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.
Wrapping things up
Continued from… Up and down emotions
“Have you decided what you want to do with your stuff, Annie?” Fred asked again that evening.
“Yes, Terry and her boyfriend want to buy most of it for his second-hand shop. I will pack the rest of my stuff in boxes and Terry will send it to me as soon as I am settled there,” Annie explained.
“Are you going abroad permanently?”
“No. Yes. Uh,” she said when she saw the look on his face, “I’m not sure.”
However, Annie was sure. She was sure she wouldn’t be coming back to live in her country of birth again. She just didn’t know how to tell Fred. She was afraid of his reaction and something in his voice cautioned her not to say too much.
“Why don’t you leave your stuff here then? Don’t you trust me? Do you think I’m a thief?”
There was a warning in his words, and his tone of voice told her to be careful.
Annie stayed calm, but shivers ran down her spine. Fred saw it. He followed through with his intimidation.
“Your stuff stays here. Sell what you want to sell and pack the rest in boxes. If you want to stay there longer than a year, I’ll send it to you. But, I know you will return. Ten years from now your room will still be the same. We’ll wait for you to return,” Fred promised.
Just in time, Annie stopped a cynical snort. Fred waiting for her to return? Fred not letting another woman into the house with them? She didn’t believe one word of what he said. She saw his words for what they were: manipulation. Even so, Annie didn’t have the guts to go against his wishes. She was scared. Her newfound self-confidence faltered for the first time. Her fear of Fred kept her from telling him she would never return.
Fred exploited Annie’s faltering self-confidence even more that evening. He ordered the women to yet again make turns to sleep with him, and said this would happen up to the day Annie was leaving. That evening, for the first time in nine months, Fred initiated the trio. Annie was disappointed with herself: Why didn’t she have the guts to refuse having sex with Fred and Fran?
Just plain fear.
She endured the trio, going through the motions and, deep down, promising herself that soon this torture would be something of the past.
“Do you know yet when you’re leaving, Annie?” Fran asked just after dinner.
“Yes, I do. I picked up the tickets this afternoon. We leave on the twelfth of December.”
Annie was dreadfully delighted when she saw the jerking movement of Fred’s head when he heard her words and looked at her. He didn’t expect this!
“That quick?” was his reaction, “where did you get the money for it?”
Suddenly all puzzle pieces fell into place. Fred’s line of thinking became clear to Annie. He thought her plans would strand because she didn’t have the money for it. And he was right, she didn’t. She ignored his question about the money, and basked in the delight knowing she had conned him. What a wonderful, glorious feeling!
“Yes, we leave on the twelfth of December,” she rubbed salt into his wounds, “I collected the tickets this afternoon.
Now Fred was even more surprised. He was so used to Annie telling him about her every move and now he had to hear in passing what she did.
Annie couldn’t refuse when the couple asked to see the tickets. She was clever enough to give it to Fred first, who gave it through to Fran. Fran handed it back to Annie and the latter hid it in a place where Fred couldn’t find it. Had Fred been the last to hold the tickets, he might have done the same he had with her ring all those months back – refused to give it back to her. She figuratively patted herself on the back for giving the tickets to Fred first.
Six boxes of Annie’s belongings now stood in the storage room. At last, she had sorted everything out. In her room stood two big suitcases, which she had borrowed from Fred and Fran. The couple still believed Annie would return soon. Annie’s furniture would be sold to Terry’s boyfriend. Her bedroom wouldn’t change.
“Please leave your bedroom as it is. When I look at it, I’ll feel as if my love is still close to me,” Fred had asked her with sadness in his voice. Annie didn’t respond to this.
All Annie’s glassware, cutlery and linens would stay in Fran’s cupboards.
“Until you come home or come to get it from here yourself,” Fred decided.
“Terry, will you be willing to handle my bank account over here? All you have to do is to check whether the child support has been deposited and send me the monthly bank statements. If I need money, I will let you know.”
Terry agreed to this. Annie also spoke to her mother that day. Her mother wasn’t pleased with Annie’s plans to leave most of her stuff on the smallholding.
“Mom, I think that I can trust him with that,” she reassured her mother, while at the same time she doubted her own words. There was nothing Annie could do about it now. She was too scared to go against Fred’s wishes. She would do all she could to keep him calm. If he stayed calm, she and her kids would be able to leave the smallholding safely.
Her mother had wanted her to store her belongings with her aunt. However, Annie hadn’t spoken to her aunt in months and she didn’t feel free to just turn up and ask for a favor. Annie asked her mom not to inform anyone in the family about her plans to leave the country. Not even her brother. She was far too ashamed of the mess she had made of her life.
During their lunch hour, Annie and Terry went to the bank. Annie felt relieved once they had taken care of giving Terry full control of her bank account.
To be continued… Betrayal and goodbyes
© Rebel’s Notes