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.
Continued from… Disaster struck again
Fred had never trusted the relationship that Annie had with her stepfather. She suspected it had something to do with their first evening together, when she had told him about the many times she had visited her stepfather, and how much she had enjoyed spending the weekends with him. Annie had also told Fred that she and her children had gone on many outings with her stepfather and that one of those outings was to a nude beach. Fred’s take on nudity was it was something that had to be kept indoors. He had refused to understand that Annie’s mom and her stepfather, as well as aunts and uncles of Annie, had frequently gone to a nudist farm for their vacations.
Another thing Annie had told Fred was that her stepfather had frequently helped her when she had car trouble. Fred believed any man would want money for that kind of help, and since Annie said her stepfather had never wanted any money, Fred had reached his own conclusions. Fred’s crooked mind had told him there had been more between Annie and her stepdad – who came into her life when she was already an adult – than just being stepfather and stepdaughter. Annie had never responded to any of Fred’s accusations about the kind of relationship she had with her stepfather. She let him believe what he wanted to believe.
Her offensive attitude made Fred even more suspicious than he already was. He stood up and walked to the tape recorder.
“Who is it you don’t want to talk to, Annie?”
Annie didn’t answer him.
“Annie, in a few moments this tape will tell me who it was. Just tell me yourself. Who called you?”
“My stepfather,” Annie answered.
Instantly, Fred was furious. He rewound the tape and listened to the recorded conversation. Then he listened again. And again. He wrote the telephone number on a piece of paper.
“Call him,” Fred said.
“No, I don’t want to talk to him,” Annie protested.
“No, Fred. Please.”
“Why don’t you want to talk to him? What are the two of you concocting? How many times have you been calling him on the sly? You must’ve figured I won’t be home today. You again with your damned sneaky ways! You’re a whore! A sneaky fucking whore!” Fred screamed, while Annie shook her head in denial.
“No, Fred. No sneaky things. I don’t even know how he got this number,” Annie cried.
“Call your work and see if someone there gave him the number,” Fred ordered. Annie was glad she could fulfill this request. It turned out that one of her colleagues had indeed given her stepfather the telephone number. Annie was furious, but her anger only intensified Fred’s suspicion.
It was quiet for a long time before Fred spoke again.
“Annie, after the fiasco with Yvonne I told you if something like this would happen again, you will have to leave. I gave you another chance. You fucked it up when you tried to win Mandy over for yourself. I corrected that mistake of yours, but yet again, it was another warning at your address. And now? Now you have the wretched nerve to do it again. This time it’s over. Get out. You and your kids! Get. Out!”
Tears silently rolled down Annie’s cheeks. Before she could react to Fred’s words, the veterinarian arrived. For the next three hours, Fred completely ignored her, although he was his charming self towards the veterinarian and his assistant. Annie hoped Fred would come back on his decision. However, when he returned to the house he was fiercer and meaner than before.
“I thought about it, Annie. I will give you another chance. Call your stepfather and tell him to leave you alone. Tell him he should never call you again, because if he does, he will ruin your life. Tell him you never want to see him again. However, before you call him, there are some things that I want to know. I don’t believe you and I know you will not tell me the truth. Maybe he will. Ask him how many times you called him in the past weeks.”
“Fred, that will sound stupid. I mean, I should know how many times I called him, shouldn’t I?” Annie protested.
“You ask him, or…”
Annie was scared when she picked up the phone. She didn’t know how to start the conversation. It hurt her to hear her stepfather’s cheery voice.
“Girl, how are you?”
“Okay,” she said, uncertain. Blunt. He didn’t notice.
“Annie, before we talk about anything else, please tell me how did the operation go? Are you okay?”
Annie writhed. Why did he have to ask that now? She wished he had said nothing. In the same conversation where she had told him about her operation, she had also mentioned how she had met Fred. It was too late. Too late. His words were on tape. Annie panicked. She stopped thinking. She just spoke. Words flew uncontrollably over her lips.
“Which operation?” she asked quickly, too quickly.
“The one where they were going to give you a pretty tummy again,” Annie’s astonished stepfather answered.
“I never told you about an operation.”
“You did Annie. About a week before the operation was going to be done, you told me about it.”
“No,” Annie said, “I didn’t.”
Her stepfather then wavered, but he still didn’t grasp something was seriously wrong. Annie couldn’t think. Her head was in a panicked state.
“Annie, you called me and told me about the operation. Don’t you remember?”
Annie just knew everything was ruined. She was angry. Sad. Scared. The words tumbled from her lips.
“You’re ruining my life. Never call me again. I never want to hear from you again. Never again!”
“But…” was the last word she heard, but before he could continue, she hung up.
Fred rewound the tape and listened to the recording of the conversation. Annie just sat there — petrified.
“Annie, did you tell him about the operation”
“No,” Annie lied. She was afraid of what would happen if she admitted she had indeed informed her stepfather. Only much later, she understood no matter what she would have said that morning, Fred wouldn’t have believed her at all. He only believed the things he had already concocted in his twisted mind.
“Don’t lie,” Fred said almost inaudible.
“I didn’t call him,” Annie persisted obstinately, “he must’ve heard it from someone at my work.”
“I don’t think so,” Fred said, standing up and walking over to stand right in front of Annie.
Annie stood up.
“You’re going to call him again right now and ask him how many times you had contact with him,” Fred ordered.
“No, Fred,” Annie begged, “I don’t want to call him again. I said this was going to cause a drama between us. You didn’t believe me. Just let it be, please.”
“Annie, you are going to call him again.”
To be continued… Annie’s eviction
© Rebel’s Notes