• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 06
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He left.

The day was going just like any other day, except it was my birthday. My 55th, go figure! He didn't remember. Not that I expected him to; in the 38 years we've been together, I'd grown accustomed to being ignored, abused and insulted in every possible way, so much so that it came to me just as natural as breathing. I was so ridiculously young when we met, and so abandoned by my father... and Pete was so ruggedly handsome, masking his cruelty as being protective. And I bought into it, as naively as you buy a lottery ticket along with a million other human sheep, expecting to win the big bucks and live happily ever after. And I wasn't even going for the riches; just the happily ever after mattered. And when I didn't get it, I blamed myself. And I hid it. From everybody. All the time.

Thousands of insults, regular bruising and cuts, four children, two miscarriages and six grandchildren later... and I have finally come to my senses. And all it took was a kid, a seven-year-old kid with my enormous patience, his grandpa's eyes and the beautiful smile provided by our daughter, his mother. The boy had called just before lunch to say 'happy birthday, granny' and asked me what grandpa had gotten me. When I said 'nothing', my grandson asked a simple question: 'Why?'

Why indeed, I thought.

I looked at Pete. I was trying to remember what I loved about him. I couldn't. I knew there had been something, but it seemed a lifetime ago, and the memory faded. I didn't blame him. I simply couldn't. I should have said 'no' 38 years ago. I should have left during any of those 38 years. But it was enough. 'I don't want to live with you any more,' I said calmly.

He was devouring his food and wasn't sure he heard me right from all the chewing, so I repeated my words in the same tone.

He looked at me. He seemed surprised. Then angry. Then disgusted.

He just pushed his plate away, kicked his chair back and left outside by the back door. I knew he'd be back, but I didn't really care.

I stood up, left the food on the table and put on my shoes. I took my bag and put on my jacket. I left our house by the front door. I didn't look back. I wasn't going to.

I left.