The house has a hollow, empty sound; the door slams way too loud. Since I took down all my drapes, my paintings; took away the rugs and furnishings, it looks barn-like, drab gray and institutional.
Hard to believe so many family dinners were enjoyed here, sick kids recovered here, grandbabies stayed over, wounded animals tended, flowers and herbs planted and harvested, laundry hung out to dry…and now I am leaving it.
Against my will.
The first week of August, Sir Irretrievable Prick took me to a couples counselor (on the pretext of “fixing us”) to spring a rude surprise on me and tell me to get out. The irony of that: I’d insisted we see a counselor. His face was dark, like storm clouds gathering. As I listened in abject horror (and morbid humiliation) I whirred through my data-banks trying to ascertain what it was I could possibly have done to deserve this bitterest Fate. Severely shocked by his announcement, I refused to get in his truck to go back to the house; he burned rubber pilling out, laughing like a maniac. I called a friend to give me a ride home but walked a mile or so to meet her, trying to shake off the Twilight Zone I’d just been ambushed by.
It has been pure vitriol and industrial-strength animosity every day since.
His presence is virtually unbearable, owing to his demeanor of Lordliness, as in ” I can throw you OUT in the street and there’s NOTHING you can do about it.”. He swaggers about crazily waggling his head, often smirking at me, makes cryptic remarks and veiled threats just under his breath where he’s sure I’ll hear them. I try to stay in the studio where I won’t have to see him lumbering about.
When I have to look at him, my stomach churns with loathing, rage and fear, not understanding any of this revolting development. Of course there were problems, but I’d determined to put up with his shit because of the house. I told myself daily I could tolerate anything just to have a home. My entire life all I ever really wanted was my own home. He knew that; so many long nights spent talking in detail about our dreams, our goals. Curious that the thing he so slyly used to melt my heels-dug-in reluctance to move in with him has become the very same thing he uses as a lethal weapon against me.
I now angrily examine my role in this farce, of taking the domicile bait too willingly, despite how long I held out. My psyche was frantically yanking my sleeve when I initially refused him and eventually I ignored it. For a house. A home. I helped him hurt me.
I have been packing, sorting, discarding, prioritizing. I just took apart and dismantled all my studio equipment. It’s pale lavendar walls, the paint I picked out… seem to be staring at me, asking what has happened.
Putting all my brushes and paints in the various boxes was excruciating. Moving my easel away from it’s customary place was so pain-filled that I truly cannot write about it. Hot tears sprung to my eyes as I worked…it is so bitter to recall how he built this studio for me in literally 48 hours, right down to the paint on the walls, and proudly presented it to me, bringing me in here with his arm around me.
The studio was the final piece of the puzzle, the piece de resistance to get me to proclaim a hearty “Yes !” to moving in here, to giving up the sole security I had in life in exchange for living with him. I’d been dragging my feet heavily up to that point. My psyche sensed some plot afoot that my conscious mind would not acknowledge, I think. Shakespeare’s quote “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose” kept circling my brain, looking for a parking place in the mall of All Things Eric. I should have paid rapt attention to that lil’ cerebral nudge.
Being disabled does not give one much money to exist on. I can’t call it living, too meager and mean. Trying to find somewhere to live that my disability income pays for has been an ordeal, to put it mildly. I have had many landlord doors slammed in my face, a legion of landlord phones hung up on me. To go from being Mistress of my own home, 2650 sq ft, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, dining room, laundry room, pantry, office and studio and 2 acres of land to two very tiny cramped rooms ( which require disposing of most of my belongings, things it took years of my life to acquire) is more heartbreaking and oppressive than I can delineate. This was all I could find that did not put me in the position of being a burden to someone I love. Two little rooms, after the life I have had and the shit I have taken from him. I do not deserve this residential claustrophobia.
It isn’t him I am grieving…I stopped loving him long ago. The cruelty and neglect, the cheating and constant lying, the assumption I was too stupid to grasp what he was really about, these drove the all love and regard right out of me and I’m one of those women who love 100 mph and hang on ’til the last shot is fired.
I’ve been sleeping in the guest bedroom for seven months now just because he has cheated so much. I never knew where he’d been ; I couldn’t lay next to that each night. He is not even a reasonable facsimile of the man I met and fell in love with; in fact I daresay that man does not exist, never did except in Erics’ fevered persistence to get my feet nailed to the floor. And, the very instant that happened, he lost interest in me and his true self emerged, a ravenous Wendigo seeking fresh meat . He was a Pursuit Junkie, something I was unable to recognize until it was pitifully too late to help me. The nanosecond Pursuit Junkies obtain their prey, they retreat in the bat of an eye, disinterested, like a cat whose captured mousie has stopped twitching.
I ignored the wisdom of Heiddeger’s statement, “We pursue that which retreats from us“. Apparently Eric was a Heidegger disciple.
As I sorted and shifted my things from shelves to boxes, I found cards and notes he’d given me. Reading them was a hot slap across my consciousness; they were so romantic that the comparison to “Now” Eric was shocking. He addressed me as “Baby Doll” in them, and told me he couldn’t believe I was his. There was an anniversary card for the first year we were together, in it he expressed the wish to have many, many more with me. I found photos from our trip to Daytona, his arm around me protectively. I threw them in the trash initially, then got them out and carefully placed them on his keyboard so he’d see them. It was certainly a wasted gesture.
You cannot cause shame to one without a conscience; you cannot tenderly touch a dessicated heart.
After packing up the last load, I picked up my little feng shui Prosperity Frog from outside the front door, where he “lives”. I held him in my hand and rolled him around, figured I may as well take him to the new place now. Hope he does a better job there than here.
My precious books…I am packing them all; and the clothes from my walk-in closet…My God, do I have a LOT of clothes! I expect my replacement will love that huge closet as much I have. Eric was immediately moving in his newest obsession, a house-cleaner who’d worked at his jobsite, which was why he pressured me hourly about getting out. He wanted to present her with the house the same exact way he’d presented it to me. All gift-bowed up and whatnot. He told me this with such smug delight, obvious he was barely restraining himself from sticking out his tongue and going “NYAH NYAH!” at me.
Mine. How strange to say the word but know it no longer applies to this place, this house, that I believed was my dear home. A home of my own, at long last, I recall thinking, thrilled and euphoric. I cried copious tears of joy when he brought me here that first time. I’d called my sister, laughing and crying all at once to tell her of my great good fortune. Jesus, I was such a fool.
“My” home has been taken from me, angrily, abruptly and with no consideration for any of the things I have done for him.
He would not be getting financed to buy this house from his father ( who won’t accept his credit) if it weren’t for me. My daughter’s boyfriend got him the mortgage broker. He couldn’t get financed on his own related to his crappy credit; strings were pulled, rules were bent on his behalf. There is so much more but it feels pointless to go into it now. Seems that all the life issues I helped him straighten out and resolve rendered me obsolete once they were fixed. Now I am out.
This is the last time I will write here.
I am looking out my studio windows at the gorgeous trees…I named this place “il Pino Dolce” after the amazing towering Pine trees all around the property. Their limbs droop down in graceful curves, heavy with greenery, like sleeves on a womans’ gown. They are so tall that it hurts ones’ neck to look all the way up to their tops; they sway and dance seductively in the summer breezes and in winter they look like a glittering Christmas card. I fought with him and his bizarro parents about not cutting those trees down.
I guess the trees will be robbed of their home, too, now.
Oh God, my heart, my heart hurts so bad. My trees…not my trees any longer.
My garden, my flowers, the riot of color I planted and tended with such love…not mine any more. Turning down the street while driving and thinking “this is my street” and taking such simple pride in it; I have only a few more trips down this street to ferry my worldly goods out, then nevermore.
I try to commit it all to memory, hang onto each precious detail of these images, that feeling of this being mine, my home, my place in the world. It slips away from me already, elusive as a result of such drastic, caustic circumstances.
The new place: I can hear other tenants’ TV’s droning and smell their food cooking; I can hear them on the phone talking endlessly. That Draconian reality depressed me so severely that I wept acknowledging it. No trees. No beautiful dancing trees to greet me. Two tiny rooms with paper-thin walls becomes my domain now, no longer Mistress of the Manor. Me, who cherishes my privacy and solitude so fiercely, awash in strangers and their invasive yapping sounds and nauseating smells. Everything I thought was mine is gone, all gone now.
I have loved this place with all my heart and soul. I have been here; I made Art here, wrote here, loved and laughed here and I have left my mark on this place forever.
No one will ever love this house as I have.
I was led to believe it was mine, you see.
With all my heart and being, I hate this bastard to the point of it making me feel ill. He has mercilessly robbed me of all but breath. I can never forgive him for lying, for taking my home away from me, for convincing me with such passion that it was my home.
I will hate him til all the hatred mercifully seeps out of me, like a candle that burns itself out as the wick is usurped by the flame.
Celie from “The Color Purple” comes to mind: “Everything you done to me, already done to you”.
God help you, you soul-less son-of-a-bitch. Your day will come.
I’m going to have a wildly joyous life without your hairy fat ass.
Hide and watch me.