I didn’t show up for work that day, but it couldn’t be helped. As it were, this was the most important thing in all the world and needed to be addressed thoroughly and completely. I sat in silence as my husband hurled obscenities at me in front of my two children. That morning at 4 am he had shouted for me to get out of bed. Shortly afterwards, he did the same with our two children. They slowly and sleepily made their way to the kitchen with worried faces and straight backs.
Once the children arrived on the scene, I sat still mind, body and soul, as if time had stopped for me and I was actually a bug on the ceiling watching from afar. I couldn’t bear to say a word in defense for fear of appearing guilty, rotten or ashamed. Instead I felt terrified, yet relieved. My husband’s red face stared at me and then back to my cell phone. He clearly had taken it out of my purse and turned it on before he left for work. Yes, I remember turning it off and hanging my purse on the kitchen chair by the back door.
His bald head glistened with angry sweat as he paced around the kitchen. Would he hit me? He had hit me before when I suggested that he try to enjoy the messes the children made for they would be grown and gone before we knew it. That got me a handful of nachos, sour cream and salsa mushed in the eyes. After which he threw me around by the arm and onto the floor.
He was saying something, my mind had wandered. I looked up at his shiny head and beady black eyes. “What does this text mean?...”Thanks for the afternoon tea.”
Shaken awake, I answered meekly: “It means exactly what you think it does.” In my mind I wanted this to end, no matter what the consequences were, this must stop. He turned my phone on and read my texts! I deserve better. There actually existed more than one man who could treat me better, love me, and had.
With his bare hands he broke my phone, his thumbs pressing downward and fingers upwards. I watched as a bit of blood squirted, blending with the shards of broken glass and the innards of my phone. I smiled at first covering my mouth and then a cold sweat washed over me as I realized he had brought to an end my main means of communication and means of loving attention.
Our youngest son turned and ran to his room. Our eldest son turned to me and asked, “Mom, how could you do this? Didn’t you have fun at Disney?”
Dumbfounded, I stuttered, yet still I sat in my place, placant. We had just returned the week before from our annual Disneyworld trip. The happiest place on earth was where we went every year adding to the façade that we were the happiest family on earth. Every August 20th we would pack up the car, take the dog to my parents and drive two long days to Disney. We stayed at the finest hotels and ate at the best restaurants. In contrast to the ground beef we lived off of at home in our 1000 square foot townhouse. I recalled our last meal at one of the fanciest restaurants overlooking the Magic Kingdom. It was my husband’s birthday and as always, a big celebration. My husband, gazing into the eyes of the sexy, young and obviously gay waiter, asking him what his favourite thing on the menu was. The flirting continued, as always, obvious to me but oblivious to the radar of our two boys.
“Of course I did!” How could my 20 year old be so naïve? What had I done? Staying had brainwashed my children into thinking this is how to find happiness; control, consistency and cowardess.
I began to look around the room when my husband shrieked, “No one’s coming to save you! Don’t you touch that phone! You’re not going anywhere until I’m through with you!” His voice reverberated through my entire body. Like a cornered herbivore, I sat still as if I might blend into the background of our bright yellow kitchen, and disappear. So I sat, while he bellowed. The wind from his violent, angry words blowing through my hair. My mind a blank, rebounding the accusations he assumed I had committed against him. I put up no defense, waiting, waiting for my man to come and save me.
Hours went by as I allowed the emotional beating to continue.
Sighing, I asked, “Are you done now?”
He went outside to phone my workplace and told them what I’d done, shaming me to the priest who was my boss. He then called his workplace and echoed the message to his boss. Helplessly I sat there. He then called my man and threatened him. I laughed at the thought of the two of them in a fist fight. There would be no match. I giggled and sweated a little.
I got up, exhausted with emotion and sauntered over to the windows at the front of the house and glanced out, exhaling. Praying my man would be there awaiting a signal from me, he was not. I began to cry as my husband voiced my fears, “He’s not coming!”
I ran for the door, pulled it open and was yanked backwards and swung in a semi-circle before I hit the railing and then the hardwood floor. That’s when our eldest son pushed past us on his way up the stairs stating, “You are both fucking liars” before slamming his bedroom door. At this, his father marched, stomping to the back door and slammed it behind him.
Seeing my escape possible, finally alone and realizing no one would save me but myself, I grabbed the battered gold door handle and turned it for the last time. I bolted through it, this time no one could stop me, I ran and ran shoeless and thirsty until I could run no more.
I was free, finally free…I began giggling hysterically, and shivering. FREE...
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Again, disturbing but powerful. It really gets an emotional reaction. I know someone who has been in that situation, so it touched a nerve. I like the line about even enjoying the kids' messes. My kids are grown. I often tell people with little kids to enjoy everything about it, even feeding the baby in the middle of the night, or the report card you weren't hoping for because they grow up...and leave.
Yes, kids grow up so fast. Savour every moment, good and bad because nothing lasts forever. Thanks for your comment!