From Medium: Chapter 10, Standing When The Ground Shakes

This is the tenth chapter of a story that left off here last week.

  • Editor’s note: This was written in real time, chronicling abuse, intimidation and generally nutty behavior from a few years ago. And very little has changed since then — except my strength, my experience and my growth. I thought it was important to note that, in case someone is jumping in midstream.

— –

I’m trying to divorce an actual lunatic. Like a certifiable crazy person who also has control issues. Take it from me, it’s a terrifying combo.

Today he did some crazy-ass shit, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Except, I suppose I can write about it. Maybe it’ll help someday.

The day started with a phone call from his mom. When I ignored the call, it was immediately followed by a text message.

“Please call me,” it said.

I told her I was at work. Was it an emergency?

“No,” she said.

But curiosity got the best of me. Was she calling because he was off the reservation? Was she calling because she was concerned? Was she calling to, gasp, apologize for lying and enabling his behavior for so long?

No. None of that. She was calling because he told her to. Because he wanted to talk to me. Because he needed closure.

Closure? Sign the fucking divorce papers. How’s that for closure? Talk to your girlfriend about closure. That might help.

I told his mom that he would not be able to talk with me, due to his fun criminal rap sheet. She knew that. And I asked if there was anything else. She said he just needed to speak with me.

I told her goodbye and abruptly hung up the phone. And, I went about my day.

Then the day came to a screeching halt when I got a text from my mom, who had just gotten to my house to watch the kids.

“Did you know your sliding glass door is shattered?” the text said.

No. No I didn’t know that. It wasn’t that way when I left this morning. I packed up and immediately went home. The entire door was shattered. And there on the deck sat a few big rocks that clearly hit the window with measurable force. Enough force to completely shatter an entire pane on the window. Luckily, one window remained in tact.

I was floored. The cops came, looked around, and realized there would be no way to prove that it was him since it wasn’t caught on surveillance and they can’t lift fingerprints from rocks. There were pieces of cement all over the yard. And zillions of pieces of glass all over the deck. He threw it so damn hard he bent the metal crossbars that separated the panes of glass.

“The only way I can get charges on this is if he admits to it,” the officer told me.

I walked around the yard picking up dog poop, with a scooper, while he photographed the scene.

“So, he can just torture me and get away with it?” I asked, as nonchalantly and non confrontational as possible.

The officer explained to me that there’s a difference between suspicion and what can be proven. And, I knew that. It just royally sucks that there’s nothing anyone can do. He can just get away with it — again.

And when I went inside the house after talking to the cop and picking up poop, my mom walked to me with my phone. It was ringing off the hook. It was a guy I had gone out with recently. I had missed three calls and two texts. And he rarely called. I called him right away.

“Your ex is sitting out front of my house,” he said.

And time stopped. I couldn’t. Like, really? Seriously? This was happening. The back of the couch caught me as I started to buckle. The dude drove over to his house. And parked out front. And the neighbor saw and took photos and sent them to this guy while he was at work.

“Are your kids home?” I asked.

His son was. And that sent me over the edge. I ran out to the police officer who was still on my curb. I told him what happened. The cops looked into it, but he had already left by the time they arrived.

I have to say, I feel like I have to sleep with one eye open though. Really. Based on his actions today. What the fuck. That was a quote used today a couple times. What the fuck.

Dude. Go be with your girlfriend. Just go. Be with her. Move in with her. Do with her whatever you want. Take vacations. Be together. Leave. Me. Alone. Stop torturing me. Let me live. Let me just raise our kids and live. And to show how psychotic he is, he acted like absolutely nothing happened while he talked to the kids tonight. Like, nothing happened.

“Did anything exciting happen today?” he asked them.

And none of them wanted to talk about it. Not one of them. They all know it was him. That’s the scary part.

My oldest watched me stress right the hell out as the situation unfolded. She watched me search for soothing music and then offered a relaxing coloring book to calm my nerves.

For that, I feel bad. She shouldn’t have to see me that way. But I’m a little frazzled. Especially because there’s nothing I can do to hold him accountable. And now I have to pay for a new window.

Fucking bullshit. That’s what that is. It’s fucking bullshit.

— –

I’m standing to write today. Not because I want to, necessarily, but because I no longer have a kitchen table — which is where I always set up shop. For years, I’d sit at that table next to our sliding glass door and work from the corner of the kitchen.

But the table is gone now. The one he shoved into me. It’s gone. It’s in storage. I moved it there yesterday, along with the bulk of his belongings. AND IT FELT SO FUCKING GOOD.

I have two more closets to go through, to yank his shit from, and I have just enough space in the storage unit I rented to stuff the rest into it.

It started with the bed. I pulled that out, with help from my kids and a neighborhood boy. We willed that king size mattress up the stairs and into the driveway. I pulled the box springs and frame out myself.

Then, I emptied the garage into my driveway. Slowly, bit by bit, I have been packing up his belongings over the past few months and storing them in the garage. And it was time for it all to go.

A neighbor walked over and asked if I needed help. He could see I was in over my head. And, I gladly accepted his offer, knowing full well I was about to monopolize a few hours of his Saturday. But, I snagged him. He backed his truck into my driveway, after I pulled my other neighbor’s truck out. That pickup was full with the mattress and bed.

And, we loaded. We loaded until we got to the big things I couldn’t lift. So, I knocked on another neighbor’s door. And he came out, too. Those guys got the dressers, the table, the fireplace, and a heavy shelving unit. And another neighbor came by, with her son, and they loaded other items into their van.

We had a four-car caravan going to the storage unit — which was three more than I had a few hours earlier. This is the neighborhood I live in. And, I couldn’t be more grateful.

So, I need a kitchen table. Because it looks weird just having five chairs sitting there, alone. I have my eye on one, one I found on craigslist. And, I’m going to see it today. I think it’ll be perfect.

And, it will never pin me against a wall.

— –

I booked a bucket list-type trip today to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in April. It’s this secret little oasis of amazingness called Havasupai Falls. I read a story about it online today, and messaged this guy friend I used to work with at the newspaper. He goes to the falls every year. I asked him if I’m in good enough shape to do the three-day hike. He said I was and asked if I wanted to join his group. I said yes, on the spot. I didn’t check weekends, or look for babysitters. I just said yes.

It seriously is a slice of paradise literally in one of the world’s wonders. Just incredible. I can’t wait. It’s only a few months away.

For the record, deodorant will be totally clutch. So will an open heart.