“I won’t marry you because you’re too emotional, you’re hysterical,” he said to me.
I cried. Of course I cried. I had put five years into this relationship. I asked, maybe, once a year what our future was. I know there are a lot of men who think it old fashioned and simple, but I wanted to get married and have children. When we first moved in together, I told him this and he told me that he wanted the same, too. However, every year, there was a new reason why he wouldn’t marry me. There was always something wrong with me.
“See? Now you’re crying over nothing!”
Nothing? How was it nothing? I was crying for a damned good reason. Well, fine. He doesn’t want my emotion and right now, I don’t feel like trying to justify it. He’ll just argue and tell me I’m wrong to feel what I feel. It’s what he always does, I thought to myself. Instead of the usual argument in which he berates me for being who I was, I turned around and just walked to my room and closed the door.
I got under the covers in my twin bed and had a proper cry, making sure to muffle any sounds, any sobbing, with my pillow. We’d had that fight, too. Me crying loud enough for him to hear got me shouted at, too. The one good thing about him refusing to share a bed (and even a bedroom) with me was that I could cry to my heart’s content and he wouldn’t come in. I was miffed when he first kicked me out of our joint bed and made me sleep in a separate room. When we moved into this house, he had called the room I was to sleep in “the guest room.” I called it my room whenever I talked about it with friends or family.
Last year, the problem had been that I believed in God and he was afraid of children being raised religious. Despite me telling him that I would not teach the children about God and wouldn’t take them to church (since I didn’t even go myself), he couldn’t stand the God belief. I guess it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to reevaluate my beliefs and come to terms with what I had already guessed: there was no God. I did miss praying, though. Even though I never expected anything to come of it, I felt comfort when I thought that someone was listening to how I felt without shouting at me for it.
The year before that, the reason he gave me for not marrying me was that I was on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. I still hadn’t gotten over that one, especially since the year prior had been that I was too depressed. He had pushed me to get on medication and then the next year used it as a reason why I was deficient.
I grabbed a little stuffed dog I had in my bed and held it close to my chest. I looked at my bedside table and at the mood pills and birth control that were there. I had often wondered if I was away from all the criticizing and shouting if I would even need those pills. I thought if I were single, I could take all of those pills and throw them in the trash. The one thing the pills had done was make me trust my emotions. They weren’t so huge and I could explain why the emotions had started. In the past, I wouldn’t have known why I was so upset, it would seem unreasonable. At that moment, I was sure that I was upset because I had been judged unworthy.
Maybe I was unworthy. I was thirty pounds overweight with long, boring straight hair. I had a simple accounting job and only an associate’s degree. I couldn’t keep my laundry properly sorted or even put away on time. And I cried. I didn’t know if other women cried as much as I did. I had tried going to therapy and asked the therapist what a normal relationship looked like – I wanted to know if this was what a relationship was supposed to be like so I could know if I should be coping better.
I wanted to kill myself at that moment. I had spent five years trying to be good enough for him and was failing at it. I was clearly a worthless human being. I got up out of bed and decided to dress nicely for the last hours of my life. I put on a very nice dress, the kind you wear to an office Christmas party. I snuck quietly into the hall bathroom so that he wouldn’t notice. I put curlers in my hair and put on makeup. He gave me a hard time whenever I wore makeup but since he wasn’t going to be there in my last moments, it didn’t matter what he thought. I put on bright red lipstick because fuck him.
I even put on perfume. He claimed it gave him massive headaches so I wasn’t allowed to wear it anymore even though I was able to for the first three years we were together. I sometimes put it on when I was going to be away for the day but I always had to put it on in my car so that he wouldn’t smell it. Every time I wore a scented deodorant he accused me of wearing perfume. But for my last moments, I would be wearing my Stilla perfume.
I walked down the stairs and he was sitting on the couch. “What’s that smell?” he asked.
I didn’t answer. I continued walking.
“What are you wearing?” he asked with contempt in his voice.
I didn’t answer. I went to the entry hall where my purse was on a table. I put it over my shoulder and grabbed the door handle.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he asked.
I didn’t answer. I opened the front door and walked out.
I walked down the path towards the parking lot. I heard the door close and him walking briskly down the pathway. “Hey! Where are you going? It’s late. It’s almost time for bed!”
I didn’t answer. I got into my car, turned the ignition and put a CD in. He was right next to my car window as I backed out of my space. He had to move aside in order for me to turn and he did so. But he was banging on the driver’s side window the whole time, shouting. I’m sure insults were starting to come out of his mouth but I had the music up pretty loud.
My plan was to drive up to San Francisco and jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was almost guaranteed death. Those who had survived had usually chosen the wrong side of the bridge and jumped in feet first. I suspected they were also drunk so their muscles didn’t tense when they hit the water. Well, I knew what side to jump over and I was perfectly sober. I was happy that San Francisco never installed a suicide net despite many attempts by people to get it put in place. They figured if someone wanted to kill themselves – fine, just don’t mess up traffic on the bridge.
I didn’t even get up to Burlingame before I lost my will to do it – hell, I didn’t even get past Palo Alto. What was I doing? I pulled off the highway and made my way downtown. I parked and sobbed like a huge idiot in my car. I wished I hadn’t put on makeup. Even with waterproof mascara, there were going to be tear streaks through my foundation.
I thought about it. If I am willing to die anyways, why don’t I just start a whole new life? I’ll start with the clothes on my back and just start new – new friends, new job, new town. Everything. If it still sucks, then I’ll kill myself.
Maybe I would be passing up the great love of my life. Maybe I would always be miserable if I left. Maybe I would only find men who were worse than him. But I could always kill myself later. I looked at myself in the car mirror and tried my best to blend the makeup and clean up any streaks my sobs had caused. I got out of my car and walked downtown until I found the Rose and Crown pub. I plopped myself at the bar and ordered a cider.
A guy a few barstools down looked over at me and said, “You’re awfully dressed up for a pub.”
“I’m celebrating,” I said.
“What are you celebrating?” he asked.
“The last day of my life and the first day of my new life.”