This is the somewhat disturbing follow-on from Uncommon Beauty https://p33d33.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/uncommon-beauty
“Not guilty, Your Honour,” I said to her, a stony look on my face as, for the thousandth time, she accused me of ‘having and affair’. How could that even be possible, when we weren’t even married and we never would be? I remember that moment, out of all the moments that went before it, because for the first time I recognised the sparks: anger, frustration, and then what’s substantially worse in my opinion, indifference. We had just stepped beyond the end of the beginning; we were now in the territory of the beginning of the end.
“Where did I ever find the time for anything else?” I sneered, “When thirty-five times a week I’m having all these affairs? You know, the ones that only exist inside your head!” If you have ever felt that sensation of being completely hollow inside, of recognising that there is a space of no space, with nothing in it, then you’ll know how I felt right then.
It had been a recurring theme during our time together. She was so outwardly beautiful, the camera loved her, and so did everyone else – until they got to know her. “You’re such a lucky guy!” they’d say to me, and for a time I believed it. She tells me, in her calm and rational moments, that I’m more attractive than I give myself credit for. That not every woman goes for the dumb, young, and full of cum steroid-driven type. I smile a little. I know who I am and I wouldn’t change him for any version of the male equivalent of the poodle-cross-pitbull type. However, I’m still a product of society’s barrage of marketing on what ‘beautiful’ means, and I don’t quite fit into it.
How well I recall the first time she accused me. God, it felt like someone hit my heart with a sledgehammer. I couldn’t take it in, because it came from so far out of left field and it was so unexpected. “You’re having an affair!” Four little words that hurt me beyond belief, that made me feel like I’d done something wrong, when I was innocent. It came to me later that violence and abuse are not always committed by men against women. I spent that night, and far into the morning, trying to deflect the unfair hurt and hatred she aimed at me. Finally, she reasoned that she ‘might have been wrong,’ that she loved me so much that at times jealousy and fear of losing me made her crazy. That I was hers, and she couldn’t bear the thought of sharing me with anyone else. I felt like the garbage bin the local mongrel pisses on to mark its territory. A thing to be owned. She never did apologise.
I let myself be drawn into the spell, and so I played an active-passive part in all of this. When she was ‘herself’, she loved me like no other. The constant kisses, the hand holding, the looks at me that made me melt. She was unafraid of showing affection and the media lapped it up. We were loved as much for our open affection as we were for her beauty and my luckiness. That must have been true, because the media said so.
“Thirteen calls in one day is a bit excessive,” I said, slightly annoyed at the interruptions and the consequences of them around the office. It was yet another of those ‘wrong things’ I say. I saw ‘her’ leave her eyes and the demon within her take over. “I’m your wife!” she said, her voice raised. Pointing out that we weren’t married would have been completely counterproductive and just asking for it, so I let it slide. “It’s just that the boss’ secretary takes incoming calls, and she complained about it. If she tells the boss I could get into trouble; I’m supposed to be working,” I said, as reasonably as I could. “Well, if you’re not interested in my life … if you’re too busy talking to your boss’ secretary to schedule me in …” she said. How do these things start, and how do you end them with at least a small patch of skin left on your hide? I let it go, but as time would tell, she let it fester.
“You’re having an affair!” she screamed at me a few days later. I tried to joke it away, and in doing so escalated it badly. “It’s that bitch, Shirley! She’s always sniffing around, so plummy with her fake English accent,” she said, spitefully. I couldn’t help it; I smiled at that. “You’re kidding, right? She’s half my age, happily just-married, and she actually is English!”
Eventually, after she had met Shirley, she thought the girl could do no wrong. So began random ‘visits to the office’ for her version of a ‘quick chat’ with Shirley; they usually took hours and kept going long after the listener (because there never was time for a true discussion when she was busy talking) had grown tired and brain fagged. After it had happened a few times Shirley came into my office, eyes focused on the floor, and told me the boss wanted a quick word.
A quick ambush, more like. “Mate, when can we have, you know, a work break?” he asked. I just sat there, looking at him and trying to understand his anger and sarcasm and where they were coming from. “She’s been holding Shirley up for hours and it isn’t the first time, but it is the last time, okay?” he said. I nodded. I knew exactly what he meant; I just didn’t know how to break it to her. If you go to Google Maps and search for ‘between a rock and a hard place’ you’ll always be able to find me, because that’s where I’ll be.
I wasn’t wrong. She went absolutely ballistic, except that now I was ‘taking the boss’ side’, probably because I was blowing him under the desk. So now she’d added employment via bisexuality and sexual favours to my ever-growing laundry list of imaginary personality and lifestyle faults.
The calls and visits shrank but didn’t stop, and one day soon I was ‘invited’ back into the boss’ office for a ‘quick chat’. It got loud and it was bloody, and he wasn’t wrong on any particular point so I didn’t even try to defend myself. All that was left to me was to jump before I was pushed. I wasn’t even expected to see out my notice period.
It was while we were in that cafe we like that I had an epiphany, of sorts. We were there in a cooling off period after yet another accusation of infidelity. By this time I’d been accused many times and of many nonsensical things, like the time I was five minutes late to an arranged pick up and it was ‘obviously’ because – you guessed it – I was having an affair. “Redefining ‘quickie’,” I said, tiredly. Wrong thing to say. Wrong, wrong thing to say.
That night was memorable. It was the first time real violence had ever come into our sex life. She actually spat on me, and I couldn’t believe it. She was really vicious; clawing my back until it bled in the places where it wasn’t only red and torn, biting the side of my face hard enough to leave indents a dentist could have made dentures from, and her pièce de résistance? Smashing her fist into the side of my face so hard I saw stars. “You make me crazy. You drive me wild,” was what she said after I’d restrained her, calmed her down, and spent the night sleeping with one eye open.
Do you want to know what the worst parts were in all of this? I thought it was my fault. I thought it was something I was doing wrong, or not doing right, or not doing at all. As much as the constant accusations bothered me, that ‘still, small voice’ inside of me took her side and went on the attack, too. I was the one who bought into that whole bullshit ‘guilt by gender’ argument that’s become so fashionable. Sexual and domestic violence doesn’t happen to men – not to real men, anyway. Rape isn’t rape if you’re a guy; you just got lucky. As George Takei so aptly put it: “When a man is raped no one asks him what he was wearing.” Well, no one asked me anything.
Then, there in the cafe, I saw her lacerate an innocent bystander with harsh words and a waspish demeanour. I couldn’t help but notice it in a new context, and from that day I couldn’t help but notice it everywhere.
In the end I left. The days and months of quietly retreating into a space inside myself that was ever-shrinking with self-doubt and the belief that I was guilty of some unknowable and unnamable ‘thing’ had played enough havoc on my mind and heart. I left, and before I could pick up the rest of my things she’d rummaged through them, trashing items that had strong sentimental value to me, given by people she’d never even met and who had done her no harm. Stealing things, before literally throwing everything else outside in a heap. Sending me threatening emails and text messages about what she’d do to me and herself I left her. Then apologising and saying she missed me and just wanted me back.
This was madness, and it had to stop. I spoke to the police, and the officer on desk duty was less than helpful. He knew of her, of course, and wistfully said he’d love to have my problem. So, yeah. I was the guy who was sick of fucking her. The lucky one.
She’s out of my immediate orbit, but she’s not out of my life. I can feel her lurking there under my skin, ever ready and willing to steal any unguarded part of me she can. She’ll never really be gone until the day comes when I can trust my own judgment again. Until that day, I will never trust her again, and I’m going to be really cautious around you. I’m not a ride to be taken a turn on. You look beautiful, but I’ve seen the results of good genetics and bad wiring. Breathing space, okay? I can’t tell you I’m worth waiting for because I no longer know.