This is the rework of a self-published auto-biographical story (2008), rewritten for this blog. Names of characters have been changed.
Content warning: mental and physical abuse, misogyny.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
December 1993 to 25 February 1994
Continued from… Unexpected love
Annie and Joe embarked on another hiking trip in December. From the first day Annie noticed Joe was somewhere else with his thoughts. She asked about the underlying cause for his mental absence, but gave it up when he kept on telling her that nothing was wrong.
Two weeks later Annie and her children spent Christmas with Joe and his parents, and then spent another week with Joe, while his parents were on a trip. Even though she saw Joe less than before – he claimed it was busy at work – her worries about their relationship seemed to vanish, as everything felt okay.
During their relationship Annie had frequently visited Joe at the precinct, where she met the fiancée of Joe’s best friend, also a police officer. Vivian and Annie grew fond of each other and they frequently talked on the phone. By the time February came around, Annie realized Joe was avoiding her. He didn’t return her phone calls like he used to do. When Annie discussed this with Vivian, the woman agreed that something was going on. Annie decided to stay with Joe for the weekend, as she wanted to discuss their relationship. She wanted to go there on Friday after work, but Joe told her she could only come on Saturday, as he had to work on Friday evening. This was strange, as he never minded before when she was in his house while he worked. Annie didn’t question him.
Saturday turned into a terrible day. Joe hardly spoke a word to her or her children. Twice Annie and Joe almost had a fight. They made love that evening, but it was like Joe was only going through the motions because he had to. Physically he was there; mentally he was far away. After both of them came he rolled over and went to sleep without another word.
When they got up the next morning, for the first time Joe mentioned to Annie that he had to work at noon. He didn’t ask he, but to Annie it was clear he wanted them gone by then. Joe disappeared into the bathroom, while Annie packed their bags. About an hour later Joe walked into the bedroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. It was the piece of white toilet paper in his hand that caught her attention, and the way he looked at it.
“Do you know what a louse looks like?”
Annie didn’t even want to look at it.
“Why? Do you think that you have lice?” she asked, laughing nervously, not knowing whether he was just joking.
“I don’t know if it’s lice,” Joe snapped, “but I’ve had an itch in my groin for some days now and just now I discovered this thingy in my pubic hair.”
Annie’s breath caught in her throat. What the fuck? He has lice? He’s had an itch for days? How could he even have dared to make love to her knowing that? He should’ve told her!
“And where the hell did the lice came from?”
Her voice instantly cooled the air in the room.
“I don’t know!”
Joe looked perfectly innocent and very perplexed. Maybe he really did not know where it came from, Annie thought. A bit of sympathy started to melt her icy anger, until he spoke again.
“Maybe you gave it to me?”
Annie put down the jersey she had in her hand with an uncanny calm. Several seconds passed before she found her voice.
“The last time I checked, pubic lice needed pubic hair to feel comfortable. You find out for yourself where you picked it up. It’s your problem!”
She grabbed the jersey, grabbed their bags, ushered her children out the door and drove home, still fuming. For days after this, she had an imaginary itch.
* * * * *
Annie’s patience of the past weeks was gone. Anger had replaced it, and the anger moved her to make a decision. Joe was mostly unreachable. Annie was tired of being his toy. She was tired of always getting the worst deal in a relationship. She decided to let the relationship with Joe bleed out. Annie wasn’t prepared to put any more energy into it.
To be continued… Clubbing (part 1)
© Rebel’s Notes