RemembeRED – Change
Your assignment this week was to write about a time when you knew something in your life had to change drastically. We asked you to describe the moment you realized you had to make the decision and to use this as an opportunity to work on “show not tell.”
It was that one sentence that stuck as hard as if she’d been slapped. Just one sentence and she did not know if she would ever forget or get over the sting. It was not even the worst thing he had said about her, but it struck to the heart of her and changed her perspective.
He did not have a clue that she knew about his late night chats and what he had been talking about doing to the women he was on the phone with at 3 a.m. This particular night he had gotten drunk after the guests left their son’s first birthday party. Once he realized he could not pick a fight with her, he went to bed to get on the phone with whatever-her-name-was.
They were making their plans together. They were laughing at her. A year ago she had given birth to their son and here he was drunk in her bed eviscerating her with some strange woman he had met online.
And then there it was: “I should have left her in the shitty little apartment I found her in back in Atlanta.” She had told herself she would never cry over him, but tears of anger exploded out of her eyes. How dare he? Who was this person she was living with and, more, who did he think he was?!
She had loved her apartment in Atlanta. It was all hers. It had a wooded view that she loved. She thought about the morning a cardinal had flown in her window, perched on her bedside table and woken her. That memory of that time and place was precious to her in a way she could not explain.
She had given it up for this? She had trusted him. She had moved 800 miles away from her home and family with him. This was her husband saying this about her. Belittling her. Demeaning her. Disrespecting her. In her bed. To a stranger. He finished up by saying he was going to find the fastest way to get her back to Atlanta and he was done with her. Then he told the woman on the phone he loved her and the conversation devolved into fantasy.
With that one sentence, she knew beyond a doubt she would leave. How she was going to do it was questionable. She was far away from home and any family or friends who could help her. She was a stay-at-home mom with no job, no money, a teenager and a baby.
It would be hard, but she had done hard before and she could do it again. Her dignity was worth it.
Later, when she finally did confront him, she would eventually find his reaction funny and satisfying. He had taken his computer and cell phone to his company and had to explain that he thought they had been bugged. He also had to explain to his boss why he thought that. She wondered how that conversation had gone. He looked like an ass and then a fool when they found nothing.
He could not understand how she had known of his plans. He could not extricate himself with lies when she knew such details. He never figured it out and to this day he hated her for it. Later she had learned that he had just about taken his truck apart looking for the tape recorder he was sure she had hidden in there. She took a bit of satisfaction in his paranoia, she had to admit.
She had never thought the baby monitor his mother had given them would be used in such a way. And in all the times they used it listening to their newborn son sigh and mew in his sleep, he never realized that it could be used on cheating husbands as well as sleeping babies.