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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chapter One - Never The Victim

Thursday, September 10, 1987

I sit staring out of the dining room window at the Bank of the West building, towering in the distance. The words no longer flowing, the stories have ended. I could ask myself how I got here, but that would be stupid and break rule #10 and probably lead to breaking rule #8. Quite possibly lead to #2 and #9 coming into question and then be reminding of #1, #3, #5 and I could go on. Besides, I know how I got here! I made the decisions that brought me to this point. I am not the helpless victim, I chose this life.

Lately, Jon Paul has had to remind me far to often of the rules. So here they are (let's not forget them):

10 Rules I Must Follow

1. Do not speak unless spoken to.
2. Do not say anything stupid
3. No one cares about what you think.
4. Remember you are ugly and fat.
5. You are lucky to be married.
6. No one else will ever love you.
7. Always keep the house clean.
8. Never argue or disagree.
9. Always do what you are supposed to do.
10. Don’t be a bitch or stupid.

Remember the rules! He shouldn’t have to remind you over and over about them. They should just be second nature.

I give up on the thought of writing and put away my pen and paper. I have to start thinking of making dinner before Jon Paul gets home. I wonder what he would want to eat tonight and I am again left with no idea's. I could call his work, but he would get upset I bothered him, tell me it's a stupid question, that he wants steak and fries. I will once again remind him we don't make enough for steak and fries 7 days a week and it will lead to another fight. I could wait till he gets home and ask him, but he would get upset it wasn't ready when he got home, start yelling at me for being a stupid idiot and launch himself onto the couch to call out names to me while I am left to cook a dinner while he yells he is hungry and I am once again - Stupid Bitch. My only other option other then driving to the store for the 'steak and fries' (of which we do not have the money) is to guess

I peer into the cupboard and rummage into the fridge. The findings are slim but totally workable. Since I have determined that no matter what I do I will be in trouble I make what I would like to have for dinner. Frittata.

I mix the eggs and take the left over tri-tip out of the fridge and began to cut it into chunks. I use the left over vegetable's from the previous dinner and am proud of the wonderful meal that I have prepared. It's lovely! Sitting in the skillet waiting for Jon Paul to come home.

Today is the day he will walk into the door, see the dinner, smile wide while grabbing me by my waist and tell me that he loves me. That I am the only one he ever could be with. That me making dinner for him (for us) just proves to him how much I love him and he loves me!

I sit patiently at the dining room table. We were married in May and shortly after that moved across the street to a 2 bedroom apartment on the second floor. Much nicer and a little pricier then the 1 bedroom I had had on my own, with both our salaries we could afford this. Besides, the memories of the other place weren't optimal. This was our chance for a new start.

I watch the dinner on the stove, getting colder as the hours pass by and I am once again reminded that he won't be coming home anytime soon. I know better then to call his work or friends and try to find him. Instead I make myself a plate and sit at the large wooden dining room table, alone. It's better this way. I don't get yelled at for making the wrong dinner. Well, at least for now I don't.

It is 10 o'clock and he still isn't home. Since I have to go to work the next morning I clean up the kitchen the best I can and place his dinner in the fridge. I am worried beyond belief at not knowing where he is, but know from past moments, that it is non of my business and I am best to go to bed. Sleep however doesn't come easily, it never does when this happens. I toss and turn till I hear his car drive up and park in front of our garage. My body tenses, I pretend to be asleep while I assess the situation. Will he be tired from working? Was he with friends and drunk? Is he Stoned? Is he going to be mad if I am awake or should I pretend to be asleep?

His key is in the door and I am still playing my options. Should I get up to warm his dinner? When I realize, I am frozen! The possibilities and variables are endless and I am scared of making the wrong move. I don't want to fight, Brain please, what should I do? Give me a sign!!!

The front door slams shut and I am sure all the neighbors are now awake (don't tell him to shut the door more quietly!). I can hear him throw his keys on the kitchen counter. I can't hear his breathing and he hasn't said anything from under his breath yet. 'Come on, give me a sign!!' I hear him walking into the bedroom. He throws something down, probably his jacket. I hear water, no, now he is peeing in the bathroom. Still no sign! The toilet flushes and I hear him walking into the bedroom. "Fuck" I hear. My sign! The lights come on. "Fucking can't see a damn thing!" I am now frozen! My body doesn't move an inch. I steady my breathing to be what I would believe it would be if I was asleep.

Please let him think I am asleep. 'Don't move Samantha, Don't move!'

He opens and slams drawers shut, and then, throws something. I hear it hit the wall, but I don't dare move. I am asleep. Yes, it dawns on me at this point that he probably knows I am not really sleeping. But lets weigh my options here. He is mad now. If I get up, he will have me to yell at! I won't get to sleep at all tonight. He will have left me into a crying ball of stupid. He won't talk to me for a few days. Till he wants sex. If I stay in bed, pretending to be asleep, he will continue to be angry and will either finally come to bed or shake me till I wake up. I have a no win situation. I'm playing asleep!

He finally flips off the light and crawls into bed. Rolling over and trying to take off my pants, his breath smells of alcohol as he begins to kiss the back of my neck. His hands come up to my shoulder, trying to pull me on my back. That's when I smell it, the smell of nicotine mixed with marijuana. Oh, great! This is totally a no win situation! What do I do. My brain goes into hyper speed as I weight the options I have.

I can pretend to be asleep. He will continue to get what he wants.
I can wake up and tell him I'm not in the mood. This will not go over well. 1 week of pure hell at the least.
I can wake up and at least go along with it. I would rather throw up in all my shoes!
I can moan and groan and pretend I am having a bad dream and hope he stops!

I choose the moaning. I wiggle my body, pretend I am asleep, mumbling under my breath about how busy I am and I'm burning the cookies! I slowly move around and pull up my underwear and move to my stomach. I hear him mumble. "Fucking Bitch, all you do is sit home all day while I work hard. Fuck you!" I don't move. I lay flat on my stomach, my legs pressed tightly together my head facing away from him and my arms carefully protecting my breasts! The hardest position for him to penetrate and the safest for me! I don't comment on what he says. Nothing I could ever say would make me win this situation. I remind myself to pick up the items he threw in the bedroom in the morning and I will myself to sleep.

At least he is safe!

Friday, September 11, 1987

I wake up, my eyes still closed, his hand draped over my waist and I listen. Listen for a sign, something to go on. I hear the traffic outside, the morning bird chirping most likely at the neighbor cat, and I hear his breathing. His breathing is rhythmic, as if he is still asleep. I begin to roll my body towards the edge of the bed, my cat Chrissy feels me stirring and I hear her jumping off the bed. I put out my hands as I brace myself from hitting the floor. My legs fall off the bed and I am now face down on the floor. I need to add vacuuming under the bed to my to do list. That and I need to find a more graceful way to get out of bed in the morning!

I pick myself up and tiptoe to the end of the bed. There on the floor was the stack of my magazines that he threw last night. I contemplating on picking them up but decide it can wait. I don't want to wake him and magazines are not a quite thing to pick up and put back. The risk is to great! I quietly grab my clothes and close the bathroom door behind me. I move in lightening speed. I figure I probably have a good 5 minutes at the most to get myself in and out before he wakes up. My goal - Get out of the shower and dressed before he wakes!

I am in and out of the shower in under 7 minutes. I run my time through my mind as I try to pull up my pantyhose over my still wet legs. I give up, I don't know how I fell behind in my time in the shower, and on top of that, I'm tired of the struggle it takes to put on pantyhose over wet legs. They are half on and I vow to fix them once I get to work.

I walk into the kitchen, grab a bowl from the cupboard and spoon from the drawer and pour myself a bowl of cereal. I check the date on the milk before I pour it and carry the cereal to the second bathroom in the apartment. I quickly take a bite followed by putting on my eyeshadow, a bite and then eyeliner, a bite and then mascara. I finish my make-up and cereal in sync of each other, drop off the bowl as I walk through the kitchen, grab my purse and head to the door.

When I hear him. "You leaving already?"

In my rushed voice I say, "Yes, sorry, I'm about to be caught in traffic if I don't!"

"What?" He asks again. He always has me repeat everything twice.

"I'm going to be stuck in traffic if I don't leave now, so sorry!" My hand on the door I leave as he is walking toward me.

I made it! Out the door without a touch! It feels as if I won! In reality, I will be 40 minutes early to work.

I head out into my car and drive to northbound on ramp of 880 to wait in line.

Once to work I can let out a sigh. I drive into the parking lot of B C Produce, wondering if anyone will be here this early again. The controller strolls in around 10 till and the president won't get in until just after eight. The sales crew is usually getting ready to make there sales calls right about now.

I walk in through the glass door. It flaps back and forth behind me as I head to my desk. A large wooden desk with a counter on the front for people to lean on and look down on me. This is my domain! Where I shine! Where all the troubles are gone and everything is within my control. I am the receptionist, if you want to talk to someone in this building, you have to talk to me first! I put my purse down on the desk just south of the door. A large plate glass window is my view to the outside, where I watch the people as they walk up to the entrance. The president's office just behind me, where he can hear everything I say, except on the rare occasions he closes his door. My bosses office is next to his, where she can see my everymove! I walk over to the window, reach beind the copier and flip the switch. "Good morning copier! It's Friday, price sheet day!" Meaning, we will be working hand-in-hand today so no quiting on me today.

I look at the clock, I still have 20 minutes. I go to reach for my lunch bag and realize I left without making lunch. I go through my purse pulling out my wallet. One dollar! I shove my hand into the bottom of my purse digging for change! The chances of me finding enough change to afford something to eat in this side of town would be slim. Right now, I have enough for a couple candy bars. While it's not healthy, it will have to do. I find another fourty-five cents floating in the bottom of my purse, add it to the dollar and tuck it into my wallet. I open my desk drawer to place my purse in it and look into the back. I try to keep a hidding stash of food in the back, today, saltine crackers are on the menu. My only hope is that one of the drivers that come's to do his daily check-in will bring me something that fell off his truck while he was out delivering.
Sometimes it happens.


Anonymous said...


I found my way here through the domestic abuse survivor group on Ravelry (my user name is Emu). I just joined and am in the process of leaving my partner. Thank you for putting yourself out there like this. One small detail that you included resonated so strongly with me:

"What." He asks again. He always has me repeat everything twice.

I guess I never considered that to be a symptom of abuse, but my partner did that to me ALL THE TIME. It always made me feel like I wasn't being heard or worth listening to.


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