It’s a slow, slippery slope and once you’re on the downward trail not so easy to climb back up. To those who can relate to this story I wish you strength and hope.
Although I knew he was right the bruises made it difficult to lift my arm, and I could barely see out of my left eye.
Why was I so stupid? It wasn’t asking a lot to have a meal prepared and ready for when he walked in from a hard day’s work. I was at home all day with nothing to do but look after the kids and keep the house nice.
I was such a failure I couldn’t even keep on top of a bit of washing and ironing. I hadn’t even bothered to go the supermarket to stock up and now we were nearly out of sugar for his tea. Maybe if I only used half a spoon instead of his usual two there would be enough to last for the morning.
Ami was teething and fractious. Although I just wanted to sit and hug her though her pain I had to get myself organised. I had been up and down all night but not having much sleep shouldn’t mean I was too tired to cope. Other people did when they had several kids and worked part time to bring in some cash, so as he said, I was totally useless if I couldn’t even manage two. Jamie was at nursery so it wasn’t even as if I had him to worry about during the day.
Oh Hell, look at the time. I should have left five minutes ago to pick him up. Bundling Ami into her carry cot I noticed that her nappy needed changing but there was no time. She would have to go as she was. Turning the ignition in the car I noticed the petrol gauge was on the red, empty.
I knew I had asked him for some money to fill the car last week which had resulted in another row. How could it be empty? I should have checked earlier, not left it to the last minute as usual. Then I remembered he had used it to take his friends to a rock concert during the week. It was a long drive which had left him shattered when he eventually got home. Why don’t I think of these things?
Pulling into the garage I realised I only had a pound and some change in my purse. Should I just buy one gallon or resort to my credit card as usual? That had been the subject of the latest quarrel when he had opened my letter, seen my statement and given me the black eye.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Before we became an item I had worked in a bank and knew the exorbitant rates credit card companies charge. I used to advise people about debt, now I was worse than any of my previous customers.
I decided to pay cash and just get the minimum to be able to drive to the nursery but when I got to the cashier I was three pence short. I couldn’t even stop the pump when it reached the limit of my funds as it jumped on even though I released the lever. The humiliation of having an elderly lady, probably on a pension, bailing me out brought tears to my eyes. I don’t even remember thanking her before I ran back to the car and drove like a maniac to pick up my child.
As usual I was late and there was nowhere to park. When I got back to the car there was a yellow sticker, £50 fine. Should I tell him when he got home or keep it secret, hoping the lottery would come up so I didn’t have to admit yet another failure.
I loved my children, even though the affection I had originally felt for my boyfriend died when the romantic dinners and togetherness had descended into me being totally useless and unable to meet his needs.
It was not surprising he got annoyed when the fun loving girl I had once been now always had a stressed, sour face. When was the last time I had put on make-up or perfume to entice him? My clothes were out of date and boring, but I had no money to buy the latest fashions. With continual washing they had faded, and when they ripped I tried to repair them but I had never been good at needlework.
My old workmates had stopped contacting me about ‘girlie nights’ when time after time I had refused their invitations as either I had no babysitter, not enough cash to pay my way, or my boyfriend had put his foot down and forbidden me to go ‘out on the pull.’
At first I had been pleased he wanted me for himself, even though all I had been looking forward to was a chance to catch up with my female friends. It made me feel proud he loved me enough to think someone else might fancy me, although I would never dream of being unfaithful.
Over time I realised I was nothing without him to tell me what to do, point out my faults, and reprimand me when I was too stupid to learn. He was the man providing the income to keep me and my children, so I should be grateful stayed with the ugly old hag I had become.
I couldn’t blame him when I discovered he had been spending money on a beautiful, young girl he worked with. After all, what did I have to offer? I was twenty-five but looked ten years older. Clearing out some cupboards I had discovered photos from when I was nineteen, around the time I first met him. Although I’d never been a raving beauty I’d had a good figure, bright eyes and shiny hair. He had been on a friend’s stag night, and I was at an old school friend’s hen night so it was natural for the two groups to join up.
I’d never been much of a drinker but even then I’d shown how silly I was by following up two glasses of Champagne with a liqueur after the meal. As I was still a virgin I didn’t even have the sense to be on the pill, so I’m not surprised he was angry when I discovered I was pregnant after that one night together.
Part 2 will be posted on Sunday. Please check back if you found the story so far interesting.