Monday, August 20, 2012

Pocket Full of Matches

                                             Pocket Full of Matches

  He had been a realtor. The smiling man in the obituary. He was successful and well thought of. He

seemed like a good role model. I went online and found out exactly what I needed to do to get my

license. It was easy really. 60 hours of computer course and a test at a state office. I had this. And I did.

I met with several brokers and picked out the office I wanted to work out of. I did the course in five


 And passed the test. The next day I was sitting at my new desk. In my new office. I knew I could do

it. My family needed me to do it. I worked the phones and referrals and I was good at it. When my first

sale closed I came home early. It was my birthday. I found him on the couch. I knew. I did not know

what it had been this time. But I knew. He was out of another job. He informed me he had quit. That he

 had worked long enough and I could support him from now on. I walked out. Every time we were

almost caught up or even had a chance at getting ahead, he did something to keep us poor. I think he

thought if he kept me on my knees, I would stay. That I would have to. I opened my own account and I

 paid the bills. My children were so angry with him. Their Father. He had disappointed his family

again. We had lost our medical benefits when he quit. We lost dental and vision too. And he did not

care. He stayed on that couch. I left for work early every morning and I came home late. I had no

choice. We stayed away from each other. He slept in the living room and I stayed in our bedroom. The

kids came to visit me at my office. I loved that. The surprise of one of them knocking on

my door. They always had a smile and a kiss for me. They were my reason. For working, for trying, for

 breathing. They were more than enough.

  It was our son that got him off the couch. I came home late as usual. My son greeted me as he always

did. He said I worked too much. That I was needed there. And that he missed me. I explained it had to

be this way. I was torn. I liked what I did. I liked that cool crisp check with my name on it. With it's

obscenely large dollar amount. People liked me. I got praise and I helped find families homes. I loved it. But I

missed my children I missed the little things. Snuggling in the morning. Watching movies on rainy

afternoons. I missed being a mother. My son made his case for me to quit. I let him know I could not.

It was the only money we had.  He wheeled away from me and went into the living room and after his

 Father. He yelled at him. Told him he was lazy. That he was not taking care of his family. And so

many other things he had kept bottled up for far too long. And then he said it. He cut his father to the

core. He told him his was ashamed of him, embarrassed and told him he should just leave. I think he

meant every word that he said. He was not one to mince words. It worked. He got another job but I

kept him on the couch. It was my first bit of freedom, that room. And I was not about to give it up.

   And I started a new counting game. First I counted how long I had until my youngest daughter

turned eighteen. I marked each day in my mental calendar. Again, I was a prisoner. I began to realize

 that I had done this to myself. My husband was a perfect mix of my parents. He was cruel and

indifferent at times and very manipulative. He could be loving and kind. When it suited him. I seemed

to be attracted to men that were remote. I wondered at this. I had wanted so much to be loved. Maybe I

 would not let myself have that. Maybe I was purposely allowing people in my life who would never

give me the thing I most craved. Did I think I was unworthy. I had done all of this to myself. I said it

over and over. I relived the bad times and documented the red flags. I had missed so many.  I had

married someone who could never give me the things I needed most. I wrote down all my failings.

every misstep, I gave myself no leeway. Then I lit a match and set it all ablaze. ALL of it. My past. My

poor choices. My dreams of a life with my husband. And I stood in the ashes of those things after I

burnt them all down. And I waited for the wind to blow it all away. I was done with it.

   I crunched numbers and juggled the finances. I paid everything I could. I hoarded money and I

planned. I could get free. I bided my time. True to form my husband dashed my well drawn plans. He

became more erratic, more unpredictable and certainly more volatile. I had to speed things up. He

clashing with the children. Starting fights so he could punish them. It was enough. I ordered him out

at first he would not go. I got him out though. I had already started the bonfire using the sticks he had

hit me with in a pit ringed by the stones he had thrown. I would have my freedom. Fire could cleanse

away so much, just like my tears. And I had a pocket full of matches

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