WARNING: The following entry deals with abuse of various kinds, as well as a brief mention of eating disorders.
When I told my ex husband, “I don’t love you anymore and I want a divorce,” he immediately began to cry.
“This isn’t happening,” he wailed, and begged me to change my mind.
I remember I was sitting on the bed, looking down at him sobbing uncontrollably on the floor. I felt nothing but disgust.
Part of me wondered if perhaps I should be crying, but I only held that thought for a moment before realizing I was done with it. I had been with this person for thirteen years, most of it involving being subjected to constant outbursts of anger, threats of physical and sexual violence, and emotional abuse and manipulation so bad that I was terrified of coming home at night.
I was done being afraid. If telling him that I was leaving was going to end with my life being extinguished, at least I would die having told him to fuck off. I would die knowing that I had at last spoken the truth, had finally confronted him and told him how I felt. I had looked him in the eye, and with no quaver in my voice, no tears in my eyes, had said, “I. DON’T. LOVE YOU.”
I didn’t care. After he had finally crossed the line several months prior and hit me (because the sex position we were in hurt me), refusing to so much as look at the mark he had left for hours on my body, I knew I had to leave. I had to and I would. That or I would die trying.
I waited for months, trusting that the right opportunity would present itself. Some kind of sign would make itself known, telling me that the time to ask for a divorce was now.
It took roughly five months. Five months after he hit me to get to that place. In those five months, I had become hardened and bitter, spending as much time away from home as I possibly could. Some nights, I would sleep in my car in the parking lot just so I wouldn’t have to walk upstairs and face him.
I knew when the time was right.
I was working a shitty job, doing my best not to collapse from a then undiagnosed case of anorexia brought on by my shitty marriage and my inability to eat without wanting to throw up from stress.
I came home one day, absolutely exhausted. I had just worked a full shift after only sleeping for a few hours, and all I wanted to do was go to bed and escape reality. My husband, however, instantly got on my case. He had been home all day, sitting on his ass, watching TV after playing golf with his buddies. I had barely walked through the door and hadn’t even taken my shoes off when he began laying into me.
“I’m hungry and thirsty. Go get me a drink,” he demanded.
“I just got home. I barely slept last night and I really just need to go to bed.”
“I SAID…GO GET ME…A DRINK!”
I met his gaze and knew this was It. This was The Moment.
“No. You’ve been home all day. I’m tired. Go get it yourself,” I said, walking to the bedroom, closing the door behind me.
As I crawled into bed, I heard him get off the couch.
Then I heard the sounds of his fists hitting anything they could make contact with. The thud of the plaster walls, the hollow sound of our cheap chipboard doors splintering, and the metallic clang of our dryer door being assaulted.
At least it wasn’t me.
At least it wasn’t me.
As he screamed death threats at me, his fists continuing to pummel every surface they could find, I locked myself in our bedroom closet. I was too short to reach the pull chain for the light, so I stayed in the dark.
Alone and afraid, I turned on my cell phone. I was too scared to call the police, knowing if the cops showed up my ex might do something completely insane. So I did what any grown woman afraid for her life would do…
I texted my parents.
I begged them to come get me.
I told them I was afraid, that he was being physically violent, that he had recently hit me, and that I needed them to drive up and take me away.
“You two just need to work out your differences and maybe get counseling.”
My heart broke into absolute shatters.
My parents were not coming to get me.
I texted my best friend and sometimes lover.
“I never liked him. Leave him. You deserve better.”
She was not coming to save me.
I texted my sibling, who gave me a vague response and then silence.
No one was coming.
I was alone.