Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Last Straw

This is part 2 of the excerpt "The Last Week" detailing the end of my marriage. Part 1 is available here.

I sat in the bend the huge blue sectional, with mountains of laundry piled up on either side and the baby in bouncer in front of me, and cried. It seemed like I was crying all the time. Ronnie and I fought constantly. He hadn't quit drinking when I had moved in, like he had promised, or when we got married, or after the honeymoon. Now our son was born and I was struggling to find a way to keep our rent and electric bills paid, but there was perpetually a 12-pack of Budweiser in the fridge. When we'd first met, he was drinking Miller High Life and other cheaper beers, but since we got married, he was enjoying the fruits of my better paying job.

I was in pain, with my right ankle propped up in front of me. I had spent the day taking care of Little Man and doing laundry - five loads of the Little Man's cloth diapers, my spit-up and milk stained shirts, and Ronnie's dirty work clothes and aprons - by crawling from the couch to the stacked washer/dryer in our front closet. I'd never wanted a cast so badly in my life.


I looked at the clock on the bedside table - 2 am. I was alone in the bed. Little Man was sleeping in a plastic laundry basket lined with blankets beside me and Ronnie was gone. (I'd planned on co=sleeping and we hadn't bought a crib, but then I'd been worried about dropping my son off the bed, or else of Ronnie drunkenly smothering him if I placed him between us.) I sat up in the bed and used the manual breast pump to collect a 6 ounce bottle, then crawled along towards the kitchen to put the bottle in the fridge.

I came out of the room and saw the kitchen light on and heard voices. What the hell was RJ doing over here at 2 in the bleeding morning? I hastily buttoned my pajama top and, using the wall beside me, rose up to standing and started to hobble their way. It wasn't RJ - it was some man I'd never met before. He and Ronnie didn't notice me at first.

*Sniff!* Ronnie straightened up and caught my eye, a rolled up dollar stuck in his nose, making him look utterly stupid and pathetic. It wasn't the worst thing he'd done, by far, it was simply the last. He'd promised to quit drinking, and had lied. He'd spent money we didn't have on things we didn't need. He'd yelled at me and humiliated me and stolen my post-partum Percocet. He'd cashed in Little Man's change jar just the week before for weed money. I didn't have the word for it yet, but he'd raped me too. Doing lines of blow with some guy I didn't know off my kitchen counter at 2 o'clock in the morning wasn't the worst thing Ronnie did in our three-month marriage, but it was the last.

I don't remember if I scolded or screamed or just gave him a look of disgust and crawled back to bed. The next day, with the help of my sister's husband, I moved back home to my mother's.
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