I Want A Divorce
I knew I was getting divorced; I didn’t have the words to say it yet. I told my husband I would go to Rome to celebrate my twenty-ninth birthday. This led to a battle royale fight in the kitchen, as it always did if I chose to speak to him. Every conversation led to an escalating battle where sometimes his fist would rise above me, and I’d wonder what the fuck he was thinking.
Sometimes, instead of the potential of a raised arm, he would corner me and then press into me with his larger stature into my smaller frame. It began to blur how little I talked and how many times I tried to stay out until 1 a.m. to avoid him.
The trip was meant to celebrate my birthday, but his argument was that I’d miss our wedding anniversary three days after my birthday. I didn’t plan for both my wedding and my birthday to coincide. He did; he wanted me to be twenty-five when he married me, so he planned the date according to me turning just that age, three days after my birthday.
I called up my mother one day a year into living in a new state alone, without family, friends, or anything. It was because he was trying to break through a locked door. When did it get easy? I asked her if it was normal to barricade my body weight against a door to stop him from getting to me. Her reply was, “This is what marriage is; get used to it. Stop bitching about it and get over it already. This is what you signed up for.”
I don’t like talking about this because people’s faces contort. They get this sad puppy expression, this “you seemed so much stronger than a battered woman” look about their face I hate. They can’t see me as that victim. They think I’m better than that or just flat out say they could never allow someone to do that to them. They want to blame me for staying when this man spent every day reminding me I could never live without him. I could never make enough money to survive on my own, and I believed him.
The trip to Rome was the ability to prove to myself that I could not just be gone for two weeks in another country, not speaking their language, not knowing a soul, but I could thrive in this.