From that point on I wondered how I was going to be able to look Dick in the eye and not let on that I knew anything…let alone keep myself from causing him serious bodily harm. To say it wasn’t easy is a gross understatement. Drawing on acting skills I learned at Tom Thumb Players when I was in the fourth grade, I somehow managed to “stay in character” all weekend. Just to clarify, it’s been a long time since I was in the fourth grade and acting wasn’t really my thing.
Whenever I was around Dick, I wanted to grab him by the neck, shake him and demand to know why he did what he did, (especially since my mom was in the hospital) and how he could be so cruel, heartless, mean-spirited, angry, bitter and underhanded. Instead, I turned my attention inward and focused on maintaining a calm, cool and collected appearance and not engage in any altercations that would raise his suspicion. I had to behave like everything was peachy . I didn’t want him to panic and do any more that he had already done.
There were a few close calls. On Sunday evening, things quickly escalated out of control. Dick started up with me about how much money I spent on groceries. He went ballistic, yelling that I used to only go to Jewel and Wal-Mart. I’ve added Garden Fresh, Whole Foods and Sam’s Club. I reminded him that there were four adults living in our house and we consumed a lot of food. He told me that going forward he would limit the amount of money he put in the checkbook and I wouldn’t be able to spend any more than he was putting in. On top of that, I shouldn’t use the credit card under any circumstances. He continued on that if I want to spend more money, I better get a job and pay for things myself. At that point, I asked my dear, sweet and caring husband how much his yearly salary was. For the record, he’s a physician who works in a lucrative practice and earns a comfortable living.As unbelievable as this sounds, for the past few years, he’s kept his salary secret from me. Dick also hasn’t shown me any tax returns. Our taxes were filed electronically and the accountant had our signatures on file. Dick refused to tell me what he earned. He went on to say that I didn’t have a right to know because I wasn’t his wife. How frickin’ unbelievable is that??? I replied that I was definitely his wife. He responded that I wasn’t…only legally I was. My answer to him was that was the only way that counted.
He then continued berating me, shouting, “It’s impossible to have a conversation with you.You are a difficult person. If ten people would be lined up in this room they would tell you how bizarre you are.” Then he glared at me with a diabolical look in his eyes and said, “I have a big surprise for you.” I gazed back and said as calmly as I could, “Nothing you do surprises me anymore.”
At that point my heart was pounding so rapidly and strongly it felt as though it would leap out of my chest and sprint as far away from there as possible. The rest of my body quickly bought in to the plan. However, fearing I would go into cardiac arrest if I attempted exercise, I instead grabbed my car keys, put on my shoes and decided to drive off somewhere for a while. Dick followed me to the door and nastily said, “What’s the matter with you? Why can’t you stay in the house like a normal person? You have to leave because you can’t have a simple conversation? That’s why you’re so impossible to be around. Get out of here and don’t come back.”
Before I left, I kissed my daughter goodbye and told her I’d be back in a little bit. She was watching television in the family room. Unfortunately, this was a scene she had witnessed way too many times in her fifteen years of life.
I drove to the mall in my neighborhood and sat in my car. After keeping things together for as long as I could, all of the pent-up emotion began to gain momentum like a hurricane about to make landfall. My body couldn’t weather the tempest anymore and with gale-force began shaking violently and uncontrollably. Guttural sobs, the likes of which I never heard before, spewed from my throat.A torrential downpour of tears flooded my eyes. After what felt like an eternity, my body quieted down…the calm before the storm. A few hours later, I returned home and crawled into bed. Luckily, Dick was fast asleep.
Unfortunately, the impending storm that was brewing was one I wouldn’t be able to out-run or seek cover from. How would I survive? Was I even up for dealing with it or the aftermath?