It happened again…I knew it might. I try so hard to please—him, family, friends. And for what? The house is never clean enough; the dinner is never right. I cannot please him. Yet I praise him for his resolve. He is not his father’s son. He does not beat his wife; he only yells at me. He is not an alcoholic, nor an addict, and from the day we were wed he has not touched another woman. Randomly, I wake up or arrive home to find surprises from him. He does so many good things for me, but we fight.
This time, I’m not even sure what happened…not that I ever am. It started out innocently enough. There I was, sitting on the couch working on some homework with my laptop; my daughter was in her bed insisting that she was not tired. He had just arrived home from a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken with a family sized meal. We were talking calmly, but then the first straw in the pile—I did not get off the laptop soon enough. He apparently wanted me off of it before he returned with the food, but I had misunderstood his wishes. And when he reminded me to get off of it, I evidently did not turn it off quickly enough.
Then, when I tried to unplug the cord from the power strip so I could pack the whole thing into the carrying case, I got electrocuted. Whether it was cause he knew I had to be okay if I was still talking, or cause he did not really care, I will never know. At any rate, he got angry; angry that I did not unplug the cord—he assumed I must have left it only slightly plugged in, causing my electrocution—angry that I was not already through with everything, angry that when he returned to the kitchen he could not find the honey.
That is when things really escalated. He started throwing items around the kitchen, looking for that stupid little jar of honey. He threw the canned goods on the floor; this frightened our nine month old daughter, who by that time was in my arms. She had never seen her father so angry—who was this monster, and what had he done with her daddy? I told him to get out of the way, that I would find the honey. I dug through the cabinets, and found the jar in the cabinet next to the sink, right where it had been since I organized the kitchen two weeks prior.
He had looked every where but there. He was angry that I had rearranged the kitchen, though I had told him about it when I did it. We got louder and louder, yelling at one another about the stupidest shit. It escalated into a digging up of past transgressions. Before I knew it, his eyes were blazing. He told me to shut the hell up and get out of the room. He was shouting diarrheal obscenities at me; our child was trembling in my arms. I told him the meanest thing I could—that he was JUST like his father.
He came towards me; I backed into our bedroom. We were both shouting at the tops of our lungs. As he approached, I grew frightened that he might actually do what his father would have done, so I slammed the bedroom door. I heard a single thud against the door, his fist undoubtedly, and then the sound of his butt hitting his rocking chair in the living room. I stood there in the darkness, consoling our frightened child. Finally, I opened the door and bravely walked out and into our daughter’s room to find her bottle. I grabbed it from her crib and retreated back into our bedroom. I turned on the light and shut the door once more.
The television became our solace—drowning my negativity. After a few minutes, he came into the room and laid on the nightstand a dinner plate full of the Kentucky Fried Chicken meal I had forgotten all about, then he left shutting the door behind him. Ten minutes later he opened the door once more and handed me a glass of Arizona Green Tea. I took it from him in silence. After I ate my meal and drank my drink, sharing some with our child, I walked out of the room and took our daughter to her bed. I got her a fresh bottle and a fresh diaper, then laid her down to sleep.
Next I cleaned the kitchen, picked up everything he had thrown around, unpacked the bags from our recent trip to Houston to visit his family, unpacked a box of dishes from our recent move to this new apartment, basically I was trying to blow off steam and make peace. After all of this, I sat down to do my homework. I had not written my fourth essay for my Advanced Composition course, and my portfolio was due the very next day. What was I to do? So I started filling out the questionnaire, using the fight as an example.
Once I was done with that, I decided I needed to type it up as soon as possible, so my thoughts could travel from axon to phalange uninterrupted. I looked around the living room. Where was my laptop? It was no longer on the couch; it was not on my desk; I could not see it anywhere. For the first time since the fight, I talked to my husband. I asked him where the laptop was. His response was that he had put it away somewhere. I tried to find out where, or to get him to retrieve it for me; somehow this turned into the sequel to our previous fight.
I ended up bagging up all of my school books and facetiously stating that I had better go to bed early so that I could get up early and drop out of all of my classes. He told me that if I wanted to do that, it was my business—we fought some more and I found myself curled up on the couch crying. After several minutes, he put the laptop case next to me on the couch…I quietly hooked it up, unpacked my books, and started to type my essay.
I love my husband; I love my daughter, and sometimes I even love myself. I know I want this to all work out. I also know that I cannot change him, but I can change how I react to him. The divorce rate in America is far too high. It is up to me to ensure that our marriage lasts, that death in our old age is the only possible reason we might not be together. Like the twelve-steppers, I tell myself, it is one day at a time.
George Strait—All night, love all night. Practice makes perfect. Gonna get it right. Gonna get it right one night at a time. All night, love all night. Practice makes perfect. Gonna get it right. Gonna get it right one night at a time.