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.
Telling Fred and Fran
Continued from… Annie’s decision (2)
Fran was home, eight days after her operation. She sat in the small living room when Annie walked in, a glass in her hand. Annie couldn’t believe her eyes. Fran was drinking alcohol! She only just had the operation and was still on medication. How could she? Did she not know how harmful it could be?
Fran followed her when Annie went to her room to put her briefcase away.
“Annie,” she said, sounding her irritating laugh, “there’s something I want to ask you.”
A knot held Annie’s stomach in a tight grip.
“Go ahead,” she said without much interest.
“I’ve been in the hospital for eight days and you slept with Fred for eight nights,” Fran started. Annie knew exactly what would follow.
“Therefore I want to sleep with Fred for the next eight nights.”
It was an unfair request. When Annie had returned from the hospital after her operation, there had been no exceptions. She had slept with Fred on the night she returned home and Fran had slept with him again the next night. They had just continued with the rule Fred had specified months before, when Annie had moved in with them. Briefly, a tingle of irritation rushed through Annie. However, she only responded after Fran had spoken again.
“Annie, I’ve already asked Fred and he agreed.”
“Fran,” Annie said without looking at her, “as far as I am concerned you can sleep with Fred every night for the rest of your lives.”
“Annie, what are you saying? What do you mean?” Fran asked surprised.
“You’ll know soon. I want to talk to Fred and you later.”
“Oh, you can tell me now,” Fran said, “I won’t tell Fred anything.”
Yeah right! Annie thought.
“No, Fran, I will tell you both together,” Annie answered resolute.
Fran tried again, but once she realized Annie wasn’t going to tell her anything, she stopped her attempts. Later in bath, she tried again. When Annie didn’t even bother to answer her, she meanly changed her tactics.
“Your words had hurt Fred.”
“Which words?” Annie, who had barely spoken to Fred all evening, asked.
“About the sleeping,” Fran said, watching Annie’s face.
Annie refused to show any further reaction, and her closed composure discouraged Fran to pursue the situation anymore.
The women went to the bedroom, where Fred watched the news broadcast on television, already in bed. Annie sat down on a chair next to the bed.
“Come lay down next to me, Annie,” Fran invited.
“No,” Annie declined, “I’ll sit here.”
It took almost an hour for Annie to muster all the courage she needed to make her announcement.
“Fred, Fran, my kids and I are leaving.”
Two pairs of eyes suddenly focused on her, the television forgotten.
“Where to?” Fran at last asked.
“I’m moving abroad, to my mother. I spoke to my mother this morning. She will make all arrangements for our trip.”
“I knew there was more to your refusal to call your mom than your so-called anger,” Fred said angrily, “how long have you been planning this?”
“I sent my mom a fax on Friday. Fred, I’ve had it. I can’t handle your thirst for other women. I can’t handle that we’re always fighting. I can’t handle that I can’t be myself anymore. My every move, my manners, my friends, contact with my family, my hair, my clothes, when I should and when I shouldn’t wear underwear — everything is dictated by you. I’m not happy. I’m only being used in this house. I’m not living anymore — I only exist.”
Neither Fred nor Fran responded.
“I’m leaving and I’m going to live my own life again. You, Fred, have hurt me more than you will ever be able to understand — mentally and physically. My god, I feel like I don’t know my own kids anymore. You’ve done everything you could to keep me away from them in the last couple of months. Every time I wanted to play with them, you said I have to stop my childish manners. I even started doing it on the sly. When I came to live here, I thought I would never be lonely again. Nevertheless, I am lonelier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’m leaving and I hope you will think carefully about the way you live your life. You have a wife who actually loves you too much. You should at least learn how to appreciate her.”
Annie stopped. Suddenly she was done speaking. She didn’t know what else to say; didn’t even want to talk to them anymore. It took quite some time before anyone responded.
“Yes, Annie,” Fred sadistically said, “leave. I should’ve known you don’t have the backbone to make a success of our special relationship. That’s what I should’ve seen right at the start. You don’t have the guts to work on this relationship. Run away. That is one of your characteristics: no perseverance.”
“Fred, no one, and least of all you, can accuse me of not working on this relationship. I refuse to listen to your accusations. But, always remember,” she added sarcastically, “it takes two to tango! I’m going to bed. Good night!”
Out of habit, Annie left her bedroom open, but when she heard sounds of Fran working towards her sexual peak, she stood up and firmly, but silently, closed the door.
For the first time in months, she didn’t feel jealousy. On the contrary, for the first time she was happy she wasn’t part of it.
To be continued… Up and down emotions
© Rebel’s Notes