I’ve had a lot of time over the last two months. Has it really been two months since I left? It seems like yesterday and it seems like forever. So many visions come to my mind. I try not to remember. I’m pretty good at not remembering. I’ve been doing that for as far back as I can remember. I remember as a child agonizing over why my mom didn’t defend us against my dad. I swore that I would never let anyone abuse my kids. I would never stand by while my husband laid a hand on my kids. I never considered verbal, emotional and psychological abuse.
Before I married him, he seemed so caring with my kids. After we met, he immediately included my kids in our activities. My older daughter was 9 and the twins were only 2. Everyone was so impressed. His family, the people in bible study, my co-workers. What a great guy, right? That he would embrace another man’s children? I knew that most men considered my children baggage and I was grateful that he didn’t seem to mind that I had three children, two of which were still pretty much babies. The truth is, I struggled to make ends meet. Since I owned a car, I didn’t qualify for any assistance, not even food stamps. The only thing I qualified for was WIC. That helped a little, but it wasn’t enough. He seemed so generous, so willing to help.
I remember the first time we had sex. We were messing around on my couch and he wanted to take it further and I told him that I didn’t want to. He begged, no, pleaded with me to have sex. I felt responsible for letting it go as far as it did, making him want to have sex with me. So, I acquiesced. It did feel flattering to have a man aroused by me. I thought that it meant that he loved me.
I suppose there were signs before we got married that something wasn’t quiet right. I just either didn’t want to see them or didn’t recognize them. He told me a vague story about having his license suspended and never going to take care of it. I don’t remember why I didn’t question it, or ask for specific details. He owned his own contracting business, but didn’t use his checking account for a lot of things. He was always overdrawn and paid for everything with cash. He sometimes didn’t have enough money to pay his workers on time. But, he always seemed to somehow come up with the money and they stayed on. One time, one of his workers came to the door with his father looking for his pay. Jack loaded his gun and set it out on the counter, just in case. I had never even seen a gun before. He always seemed to be able to avert any serious confrontations.
He never asked me to marry him. We were laying in bed one time after we had sex and he said something about “when we get married”. When we went to get my wedding ring, I wanted something simple, but he wanted flash. I was impressed when he spent $2500 on my wedding ring. I couldn’t even imagine having that much money. He must be doing okay, right?
But, the real nightmare didn’t begin until after we were married.