…I don’t even know…screwing someone on the counter? To wait for me after work, I’m guessing to catch me in the act of someone meeting up with me after work. Yep, he did all of it. Random pop ups. So classy. What he didn’t know is that someone I knew banked at that branch. That’s right, my ex. He got paid every other week and I made sure I worked on those days. He had no idea I worked there so the first time I saw him online I almost passed out. I couldn’t take it. Look at him…he’s beautiful. I couldn’t help but smile and get nervous and hope that he saw me before going to another teller. I was able to get his attention. And…I got to see him every two weeks. Even though it was behind bulletproof glass…but still. Nice.
Trying to live the life I maintained at home, without anyone knowing was not easy. We were still arguing. There was still physical abuse – albeit not as rough as earlier years. And there was still the overall hate that I had for him. I hated that he came home from work. I hated that he woke up every morning. I hated the sound of his voice. I hated everything about him. Ever the abiding wife, I needed to keep up my wifely duties. It was the least I could do to keep him at bay. It was a far cry from any type of love making situation. More like hurry up…okay good night. Luckily, since fate loves me so dearly, I ended up pregnant again. Just as my second child was entering school…and I was done with ten years…number three. Wonderful. — What’s that you say? Another five years…sure, add them on to my sentence.
It was what it was. I was doing time. Living the life of a normal marriage with a daily routine. Getting the kids ready for school, breakfast, dropping them off, going to work, coming home, homework, cooking, straightening up, time with the hubby,…and the occasional beating. At this point, it may have become a weekend thing. He was very much adamant that on his days off everyone should be silent and on their best behavior. Sundays were family day. No phone calls in or out. After a while we started shutting the ringer off because family or friends would call. Doesn’t everyone know that is against the rules? Some days…the entire day was perfect..no arguing..nothing. However, if something happened at 10:30pm it was proclaimed that the ENTIRE day was ruined. His days off started becoming the new blame game. If he did not have a good two days off he would ruin the rest of the week for everyone else. Fun.
My daughters didn’t fear him as much as they loathed him. They never really witnessed “altercations” but they would see an occasional bruise from time to time. Each one came with a story. I banged my arm on the doorknob. I tripped and fell down the steps. You get the picture. It was slightly rewarding to see that the girls were coming into their own each one with an anger and an attitude. Eventually, my allies.
One day, while at work, my ex comes in and we’re talking. He asks me if any more babies are on the way. I stepped back and pointed to my stomach. I could tell that stung a little. It hurt me to have to tell him. We always talked about having a family and how he especially wanted a son. Now I was telling him how nervous I am if I have a boy because I don’t want him to turn out like my husband. A few months later I had a son. Went back to work a month later (for Y2K – bankers nightmare) worked for a few weeks before I quit. Got to see my ex one more time before I left. He was still with the other girl and it seemed like he was happy. I was miserable now with three kids and even though I could tell he still felt the same way this all became bigger than the both of us. Life just became this enduring heartache. Not only for me…but I could see it in his eyes. For him too. I don’t think either one of us expected that to be the last time we’d see each other (many years would pass before the next communication). It was bittersweet.