Last night I watched Widows again for the hundredth time. You know how sometimes there’s that one thing you can strongly relate to? For me, this happens to be one of mine. It sets me off into a trigger frenzy every time but I keep going back.
In my colorful past, I was one of those women. No matter what happened, if I disagreed or not, I stood by that man. In hindsight, I should have walked away but the heart usually rules me not logic. He was involved in some pretty shady stuff. At first I had no clue but eventually I discovered the truth. He convinced me he was getting out. It was always this is the last time, I don’t know how many times. Too many.
There were times that things weren’t safe and yet I stood right there ready to roll. I learned how to shoot a gun for protection and learned to always watch my back. I could hold my own and I became pretty callus. Learned to put up walls and turn feelings off. I never took part in any of the trash but I was involved because I chose to stay. I was young. I knew right from wrong and I loathed people just like the one I was with, but I made excuses thinking that one day he would change. The thinking patterns of a young adult mind… The fairytale will come right? Well, that was a lesson learned the hard way.
I didn’t have the buildings blowing up and the intense movie action of course, but there was no lack of drama and suspense in my life every day. The time finally came that I realized he would never get out or change. That was his life. His family. I was only a trophy on the side. I believe that he did love me, but he couldn’t be made to choose between love, family and a lifestyle he had known his entire life. I really was just a pretty trophy on his arm outwardly. I knew the person he was inside but not many others knew that side. He kept it hidden for his own self preservation. I accepted that and I kept holding on, waiting for that fairytale.
There was a period of time that was really dangerous. There was a knock on the door one day. It was the local authorities. They warned me that I needed to get out and protect myself at all cost. I had become a target. No wonder I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere alone. I didn’t sleep at night because I was afraid that someone was coming. I wasn’t the only one who was target. Anyone significant to any of the partners became a target. What a way to live. I wasn’t living. I was existing. It was time to get out.
I put the ultimatum out that it was me or I was gone. I should have known better than to do that, it took all of my inner bitch to stand up and utter those words. I had become one tough, hardened, empty shell of a woman. I convinced myself that I wasn’t afraid of anything. I had even decided that dying would be fine. After all, I had lost every ounce of myself that I worked so hard to be.
After uttering those words, at first I was pleasantly surprised at the response I received. He said, “I choose you.” That feeling I was important, lasted about two minutes. The next thing I remember is having a dog chain around my neck being choked. I couldn’t get any air. I was kicking and hitting him. Doing anything I could to make him stop. When I started feeling like I was going to black out, he stopped for a minute only to start again, screaming at me the entire time “why are you making me do this? If you would just be good I wouldn’t have to do this!” When I didn’t answer, because I couldn’t, he started burning my face with his cigarette. He released the choker chain after he was done burning me and told me that nobody would ever look at me again and said I was just trash to get out. The getting out part was all I wanted. I didn’t suspect however, that he would try to kill me. He almost succeeded.
I saw him once again to sign divorce papers. It was cold and raining out so we sat in his car to sign everything so we could get it notarized. For the last time, he told me “I really do love you” then he pulled a gun out from under the seat. We were in the parking lot of the bank. Luckily someone saw me fighting to get out. I’m pretty much blank about the rest until I realized that the police were there and I was safe. I didn’t see him again for two and a half years. When I bumped into him, I froze. I didn’t know what to do. I had just come out of hiding and my shell. He shot me that look like “I warned you.” I ran and ran until I couldn’t run anymore. After a couple hours hiding in the downtown shops, I made my way home. I cried out of fear and anger for two days.
The third day after bumping into him, again there was a knock at the door from the authorities. I thought they were going to tell me it was time to protect myself again. They informed me that he tried to imply that I was part to his dirty laundry. Lucky for me, they knew what that I wasn’t because they had been watching him for a very long time. They informed me that he had been arrested and was being charged with maximum. They asked if I would testify. I was terrified at the thought. I told them I had to think about it, even though I knew they would force me in the end.
Exactly seven days after that knock on the door, there was another knock. I dreaded the thought of opening the door because I was afraid of who was on the other side. As far as I knew, it was an enemy coming to make me disappear. I was positive the whole crew knew where I was at by now. They would assume that I would testify and want me out of the picture. Permanently. I got news that I didn’t expect when I opened the door. Again it was the authorities but for a different reason. They were there to inform me that he had been murdered the night before and as his wife, they were making notification. I had so many emotions come over me at once. Total chaos in my mind. The immediate one was but I am not his wife…. At the end of a very long conversation, it had come to light that there had been a problem with the divorce papers. The attorneys couldn’t find me to notify me so all of that time we were indeed still married. I had been in danger the whole time.
I found out a few months after his death that he told everyone that I left but was working for him out of the country. Although not one person saw me, he managed to convince them and they fell for it. I found some solace in that. In a weird twisted way, he did indeed love me at some level. He had protected me from them even though he had tried to kill me himself. It really messed up my head.
For a long time we were inseparable. I stood by him no matter what. I loved him unconditionally. Even while I was in hiding, there were days I missed him. He loved me once yet he tried to kill me and in the end he made me a pawn. At one time, there was nothing I wouldn’t have done to protect him. In his death though, I found happiness, peace in my soul and peace in my mind.
Those days are far behind me but when I see or hear things like Widows, it takes me back to those days and the thought of the foolish things we do out of love. Those things help create our stories. Make us who we are. I could chalk this up as a regret but I don’t. It’s part of all the things that make me who I am today. There were tough lessons learned. Many bad things that were done to me. I survived them though. They prepared me for future things I encountered. They made me strong in ways I wouldn’t appreciate until later in life so it wasn’t all garbage. There’s good and bad in everything. Even the bad stuff.
Love yourself enough. Take the strengths not the weakness from things that happen to you, and use it all to make yourself a powerhouse. A burning force to be reckoned with. You are a beautiful, worthy, loveable person.
More Love. Less Hate. H