Note: All lyrics for Face Down by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus can be found here.
The month of December went out quietly, thankfully. We had no further incidents together. I managed to pass my classes, as did the Sister, and we both made the Dean’s List. This was an achievement to me, at least, and I know it was for the Sister. I don’t recall if the ex-husband fully commented on my being on the Dean’s List, but I know he was pretty proud of the Sister. There she was, a girl who hadn’t gone back to school since high school, achieving the Dean’s List at her local community college. I think he felt that it wasn’t really a good achievement of mine, honestly, and that hurts. I was pretty proud of myself and after I told him and didn’t receive the reaction I wanted, I shut the fuck up about it. In fact, this is the first time I’ve mentioned it since then, so obviously, his lack of reaction did not do me any good.
The Sister and I were effectively housebound for January. We didn’t have any jobs. I had stopped going to my call center job the night of TH’s party. I had to work the next morning, but I just didn’t bother showing up. I told everyone I formally quit, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was too much with school and all of the stress from my ex-husband and our relationship. The Sister was able to procure me a job as super secretary at the Mentor Center in our school, though, because that was where she worked. I was effectively the right-hand man of the woman who ran the center. I would also be assisting with mentoring students and assisting the program in putting on events, but my official title was secretary. I enjoyed the job, overall.
TH spent a lot of time at our house, on the phone with us, or chatting online with us. He knew how we felt about being stuck in a house. And while I may or may not have told him exactly how my relationship with my ex was going – though he wasn’t dumb enough to not see how I was degenerating – he knew things weren’t going well. It was that month that, one night, a friend of mine asked if I could drive her to work at Big Y. And on a whim, after dropping her off three towns over, I called TH to meet me in a public place because I wasn’t ready to go home yet. And we sat in a Wal-Greens parking lot and just talked. I told him how things were pretty bad. I told him how I felt. And he just listened, with my car running and music on low, to everything I had to say. He was good like that.
This became a ritual for us. After the house was quiet, I would sneak off to Wal-Greens and just sit with TH, talking. I was gone for hours sometimes. Other times, since he would meet me at a halfway point with a Walgreen, I was gone for less time. It was a form of cheating, I think, on my ex-husband because I felt exceptionally guilty afterward. It was the emotional kind of cheating, but it was also giving me a base. I was able to recover, a bit, from the feeling of hopelessness and depression that was overwhelming me. And even though I had a therapist in whom I could trust with everything going on, I still held back. I was worried she would judge me for emotionally cheating on my husband, I think, but above all, I couldn’t help but wonder if she would tell him what I said. He found her through his insurance program at work.
As though the ex-husband was aware that I had long since grown unwilling to do anything with our marriage, he began to start harping on the two of us buying a house. His belief about that being what “married couples do,” was not the actual reason. I think this was his attempt at solidifying his hold on me further. If we owned our own home, then the Sister would no longer live with us and his hold on me would be complete. While I hate to ascribe the notion that he wanted to “do as adults do” and “grow up completely,” considering his behaviors prior to his suggesting this, I can’t help (now, as I did then) believe that he was doing this as a final attempt to fully push me completely under his sway. No longer would I be able to sneak out as capably to spend time with people who reminded me that I was a human being, too, and no longer would I have the assistance of the Sister to defuse the mounting tension and stress in my life.
I was terrified of the thought and dragged my heels accordingly.
My emotional state became very, very tenuous as the month of January went by. I began to worry that the reason things were so horrible with my marriage was because of things I had done as a youth. I was not a pious, virginal, sweet teenager. I did many things that I am, to this day, rather ashamed of. I said many, many things that came back to bite me in the ass in some form or another. As I tried to figure out why things were happening the way that they were, I began to believe in a Westernized [and incorrect] version of karma. I began to think of things as “you did this, so this is why this is happening.” It was not a very good frame of mind – never mind the fact that it didn’t even remotely convey what karma actually is. This should show that my frame of mind was more in line with blaming me, the victim, for what was going on in the house between my ex-husband and myself.
In a misguided effort to explain away my karma, I turned heavily towards divination.
I’m not saying that my turning towards divination was the wrong idea. It gave me solace in a mentally healthy way. However, the questions I was asking my Egyptian Pyramid Oracle were not the questions I should have been asking. I was worrying too much about the past and how it was intruding on my present and future. I should have paid more attention to the little things – the reading I gave to TH denoting that if and when he broke up with his girlfriend, he would sleep with her again; the reading I gave to the Sister in which I showed her that the world she was crafting would end; the readings that showed that the card I had once initiated as being that of my ex-husband (Djehuty) had changed dramatically (Sutekh).
Depression works in mysterious ways on everyone. To stave off her own round, the Sister spent nights with her ex Demon Boy. To stave off mine, as best I could, I played with my divination cards and spent an extraordinary amount of time with TH. To stave of his, the ex-husband stopped paying our bills, minus the car and the insurance, and bought useless things. We were all having a hard time of things.
Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy
one look puts the rhythm in my hand.
Still I’ll never understand why you hang around
I see what’s going down.
Since TH, the Sister, and I were all having excessive amounts of issues to deal with and no one to coherently do so, we all turned to alcoholism. I have had massive amounts of drinking related issues previously, of which is slightly documented in these entries. But every night, I turned to a drink or six to make it so that I could get through another day. I know this isn’t healthy and I also know that I was incorrect in doing so. There are days, now, where the thought of drinking puts me off entirely. I drink still, but not nearly as often. I’ll have a drink here and there, responsibly, but back then? It didn’t matter. While the three of us were sitting in the kitchen or watching a movie in the living room, we all had drinks. The Sister’s were huge, half-and-half drinks; TH’s were usually about the same. I don’t remember if I poured massive amounts of alcohol into my mixers.
It doesn’t matter.
We all had demons that we couldn’t face for whatever reason and we chose childish behavior to deal with those demons.
There are days where I wonder if my ex-husband was even aware of how much drinking any of us did. He had to have been aware that I had begun drinking again. I didn’t exactly keep it hidden. But, I honestly can’t remember a time in which he said he was worried about it. Maybe he thought that by pushing us to buy our own house, it would go away? I honestly don’t know. If I had begun drinking again in Texas, without anyone around to diffuse the situation, he would have said something and it would have become another epic argument. However, while we were waiting for school to get started, he didn’t say anything to me. He made snide remarks about being immature but he never explicitly said what those remarks were about, so while I could chalk it up to some weird way of acknowledging my problem was back again, it probably had more to do with the general situation as opposed to this particular one.
One night, while the three of us were sitting at the kitchen table, my ex-husband was upstairs, but the Sister’s boyfriend was over. He had bought himself a fifth of whiskey because that’s what “men drink.” I made a joke about how I wasn’t allowed to have any whiskey – my high school friends had banned me from it. It’s a long story and it will probably be discussed in future shadow work entries, but I tend to be more of a tactless ass after drinking whiskey than usual. So, as a kind of dare, the Lumberjack gave me some whiskey. And that was really his big mistake.
That was the night I made a Lumberjack cry.
As I said, we were all sitting around the kitchen table. I had my Pyramid Oracle out, but I don’t think any of us were paying attention to the cards I was pulling. TH, the Sister, and I had been drinking vodka and diet Coke for a while by then. I would shuffle and pull out a card. Almost on a dare, the Lumberjack shared his whiskey with me. Considering the fact that I had a black out previously because of mixing types of alcohol together, it shows, to me, how very far gone I was at that point. I didn’t care if I had to be rushed to the hospital. I didn’t care if I didn’t remember huge chunks of my life. I didn’t care at all. And that, really, is what makes it so much worse when I drink whiskey. If I’m at that low of an ebb in my life where I will consciously drink some, then whatever bits of me still care will just magically dry up. And I stop caring.
It takes a while for whatever inner preservation or inner voice that prevents me from saying things to stop working. It takes a while for whiskey to do as it should. It doesn’t really matter if I’m excusing my behavior because of what I was drinking or if, as I strongly suspect, whiskey just lowers my fucks to the magic number 0. Either way, I’m not nice. And the Lumberjack was completely forewarned. As my mom always said, “Forewarned is forearmed.” However, not in his case because I don’t think he took my warnings seriously.
During all of this time, the Sister had been letting little things that irritated her about him drop between us. She’d mention a little thing here – “he breathes through his nose so loudly; why?” – and we’d laugh about it later. Then, she’d drop another hint – “our sex life is so boring” – and it was with this fuel. Under no uncertain terms did I explain to him that showering daily was good, that wearing plaid flannel shirts had gone out in the 80s, that missionary was not the only position in bed, that video gaming was a passion, not a lifestyle, and that breathing was a privilege and he should do it more quietly. I was… cruel. I was nasty. With all of the pent-up emotions regarding my ex-husband that I didn’t dare let out deep inside of me, I used that fuel to make a man cry for all the true items no one had ever said.
I think, at one point, my ex-husband finally came downstairs to protect the Lumberjack. The two of them were very buddy-buddy at that time. I shut down then. I went back to my cards and lost interest in making a man cry. Instead, I went back to trying to divine shit like why this was happening to me and where it was all coming from. I know now, of course, that everything that happened then was unavoidable. As with the loss of my job in August of 2011, it was fated. And that’s all the cards ever told me.
This was fated.
Cover up with makeup in the mirror
tell yourself, it’s never gonna happen again
You cry alone and then he swears he loves you.
One of the things that I’ve tried to figure out the most was why I did half the shit I did during those hellish three months in 2007. I’ve sat around and pondered them to myself, often, and thought, Why did I do this? I’ve looked back often, and not just because of these entries, trying to ascertain what was going through my head at the time that I made X unchangeable decision and went with it. I’ve come to a few conclusions here. I don’t think I ever consciously made a decision to do a damn thing back then. I just went off gut instinct and survival. That’s all I was really trying to do – survive a really shitty fucking life – in the best way I knew how. Drinking offered solace because when the ex-husband wanted to fight, I was too fucked up to care anymore. It didn’t hurt so badly if I was numb, right? The next steps that I made to preserve a modicum of myself are less savory and possibly, I will be judged harshly for them. But there are things a person will do to stop the pain, to stop the horror that you don’t realize you would willingly do until you’re doing them.
It’s not an excuse; it’s just the truth.
Periodically, during that month where the Sister and I were housebound, I was able to take our car to do things. They were extremely rare moments, honestly. I wasn’t really allowed to touch the car that was in both of our names unless I had permission, which was why my midnight Wal-Greens outings with TH tended to not be announced in any form. We ignored the reality – the missing gas, the missing time, the fact that I was not home – on all ends. I’m sure the Sister deflected questions on my behalf, but she didn’t know a damn thing about what was going on between TH and I. She didn’t know that I was retaining a bit of my emotional self with my midnight chats with TH because I didn’t tell her where I was going or who I was with. The Sister can’t lie for shit. And knowing this, I sacrificed a bit of our friendship to save myself. I don’t blame her and I don’t hate her for it. She didn’t exactly tell me she was cheating on her boyfriend with ex Demon Boy (never mind because I would have reacted badly). We both harbored secrets from the other that neither one of us have harbored again or since.
We tell each other everything now.
I went up to New Hampshire and I took TH with me. It was nice. We were away from both of our terrible situations. We were away from everything. We spent the day singing songs and talking about things and enjoying a peace-filled day. We ended our day together with tentative kisses. I was the provocateur. I knew TH would never make the first move and I knew that I wanted to know what that was all about. I had come to terms with the idea of only ever kissing my ex-husband for the rest of my life, but I couldn’t let another second go without kissing him. I think we were listening to Metallica and we were in a Wal-Greens parking lot. (It’s a joke now.) And then I dropped him off at home and drove around for a while before going home.
I came home to the Sister screaming, “OH MY GOD,” in the computer alcove. I went running upstairs, dropping off my packages and my good humor in the kitchen. I ran upstairs – it was night – and demanded to know what the hell was going on. “He broke up with [name redacted] and now she’s threatening to commit suicide!” She was screaming. We had both advised he break up with his girlfriend for months and he had always politely listened to our advice without following it. My good mood was definitely gone. I felt guilty. I hadn’t taken into consideration what sort of effect our kissing would have on anyone. I had thought I could go home with a boost – someone else cared about me and not in a possessive, scary way – but I hadn’t realized what sort of thing I was causing in his life. I felt guilty. I fell to the floor, shocked. The Sister gave me a play-by-play of his conversation with [name redacted]. I was in shock all night and into the next morning.
Guilt swirled around me like a cloak. I was wearing it for cheating, emotionally and now physically, on my ex-husband. And I was wearing it because I broke up a couple that should have broken up a long time ago. Really, in either of those instances, I don’t think guilt should have played into anything.
School started up again, which gave the Sister and I a welcome reprieve from being housebound. We both enjoyed our schooling, truth be told. I guess we’re exceedingly odd people who are interested in what we wanted to major in. However, non-school problems kept cropping up. One night, while I was getting ready to go into our night class (History of Witchcraft) that TH, the Sister, and I were all taking together, I saw TW my rapist /TW walking by. And I froze. Internally, I froze but physically, I was off like a fucking shot. I went outside and ran around the building and I just about wanted to run all the way back to Texas and say fuck everything. There was a message here, of course, and the message people told me it was, well, that wasn’t right. The real message was “foreshadowing.”
I was going insane. I couldn’t think or feel properly at all unless I was near TH. The Sister helped to offset what my emotional responses to what they should have been. I had every right to freak out about the situation above, but I should have paid more attention.
The first time I slept with TH, I was happy. It was nice. It was different. It was like I could feel something and like, I wasn’t really an unwanted dishrag anymore. I felt… I didn’t feel whole. That’s not quite right. It was like things were smoothing out all of my rough edges. The pain that had been accompanying me for months was gone. I was all right for a while at least. It wasn’t like other moments where you first have sex with a significant other where you’re nervous about fucking up and then, after, you’re all embarrassed. It was just… it was nice. And I felt better for a while.
That very same night, the ex-husband did to me what he said he would never do to me. He had made joking comments of which I disapproved of. “Wifely duties,” was what he called it, but he had never traveled far enough outside of who he was as a person to do something like that to me. He knew how screwed up, still, I was because of the experiences I suffered in high school. And he knew that I was not a whole human being because of those experiences. He knew that Octobers were the worst. He knew that I still grew depressed about it. However, due to other experiences with rape victims, he seemed under this mistaken impression that my sexual anorexia was due to not having orgasms. What a laugh. It had nothing to do with the orgasm. It really didn’t have anything to do with flash backs, really. It was just… not something I cared to do.
So, he wheedled me. And he bothered me. I don’t know if he knew, somewhere deep inside, what had happened earlier that day. But, I told him no. I said I wasn’t in the mood. And he said that was always the case. I want to say that he held me down and I fought him valiantly. I want to tell people that I was able to scratch his face and hiss in anger at him as I fought him away from me, inevitably failing. But, I saw his face. I saw his face and the look on his face brooked no arguments. I never told him it was all right. I never agreed. I never said anything. I just lay there with tears in my eyes while emotions of what happened to me in high school swirled around me. “Wifely duties,” was exactly how he was seeing it in that moment. It wasn’t an act of forcing someone to do something they weren’t willing to do, to him. It was him just doing as a man in a married relationship is supposed to do in order to procreate and feel better about the world.
Afterward, I waited until he fell asleep, frozen on inside and on the outside. In a weird freak of emotion, I felt like I had cheated on TH somehow. What a laugh. But, that should explain how fucked up my world was then. My relationship, according to my insides, was actually with TH and I had to stomach a horrific situation in the mean time. When I knew he was asleep, I slipped downstairs and the Sister was on the computer. I had half a mind to tell her what the ex-husband had just done. I had half a mind to tell the world, but the words caught in my throat and I locked myself in the bathroom. I wouldn’t go to school the next day.
I took a shower very carefully. I know how it can be, after you’ve been raped, and the feeling of dirt being overwhelming. I remember those days where I would scrub myself with a stiff-bristled brush after I was raped in high school and I was careful not to follow that example. I locked the experience in a vault in my mind and wasn’t very surprised when I saw all the blood seeping from between my legs. It wasn’t that he had been rough, aside from the initial entering with no lubrication. He had torn me a bit because my body had resisted even while my mind shut down. Carefully, carefully, I took a warm shower – not super hot because that may have exacerbated my feelings – and I dressed in warm, bulky clothes to hide myself.
I slept on the couch that night.
I bled for a week.
A pebble in the water makes a ripple effect
every action in this world will bear a consequence
If you wade around forever, you will surely drown
I see what’s going down.
I stopped sleeping, after a while. In a twist of fate that I cannot even convey, I began to have the worst possible dreams about my ex-husband. It was like my waking life wasn’t nightmare enough, so my mind had to make my sleeping life just as awful. In fact, the nightmares were worse. Without fail, the ex-husband would find out about my cheating or about some minor infarction or not know anything at all and he would kill me. He was always choking me to death. I think my mind chose this because he had a weird fascination with erotic asphyxiation that had been brought about because of a previous relationship (the “one who got away”). Even as I write this, I can still remember those dreams and the feeling of being unable to breathe when I woke up, clawing at my neck to get his hands off of me. What made it worse was the night he dreamed the exact same thing.
He woke up, crying and clutching at me. And I woke from another spate of choking nightmares to that. I flinched as he was trying to cuddle me to him, crying into my hair. I remember looking at the ceiling, not sure if I should say anything to him because I was sure that this was it. Instead, I asked him why he was crying and he told me back the dream I had just been having, verbatim. “And I killed you,” I remember him sobbing at me and that’s when I knew that this wasn’t some fucked up emotional response. This was real. There was a part of him that wanted to kill me and choke me to death.
On my old blog, I wrote about this. A very old friend who is extremely Christian said, “Symptomatic of occult involvement I’m afraid. I’ve seen it happen to a workmate.” At first, most rational people who scoff at such a statement, but I didn’t. I was long since far from rational at that point. But, while the Sister and I were very busy trying to figure out why my ex-husband had changed so dramatically since we moved in together in September, demons had come up. We had watched one work on her ex Demon Boy before. And while I wondered if it was possible if the demon in Demon Boy had brought reinforcements to infect my ex-husband, I don’t think so. I honestly don’t. I think the ex-husband invited something in at some point, knowing or otherwise, and this was what we had to deal with: the aftermath. This explained, clearly, why the Pyramid Oracle deck had gone from his card being the card of wisdom and guidance and positive male influence to chaos and the bringing of death.
It was around that time that the ex-husband changed completely for the worse. I guess I was the catalyst.
I was out, on one of our midnight chat sessions, with TH. I was in his car and he was telling me to run away. Both the Sister and TH, by this time, had only ever told me to get out, get out, run away, go back to Texas. But, I was honestly frightened of what he would do when he found out that I was gone. I knew he would attack the Sister. She had told him, previously, that she had back up in the form of her dad, her grandfather, her uncles, and her brother, but I was so frightened of my ex-husband that I didn’t think they’d be able to hold out against him. And I was worried what he would do to TH. I didn’t know his family or what they were like. I didn’t know anything about them except that they were people who lived in the same house with him. They had guns, I guess, but I didn’t think it was enough to stop him from doing something crazy to TH.
And he was a firefighter – part of the boy’s club. It was yet another problem that runs rampant in small towns with police, fire, and EMS. They get together and they can do no wrong. They all bleed the blood of men and women who are first responders. What I would have said, had I gone to the police, would have sounded crazy. And I think the ex-husband may have done that on purpose.
“Take money and stash it,” they said. My mom told me to get a duffel bag to bring my “essentials” with. I was told to get a throwaway cell phone so I wouldn’t have to rely on the ex-husband’s largesse to communicate with people he didn’t want me to. But, he would have found all those things if I had tried to hide it. Even if I had hidden it in the basement where I would never go, he would have found it. If he had the smallest inkling of what was going on, he would have found all the things I was hiding and it would have been worse for me, I think. If he really was possessed by a demon, it didn’t matter how good at lying and hiding I was – it would have found all my plans.
It was then that the ex-husband began to say, “I would let you divorce me, but then I’d have to kill you.” All in one breath. If he wasn’t saying that, then he was telling me what he would do to my friends, my dogs, my family if I went missing. I knew better than to run away.
So, anyway, that night I was with TH and he was telling me what I should do. Or what I could do. And that’s when the ex-husband called. I shook and started to cry. I flung my phone. It would stop ringing only to ring again. You know how in horror movies the phone will ring constantly? And if it goes to voicemail, the caller will hang up and try again? He did that to my phone something like 17 times before I turned it off. And I cried and cried to TH about how I didn’t want to go home. He tried to persuade me to go to his house, to hide the night there, and then we would go back in the morning with reinforcements and get my things and get me out. And I was even more scared of that. I was terrified of bringing more people to get hurt into the situation.
Invariably, I went home because my dogs were there and I was honestly scared he would kill them.
I should have been more frightened of what he would do to me.
The entire time I was gone, the Sister was attempting to force rationality down his throat. It wasn’t working. The thing about being rational is that you have to want to be rational and while she was being calm, explaining reality to him, he wasn’t having any of it. When I came home, he immediately pounced on me. In no moment was I left alone with him, however. The Sister knew better than that. She was worried about what he would do to me – we both were – but she was in more of her head to know how awful things could be. He screamed and yelled and bellowed. I cried and ran away, literally. I ran up to our room, unable to face the insanity that was on his face or maybe just the fear that he was pushing in my heart. I locked myself in our bedroom, which was too much. He got out a screw driver and began pulling the door of its hinges.
I remember listening through the door, crying quietly in a heap on the stairs. And I remember the Sister trying to get the screw driver away from him, telling him that he was being crazy and ridiculous. At one point, he threatened to stab her, just like he had in the kitchen. And I remember her saying something like, “Oh, we’re going to go through this again? Do I have to remind you of who will kill you if you touch me?” And maybe that was the glass of cold water he needed. He stopped trying to take the door off the hinges, at least. I think, too, the Sister told him things that night that put him on high alert. I don’t know what she said when I wasn’t there and we never talked about it, really, until years later.
I was at my wit’s end but the fear of leaving made me stay.
I see the way you go and say you’re right again,
say you’re right again
Heed my lecture.
The night TH went out to the club with his ex-girlfriend (and can you guess what happened then?), the ex-husband and I got into a fight. We were coolly ignoring one another. I decided to go out and take a chance. I was going to buy a duffel bag and I was going to get a cheap cell phone. I was going to squirrel money away. I had to get out. I went to tell him good-bye and I did something that irritated me. He pushed my face away with his fist. I can’t quite tell if he meant to do it that way, or if I just pissed him off enough to not quite know what he was doing. He used too much force to get me away and pushed my jaw (which isn’t at its best after seven years of braces) out of alignment. I went upstairs, trying to get a hold of TH on AIM but he was gone. I blogged about it and then went to Wal-Mart. I didn’t get anything I had intended.
TW: Cutting, Razors
I bought razor blades instead.
I had been a cutter all throughout high school. I have the scars on my left forearm and my biceps to prove it. Most of my other scars have disappeared and faded with time, but those ones will probably always be around. There are days when I look down at the scars and I am disgusted with myself for what I did. There are days where I look at them and I am relieved that I didn’t intend suicide, but just a release. I vary. In this case, I was looking for a release. My emotional well-being had long since frayed and drinking heavily every night wasn’t enough anymore. I had quit cutting, cold turkey, in 2002, but it was easy to go right back to it. The same patterns can be… relieving when you’re in a situation that there’s no guidebook to.
The Sister was also a cutter, although she had never actually quit. If she was faced with a situation that is beyond her scope to handle, she will cut. Mostly she hasn’t lately but she has had her moments. Back then, that night when I bought the razor blades, I assured myself that I would not let the Sister know. It would be my dirty little secret, like everything else.
The next day was both bad and good because I had my coping mechanism all ready to go. It was bad because I had to listen to TH’s ex-girlfriend tell me about how they were back together, which they were not. I also had vivid flashbacks of all of those stupid divination readings I had given him in which I explained that it was pretty normal for people to sleep with their exes after the break up. I decided it wasn’t going to hurt – though it did, oddly enough – and cut myself a lot. I told the Sister about it later when I cajoled her into accompanying me to the liquor store for a fifth of vodka to add to my soda. She jumped on the cutting bandwagon. It didn’t dawn on me until much later that she had her demons hanging around that she wasn’t able to exorcise. And I didn’t know what they were.
TH found out pretty quickly what I was up to and he took my razor blade away. I don’t know what he thought he was going to achieve with that. It didn’t matter. He was wallowing in his own well of hate and self-pity. I’ve thought a lot in the years since that time about what it was that could have drawn him into my and the Sister’s web of horror and depression. I don’t really know if it was the relationship he had just ended or things he’s never told me. He did a lot more fucked up shit than me – who was abusing prescription meds, drinking heavily, and cutting – back then. He said once that he “wanted to try some new things.” And yeah, he was 18 and ready to explore the world. But, some of the things he’s done remind me of someone with a death wish. I usually end up blaming my fucked up life and situation for his depression. It makes sense. He falls for a girl with the shittiest luck and the shittiest home. It’s bound to drag anyone down.
Face down in the dirt, she said,
“This doesn’t hurt”, she said,
“I finally had enough.”
One day she will tell you that she has had enough
It’s coming round again.
One night, TH came over to drop off a book. The ex-husband, the Sister, and I were all watching TV. At this point, my ex-husband became obsessed with people calling before they would come over. It was yet another thing he wanted to have control over. Mostly, no one ever came over except for TH and mostly, I asked his permission. But TH surprised me by coming over to return one of my ex-husband’s books. Later, he would tell me that he was planning on TW: Suicide committing suicide that night and wanted to say good-bye to me. /TW He came over and he hung out for a bit, upsetting his plans. The Sister went upstairs and I walked TH to the door. The ex-husband went about turning off lights and getting the house ready to be locked up for the night.
I said good-bye to TH outside, joking about how my ex-husband was probably watching us. Of course, my ex-husband actually was watching us. He had suspected since October or November that I had been having an affair with TH. It was kind of amusing because it was only true at that time and not before. Anyway, we joked for a bit and I watched TH pull out into the swirling snow.
When I came back inside, my ex-husband was standing in the living room, surrounded by the darkness. I remember freezing in the kitchen doorway, staring. As Scully, in the episode Irresistible of The X Files, saw Donald PFaster much like this demon after he kidnaps her, so too did I see my ex-husband in similar guise. I blinked. He was still demonesque but his shape resumed that of the man I had married. It was then, really, that I knew I was not married to that man who wooed me with fixing his truck and a leather bomber jacket. The man standing in my living room was comfortable with the darkness deep within himself and that scared me more than anything.
I hadn’t married a paragon of virtue or of lightness, but I hadn’t married a demon either.
On the 3rd of March, I made the decision to run away and I was going to take TH with me. I told him that on the 1st of April, I was going to move away. I was going to run way, more accurately, and I wanted him to come with me as well. He decided he would. It was better than having him stay up north and die slowly without me around. When put that way, really? How can you say no to helping a woman run away from her mentally and emotionally controlling soon-to-be ex-husband? Aside from deciding that I was running away, I put no real thought into it. I didn’t even think about filing for divorce until after I was in the vicinity of my mother and the constables who loved me best. (I worked with them all at my condo job in Texas so while they knew my ex-husband, they preferred me to him unlike every other civil servant down there.)
The ex-husband was still friends with Demon Boy, who I had refused to allow near me. I had broken off our friendship after his doing something out-of-hand after the Sister, my ex-husband, and I moved in. He wasn’t allowed in the house and for the most part, everyone accepted that. I think he came over once after I told him to take a long walk off of a short pier. It just wasn’t worth it, at that point, to maintain a friendship with someone who was, probably, literally a demon in human disguise. And quite frankly, our friendship had been just about over for years. It had just been the time to get rid of him easily. I’m actually surprised the ex-husband never tried to force me into remaining friends with him. Maybe if the Sister wasn’t around, and her sensibilities regarding him, he would have.
Now, I’m not quite sure what Demon Boy said to the ex-husband to cause him to be suspicious. I don’t know and frankly, I don’t care. But something caused my ex-husband to get incredibly worried and install a key-logger program onto the computer. It caught snippets of my conversation with TH, but we were careful. TH reminded me that key-logger programs were something my ex-husband would know about so we rarely discussed our actual relationship online. But, anyway, the ex-husband came to me and demanded to know something – I forget what. And what bothered me the most was he was asking me all of this while I was in the bath, the cuts on my body as obvious as the sun rising in the east, and I turned the tables. A moment of self-preservation kicked in and I went on the offensive.
I showed him my cuts. I told him I was depressed. I didn’t tell him how he made me feel. I was careful to dance around the truth of how he had been treating me. I was careful to dance around every little hint of how I felt, what he had done, and everything in between. And I’m grateful I never said anything to him about it because things wouldn’t have gone “as smoothly” as they could have. The ex-husband offered to go into counseling with me and I refused. I told him it was over and he… he actually believed me. Instead of attacking me, instead of doing all the things he said he was going to do in previous moments, he said he would let me go.
That night, TH came over without fear of what my ex-husband would say. And the Sister rejoiced silently beside us. The Sister, TH, and I watched movies and laughed off the emotional roller coaster we had all been riding on for months. The ex-husband left the house to “spend time with friends,” but when he came home at five in the morning, he hopped directly in the shower. The Sister and I cast knowing looks at one another. It wasn’t hard to figure out he had been to see one of his lovers. I don’t think he went to see the wife he has now – but they were engaged within months of my leaving and before our separation was finalized – but we’re pretty sure he spent those few hours with the “one who got away.” We laughed at how “circumspect” he was trying to be and failing.
Getting a divorce is difficult in normal circumstances, but it’s harder when your ex-husband tries to flirt with you to keep you around or attempts to sleep with you one final time. It’s even harder when your ex-husband screws you over on how much money you can pull from the joint account you share. It’s even worse when he has a lawyer on standby and you don’t, thereby screwing over your debts report when filing for divorce. I think, honestly, if I had stuck around, I could have gotten a lot from our divorce, but I was too intent on getting back to Texas where I could recover and be safe. Divorce sucks for everyone involved, but it doesn’t help when the actual victim keeps her trap shut and the non-victim portrays himself to be one. “She’s taking the car. She’s taking my dogs. She’s still living in our house together and won’t leave.” Wah. I told TH we had until April 1st to prepare things to leave and that’s when I was leaving… no matter how much he whined at me to leave early.
Even though I got the shit end of the stick, the Sister got it worse. She had a deal with my ex-husband that if we broke up, then she would still have a home with my ex-husband. But he renegged. And that was around the time I told the Sister where the money she gave him went – not to bills she owed on, which was why our electric and gas was behind. To help her out, I ordered some oil without paying, putting it under my ex-husband’s name. Turn about was fair play.
I had to leave a lot of things behind. And the things I left behind, my ex-husband trashed. There are things that I miss. A cross-stitch my grandmother did for me when I was a child of the Last Unicorn. The Sister tried to salvage some of my things from the cleaning spree he and “the one who got away” did after I left, but a lot of things got thrown out or destroyed. There are days where those things hurt me, wound me, beyond all measure. That cross-stitch was a part of my childhood that I lost because of my ex-husband, first because I forgot to try to shove it in my Neon, and second because he destroyed it and threw it away like it was nothing special.
After moving to Texas, our separation paperwork was finalized about his birthday. He called to tell me and said that his birthday was “simply awful.” He was trying to play the victim, but I was 2,000 miles away then. I had my mother and TH. I had people who cared about me. And while a lot of the firefighters ignored me and didn’t so much as breathe in my direction, the EMS people knew my ex-husband for what he really was – a lying, charismatic jerk – and were friendly. The cops were nice to me, too, and I didn’t have to worry about telling them anything, at least. I could live in peace. So, while he whined about how his birthday was terrible because our separation was finalized a day or two before, I told him to go to hell because my birthday would always be awful since he had married me on it.
Our conversations were less civil after that.
The last time I spoke with him while in Texas, I told him I was pregnant and it wasn’t his. I wanted him to know from me so that it would be completely clear he really was infertile. I also didn’t want the rumor mill to go hog-wild up there without me there to deflect it. The child, my son, is definitely TH’s child. TW: RapeThere is no question unless women’s bodies can carry rape children around for nearly twelve months. /TW
My relationship with my ex-husband was hell on earth for a while.
But, I came out and I survived.