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.
Up and down emotions
Continued from… Telling Fred and Fran
“Wake up. Annie. Annie, wake up.”
Annie surfaced from a deep sleep. Slowly she became aware of her surroundings. Fran stood next to her bed.
“What’s wrong?” Annie asked, fear gripping her heart.
“Fred is going to bring me back to the hospital. Some of my stitches have torn and it’s bleeding a lot. We’ll be back later.”
Annie couldn’t help thinking of the sounds of wild coming from the main bedroom after she had gone to bed, but she said nothing. Two hours later Fred returned without Fran. He looked worn out. Annie felt sympathy welling up inside her.
“Shall I sit with you for a while?” she asked.
“You can lie down next to me,” he said and started telling her what happened at the hospital. Fran had to stay there for observation, since the wound was infected. He didn’t know when Fran would be home again.
“Annie, why are you leaving? And tell me the truth this time?”
“I told you already, Fred.”
“You are a bitch with no backbone at all. Why don’t you fight for what we have? No! You’ll rather run away! That’s easier.”
Fred’s rage was unstoppable.
“Fred, I have my reasons. I can’t continue like this. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I’m tired of fighting. And,” she said impulsively, “there are medical reasons for it too.”
“What medical reasons?”
Annie immediately regretted her impulsiveness. If she would say anything about AIDS, or any other sexually transmitted disease for that matter, Fred would beat the living daylights out of her. It would onle intensify the irritation and anger he already had because of her intended departure. Why? she thought, why did I even say that?!
“Fred,” she said, “just take my word for it. I cannot tell you.”
Fred nagged, raged and raved, but Annie said nothing more. She indeed felt like she had no backbone — not because she was leaving the smallholding, but because she didn’t dare sleeping in her own bed.
Annie handed the colonel — her direct departmental head — her letter of resignation. Earlier that morning she had informed him about her plans. During the course of the morning, Terry personally delivered Annie a fax from her mother. It read:
How long do you still have to work after you gave them notice of your resignation? I need the information to determine when to book you a flight. Let me know quickly!
Annie quickly scribbled a few words on paper, and almost ran to Terry’s department to get the fax sent to her mother.
That evening Annie prepared dinner. Fran was still in the hospital, but Annie had seen her that morning, when she visited on her way to work.
“Are you serious about leaving?” Fran asked, anticipation in her eyes.
“Yes, I am really leaving.”
A flash of joy crossed her face, but Fran quickly managed to hide it.
“Please reconsider, Annie. Please. For Fred.”
Fran would do anything to make Fred happy, even if it meant providing him with other women to have sex with. Where she might be happy that Annie was leaving, she was terrified of what the future might hold when Annie was gone. Annie understood this, but she didn’t want any part of this anymore.
“No Fran, I’ve had enough of it.”
By the time Annie arrived home that afternoon, Fred had already had a couple of drinks.
“I don’t want to eat. I am going to get drunk. Very drunk,” he said and pushed his dinner plate away from him. His speech wasn’t clear anymore.
Annie stayed friendly. She was afraid if she provoked him, he might become violent. After she tucked the children in, she sat down in the big living room with him. He played one CD after the other, all with crooning songs. With some songs, he joined in with his guitar, singing along while watching Annie. Slowly but surely, Annie’s resolve crumbled. She could barely suppress her tears. Fred was clearly playing on her feelings, hoping she would not follow through with her plans.
However, Annie’s resolve was stronger than her grief. One thought of all the tears she had cried over the last couple of months, and she was angry. Furious. How dare Fred try to intimidate her with this sentimental fuss? Annie refused to let him succeed.
Still, she was sad. She would be leaving these unpleasant, but familiar circumstances for something very unfamiliar: a new country, a new language and a new way of living. The only known factor to her was her mom.
“I’m going to bed, Fred. Good night,” she said, ending Fred’s emotional torture.
On her way from her work to the smallholding, Annie prepared herself for yet another evening with a gloomy atmosphere. It might be even more difficult to get through this evening, since Fran was home again from the hospital.
Annie was surprised to come home to a friendly and relaxed mood. Politely she joined Fred and Fran for a cup of coffee.
“Annie,” Fran said, “I am actually quite jealous of you. You are getting the opportunity to see a country which I would like to visit too.”
“What are you going to do with all your stuff, Annie?” Fred asked. His voice was kind.
Annie didn’t know how to handle the friendliness of the couple. It totally blew her mind.
“I’ve already arranged for all my stuff to go to Terry,” Annie dared to say, “she will arrange for it to be sent to me.”
“No, Annie, we can’t do that,” Fred disagreed, “you’re not going abroad permanently. You’re only going there to work things out for yourself. It’s only a holiday. Then you’re coming back here. Your place will still be here. We’re not going to take anyone else in. We’ll wait for you.”
Annie was blown away.
“Let me think about it,” was the only answer Annie could come up with.
“If you decide to stay over there for longer, we’ll make sure your things get to you,” Fred promised.
“I’ll think about it,” Annie said once more, while feeling uneasy leaving her stuff with them. She just didn’t know how to say it, and their friendliness had put her on the wrong foot.
“Oh and,” Fran had a flash of inspiration, “before Annie leaves, we should make a video of the three of us. Fred, then we’ll have something to look at while Annie’s gone.”
Fred’s enthusiasm to go for this idea was as big as Fran’s. Annie wasn’t. She didn’t agree to it, but she didn’t refuse either. She hoped the couple would forget about it.
That night she went to bed with mixed feelings. On the one hand, she had everything under control, but on the other, she couldn’t help thinking she was heading for a disaster.
To be continued… Wrapping things up
© Rebel’s Notes