We were sitting in my car, my husband and I, at the traffic light a block from our house. The light was red. That's when he started telling me about all the women. All the women he'd slept with in our 13 years of marriage. He spared no weapons as he cut me to the quick. It was mean-spirited and ugly. It was to bring my world crumbling down. And then the light turned green.
I drove the block to our house, hit the mechanism to raise the garage door, and turned down the alley. I was on automatic. I was stunned. I was numb.
We hadn't been getting along for years really. But still, I wouldn't have thought him capable of this. Not this.
There had been terrible fights, recriminations. He drank a lot. But he was a highly functioning alcoholic. I could rarely tell when he was drinking until he was slurring his words.
It has been a hard year. There was more chilling news yet to come.
While I was sitting at my computer working on my blog soon after, he came in and told me about his girlfriend of two years. That she'd been trying to get him to leave me and marry her for over a year. They worked together. Of course.
There was no emotion. No visible signs of remorse or sadness. It was what it was. Chilling.The fear I'd begun to feel during his drunken binges escalated. He let me know he was leaving, he just didn't know when. He dangled it over my head and told me I couldn't take care of myself. I would end up in the gutter, he said. Alone and homeless.
He knew my fear of going out into the world. It was lack of confidence. It was his undermining me, making me feel small.
To say those months were absolute hell is an understatement. I would see charges for their motel room stays on our credit cards during weekend trysts. Charges for clothes at women's stores in big cities. He liked the good life. I'm sure she was captivated by the possibility of living big. She did not know it was all a house of cards. And as I'd learned, could fall at any time.
The marriage has ended. I sat in the courtroom last fall with my attorney. In front of me sat my husband; his mistress on one side, his attorney on the other. I stared at the back of her head, and wondered what she had told her husband that morning. I had told him of their affair. Another family, devastated and about to break up.
I am now in another state. I rent a little house with five rooms. But it is all I need. I have my two dogs.
I like cozy little spaces. I can hear danger lurking, should there be any. I can listen for an imaginary garage door that no longer exists, between the rhythm of my breathing. That is happening less and less often, thank goodness.
It use to send my heart palpitating, that sound. I'd hear the door begin to grind its way up. And I'd wonder, who is going to walk through that door? Will he be drunk, angry, ready for battle? The dogs would be on alert as well. They felt the fear emanating from me, I suppose. They are smart that way.
I have begun, nearly a year later, to feel a sense of safety. I still have my moments where the slightest noise can send me into danger mode. The hair on the back of my neck stands and salutes. Every fiber of my being says run. Run now.
But more and more, I am relaxing. I am learning how to take care of myself. How to live. Instead of just existing. I like living alone, just the dogs and me. I like strolling about the yard, checking on the gardens I've begun creating.
I like sleeping when I want, eating when and what I want. I like living frugally and saving money when I can. I like the feeling of control it gives me. He was never a saver. He lived in the moment.
He is still with her. Some men just can't seem to be alone. They skip from woman to woman. Relationship to relationship. And the beat goes on.
I have learned that alcohol has a tremendous grasp on some individuals. Especially when they won't admit to it. It is a disease and it destroys families. The alcoholic can just black out and forget the devastation. But you will not.
Sadly, you will not.
Brenda@Cozy Little House
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