The Hardest Thing I’ll Ever Have To Do

I’ve been struggling with this post for over a month now. How do I write it? Do I write it? What sorts of information should be included or excluded? It’s hard for me, the person who has aired her dirty laundry and her dildos on this blog since my days as a singlish gal running away from phantoms, to touch upon some subjects–if you can believe it.

I believe it was the Red Queen who told Alice to begin at the beginning…

On the morning of June 24 (a Friday), around 2ish, I drove out of the parking lot of my husband’s business with tears in my eyes, pain in my heart, and a car laden with as much of mine and my girls’ personal effects as I could cram into the spaces not occupied by people. Freya was asleep in her carseat, oblivious to the journey ahead. Luna was wide awake in hers, but wouldn’t be for much longer. To my right in the center console was a sack of Bawls Energy Drinks–husband’s final gift to me…

In 2003 I met this man at Job Corps. We’ve had eight years of failures and fun times–many of which are chronicled in the virtual pages of this blog. Some things I have left out to avoid lectures from well-meaning loved ones, but I think even people left in the proverbial dark about every detail of my personal life probably still saw the train wreck coming from a mile away.

Husband and I gave it the good ol’ college try for sure. I tried to be little miss Susie Homemaker like I’d said I always wanted to be; he tried to bring home the bacon and the beets–except not the beets cause he really didn’t like those, but I digress…

The morning after our first post-wedding brutal fight, the one where he pinned me against the hallway wall by my throat and wrenched Luna from my arms (he swears he mistook her stress-cries from our arguing as cries of physical pain and thought he was rescuing her from me), I found a four leaf clover in the front yard of the home we’d bought that year–Luna was two.

We fought more than I admitted to most people, but it was usually verbal. Sometimes, though, objects were launched in my general (or specific) direction. Sometimes a raving lunatic was screaming at me from inches away, hot breath on my face and spittle hitting my eyes. Occasionally I was bruised, but mostly the scars were psychological.

I am not saying this to saint myself–I was passive aggressive, a little bit snobbish, admittedly lousy at the whole domestic goddess routine, and practically inhaled food. We all have our flaws I suppose…

Towards the end, he was getting worse with the bullying, the idle threats that maybe wouldn’t have been so idle–I never could tell. He kept insisting that I move out of “his” house because of course that’s what you’d call a four bedroom Ranch style home you claimed to have purchased for your wife and current and future children…he wanted me out of his life but said he still wanted his girls in his life; I wasn’t going to leave them behind if I went anywhere–over my dead body, I told him.

On my 26th birthday he broke the screen on my laptop by throwing the device on the floor in a fit of rage when I told him I would not move out until a court ordered one of us to. The night I left, the laptop was en route back to the house in Arkansas, but he swore he’d ship it to me and to his credit he did.

I don’t know if he just couldn’t cut it as a husband, if he had a girlfriend (or several) on the side as when we were dating years ago, if he found he preferred the company of his male friends to mine, if he was bored with the waning frequency of our sex life and my hygienic inconsistency, if he wanted the whole bed to himself…it’s hard to know what drives a person to want to end an eight year relationship (we broke up from time to time but it’s really been about that long) and four years of marriage, especially less than a year after the birth of a second child…

At first, he was adamant that I not take the kids even two hours away to the town where I attended graduate school and would be teaching in the Fall. He was adamant that I not take the kids forty five minutes away to the town where I had been working part time at a hellmart. By the time that I left, he’d somehow agreed to be okay with me taking the girls nearly 1200 miles away to live near my mother, driving by night and resting during the day to avoid the heat, in a car with a bald front right tire and a broken HVAC.

I stopped by his mother’s home on my way through Oklahoma–she’s never done me any harm and I wanted her to see her grandbabies. I talked, laughed, and cried with her. She let me nap on her couch but it didn’t last long. Me and the girls were on the road again as the sun went down. In New Mexico I stopped again at a cheap motel; the girls and I went swimming in the pool and pretended it was a vacation. By sun-up on Sunday we were at a Waffle House with my mother eating steak and eggs and discussing our new home in the desert–a drastic reduction in available square footage but I didn’t think that would matter given my lack of belongings.

It’s been over a month…I have yet to find a job to replace the two I had to give up. I failed one of my two graduate courses in the first Summer semester (between the broken laptop, the move, and everything else it’s a miracle that the other course ended up being an A). I’m not doing so hot in the second Summer semester, but I could possibly pull off another academic miracle if I try a little harder this week. I’ve gotten on public assistance (temporarily; I don’t want to live off of welfare indefinitely). I am actively seeking employment.

I’ve found that the whole “one day at a time” thing isn’t so far off base. You wake up each morning and you feed, diaper, clothe, bathe, hug, and kiss your babies. You do the grocery shopping, coupon clipping, and other errands. You do your laundry–or hire it out. You get a little help from some friends or family.

Some guy at the grocery store tries to sell you a line and you gawk at his forward approach but giggle on the inside because you remember that you’re beautiful. On some level you know that there are plenty of fish in the proverbial sea; you wish you still had the one you already had, but you know you have options if you need them someday.

You laugh at jokes and try not to let strangers see you cry at a red light when the song comes on the radio, the one you always considered to be y’all’s song. You go out and buy five kinds of lechuga because you need to know if you really like the same kind as the one you left behind.

You begin, slowly, day by day, to think about it less often; you’re not cured and you know it’s not over til it’s really over, but you can function. You can turn off the auto pilot feature. You cook a meal one night for just you and the kids. You finally get up the courage to put it all out there…

That’s where I’m at now. I’m out there, in that limbo called separation. He may file for divorce at some point; maybe he already has–he rarely responds to my attempts at communication, either because I annoy him or because it’s painful for him but he thinks showing emotions is wrong. I could file on my own after a period of time, but it’s not on my agenda–I’m not dating and don’t plan to.

I wish that this were all a horrible nightmare I’d wake up from, like that recurring dream I have of being pregnant again, full term, without knowing it, only to have husband or someone freak out about the baby limbs jutting out from my abdomen from under my skin like one of those alien movies before the creature breaks through…but this is no nightmare…this is a daymare but it doesn’t end when I come to.

Tomorrow I’ll wake up and run more errands. I’ll put in job applications and resumes all over town. I’ll play peak-a-boo with Freya and try to get Luna to count to ten again. I’ll watch a little public access television and put away the clean dishes. I’ll reconsider the arrangement of nonperishable foodstuffs in my kitchen (somehow the stuff I brought in my car multiplied like the Biblical loaves and fishes into a house full of furniture, dishes, and food).

I’ll draw inspiration from the same sources I always have–music and cinema. I’ll try not to think about what I’ve lost; I’ll try not to send angry text messages to the one who broke my heart…

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’ve got a date with Oscar Wilde.


Hot Chelle Rae–I don’t know if I’ll make it, but watch how good I’ll fake it. It’s all right, all right, tonight, tonight.

View the full blog at heartchasms.blogspot.com and like the blog on Facebook.

6 thoughts on “The Hardest Thing I’ll Ever Have To Do

  1. Very well written. I know how hard that must have been, unfortunately. You are much stronger than you sometimes give yourself credit for and therefore you will make it. There’ll be some days of two steps forward and one step back and then one step forward and ten steps back. The important thing to remember is to keep taking those steps because eventually, you’ll take many more forward than back. There will come a day that you and your daughters can look back and say, yeah, it was damn hard but we made it and look where we are now. We are better for it, are more compassionate for it all and we will live better for it all.

  2. You’ve always been a very strong person, Ashley, and I’m proud of you. I can’t say I totally understand, but I have made the move from AZ to AR (backwards to yours) alone with my “babies” in the car and whatever I could stuff in the car… and it hurts. That alone hurts. You’re going to thrive out there… and who knows, we may once again be neighbors if the Fates decide to keep liking us.

  3. @whitney, Thank you. I hate that my fur-baby had to be left behind…are you considering returning to AZ or do you mean I may end up back in AR someday?

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