The night before I left, I told him I couldn’t do this anymore, I wanted out of the marriage.
Details are under the cut, please if you’re sensitive to triggers of flashbacks, proceed with caution.
6 years ago I quietly packed up enough clothing for my children and my stepson while he slept, exhausted and calm after the 3 a.m. rage that was to be the final sexual assault against me in my marriage. My head still ached from where he grabbed a fistful of hair and shoved my forehead into the headboard. There was a small patch of dried blood where hair had been ripped out of my scalp.
I put the computer hard drive (with all of the photos of the kids) in the minivan my parents had given me the year before. I put the diaper bag in the car. I put a backpack of their clothing under a seat. I grabbed their healthcards and put them in my wallet. I realized my bankcard was missing.
I called our banking phone number and checked our balance. Our account had been drained.
I took the phone and dialed 911. I didn’t press talk but I kept my thumb on the button and I woke him up. I asked him where the money was and he cried. He told me that it was his money, not my money (despite the fact that it was my final work pay cheque that had gone in to our account the day before) and that he’d taken it all out the night before. He knew I didn’t have enough gas to get from our home in the country to my parents house an hour away, I couldn’t get out if I didn’t have money.
I lied to him. I told him I needed to get groceries and I needed to take the kids to the library in town (15km away). He broke down and cried more. I don’t think he knew it wasn’t even 5 in the morning. Still a little dark out, we had heavy curtains on our bedroom window. He told me he was afraid I was going to leave in the middle of the night and told me that he’d hidden the money in his housecoat pocket. I told him I had to get groceries, but that I would be back. I told him he must be exhausted after a late night and to go back to sleep. I closed the bedroom door, tucked the money in my purse. I took the keys to the van and I hid the keys for the civic in the food cupboard behind the cereal.
I was so scared he was going to wake up and realize what time it was. I unplugged the microwave, the tv and took the little alarm clock out of the kitchen.
I put the sleeping kids in the car quietly, G-man was already awake, he was always awake very early, something to do with his ASD. The girls were asleep when I buckled them in. I told G we were going to go get some donuts and apple juice from Tim Hortons. He was on a dairy free diet for behaviour issues, so the donuts where a very exciting prospect for him.
Our driveway was almost a kilometre long. I kept waiting to see him running out of the house and chasing the van. He didn’t.
I drove to my parents house. I took the kids to the park down the street. I waited for my cell phone to ring, certain he was going to call any minute. The kids played on the swings at dawn, Miss D was still sleeping in the car 15 feet away while they enjoyed the playground without any other children.
I hugged them too much. I tried not to cry. I felt like a robot. Like I was just going through the motions.
I thought about calling the police. I thought about calling the ex. I thought about what the heck was going to happen to G. I had to take him to his mother or I had to take him back to the ex, but I had no rights to him. I had to call the ex.
I waited until a decent hour to go to my parents house. I told my parents I had left the ex and that I wasn’t going back.
I called the sitter in Stratford and told her I didn’t need care anymore, told her it wasn’t her, I’d left my job and I would send her two weeks pay to make up for the short notice.
I called the ex and told him that I’d come to my parents for a few days “to think”. I told me to keep G there with me until it was time to go to his mother’s house later in the week for his visit. He was calm. I think he figured I would come home soon.
I only went back twice. One time was quiet, but he wasn’t there for most of that. The other time ended in a 9-1-1 call for help. I don’t want to talk about those today.
6 years ago today I got out alive. I thought I’d die with him, but I got out.
I feel closer to normal, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never be the same person I was before the abuse. Maybe that’s okay.