Several years ago, I was waiting for Loser to make his bi-yearly trip to Florida to “see me.” He had texted me that he was running behind and wouldn’t get there until after eight.
I decided to watch television while I was waiting and I found that movie, “The Perfect Husband.” (The movie about Scott Peterson who killed his pregnant wife.) Loser had a key to my house so he let himself in and came into the living room. I didn’t get up to meet or greet him. I rarely did.
I asked him if he needed any help bringing his things in and he said “nah. I just want to rest for a minute.”
I didn’t think he’d be interested in watching so I told him I would change the channel. He said “keep it on there. I’ll watch it with you.”
We were sitting there watching this movie about a piece of shit husband who was fucking around on his beautiful, pregnant wife and who wanted to be free so he decided to kill her.
After the movie was over, I looked at Loser and said “I want to thank you for not killing me.” He was so cavalier as he lit his cigarette and said “shoowa.” (Southern for sure.)
Why would it pop into my mind to thank him for not killing me? I think I already knew subconsciously that he had killed me emotionally. He just hadn’t killed me physically…and I fucking thanked him.
That memory prompted me to think about other things I should thank Loser for.
Here are some of those things:
1. He always thought of himself first, which taught me how to be comfortable always being last.
2. He left me alone most of the time, which taught me to be independent.
3. He couldn’t be bothered if something broke in the house, which taught me how to become a handy-man.
4. He bullied and demeaned his children, which taught me how to be protective.
5. He went to bars after work every night, which taught me how to store left-overs.
6. He was infuriated when I got sick, which taught me not to complain.
7. He was outraged when I got hurt, which taught me to withstand pain and hide my injuries.
8. He never asked to go Denmark for weeks at a time to play golf, which taught me that I could buy a new Coach purse and not feel guilty.
9. He thought being playful was ridiculous, which taught me how to be reserved and unapproachable.
10. He was disappointed that he sired daughters, which made me determined to raise them believing that they could do anything a man could do and probably do it better.
11. He believed marriage vows meant nothing, which taught me to have no illusions about faithfulness.
12. The family he was born into was all important, which taught me that we should never expect to matter and learn to live with disappointment when he consistently chose them over us.
13. When he got a new job, he left me behind to take care of everything, which taught me how to be responsible.
14. His absence meant I had to raise our four children almost on my own, which taught me how to be strong and resilient.
15. He poisoned the only family that was ever really mine against me, which taught me how to live with loss.
16. He felt that he was superior, which taught me how to feel inferior.
17. He criticized me for not being educated, which taught me that in his eyes, I had no value.
18. He wanted his name carried on by a son, who he treated like shit, which taught me that having a namesake meant nothing to him.
I learned to take slaps and being jerked around. I learned to take his outbursts and name-calling. I learned to live with being ignored.
Still, I am thankful that he didn’t kill me.