Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bluebeard

She stayed home that January day because she had the flu. It was unusual; normally she would have gone to work anyway, but the high fever kept her in bed, and she didn't think she could brave the cold winds of the midwest plains.

When the call came, she assumed it was work, but instead it was long distance, from Canada. And the young, frightened voice on the other end said, "I'm Alice, and I think I'm dating your husband".

Alice was right, and it soon became evident that she wasn't a liar, nor was she delusional.

After the call ended, she got up and showered, trying to decide what to do. Once she was armored in clothing and makeup, she decided to look for corroborating evidence.

She finally found what she was looking for...in the very back of the basement, hidden behind piles of boxes from the last move, was a locked blue trunk.

By this time, she was angry, and not to be denied. She took a hammer and discovered that with enough force, she could break it apart. And she did.

Inside the trunk was a whole hidden lifetime...19 secret years. Pornography that made Hustler seem as though it were written for nuns. Nude photos. Incriminating letters. Condoms. And 20 videotapes.

Clutching an armful of tapes and now in a hurry because the kids were due home soon, she ran upstairs. The first tape went in the VCR, and on fast-forward, she saw the images that would make it impossible for her to trust him ever again. And the same for the next tape...and the next...and the next...until she KNEW in every nerve-ending that he could never, ever touch her again.

She called him and told him there'd be a suitcase on the porch. She called a friend for the name of a lawyer; called her parents and her closest friends; and called work, because she knew she'd be busy the next day.

And after she took the kids to school that next day, she saw the lawyer. And the day after that, she enrolled in school to take the prerequisites for the nursing program.

And despite all the later problems -- the children's sorrow, the victim's protective order, the months of bills he had left unpaid, losing the house, and working fulltime throughout school -- she never regretted her decision.

Although every now and then, when she felt cheated and alone...even though she knew she'd never agree to it...she did enjoy fantasizing about Alice's offer to have the jerk killed.

4 comments:

Harry said...

This is powerful, and emotionally charged, leaving me wanting to know more.

Rusty said...

I guess I am the opposite of Harry, it leaves me wanting to know less.

Already kind of misty-eyed....

Jodie said...

Just one more instance of truth being stranger than fiction.

Sometimes I tell people that my divorce was a Jerry Springer moment. :)

Gone Away said...

A powerful story, told with simplicity and honesty. Thank you, Jodie.