I know you felt it, the calm before the storm that was rising from the pit of me. You’re not a stupid man, just willfully ignorant of the world that spins outside your front door. I was never on the inside with you; you kept me tied up in the yard like a flea-bag dog. You’d take me for a ride in the car once in awhile, and feed me treats when it suited you; I’d be so grateful for the positive attention, I’d excuse shit like those times you called me a dumb cunt in front of our friends, flipped over the kitchen table in a white hot frenzy, or pulled off to the side of a country road in the middle of the night, shit-faced, and kicked me out of the car, telling me to walk home. I’d forgive you for missing dinners over and over again, coming home blotto and stinking of the titty bar. I’d pretend your infidelity never happened.
I know you felt it, the calm before the storm that was rising from the pit of me. It was Halloween. I didn’t want to talk about it that night because Nicole was excited about trick-or-treating. I didn’t want to stain our tradition. But you pushed me. And pushed me. You never gave a fuck about my feelings, or your daughter’s feelings. Only your feelings. So, I told you I wanted a divorce, and you threw a hammer into the wall.
After I’d moved out with our daughter, you stalked me. I had to go to the police and speak with them about a restraining order. Still, you didn’t let up. I’d open my apartment door, heading off to work to find a coffee and packed lunch waiting for me. I didn’t have the heart to pursue a police report because I didn’t want Nicole’s dad to end up in jail. You never did understand that it wasn’t you I was concerned about, but our beautiful, fragile, innocent daughter of twelve; I didn’t want her to have a dad with a criminal record.
I never did fear for my mortal life, though you did frighten me. No, you hit me where it hurt the worst–the thought that you could take my daughter away from me because you made obscene money, and I was a simple lunch lady who moonlighted as a custodian. So, I made difficult decisions…I gave you 50/50 custody of Nicole, and I didn’t fight for anything material, including our house. I just needed to be free.
You really did do a number on me. You knew what kind of upbringing I had, and you capitalized on it. I had the fear of not God, but of Jeff, dictating my life. I went to bed when you told me to, and woke up with your alarm to pack your lunch every mother fucking weekday, only to have you bring it home at bastard o’clock, rotting in your cooler because you had gone out to lunch at Hooters with your precious cock sucking co-workers, then hit a seedy bar at the end of your shift. How many nights a week during our marriage did you ever show up for dinner? Not enough to remember.
For a long time I wondered if it was my fault, the way you treated me. I did, after all, allow it to go on and on…
I was in survivor mode the entirety of our relationship. During our divorce, even more so. At some point, I gained self-confidence. You were no longer of any consequence. When Nicole told me she no longer wanted to go week on-week off between our homes, I told you I wasn’t going to force her, and dared you to take me to court over the matter. You didn’t, which proved to me that you’d been bluffing all the years you’d threatened to take my girl away from me if I ever left and fought you for sole custody.
I’ve learned a lot about myself since our divorce seven years ago. And I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to forgive you, which I don’t. That’s not to say I hold on to hatred. I don’t hate you anymore. Now, I pity you, because you haven’t learned from your mistakes with me–or our daughter. You’ll grow old alone. And even though I don’t hate you anymore, I’m happy to know you suffer, because no other woman should suffer you the way that I did.
You won’t leave this world without the scar of my dog bite on your soul.