I can still feel the lump on the side of my hand from breaking it on the back of my husband’s head. I look down at my right hand while my left hand feels for the lump. The lump is in my pinky bone. It’s in the middle between my knuckle, and wrist. It only aches now, and then when my hand gets cold, but I still remember how distorted my hand looked with the bone poking up at an odd angle. Personally, think my hand is mending really well even though I did not go to the doctor to have it reset.

After it happened, I tried really hard to hide it from my family, and the people I worked with. It was kind of hard to miss. My hand was really swollen, and It was completely black from all the bruising. I tried covering it with long sleeved exercise shirts that you can hook your thumb in, but eventually it hurt so bad that I had to go buy a brace. I swear, exactly one hour after I put that brace on. I saw my grandson at his baseball game and he said, “Mimi, what happened to your hand?”

My dad always taught us, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” Ever since then I have tried very hard to always tell the truth. Especially when asked a direct question no matter how uncomfortable it might be. So, I said to my grandson, “I broke it on the back of your papa’s
head.” He was so shocked! His eyes got great big, and he said in a seriously concerned tone, “why would you do that?” I couldn’t help but smile at him. He is 6 years old! He is so smart, and grown up for his age. The only thing I could think to say was, “Because he broke my heart.”

Sometimes you can’t immediately see what effect you can cause in a child’s life by your actions, and this was one of those times. I thought by telling my grandson the truth about what I had done would enable all of us to get everything out in the open so we could move on, but it didn’t. It actually made him worry, and be afraid that I would hurt him if he did something to break my heart. This of course made my daughter question whether or not I could be trusted around her kids which really did break my heart. In the end I still feel like being truthful is the best way even though your road may be a little rougher because of it. The truth of the matter was I did need help, and I was crying out for it. Abusing someone else whether it is mental or physical is never okay. I knew this. Heck, I had spent my life believing, and teaching this to my kids.

I lift my eyes from my hand, and look toward my husband laying on his side taping up tile on the kitchen floor. We are getting ready to paint some cabinet’s in our basement Coca Cola red. I smile fondly at him because I am not allowed to tape nor un-tape anything. My husband believes he is the expert when it comes to taping and un-taping everything from woodwork to a newly painted car. I know he is full of crap, but if he wants to feel reassured that we won’t get paint on the walls. Then who am I to burst his bubble? I have learned a girl has to pick, and choose her capability battles. Plus, I don’t feel like battling. I think it is rather cute the way he is showing me how useful, and needed he is in my life. There was a time however, when we would have bitterly fought over the whole thing. It would have ended with me screaming at him about how much I hated, and despised him. It’s sad really, how couples can be so rotten, and nasty to the one’s we claim to love.

Playfully I say, “Are you going to milk that project out all day or can I start painting?” Bart looks up at me smiling. “Get down here, and give me a kiss.” Then he rolls on his back, puckers up, and taps his finger to his lips. Immediately, I straddle his body, and crouch down to give him a kiss. This of course ends with a lot of tickling, laughing, and kissing. A few minutes later while lying next to Bart we look at each other, and I can see the loving twinkle in his eyes. I gently run my finger down the side of his face. “I love you.” “I love you too.” For the past 6 or 7 months our marriage has been mostly happiness, love, and forgiveness. I am in wonder about how it is possible to be living a fairy tale marriage, and how happy we are when just one short year ago, I was living my worst nightmare.

December 26th 2016

“That piece of no good shit!” I exclaim to myself while throwing the dish scrubber back into the hot water of dishes. “He knows damn good, and well that I am not going to put up with his lazy ass bull shit anymore!” I continued to vigorously scrub dishes, and throw them into the dishwasher. Glaring out the kitchen window I see Bart drive down our lane. “Ooh, he is so going to get an ear full” I mumble. Bart and I have been furiously fighting for months over an old bill that ended up getting my wages garnished. I had brought it back up this morning because Bart had promised to call, and get it removed before the end of the year, but hadn’t. When I reminded him of that promise an ugly fight broke out, and we spent the morning screaming at each other until he left. I had told him that I hated him, and I wanted a divorce. I had been crying divorce for a really long time. 6 years to be exact.

6 years ago, I had gotten fed up with him telling me that I didn’t matter. Telling me that in his opinion I only wanted one thing. In my opinion he thought I was only good for one thing. He frequently reminded me that my name wasn’t on “his” business, and I didn’t own a thing. Nothing of any value was in my name, and as far as he was concerned, “I had been paid for my services.” So, I checked out. I physically, and emotionally checked out of my marriage that very day. I marched into the nearest production plant, and got a job. It wasn’t my dream job, but it was a good job, and I had been saving 50% of everything for the past 4 years I earned for retirement. Plus, I had been putting away money for the day when I could leave. I had busted my butt, and climbed the corporate ladder only to find myself stuck because I did not have a college degree.

I was working full time, and going to school part time. I was gone from 7 am till 10:30 pm 5 days a week. As far as I was concerned, I wasn’t gone enough. Now, because Bart couldn’t be bothered with anything that concerned me. My job was in jeopardy. I needed that job! If I didn’t have that job, I wouldn’t be able to leave him. I was furious! Of course, we didn’t used to be like that. We always fought, and had different opinions because we are passionate strong-willed people. We worked together as a team or so I thought until I realized Bart would come pick my brain, take my ideas, and pat himself on the back for being so awesome. Don’t get me wrong, Bart is an extremely smart man on his own, but I have a real gift when it comes to reading people, and a situation. Plus, I am a very
talented trouble shooter, and I can solve most problems without seeing a job or meeting the customer. It might not sound like much, but when I quit having anything to do with our business it started to really suffer, and go downhill. Once I checked out, I refused to help or speak about our business at all. As long as Bart gave me a monthly disbursement, and only talked about what I was doing we got along fine. I took the money he gave me, and I saved it for a day when I would be strong enough to leave.

I know that sounds really cold, and it was. I am not claiming to be any kind of saint, but I had spent the past 28 years completely invested in our marriage from the sidelines. I mainly stayed at home (unless we needed insurance), raised our children, kept my mouth shut about how I felt his family treated me, and signed my name to the dotted line whenever Bart wanted me too. Bart and I would go to his family parties, and everyone would be so happy to see him. They would laugh, joke, and be so appreciative of what he brought them all the while pretending I did not exist. Sometimes I wanted to scream, “I am the one who remembered your birthday, and shopped for you not him!” “I am the one who pestered him for a week to remember to call you, go see you or hang out with you!” Instead, I just sat there in disbelief, and took it.

I was convinced that someday all his friends, and family members would miraculously wake up. They would realize that a lot of the nice thoughtful things that he did was me playing from the shadows. To Bart’s credit he would always tell everyone what a sweetheart I was, but it just came off as him being a smart ass. I admit, I am quiet. I am painfully shy, guarded about who I allow into my inner circle, and I am very feisty. To those that do get past my armor think I am totally awesome. I am kind, loving, fun, and very silly. I stand up for what is right. I am fearless, passionate, and I never give up. All of those good things in me had died a long time ago when it came to dealing with Bart, and all he got was one royal “B.”

So, there I was slamming dishes around, and fuming about what a jerk I was married to. I was punishing myself mentally about what a coward I was for not having the guts to just walk away from my 30 plus year marriage when Bart came into the kitchen. I spun around to do battle, took one look at Bart’s face, and went very still. He said, “Okay, I will give you a divorce.” I probably sneered at him. At the very least I would have scoffed and said, “really?” Dejected Bart said, “Yes, really. I don’t want to fight with you anymore. I just want to be happy. I will give you half of everything we have together.” I was completely floored. Never in our whole entire married life had Bart ever said I could have half of anything.

Less than 6 months ago his parents had finally put our names onto some storage units, an office complex, and land that Bart, and I had paid half of 20 years before. It was one of the things that we had always fought about because his parents didn’t want to relinquish control. even though we had paid for our share, and all of the taxes for years. It would mean that I would get half of it all in a divorce. Something was wrong. I didn’t know what exactly, but I did know that something was very wrong, and I realized at that very moment. I did not want a divorce. “All I want is for you to take care of that garnishment. My job is important to me, and I have worked really hard to be where I am at. Can’t you see that?” I plead. With his head down Bart says, “You only care about your job, and getting your degree. I am lonely, and I am tired of being alone.” Passionately I say, “I feel just as lonely, and alone as you do!”
“You do?”
“Yes, I do. Every day I am lonely.”
Quickly Bart looks at me with shock, and awe. “You never told me that before,” he said.
“You never asked.”
“So, where do we go from here?”
The strangest feeling came over me just then. A prompting to make things right. “I need you to fix that garnishment as soon as possible.”
“And I need you to change, become a part of our marriage, and my business again.”
“Okay, I will. I want to start over Bart. I really want to make our marriage work.”
“Okay, we will start over.”

And we did start over or so I thought. It wasn’t until two months later that the real nightmare began, but sometimes it takes a while for your life to go up in flames.