When I ran out of excuses is #WhenIBecameFree
As soon as those words hit my ears I knew there would be no going back. No more excuses would I be able to make for his uncontrollable anger when he was drunk. I could no longer blame it on his rotten childhood and the wounds he carried. I couldn't blame the mistress in our marriage, that bottle of booze. Those words, that sword cutting at my soul, showed his intent. This wasn't an accident. He wanted to hurt me, he wanted to scar me, and he wanted me to know it.
It was a moment in the hour-long attack that I would listen to on repeat, over and over. The audio file on my laptop captured it all when he came through the door and I hit record. After breaking free to go get help from the police and they arrested him, I was left with a lot of time to think. To lay on that bed we once shared, my bed, that now was a scene to a crime.
The police didn't confiscate my laptop when I made the report, they didn't even download the audio file. They captured the evidence, that hour-long audio file, by placing a recorder next to my laptop and hitting record. I can remember hearing it play, hearing me crying, his threats, the slaps, my pleas, as I was in another room waiting to do something that now I cannot remember what that was -but, yes, I remember hearing my nightmare play out at the police station. If I could hear it, so could everyone else. I wanted to die.
That afternoon, when they were done with their "evidence gathering", they handed me my laptop and off my boys and I went. We returned home. There are no words to convey our emptiness and the shock we were in. I remember sitting with them at the kitchen table. Kyle, 9 years old, with his huge blue eyes looking up at me, tears welling up but no words out of his mouth. Then Justin, 13 years old, trying to act strong for Kyle and I but muttering how he thought I was going to be killed that day.
What does a mother do in that situation? I can remember thinking, "they don't write how-to books about this stuff."
I tried to reassure them as much as possible that we were going to be okay. They were fearful that their father would be released soon and then they were worried that they would never see him again. I told them that their father was not well and needed some help, but that he loved them. "Maybe this time he will get the help he needs."
At some point I ended up back in my bedroom, on that bed, listening to the audio file on my laptop and to what had just happened earlier in the day. I didn't understand why the police didn't confiscate my laptop, but grateful that they didn't because besides working that was my only contact with the outside world. I didn't have the courage to call anyone, but I could message them. I didn't want them to hear my voice quiver trying to explain it all. However, first I needed it to sink into my own head before I could reach out to anyone else.
Over and over I listened. I listened closely trying to remember it all, even though it had just happened. Every time I stopped at that one moment, that instance when he said, ""What? This reminding you of your childhood?"
That one moment, the couple of seconds it took for him to say that, burned through me. It hurt more than the slaps and hits I took. It hurt more than the body aches that were taking hold like whiplash. It hurt because to me that was the very first time I heard an intent. It was something I could not excuse away from too much alcohol.
Up to then, only a few people knew I had been sexually assaulted as a child, and only Tim knew the details and how many times. He knew those crimes left a deep wound in me which I struggled to break free from. I trusted him at one time to tell him my entire story - everything. He knew exactly what saying that to me would do- it was his intent.
There were no more excuses left.
The next day I woke up to a collect call from the county jail, it was Tim. A part of me wondered if he was going to apologize, so I accepted the charges. I knew he wasn't supposed to call me and somehow, once again, the jail wasn't paying attention. There were no apologies from him. Just excuses, "I blacked out," he said. "I didn't do that. It wasn't that bad." he continued. He wanted me to call his work and bring him underwear.
I sat there looking at my laptop. Remembering that one moment. Remembering the intent in his words. Yes, no more excuses. I woke up.
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I am still working hard at getting donations, I know this is a new concept for many, crowdfunding a creative writing project such as this, and I do appreciate all who have donated! I am still well below my goal of raising $5k ...heck, I know I will get there. I believe in miracles. This project will get completed! All donors will receive recognition once the project is completed!