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.
Betrayal and goodbyes
Continued from… Wrapping things up
Her father called Annie that evening.
“Your brother is getting married on the seventh of January,” he said, “will you come too?”
“Dad, I don’t know if I will have the money to drive the thousand kilometers down there,” Annie tried to prepare her father for a disappointment.
“Then you drive to us and we’ll go with one car from here,” her father suggested.
“I’ll think about it,” Annie promised vaguely.
Annie and her father had little else to say to each other. Neither Annie’s father nor her brother knew about her bisexual nature, and they wouldn’t approve of her way of living. They were both disapproving and hypercritical of Annie’s way of thinking, and she didn’t want to give them more to criticize her about. Because of this, the contact hadn’t been good for quite some time already. Annie had no idea how to even start telling either of them about her plans. Yet again, her shame prevented her from saying anything.
In the early evening, Terry and her boyfriend arrived with a small truck to get the stuff Annie had sold to Terry. Fred — who had never approved of Annie having contact with any other women than Fran — looked on from a distance. Annie was painfully aware Fred now knew she had never broken off her contact with Terry. She was afraid this might sent him into a raging fit. Nevertheless, he remained strangely calm.
“Patrick,” Terry said, turning to her boyfriend once everything was loaded, “please hand me your check book.”
“Oh, I didn’t bring it,” he said, not even looking at his girlfriend.
Terry made a big fuss of it, looking through her bag for her purse. She didn’t have it with her.
“Annie, I’ll give you the check tomorrow morning,” she promised.
Annie wasn’t happy with this. Normally she wouldn’t mind, but somehow something just didn’t feel right. Something strange was going on, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.
As she walked back to her work, Annie thought about what she had just done. At the bank, she had cancelled all the arrangements for Terry to have full control over her bank account. Annie felt tricked. The only person, who she thought she could trust and call a friend, had been avoiding her since Tuesday evening.
When Annie arrived at her work on Wednesday morning and she went looking for Terry, she heard Terry had left for a business trip in the east of the country. Apparently, plans for the trip had been known two weeks earlier, and Terry would only be back in the office after Annie had left the country.
Annie didn’t know what else to do than to take Fred up on one of his earlier offers. She would give him her bank card on the day of their departure. Fred promised he would do exactly what she had asked Terry to do: to send bank statements to her every month and money when she needed it.
Annie stared at the man whom had just walked into the office. Shock was written all over her face.
“Why are you here?” she asked her ex-husband, her voice not even remotely friendly.
“I need to talk to you,” he answered.
To buy herself some time to think and calm down, Annie went to get him a cup of coffee. Once they sat across from each other, her former husband told her he was getting married the next day. Six years had passed since their divorce.
“Oh, congratulations,” Annie said, keeping one eye on the door. She was anxious one of her colleagues might walk into her office, and make a remark about it being her working day in the armed forces, or worse even, that she was moving abroad.
“I have big plans too,” Annie started carefully, “I’m in a bad relationship at this moment. I got involved with a married man. Yes,” she said when she saw his shocked face, “I know I have to put an end to it and I’m busy with it. Since our divorce we had so little contact…”
“I know that,” he interrupted, “but I don’t want to interfere and confuse the children. If I can’t be a full-time dad, I would rather not be a dad at all. I don’t want to raise the children from a distance.”
Under different circumstances, Annie would have gotten angry when she heard those words, but now it filled her with relief. With his words, he played right into her hand.
“I’m glad to hear that, because I’m going into hiding. This man will not leave me alone after I have left him. If he knows where I am, he will make my life a living hell,” she told a partial lie.
“Do you know what you are going to do yet?”
Now Annie really had to lie. Her instinct said not to let her former husband know she was planning to leave the country. Even though he had just told her he didn’t want to be a father from a distance, she knew him well enough to know he would do all in his power to stop her from leaving the country.
“No, but I will have to do something soon.”
Annie breathed in deeply after he had left her office, and tried her best to calm her rapidly beating heart.
By midday, Annie went to some of the other departments to say goodbye to her colleagues there. When at last she started to greet the colleagues with whom she had closely worked with, it turned into a vale of tears. It hurt Annie most to say goodbye to her biggest dream — to have a solid career in the armed forces.
Back on the smallholding, Annie took her uniform off for the last time.
To be continued… The last time
© Rebel’s Notes