Marital rows, these now seem to me a great luxury of modern life. You need time for this stuff, for the fighting, for the making up. I've lost this luxury, I don't want the escalation, I don't have the time.
As my friend Helen told me recently, "I'm in the last 1/4 of my life, I need to focus on that." True, I thought.
It is also the fact that my husband's depression and rage, well, they make me ill. Physically ill. The minute he was on his way home from Austin last Tuesday my body locked up in a way it hasn't for 52 years: my head hurt, my stomach really hurt, I literally couldn't breathe. I've started getting migraines. Migraines! Medical Intuitive and author, Caroline Myss said recently, "In this new Millenium, in this new age we are in, you don't have the luxury of staying in bad relationships any more. You might say, Oh, I'll give it another 5 years. Really? Because your body will just start shutting down your organs, your arteries will harden, it will do what it can to get out."
So I packed up my jeep on Wednesday with my few necessary possessions, my necessary work items, my guitar and told my husband, I'm heading for Fort Collins. He got angry, he didn't like it, how could I....blah, blah, blah.
When he arrived at our home from the airport on Tuesday he got out of his truck and the first thing he said was something like, "These fucking dogs got mud all over me and the truck. There's fucking mud everywhere! I'm sure there's fucking mud all over the house." [There wasn't, of course.]
I'm outa here, I thought. He's never happy. He's always angry. He has created a life around his illnesses instead of letting them just be one part of who he is.
In December he came at me with a knife. We were having issues. I mentioned that we never go anywhere or do anything & haven't in the last 2 years. I was making chicken stew. The next thing I know he is screaming, grabs a huge knife out of the drawer and threatens me. I've never been treated this way, I went into survival mode and kept very calm, when he threatened me again, I walked over to the landline phone and picked it up to dial 9-1-1. He grabbed it out of my hand and smashed it into a million pieces.
This is it, I thought. I'm going to die with a knife in my heart or in my back. So I just calmly kept cooking dinner, taking the trash to the porch, rinsing dishes as he raged and danced around me with a knife. What could I do? If I tried to leave it would escalate. And we live in the middle of nowhere. That night I slept with scissors next to me, to stab him with if he came at me again. The next morning he said, give me another chance.
New Years Eve day he is depressed, as usual. We do nothing that night, he takes over the living room, turns on football, falls asleep in the recliner. Good God, I think. This is not my life.
The next day he is angry at me. He pulls back his arm in the universal gesture to punch your face and says, I should knock your teeth out. What? What 1955 scenario is this? I'm a frickin' girl scout that he treats like a crack whore.
I'm a girl scout, dude. Not a crack whore.
What do I do? I work full time, I go to the gym, I get books at the library, I volunteer. I read, I write, I sing. I brush the dogs and walk with them. I make dinner. And this is how I'm treated? I don't think so.
So I drove 6 hours on Wednesday over Vail mountain to Fort Collins, Colorado. I have friends here. They welcomed me in, petted me, showed me my room, made me filet mignon, we ate chocolate. And the next day I moved into a rented penthouse in Old Town where I sit right now with my few possessions and a vase of yellow tulips to gaze at.
February 1st I move into a vacation rental house for the month, next to the university and Old Town. I will work, go to the gym, hike with my friend's dog, sing at Open Mic's, read. Go to dinner parties, hang out with my girlfriends, decide my next step.
I don't take this lightly. After all, this is my life. I dedicated 11 years to this marriage, I've taken care of him, I saved his life in Hawaii. We're even, I tell him. I don't owe you anything. This is your dream, I say to him, to live in a log home in Colorado on the river. This is your dream, live it, enjoy it.
I'll take it one day at a time, here on the front range.