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.
Advantages and disadvantages (1)
Continued from… Gaining strength
After two crazy days in which Annie had given no thought to her problems, she at last had a chance to sit down and work things out. She was at her work, behind her desk and thought back on sequence of events from the last forty-eight hours.
On Monday evening, Annie and Fred had visited Fran in hospital during visiting hours. Annie was not very friendly towards either of the other two, but not unfriendly either. At the most, she was polite. That night Annie shared Fred’s bed with him. There was no friendliness between the two. They were decent towards each other, the way acquaintances would be.
Nevertheless, they almost got in another fight when Fred again started about the computer printouts with all the phone calls she had made from her office. He still believed Annie had messed around with the ones she had given him some weeks before. To prevent any further fights, Annie promised to get other printouts. However, she knew very well she would never give Fred another printout.
On Tuesday, Annie had started to doubt her decision to leave the smallholding. Deep down she knew she had to go through with it. The only times Fred ever made an effort to be friendly and loving towards her, was when he wanted sex. The only times that ever happened, was when Fran was around too. Annie’s test for Fred was to see how he would treat her when Fran wasn’t around. She now had her answer. He still treated her like trash.
On this Wednesday morning, Annie decided to follow the advice her mother had always given her to get clarity in a difficult situation. She would make a list with the pros and cons of her continued stay on the smallholding. She grabbed a piece of paper and started to write.
The only advantages she could think of was that she wasn’t lonely anymore (but was this really the case?), that she had peace of mind (she snorted when she wrote this one down, and added a question mark to it), and that she had no financial worries. She looked at this list, and couldn’t think of anything else she could add.
On the list of disadvantages she added the club and other woman, being used, the irritating manners of Fran, the fact that she didn’t see any friends or family, that Fred didn’t trust her, that Fred calls her a whore, the humiliations she constantly had to go through and the abuse. And then she thought of something else and added it to her list too: AIDS. She almost drew a line through it, but instead added two question marks to it.
Annie read through her list. Stopping at each disadvantage, she thought about her life on the smallholding, about Fred, and tried to give it anther chance; to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. She knew this was only a tactic to delay the final outcome of her list.
No matter how hard she tried, Annie couldn’t think of another advantage she could add to her meager list. She decided to work through the list of disadvantages again.
The first point on her list of disadvantages was the club and the other women. The club was a nice idea, but it was abused because Fred saw it as a means to easily get a willing woman into his bed. Annie’s jealousy was becoming a burden to her. Fred had wanted her to follow a diet and to have an operation, but when he invited another woman into his bed it didn’t matter whether she was fat or thin, tidy or sloppy, old or young — if only it had a pussy, Fred was happy. How many times had Annie and Fran had to endure Fred’s crude remarks: Hide that belly! Comb your hair! Put something else on! You are a fat pig, do something about it! This last remark was always only meant for Annie, because Fran was alarmingly thin.
Annie was tired of being told how long her hair should be, which clothes she should wear, when she was allowed to have some desert or who she should be. She wanted to be able to decide this for herself. Annie just wanted to be Annie again. The more women Fred invited into their bedroom, the more she had the feeling she was becoming numb. Detached. She was starting to do the same as Fran had already been doing for years — suffocating her feelings. Like a marionette, she was doing everything Fred demanded of her.
No matter how Annie tried, her first point on the list of disadvantages could not be listed as an advantage.
Annie looked at the second point on the list of disadvantages: being used. When Annie moved to the smallholding, the three of them had the understanding there would be a fair ‘love triangle’ between them. It didn’t mean Fred wasn’t allowed to have sex only with his wife, or Annie for that matter. Annie sadly remembered the many nights she listened to the sounds coming from the bedroom next to hers. It always happened after she had left the room and after Fred had said that he wasn’t in the mood for sex. How many times had Annie spoken to Fred about this? How many times did she tell him she didn’t want to be used as a sex toy? Each time he promised her it would not happen again. Nevertheless, it did. Annie knew it would never change. She would always have to be happy with the crumbs if she should decide to stay on the smallholding. This definitely was a disadvantage.
To be continued… Advantages and disadvantages (2)
© Rebel’s Notes