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 (2)
Continued from… Advantages and disadvantages (1)
Then: Fran. Yes, Fran. Annie couldn’t stand the irritating manners of Fran anymore. It was as if Fred had brainwashed Fran over the years and she couldn’t or wouldn’t think for herself anymore. This made her look dumb. Then there was the fact that Fran always acted as if she knew everything better than anyone else did. To Annie this was a constant source of irritation.
Annie remembered an evening when Fran took almost half an hour to tell Annie how and why you should peel an onion. There was a time when Annie and Fran almost became friends and confidants. This ended when Annie discovered that Fran told Fred everything. Absolutely everything, even the things Annie had told her in confidence. Annie knew Fran would never be a true friend of hers.
This brought Annie to her next point of agony: she had no friends. This was not her choice. Annie had her own friends when she moved to the smallholding, for instance, the friends with whom she went on hiking trips. For some or other reason Fred forced her to abandon her friends. The only reason Annie could think of was Fred’s insecurity. He might have been afraid Annie would start a relationship with one of her friends. Annie didn’t want to embarrass any of her friends and that was why she kept her distance from them. They soon changed from friends to acquaintances. The only person she still spoke to was Terry, but this too had to happen in secret.
Besides being alienated from her friends, Annie had also been alienated from her family. Fred never allowed her to visit her aunts or her cousins. No, that was a lie. He gave her permission to go there, but only if she took Fran with her.
“Fran will make sure that it’s family and not someone you fuck around with,” was Fred’s opinion about it.
Annie didn’t want to take Fran with her. She was ashamed of Fran, so she stayed away from her family. Even though Annie had adults around her, she was still lonely, because she was kept away from the people who accepted her for who she was. Annie looked at the first point on her list of advantages ‘not lonely anymore’ and crossed it out.
The reason for Fred’s ban to have any friends moved Annie to look at the next thing on her list of disadvantages: Fred doesn’t trust me. Ever since the morning when her stepfather called her, Fred’s actions became unbearably intense. Every evening he wanted to know exactly what she had done during the day. Annie was too afraid to leave her office. She was afraid he might call her just to check on her. For fear of not being able to satisfy Fred with her answers regarding her movements, she only left her office to go to the toilet.
She combined the disadvantages Fred calls me a whore and Humiliation into one item. Annie would never be able to make peace with the fact that Fred called her a whore. When Fred humiliated her, Annie now succeeded in pretending that it didn’t have any effect on her. However, it hurt like hell. It messed with her head.
She remembered the time when, during one of their arguments, he had asked her with ominous calm if she liked it to live off people who loved her. Nothing was further from the truth than this. Every month Annie automatically transferred an amount into their account to cover the living costs of her and her children. Annie knew they used the money she gave them to pay their accounts, even though it was household money. During the month, she frequently bought some groceries. Fran never paid her back, even though she had promised Annie every time to do it. On many occasions, Annie bought Fred presents and things he wanted. The fact that Fred implied that she was living off them deeply hurt her feelings.
Annie looked at the last two disadvantages on her list. With her pen, she made the one circle after the other around those words, until they became almost unreadable.
The battering was the deepest humiliation Annie ever had to suffer. After Fred had hit her, she believed him when he told her he loved her and he would never do it again. She even admitted it was her fault that he had hit her. Annie knew she was becoming a textbook case of a battered woman. She didn’t want that! This was not who she was!
AIDS was something that Annie, the longer she stayed on the smallholding, worried about increasingly. Even though Fred said he didn’t jump into bed with just everyone and he had a good judgment of who he could sleep with, she saw evidence of the opposite. As soon as Fred saw a woman that he hadn’t conquered yet, he wanted to go to bed with her, no matter who she was or what her background was. The only thing important to him then was having sex with the woman. He refused to use any protection, because that was against his principles! Annie knew she was risking her own health, because of Fred’s habits.
To be continued… Annie’s decision (1)
© Rebel’s Notes