Thursday, April 19, 2012

Black and White

He is not what he seems.
sparkling eyes
that seem to smile and radiate
"It's great to see you."
No, that is not who he is
at all
not for a moment.

Honeymoon first morning
"You don't need your friends and family any more.
You have me now."

Six month anniversary
he awoke from a dream of
and punished me for it.

We walked in for our newborn son's
3 day checkup
A nurse's aide looked at my belly
rather than the newborn in my arms and asked
"When are you due?
Anger boiled over
with me for not being 107 pounds again
by the third day after delivering our child.

He came to me one night
looking puzzled
and said
"Your daughter is attracted to me."
I misunderstood.
She was 3 years old.
I explained a daughter craving
her father's love,
needing to know her value in his eyes.
That was not what he was saying.
Not really.
Had he been able to tell the truth
had he known what truth really was
he would not have dared to say
"I am sexually attracted to your baby girl."

Over the years he became more himself,
unable to hide from the family he held captive.
He watched us, criticized us, accused us
Yet in the evening
before bed
we all gathered in the living room
for Bible reading.
Here he continued to try to keep the mask up
saying to us in his commentaries
he was the godly one,
we needed his help and guidance
to keep us from hell.

In the car one day,
just the two of us on the way to the mall
he rained down curses on me,
curses he claimed came from God.
I was too afraid to cry.

His mind held two ways of living.
The lover of God
head of the family
friend to coworkers and church goers,
the dependable one
who could be trusted
called upon in times of trouble
Intelligent compassionate
but this was not him.

We knew the man who hated
twisted everyone's actions,
to show he was not the evil one
hated people of color or culture that varied from
what he knew was RIGHT.

We feared his anger
his braiding our words together
to get his own interpretation
he could see things we could not
of course.

We too then became among those who lived two lives
in an attempt to spare us punishment
for wrongs he imagined.
Mommy and happy children
while he was away at work
fooling others
until 4:00 came and our panic set in.
He would be home soon.
Clean up the toys and games
wash the dishes sweep the floor
to hide any love and happiness.
Fear begat anxiety
but the tension he came home to
comforted him.
We had the correct amount of respect
he felt he deserved.

The words of the therapist echoed in my head
and confirmed the hopelessness of our situation.
How to be rid of him?
There were only two ways.
He could find another woman with children
or he could die.

This was life with a sociopath.


  1. Oh, Emma. I will share more, soon, if you would like, but here, NOW, know that you are not alone...that God is a God of second chances, and that He loves you. This terrible, terrible man is NO reflection of Him.

    I know, because I had one, myself, in what now feels like another life.

    You are loved, heard, and lifted up. I will be reading more. The way your aching heart pours to page touches mine, more than you will ever know.

    De Jackson
    (followed you over from Poetic Asides)

  2. Whoa! This was non-relenting and chilling. It's written in simple language but it's rhythm is compelling. I couldn't stop. The inevitable leave or die. Tense. Very good.