He watched my foot tapping turn to a full-force dance and he laughed.
Not the sweet laugh from long ago, but the kind that is mean. I don’t think I will ever forget the ugliness of it. He knew I was almost frantic in my need, and yet he laughed, finding humor in my pain. What is it they call it? Schadenfreude? Coming from someone who is supposed to love you, it is never appealing.
That incessant need-It starts with a gentle nudge and builds to this screaming demand that refuses to quit until heeded. Unrelenting. My thighs were squeezed together and I was using those I internal muscles I had learned about when I was pregnant. Squeeze. Hold. Breathe. I was terrified of losing it completely in public, but he thought it was funny. He laughed as he saw tears begin to swim in my eyes. I had come to terms with his bullying. I had learned to ignore the almost constant stream of belittlement. This laughing thing was an unwelcome addition to an awful repertoire that he had displayed for years now.
Through the blur of my tears, I spied the urban equivalent of an outhouse. To me, it looked like a green gateway to paradise. My nose found it as well, but my need was too great to worry about that. I “ran” with my knees squished together, beginning to gag from the smell. I heard his peals of laughter ringing in my ears and the sound of my own retching, as I grabbed the handle and slammed the door shut behind me. Fumbling quickly with the button and zipper of my jeans (had it always been so difficult?), I managed to yank them down and sit before my bladder completely let go. I cried in relief and gingerly rubbed my tender side. In a fit of pique, his boot had connected with my ribs. The resulting bloom of blue, purple and black was impressive.
When I emerged from that little hut of horror and blessed release, I looked for him and contemplated, and not for the first time, what it would be like if I could just run away. Run away and not look back. I had stayed with him all these years. I couldn’t just leave, even though he was a monster. A monster.
But, I stay.
It’s not like you can divorce your own child.