There were rules to follow, of course, and I did my best. I had to give at least one day’s notice before I planned anything out of the house besides work hours. If I was away from the house when he is at home, I am to text or send a photo every hour or so to keep him updated. If I didn’t, I received a string of text messages I couldn’t ignore. I needed to be home by the time he got off work. If I wasn’t, I got an "F off” and he sat on the computer in the bedroom with the door closed all night. This was because if I didn’t do these things without him asking, it was a sign to him that I didn’t care enough.
By Friday, I was overworked and tired, having spent sixteen hours on mandatory overtime at the prison where I worked as a guard and already having cleaned the house twice that week, I decided to let myself enjoy my day off a bit. I wrote, I worked out, I took a bath, I went to a county park and read some short stories by my favorite author while lying on the grass in the sun. I visited him at work to deliver him an energy drink (he worked and went to school - both full time - so he didn’t get days off to revamp). That evening when he came home, he noticed that I had my gym bag and some clothes tossed on the floor by my nightstand, my “nook” as we called it. I apologized and told him I planned on cleaning it up tomorrow, that I took some time for myself that day because I needed it. He reminded me that he doesn’t get days off and for me to rub that in his face like this was bullcrap. He spent the rest of the evening on his computer while I cleaned up the apartment some more. I fell asleep around 9:00pm on the couch, where I had been watching TV with his son. When I woke to climb into bed around 10:30pm, he was still on the computer.
When he came home from work Saturday afternoon, there were flowers! Two bunches of them! He said one was for being an asshat the other day, and one was because he loved me. I felt loved and functioned so well that weekend, driving his son and son’s friend around and cooking for them to make his son’s birthday happy while he was at work. I cleaned the house and did some crafting. I rode my bike, I walked the dogs, I took a bath. He seemed happy for the next two days, things were taken care of at home and with his son, he could simply go to work and come home without worrying about those issues.
On Monday night we had the house to ourselves as his son had gone to his mom’s for the next four days according to their placement schedule. The whole conversation only started because I asked him what was bothering him, as I’d noticed he’d snapped at me four times in the past two days, twice in front of the kids. He told me I was too critical of him and must be crazy for having specific examples of what he did that supposedly hurt me in the past 48 hours. He told me all the things he thought I should work on about myself, because I am “a lot to take in”. He told me that I am a nag when I let him know things that bothered me- like him leaving the porch door unlocked so the wind could blow it open and the cat could get out, or asking him if he locked my car after he used it to pick his son up. That I must be so perfect, that I can critique his every move. When I started to cry, he reminded me that it was a juvenile move, because men aren’t allowed to cry. By the end of the conversation, I was more confused and hurt than when it started.
Tuesday morning he woke me up at 3:30am reprimanding me for not talking enough the past day. I still felt so disoriented from last night’s conversation that I really didn’t know what to say. There was so much resentment he had been holding onto toward me, I felt blindsided. I told him I had thought we were happy, that I was happy. He invited me to recite a list of things I didn’t like about him, when I couldn’t produce one and refused to participate because I felt it was hurtful, he called me an “altruistic witch” and ignored me the rest of the morning. He went about his normal routine and then left for school at 9:30am. I cried and paced the house, I threw the flowers in the garbage. I called myself in to work, there was just no way I could drive anywhere like this. He came home from school at 2:30pm and we talked. He tried to explain that his criticism came from a place of love and that he loved that I was “a lot to take in” because I kept him intrigued and interested. He told me that he loved me forever. We hugged and cried a little. An hour or so later, I was lying on the bed reading when he came in and gave me that sultry smile and bit his bottom lip, looking at my ass, tight in my workout spandex. I invited him into the bed and he crawled on top of me. He kissed me on the mouth, told me he loved me, then pulled up my shirt and began lightly kissing my stomach. As my body started to writhe under him, pulled his head back up and smiled, kissed my mouth once more, then he got up and left the room chuckling. I felt unwanted and confused, so I drank a few beers and shopped online, leaving him to sit on his computer the rest of the evening.
Trivia night Wednesday! We had fun and got pretty drunk. We got along all through our night out and I didn’t make him angry even once! I don’t remember a lot of what happened during sex that night, but my vagina was sore for two days after and it hurt to sit on my bike seat.
Thursday we both went to work hungover. I got done with work earlier than him, so I came home, walked the dogs, went for a run and took a shower. By the time he came home, the house was tidy and quiet. We talked about going for a bike ride and ordering Indian food. Instead, he sat on his computer until later than eight at night, then finally ordered food. He watched two episodes of a TV show and then fell asleep.
In the morning on Friday, he left for work without a sound. Something just felt off- he always kissed me goodbye- but I couldn’t pinpoint what my lurking suspicion was yet. Reluctantly and with immense guilt, I logged onto his computer and plugged in the keystroke recorder I had purchased online and had gotten delivered to my sister’s house last week. I combed his emails and messages, almost immediately noticing a string of emails to and from a person named Trystin *****. Almost every email had some mention of my name, his complaints to her about me and our marriage, some of her replies with suggestive selfies attached. There were conversations about their plans to meet up (always when I was scheduled to be at work) and comments about a recent visit they had and how cute she thought my daughter was. My heart sank further and further into my intestines, my anxiety and anger building up so violently, I ran to the bathroom and vomited all over the sink and vanity. When the heaving stopped, I looked at myself in the mirror, sweating with tears running from my bloodshot eyes. How had this happened to me? What exactly was happening? My mind raced and a dull, piercing pain began at the base of my skull. I tried to reason with it, tried to understand where this girl had come from, how long this had been going on, how much she knew about me and our marriage, what I should do about it now? The pain was now radiating up the back of my head and I struggled to think clearly through the throbbing dull pain continuing up the back of my head. I paced the house and dug everywhere I could for evidence of an affair. I could find nothing else. I searched the internet for this Trystin ***** and found her, but with a different name and plenty of photos which were obviously professionally taken. Then I looked at the IP addresses on the emails from him to her and from her to him. They were the same IP address, meaning they came from the same computer. What in the hell??? It was all I could do to wait for him to walk in the door so I could get some answers. When he finally did, I felt crazed and desperate to keep my mind clear. I tried to stay calm as I asked who Trystin was, how did he know her, why had she met my six year old daughter? His rage was instant, pictures were ripped off the walls and flung into them, glass shattering and wood snapping. He punched a hole though the pantry door at eye level, smashing his hand through straight through the back of the door leaving a hole like a gaping mouth, jagged wood splinters of teeth hanging from the edges. I felt nearly paralyzed in panic, struggling to keep myself out of his way, feeling like prey in my own kitchen. The girl was his friend, he said. She heard his struggles and supported him in his shitty marriage, she understood him. I asked from behind the counter, “Who is she?”. I felt sick to my stomach anticipating his answer. “She’s my friend because I made her up, she’s in my mind, because I had to.” He suddenly grabbed my cell phone off the counter, threw it to the ground and smashed the screen with the heel of his boot on the linoleum, when the screen went black he kicked the phone across the room where it smacked my Pug in the right eye, sending her screaming to her kennel. As I started in panic across the room toward her, he lunged at me and slammed my body backward into the corner of the kitchen table, shooting pain immediately racing up my back. I fell to the floor on my hands and knees, struggling to catch my breath. He kicked my hard in my left buttock, sending me to the floor again, this time landing on my face. Blood running from my mouth and eye, I clutched my head and curled into a ball trying to protect my face and head with my hands and arms as best I could but there was no need. He kicked me once in the small of my back screaming “I hate you, whore!” and stomped to the bedroom while I laid sobbing on the cold floor with blood running down my face and a pain seared my spine and I struggled to breathe. He was standing in the living room a few seconds later, holding my work-issued Beretta 9mm gripped to his right palm, his eyes looking dark and empty. My already panicked mind tried to comprehend the presence of the gun, in a race to figure out how to stop whatever was could happen now. As I struggled to my feet, he raised the gun, pointing it to his right temple with tears streaming down his defeated looking face. I opened my mouth to scream, to stop him, as he stared straight into my eyes and pulled the trigger.