A long time ago, another lifetime it seems, I was visiting my mother and my sister. We got lost in conversation, as we tend to do, and I lost track of time. My phone rang and I remember feeling panicked, sick, sweaty.
“Where the hell are you? Are you still at your sister’s house? You should have been home an hour ago!”
I apologized. I explained that I lost track of time.
“They do this on purpose, you know. I know they hate me. They’re keeping you there on purpose. If they loved you they’d have let you come home on time.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll leave right now.” I put my head down. “I’m sorry.”
I closed my phone and silently put it back in my purse. I looked up at my mom and sister and they looked angry.
I knew what was wrong. I knew that what I was doing was stupid. That I should have just told him to shove it and that I’d be home when I wanted to.
But I didn’t. I pulled out my keys, said goodbye to my family, and drove the hour and a half home.
When I got there he was sitting at an empty table. He looked up coldly and said, “Well, you know you can’t go see them again now, right? I’m not putting any more money in your account until next month.”
I just nodded, but I was seething inside. I didn’t know what would happen if I argued. The last time I argued with him he punched a wall so hard he broke his knuckles and had to go to the ER.
It’s just weird to me to think about. I can still remember exactly what it felt like to walk back into the apartment I shared with that abusive asshole. And then I’m here with my husband who would be okay with me driving across the country if I wanted to.
Sometimes I think I’m lucky. But then I correct myself. No. Everyone deserves to be in a healthy relationship. Everyone deserves to feel like a whole person.
My husband and I live side by side, not in competition with each other, not in control of each other; side by side. He fully supports my career as I fully support his. We’re not made weaker by supporting each other. We’re stronger. I could probably do this without him, but why would I want to?