What’s that old saying, “The devil is in the details?” That phrase has cycled through my head many times in the past couple of weeks. Followed by silent conversations about how that’s not the devil’s only hangout.
The week or so before last was, to put it mildly, a week from hell.
The best way for me to explain what I mean is to just tell you what has been happening.
On Saturday, June 29, I asked my husband to come to bed at about 3:30 a.m. This is around the time when he normally decides go to bed. He is either on his tablet surfing the Internet or playing video games until the early morning hours. Every night.
This night was no different. Except that when he brought the tablet up and proceeded to get into bed with it, I asked him if we could just have one night when it didn’t have to come into our bedroom.
A few seconds before, he had taken the clean socks that were sitting on the bed half folded and shoved them all onto the floor.
As I bent over to pick them up and put them in the basket, I made the “Can we just have one night when that doesn’t come into our bedroom?” comment.
A split second later, I was seeing stars. He had taken his pillow, and with a significant amount of force, was swinging it back and forth at me, smacking me in the front and back of the head. The force was enough to knock me down.
My ears were ringing and I was in shock as I stood back up.
He looked at me angrily as he climbed into bed, turned the tablet on and put his headphones on, cursing at me all the while.
I was shaking as I thought, “It’s now or never.” You see, I had decided a few days before that the next time he hurt me or one of the boys, I would get him out, come hell or high water.
I would have welcomed a flood that night. But it was hell that came instead.
I have been asking him for as long as I can remember to leave when he flies off the handle. But he always refuses, stating that it is his” fucking house” and that he is not going anywhere. We bought the house together after both contributing financially because I had a pretty good job as well. I worked really hard and had been saving since I was a teenager. And in the past few years since he has been out of work and we have been running a small business together, it has probably been me who does the lion’s share of the work. And, honestly, ever since his job loss and my cancer diagnosis, we have been swirling in debt together. So even he, with his nasty comments, can’t convince me that the house is “his.”
Normally, I beg him to just let me stay in the house with the kids until I die, and to be left in peace with them. I tell him I will take care of the mortgage. And then he can have it when I’m gone. Of course I don’t know how much time this will be, but given the details of my diagnosis, I know it can’t be forever. So I think it sounds like a good deal for him. I pay the mortgage and take care of the kids. And then he gets it all in the end. And no one has to know about how he’s been treating us.
But he says he would never let this happen. That he’ll make sure I get nothing. And he will not leave the house. If anyone is to go, it will be me who has have to get out of his “fucking house.”
He feels he can wait me out and he’ll get the house in the end anyway when I’m gone. And I think he believes that the sympathy would end for him if he were to walk out the door. He knows that no one would think he’s the doting and kind husband he has tried to lead them to believe if he were to leave and people were to know the truth. So he has never left before. Just created a path of destruction. And I kiss his behind the next day because I just want peace.
But this night I was bound and determined. I told him that I was done with being treated this way and with having the boys be treated this way. I tried to convince both of us that I would call the police if he didn’t leave. He told me to go ahead, not believing that I’d actually do it.
After a couple hours of pure hell, I decided that if I didn’t do it now, I never would. I told him that if he wasn’t willing to change his behavior, I had no choice but to call and I went for the phone.
He yelled, “If it shuts you the fuck up, I will go.” He grabbed a bunch of things, including the tablet, and said he was taking the better car and that I had better get the title (and leaving our older minivan with the flat tire and a mountain of problems behind).
He had been swearing at me the entire time and telling me how I was a bad mother and how my kids were going to be ruined by me. He yelled all of the things that he knew would hurt me, along with plenty of “fucks.”
He said that I would get nothing, save for the ocean of debt we are swimming in. He would take responsibility for none of it and would make sure I suffered.
And then he went outside to move the cars so he could get out of the driveway. When he came back in, I said that this had started because I made a normal request for the tablet to not come into our bedroom for that night. And that, like every “night,” it wasn’t really night, but morning, when he was finally ready to get into bed with me.
He began to flip out all over again, shouting that he was the “fucking normal one” and that I had no right to ask him for that. He told me to “Shut the fuck up” and threw the minivan keys at me and stormed out.
It was 5:30/6:00 a.m. when he finally left.
My mother had been staying with us for a few days at that point because she was in transition from her own divorce. She heard everything from the next room, so when he left, she checked to see if I was alright. She said that she had wanted to call the police, but knew I would be upset if she did. She said she had the phone in her hand the whole time in case I yelled to her to do that.
I was sobbing. And I never sob.
It felt horrible. I felt horrible.
I was physically sick and just riddled with the fear of what his retaliation would be. It was awful. Almost as horrible as learning that I had cancer.
[I will add more as I can. He is back in the house and I haven't been well lately, two things that make it difficult for me to write, especially about this. But there is more to the story. A lot more. And decisions I am wrestling with...
Thank you all for reading and for helping me get through this without even knowing that you were...]