The weather has turned, and spring feels like it’s upon us once again. I’m getting antsy to shed these flannel pajamas and wool socks in exchange for some boxer shorts, loose t-shirts, and flip-flops to lounge around in. I need to open up some windows and fill my lungs with fresh air. I can’t wait to watch the sun come up while perched on my bench in the yard, with a fresh, cup of coffee in my hand. I need to be outdoors. I need to get back on the scoot.
The old man hasn’t broke out the bike much the last few years. He reacquainted himself with fishing, and spends most of his weekends sweating near some pond, and fighting off mosquitos well into the night. I think it’s great that he has a hobby, but it’s not something I enjoy, nor do I accompany him on these excursions. Rather, I just sit at home most Friday and Saturday nights alone with the dogs, and occupy myself with my writing, a good book, or some television; very uneventful. It seems the most I have to look forward to is trekking to occasional auctions, and searching for new treasures in which to fill my country home. I get about five minutes enjoyment finding a place to put my new things, then they just become something else I have to look at while I’m by myself.
I’ve been trying to fill a void. I’m starting to realize that. It’s become more than clear lately, because these things I’ve surrounded myself with I no longer take much pleasure in. I have a table full of silver that I haven’t polished in months, a curio cabinet full of old china and stemware that never gets cleaned; antique furniture covered in a film of dust. Likewise, I have piece of crocheting I started that sits in a basket, a rag rug with the hook still protruding from between the shreds of cloth, a quilt that may never be completed and find it’s way onto my bed, and an unfinished life that’s not being lived. I stand here, look around and wonder what’s it all for?
My teenage son brought this up to me shortly after we brought home the antique rocker from the recent auction we attended. It’d been in the dining room but a couple days when he asked me what it was for. I asked him what he meant, but before he could answer I just smiled and told him I collect antiques…that’s what it’s for.
“I don’t get it,” he said, trying to sound confused, but the undertones of sarcasm were obvious.
“You don’t get what? There’s nothing to get. I like antiques. They make the room look pretty.” I answered.
“I still don’t get it.” He said. “You get a good deal on them, you could sell them and make money, but you don’t. I don’t get what they’re for.”
“They are not FOR anything.” I was starting to get pissy. “And I don’t care what I could get out of them, I don’t want to sell them. They make the house pretty.”
“Mom, you can’t even afford to fix your car so you can drive again. I don’t GET why you’d rather sit here with all this stuff, when you could sell it and get out of the house.”
Knock me over with a mother-fucking feather! Out of the mouths of babe’s comes much wisdom.
This is not something he hasn’t tried to tell me before, but never with such insistence, and I admit I probably didn’t want to hear it. By being willing to accept that this was the only way out of the current mess I’m in, I’d have to also admit that my husband had failed me; that he had left me to fend for myself, knowing I was unable to do so. In short, that my wants, needs, feelings weren’t important to him, and he just doesn’t care. A harsh reality I’ve been trying to ignore for the past few years, while hoping, praying, waiting for him to give me a sign I was wrong.
Next week, April 9th, it’ll be three years to the day since I got my DUI. It’ll also be three years since I’ve drove a car, been able to leave the house without assistance, or enjoyed a day out with friends on my own; three years since I’ve had any kind of independence. I could’ve done what others do and drive anyway, but I chose not to. The DUI that resulted from my need to get out of the house after my husband refused to take me anywhere for months, cured me of being obstinate and wanting my own way. I took the punishment the state handed down to me, forfeited my license and right to drive, settled in to make the best of the six months without it, and waited…and waited…and have continued to wait. My husband found the ideal way to keep me home. He just wouldn’t help me get it back.
I was very headstrong and independent when we met seven years ago. I managed a bar, socialized with a lot of people, lived in a nice, little rental property close to everyone and everything I needed; had two cars, a decent income that enabled me to live the simple life I’d chose, and a chunk of money in the bank from my father’s recent passing. It was simple, but satisfying. In a flash it was gone. I fell head over heels for this guy—he likes to joke that he ‘caught’ me on a rusty hook—made a spontaneous, irrational move from the big city to the country with him, allowed him to tell me that I could no longer work in a bar, and my life literally went to hell in a hand basket after. I couldn’t find work out here, depleted my savings in a year, and became dependent on him for everything. At the time of my DUI I was unemployed, penniless, sitting in the middle of nowhere, and completely unable to help myself. I’ve been stewing in these juices ever since.
I was fortunate that one of my sisters offered to get me to my court appointments, and later to counseling to deal with the depression that resulted from it. I couldn’t get a court-appointed attorney for my case because they went on my husbands income and he makes too much, he refused to help me because this was a problem I created he said, so I stood up there by myself and was unable to fight and get the $1950 fine they executed upon me lowered. After, it was just by sheer luck I was able to get the money to pay for my drug and alcohol evaluation, and upon completion of it just hoped by the time my six months were up he would have pity on me and pay the hundred needed for my drunk driving course, two hundred needed for the DMV civil penalty fine, and the first payment on SR22 insurance so I could at least get behind the wheel again, and then I might be able to help myself. Six months came and went, then a year…two…now nearly three. I have argued, screamed, cried, pleaded, threatened divorce, and still he’s made excuses why he can’t/won’t help me. He’s bought days/weeks of my silence and compliance with the purchase of all these things I’m now surrounded by, but could not, would not, help me buy back my freedom.
I’ve made attempts on my own that seemed pretty futile at the time, but have indeed proved to inch me closer to where I need to be. From the little support I get for my son I’ve been able to sock away a little here and there, have managed to get the trivial things I need to get my license back taken care of, but still have that large fine hanging over my head that I have to make arrangements to make payments on and am not sure how, before I can even plate my car—which also now needs fixed from sitting much too long. The only bright side to all of this is at least I can finally say if the opportunity presented itself, I have met the requirements needed, and can go into the DMV and get my license back now. No thanks to him.
I sit here and wonder when exactly it was that I lost all control. The first time I allowed him to dictate what I could or could not do? The first time I allowed myself to be altered to please him? Both? I remember when we first began making small talk, and he offered me a ride on his scoot. I was unaware at the time that he already knew that I only dated guys with a Harley, and never suspected that he would use that as bait. He did, I bit, but not before telling him that I didn’t waste my time on anyone who didn’t. I made no apologies for it either. I explained that I once got in a serious relationship with someone that wouldn’t ride because he’d been hurt on a bike, wouldn’t let me ride with anyone else because he was jealous, and I found myself in a very unhappy situation for a long time. To remedy this, I just decided if they don’t have a scoot of their own to take me riding, to do this one thing I enjoy above all else, I wouldn’t waste my time. Case closed, right? Wrong! He caught me on that rusty hook with his Harley for bait, took me for a ride to the middle of nowhere, dropped me on my ass and told me to ‘suck it up’; parked the bike and that was that. Well, that’s how it feels sometimes, anyway.
The closeness I had with those I rode with was gone after he stole me away from riding with them, stole me from the only line of work I ever really enjoyed, and stole my freedom with his controlling pride. He went from an incredibly-sexy man sporting a ponytail, covered in ink, riding a ’75 Shovelhead with ape hangers, to Daniel-Fucking-Boone/Davy Crocket, carrying a fishing pool in one hand and a hunting rifle in the other. Where’s the justice in that for me? Where the hell is the man I met and fell in love with, and just exactly what did he do with the pretty blonde that he brought home? More importantly, who is this tired, aging, unhappy looking woman staring back at me in the mirror?
April 9th is the day that is going to change things, and end all the other threats. My possessions are no longer able to make me content; I want my life and the man I fell in love with back. I’m willing to compromise and indulge him in the things he enjoys, but he’s going to have to also be able to indulge me in mine. Summer is near and I want my freedom back. He can give it to me, or I’ll take it back by downloading all this shit in the local paper or on Craigslist. It no longer really makes a difference to me either way. I’ve given him this date as a springboard so he knows this is when an effort better start being made. We’ll see now whether he truly loves me, wants to make me happy, and will help; or doesn’t give a squat, calls my bluff, and lays the foundation for our divorce. I’m tired. I only have one life and deserve to live it. The question now remains, is it going to be with him, or someone else. I love my husband, I do. I love the way I’m comfortable around him, the fact that he can read my mind, and make me laugh by acting really stupid. He may just be the man I’ve waited my whole life for, I don’t know. Time will tell. If not, there’s one thing I’m very clear on…There’s a swinging-dick sitting on a bar stool with a Harley parked outside in nearly every bar in town. I still got my jacket, chaps, and an attitude. I can make it happen if I need to. I know…I’ve seen me do it. How the hell does he think I got him?