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.
The work trip (part 2)
16 to 22 March 1994
Continued from… The work trip (part 1)
The next morning everything seemed to be good between them again. Fred and Annie hadn’t talked about what happened the evening before, but he seemed to be back to his charming self when they walked on the beach, hand in hand.
About a year after Annie’s divorce, she had a ring made by a jeweler. The diamonds in her wedding ring were transferred to the new ring, and she asked the jeweler to add an amethyst to the setting. She was very fond of the ring, and the only sentimental value it had to her was that it was hers. During their walk on the beach, Fred slipped this specific ring off her finger. He put the ring in his trousers’ pocket. Annie panicked, afraid that he might lose it.
“Come on Fred, give me back my ring. Please?”
“Later,” he said and kept on walking without looking at her.
“I’m afraid it might get lost. Give it back. It’s my ring!”
“I said: later!” Fred’s voice was firm and calm.
Annie didn’t stop moaning about her ring. Not only was she fond of it, but she also knew the ring was of high value. The more she asked for her ring, the more Fred ignored her. When she was almost in tears, he at last gave her ring back.
“I think that you attach far too much value to that thing,” he snarled.
Nothing Annie said after that could convince Fred that the ring had not been a gift from someone special. He was insanely jealous. Annie realized that he might have lost the ring on purpose if she had stopped pushing him to give it back.
With the weekend over, it was a working day for them again, but only for half a day. That afternoon they went out for a drive. In the car, Annie and Tina succeeded in persuading Fred to join them for a trip in the cable car. This would take them to the top of the mountain. From up there they could look out over the city and the sea, and if the weather was clear enough, they could even see the island which was a couple of miles from the mainland.
Fred didn’t enjoy the ride to the top of the mountain — in fact, he hung on to Annie like grim death. Once they were on top of the flat mountain, he loved the sight from there. From the mountain, and since they were in an adventurous mood, they drove out to the harbor and made a boat trip out to the seal island.
That evening the four of them dined together in a special restaurant, as it was their last night before they had to return home the next day.
Their so-called working trip was about to end.
She sat with her eyes closed in the plane on their flight back home. Annie wasn’t sleeping, but pretended to be so she could think about the last couple of days. During their trip, she and Fred had shared a room and they had slept in the same bed, despite there being two beds in his room. Of course, they also had sex, but once again it didn’t leave a deep impression on Annie. Repeatedly, it had followed the same routine and every time it was over very quickly. It was much more exciting when Fran was part of the game.
Something else that bothered Annie immensely was Fred’s unreasonable jealousy at the barbecue and the episode with her ring. This really made her feel unhappy. Fred refused to talk about it. Nobody is allowed to touch you and the ring means too much to you, was all he was willing to say about it. The two incidents cast a shadow over what should have been a wonderful weekend with whom she thought to be a wonderful man. Would it be a good idea to live under the same roof as this man, Annie asked herself. At times, Fred was being downright unfriendly towards her. Maybe he regretted ever getting involved with her?
Still with her eyes closed and silently talking to herself, Annie decided to postpone her move to the smallholding. She first wanted to see how their relationship would develop. If she still felt uneasy in a month or two, she would stay in her own house. After this silent decision, some of her confidence returned.
* * * * *
Fate caused Annie to reverse that silent decision. She was unpleasantly surprised when she arrived home that evening, after picking up her kids from the house of her friend. Someone had broken into her house while she was away. When she quickly looked around, she missed only a couple of her things, but the mess in her kitchen was nauseating. Opened cans with leftovers were everywhere. Pieces of food were on the sink, on the table and even on the floor. Fatty fingerprints were all over the doors of the cupboards in her kitchen.
None of her doors had been forced, but Annie immediately noticed the key to her backdoor was gone. Somehow, someone succeeded in getting the key through the crack between the door and the floor under it. Slipping the double page of a newspaper under the door, pushing the key out of the keyhole from the outside and then pulling the newspaper page out from under the door, was a trick Annie knew too. She suspected this was how the burglars got in.
Annie immediately called the police. They promised to be there within a couple of minutes. Then she called Fred. He didn’t offer to come over. He was tired and wanted to go to bed. She was too upset by what had happened to realize that Fred was not supportive at all. When the police arrived they dusted everywhere for fingerprints. Afterwards Annie didn’t know what she found more disturbing: the mess the burglars left or the mess the police made.
After everyone was gone, Annie started to clean up. Her children didn’t want to sleep in their own rooms. They were scared and both of them cried. Annie didn’t feel safe either. Even though she had put a special lock on her backdoor, she was still anxious knowing someone out there had a key to her house.
To be continued… Moving in
© Rebel’s Notes