There was barely any love left between them... there was barely any of HER left after this marriage of attrition. The drugs, the manipulations and the names that he called her reduced her heart and the amount of space her will took up in soul. By the time he would start in with the beatings there was so very little left it always surprised her that she would fight back. As far as she could determine her defence of her body was no more than an involuntary function, like breathing. She was dying and the final dance began on New Years Eve, the last day of 1996.
He had finished the previous semester right before Christmas, his triumph being the "A" he had received for his final project in Creative Writing. His professor had been deeply impressed by the short story he had written, had touted it as troubling and inspired.
She had read it with it's large, printed "A" at the top and the effusions of the prof on the cover page. She found the story more than "troubling," she was terrified. The story told how he was going to kill her. It detailed why, and the why was the most horrifying of all. Still, she did not leave.
Over Christmas the torture stepped up. Sleep deprivation techniques, kidney punches, black eyes, bruises shaped like fingers around her neck. December 30th he rampaged through the house breaking mirrors and glass, smashed the telephone into shards of plastic. He got out his 22 rifle and shoved it in her face, she watched him silently and cried. She cried for the broken mirror, couldn't understand why he always broke all her nice things. When he put the barrel of the gun in his own mouth she walked out the front door wishing, just wishing that he would.
Pull the trigger.
She slept on a friend's couch and the next morning he found her and took her home. That night was New Year's Eve and she drank the entire bottle of good champagne they had received for Christmas. He loved her when she was drunk, and they rang in the new year peacefully. So peacefully. So much peace.
Seven days passed, seven nights and seven bottles of cheap champagne (he was not made of money dammit) and the peace ended with a fresh assault on her face. A new black eye, split lip and a swelling purple blush on her left cheekbone. To this day she could not tell you why, maybe it was the backhand that did it; woke her up. Later that night, the seventh night, she washed the tears from her face and inspected the damage in the bathroom mirror. It wasn't the worst she'd gotten but there was something cold in her eye as she looked at the wreckage. There was something cold in her heart as she asked her reflection what she was waiting for.
"Are you waiting 'till you get knocked up and have kids for him to beat around? Will you give yourself permission to leave when he starts hitting the baby? Do you want to be tied to this SOB forever? Do you want your babies to be tied to him forever?"
She touches her empty belly, the one that he calls barren and she thanks God for birth control pills. Touches that belly and out loud tells her unborn children that she is sorry, she was wrong... that man in there passed out on the bed is not their father. Will never be their father, and she walks out the door. This time she walks all the way out that door.
The things this woman has learned you cannot imagine, cannot guess at and ought not second guess.
It has been almost ten years and "she" has turned into me. My "barren" womb has been shelter and nourishment for three sweet girls. They are the daughters of Dadguy, my true love... my happily ever after.
Yesterday someone tried to tell me how to "plan my family" or maybe "how not to" as it were. Granted, I was trying to be funny and make light of my temptation to have my next (and last) baby sooner rather than later. My absurd stated reasoning was so that I could just double up on the diapering rather than spread it out over the course of more years. Fine. I don't plan on getting pregs tomorrow just for the convenience of buying diapers in bulk... but what if i DO plan on getting pregnant for other reasons? What of it? What on earth makes you think you have the right to "should" on me, or anybody for that matter?
Please, not even my physician presumes to advise me in this area and I pay him good money to advise me.
It's rampant, this "my way or the highway" thinking. I do it too, but crap all over it! I try not to get in other people's faces with it.
And I recognise that it is wrong. I see that it is one of my more unattractive habits.
A few days ago I noticed that one of the parenting sites that I receive a weekly e-update from had a comment thread that was kicked off with a question that went something like "Do you think that Britney Spears is having her kids too close together?" The HUH? I just had to check and see if anyone was biting, and sweet pickle relish some of the stuff folks felt comfortable saying about this gal and her procreating style. I could only assume these were mostly moms making these comments, it was a parenting site after all... therefore it was double shocking to me. Liberally peppered in the mix were more moderate voices saying things like "well, I wouldn't do it... but it doesn't make it wrong," and "everyone is different." A few folks even picked up on the fact that the woman doesn't have to even make herself a cheese sandwich, scrub a toilet or wash a dish. She has a nanny and can take a shower any time she pleases... she can go on big old dream vacations. Her life? It's nothing like my life. I don't think she does her own grocery shopping let alone ever finds herself schlepping her screaming meemie progeny around the local Super Walmart. Exactly where is the baseline to judge from? Then there were the comments that went along the lines of "I think it's cruel to the children to wait too long in between, how lonely, how SAD!"
... where is the baseline for these kinds of judgement on anyone?
I think I may need a break, so I'm going on an a "retreat" with my church women's group tonight. Who am I kidding... I'd be going even if I didn't "need a break." It's just an overnighter in some cabins up in Heber and I can only assume it'll be cold. Very cold! But it is as Dadguy says... it's a slumber party for moms, and I could really use a slumber party.