Silence – #JusJoJan 2018

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She was one of the girls from the model school in the university town. There were fewer than twenty of them, moving lockstep through twelve grades together. Most of them lived a protected existence. Middle class. Some upper-middle class. Doting parents. Somehow they thought they were special. It wasn’t their fault. It was instilled in them. She knows there is nothing special about her, although there was about many of the rest. They loved each other as sisters. She looks back at that time, at those girls, and wonders how any of them survived in the big, wide, still scary world.

She wonders if she has survived these many years later. She knows her ability to find and have a decent romantic relationship has not survived. That has been gone for a long time if it ever existed at all. It might have been killed one night when she was seventeen. She won’t think about that. Maybe it was killed when they divorced the first time. Perhaps when a love relationship during the gap between the two marriages hadn’t worked out?

What she knows for sure is that this time, this failure of her second marriage to him has done her in. It wasn’t that the marriage failed. It was the way it failed that has hurt her so much. Eventually, she’ll go through the motions of life again. She can’t even do that now. But one day she will. Even as she hopes there will be another relationship, she knows there won’t be. She will never open herself up to that kind of pain again. She can barely sustain her friendships right now. Even those seem to be destined to cause pain. She isn’t able to show her friends how much they mean to her anymore.

Maybe this is the way it was supposed to be all along.

There is a silence in her heart.

THE END

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s #JusJoJan 2018 Challenge.

 

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#Darkness – #JusJoJan 2018

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After she first ran from the situation with her husband, she was afraid of the dark. She hadn’t ever been afraid of the dark before or not to her recollection. She had always been a night owl. Darkness had been her friend. She had worked in the dark. Driven alone all across the country in the dark. When the world was asleep, she was in her prime. Suddenly, the first night that she found out he was not coming home again, she was afraid of the dark.

As the days passed and each day became shorter as the winter solstice neared, the thought of the impending darkness sat upon her like a heavy blanket. She was not a good sleeper and she was awake during all those hours of darkness. Terrified. Alone. She felt like she was the only person in the world in the cold of the winter. When she finally went to bed at night, she had to leave the lights on. She prayed for daylight.

She tried to determine what had happened to her to make her so fearful. The last months with him had been dark. He had said some terrible things to her and she had always been a sensitive person. Those things had hurt her deeply. She felt she had seen the darkness of her husband’s soul. He never smiled. He seldom spoke unless it was to belittle her. When she thought back, it seemed as if darkness surrounded them both. She didn’t see the darkness while she was immersed in it. She could see it when she looked back.

She was starting to see light again and she thought that maybe, just maybe, she was not quite so afraid of the dark now. She realized what good friends she really had. If one of them didn’t call her, email her, message her, another one did. They saved her life those first horrible weeks. They were still saving her life. They all knew, maybe better than she did, that there was still a long road ahead of her in order for her to untangle her from this situation. That the darkness would still come and go and threaten to strangle her. They were there for her. She loved them all for that.

He was out there too, somewhere. In the dark.

 

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s #JusJoJan’s 2018 Challenge.

Revolt – #JusJoJan 2018

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She had started to revolt against his jealousy years before. He was so jealous that she swore he was jealous of inanimate objects. She went into a career that was male-dominated. He was, of course, jealous of her colleagues and questioned her when she had to stay late at school. If he didn’t question her, he pouted. He was even jealous of her girlfriends. She seldom went anywhere with her girlfriends because she was basically a homebody, but when she did, he was convinced they saw “men” or met “men” or that they went out of their way to be around “men.” He was even jealous of the time she spent with her dogs. Her best friend was a man. Friend only, but of course, he never believed that.

She tried to talk to him about his jealousy. She reassured him. She certainly didn’t have to be with him. She had her own money, her own means. She was with him because she wanted to be and for other reasons as well. Nothing could ever reassure him and he took his jealousy out on her. She thought his jealousy caused him to start questioning her every move. Caused him eventually to start hating her. It was so unnecessary.

Then she found out about his former ten-year affair. She quit cajoling him, reassuring him. She didn’t care anymore. She came and went as she pleased. She didn’t answer his questions anymore. She didn’t let him persecute her over a lunch with a girlfriend or a phone call from her best friend. Perhaps that had been the beginning of the end. She doesn’t know. Divorce is usually caused by a lot of little things.

She had spent the early years of this nine year marriage trying, really trying. The harder she tried, the more he expected. The more jealousy surfaced. It just wasn’t meant to be. Why couldn’t he just be a man and confront her? Tell her face to face it wasn’t working? He did exactly what his father did to his mother. The same thing as going to store for a loaf of bread and never coming home.

Why did he have to be such a sneaky coward?

Why does that have to hurt so much?

 

This post is part of Linda G Hill’s #JusJoJan’s 2018 Challenge.

 

Contemplation – #JusJoJan 2018

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She found herself in a contemplative mood today. Not just about her marriage. About the state of being married as well. She doesn’t feel like she knows much about marriage. She’s been married to only one man. Married to him twice, but just to him.  They were divorced for 14 years in between. A long time and there were other relationships, but not other marriages. She had read somewhere that only two percent of second marriages to the same person work. She was certainly not going to be in that two percent. Made sense to her. People simply don’t change that much.

She knows that she needs to accept her part in the demise of their marriage. She didn’t ever trust him after the events of their first marriage and contentious divorce. She tried to trust him, but he gave her little reason. When they got back together, he seemed like himself. By the beginning of their second year together, he either revealed his true self, which was quite changed, or he had grown into someone different in just a year. They should have spent more private time together, but the years apart had changed them and they had almost nothing in common now. He was resistant to developing common interests. Their one common interest, their beautiful island in the south, turned out to be the destruction of them. That, perhaps, broke her heart the most.

She knew that she would never marry again. Never even consider it. She would like to think that there was still a relationship out there for her. A nice guy, perhaps an intellectual, but a fun one. Someone gentle and kind. Someone she would enjoy talking to. Being with.

Her contemplation complete, she knows that time is short for her. Not that many good years left.

Was it possible?

 

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s #JusJoJan 2018 Challenge.

Justice – #JusJoJan 2018

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Sitting in her home, wondering if she could find the inspiration to write again, she pondered whether or not she would ever recover from the farce of the marriage she was trying to end. If she were honest with herself, she had to admit she didn’t only want the marriage to end, she wanted justice. She wanted to be treated fairly and she felt that she had been treated terribly by him.

Who did what he did? Did people really just decide to end their marriages by walking off? By telling their wives they would never be home again over the telephone? By changing their phone number and stopping all communication? She had been humiliated and embarrassed. She felt used and exploited. Violated. Could she ever trust anyone again? Not only did she want a divorce, she wanted justice. She knew she was unlikely to ever get it and that was distressing.

After all, what could you do to exact justice on a person who clearly didn’t care? Nothing, that’s what. He would just laugh. Nothing would be enough for her to feel the situation was resolved in a just manner. She wanted him to suffer like she had suffered in the last weeks. He wouldn’t because if he had ever felt any emotion that was positive toward her, it was long gone. So she would have to settle for a divorce and probably a contentious one at that.

She refused to think back trying to figure him out. How do you figure out an accomplished liar? She had to begin moving forward. To take her own life in her hands and start rebuilding it. He wasn’t worth her thoughts, tears, tribulations.

She hoped karma would catch up with him someday. She wouldn’t spit on him if he were on fire.

 

This post is brought to you by Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan 2018 Challenge.

Ultimatum – #JusJoJan 2018

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She didn’t believe in ultimatums. She thought they were too confrontational and just brought out the bad qualities in people. Before she took the next step, she felt that she had to try to have a conversation with him. She realized she was probably being foolish. Being too nice. She wasn’t at all hopeful. She felt she was being fair even though he had not been fair to her. She was trying to take the high road. What she had to say would amount to an ultimatum, but he had left her with no choice.

There was only one way to try to reach him since he had changed his telephone number. Before that, he wouldn’t answer her calls. She didn’t know why. All she knew is that he had said he would never be home again. She could call his sister-in-law, his only remaining family who still talked to him. She made the call and only got her voice mail. She left her message. A message that simply said she had something important to talk to him about and would she give him the message.

Two days passed before her appointment with the attorney. No call. No contact. For her, that made her final decision. He must know that without any contact, this is the decision she would make. The next step on their road. She drove to town, parked at the attorney’s office, and met her new divorce lawyer. As she left the office an hour later, she knew she liked her very much.

She had a sense of finality. She had started down the road to the end. It was time and past time.

 

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan 2018 Challenge. The prompt is brought to you by Itinerary Planner. Take a look at their site!

Humiliate – #JusJoJan 2018

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She was sitting at the dining room table, trying to make progress on her novel. She was in the middle of it, the hardest part. It was difficult to muster up any creativity  this year at her beautiful island. The tension between she and her husband was oppressive and it sucked at her soul. She was lost in thought about her marriage and her manuscript when she realized she heard voices out on the patio where he was working.

She stopped for a moment and listened. She realized it was a woman’s voice answering him when he spoke. She stood up, assuming it was either one of her friends or a neighbor who had come to visit. She went to the door and opened it to let them in. She was taken aback. There was a woman on the patio who she had never seen before. That, by itself, wasn’t so unusual where they lived. People stopped by a lot. That was one thing she liked about the island.

This woman was different and it only took her a moment to realize she was drunk. He was smiling at the woman and smirking at her. The woman saw her and said, “He told me you had curly hair too. Could you please help me with mine?”

She was stunned, but she walked out on the patio and introduced herself to the woman. She didn’t reciprocate.

“Could you help me fix my hair?” the woman said again, as her husband laughed in the background.

”I’m sorry, but I’m not a hairdresser,” she replied. The woman seemed to have already forgotten what she had asked and jabbered about why and how she came to the island. All the while, the woman kept reaching up, trying to touch her hair. She was conscious of neighbors walking by, walking their dogs, taking their daily walks. She felt the woman and her husband, who obviously knew each other, were trying to humiliate her.

She was repulsed and, suddenly, angry.

“Would you please leave?” she asked the woman. “You’re drunk.”

”Sure, honey,” she said, and walked over and hugged her husband.

She turned and walked into the house, feeling degraded and demeaned. She and her husband never spoke of it again. She wouldn’t give him that satisfaction.

 

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan 2018 Challenge. Prompt by Jim Adams

 

Room with a View – #writephoto

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The vines were growing up around her window. They were beautiful in their own, wild way. They were threatening to obstruct her view. She would send word to the gardener to trim them back, but only just a little. Not only were they pretty, but they gave her a modicum of protection.

The house was set back from the country lane, but her window looked out onto the lane. She had a good view. She could see her neighbors driving their cars, walking their dogs, walking with their children. They couldn’t see her because of the appearance of frosted glass. She liked it that way.

Her reclusiveness had started a long time ago and had worsened as she aged. Her house was wired so she could communicate with the outside world and do her work. She could order most of what she needed. She only had to get out occasionally. She enjoyed three friends she allowed to visit and she didn’t allow any family.

She became a recluse after she retired from her career. Back then, she still came and went, but only some. Then she stepped out of her comfort zone and allowed her husband back into her life. The worse things got between them, the more she cloistered herself. When he finally left her, her solitude was complete. Her embarrassment total. Her room with a view became her home forever.

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the #writephoto challenge.

Memories – #JusJoJan

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She remembers the first time they met. What’s it been? Oh yes, 43 years ago. A lifetime of memories. They were very young. The first thing she noticed about him is that he was very kind. They started dating. No boy that she’d ever dated had been this kind to her. After several months passed, they moved in together. Living together was popular in those days. They decided to eventually marry.

They married and those were the halcyon days. Theirs was such a calm household. She’d never lived in a tranquil household. She’d grown up in a household filled with hysteria, yelling, upheaval. When she looks back, she thinks that’s the reason she married him the first time. Her search for love and peace. Her parents weren’t brave. They didn’t discourage her. His mother was brave. She took both of them aside individually and advised them against marriage. She knew they loved each other, but they came from such different backgrounds. His mother knew it would never work out in the long run. They didn’t listen to her and she was right. She died a year later.

It’s been a long time and memories of that early time, those early years, have faded now especially since there are so many bad memories. But, she remembers the early years as good, fun, romantic. Something she only recently learned wiped away some of it. He told her he had an affair for the last ten years of their first 18 year marriage. She’d had no idea. She had been crushed and nothing had been the same since. He had persecuted her so badly during their first divorce for the things she had done.

Their second marriage to each other was a mistake. She had to walk away now from the good memories and the bad ones. The good ones broke her heart. The bad ones would make her old and bitter. She didn’t quite know how to walk away from the boy she grew up with and the very different man he had turned out to be. It had all gone so terribly wrong.

She hung her head and cried all night as the telephone remained silent.

 

This post is a part of Linda Hill’s #JusJoJan writing challenge for 2018.

 

Passionate – #JusJoJan

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She couldn’t remember the last time she felt passionate about him. She was capable of such passion about so many things. Sex and love in her marriage used to be two of them. Her husband only cared about sex in their marriage and when she was ill and sex was not possible for a time, he became resentful. Without sex, he withheld love. Without love, the desire for sex with him died within her. She knew they were at a stalemate.

The longer the stalemate went on, the more resentful about sex he became and the more embittered about love she became.

Resentfulness turned into aggression and combativeness on his part. He became deceitful. Without love, she became contrary and morose. Feeling passionate toward him didn’t seem  possible any longer. They were estranged while living in the same house. He wouldn’t talk to her, wouldn’t communicate about their situation.

She tried to do things that would make him happy. It was late in life to divorce, but she couldn’t see how they could stay together. It was so uncomfortable. It took a shocking turn of events for her to remember the mental illness that plagued his family and the symptoms that he was exhibiting.

She was afraid and she ran.

 

This story is part of Linda Hill’s JusJoJan 18 challenge.