The Shower

The Shower

It had only been a couple of months since my abuser had almost murdered me. My family was a month away from a wedding and I was expected to help throw a bridal shower. I had no money, no belongings, barely any clothes to wear. I was living paycheck to paycheck and using GoFundMe donations to survive. My abuser had taken more than half of the funds because most of the people who donated were his “co-workers and friends”. Nevertheless, my sister insisted that she host a shower and that I pay for the refreshments.

She also decided the shower would be a Jack and Jill-type couples party and invited male family and friends, including my abuser. I was terrified to be in the same place as the monster who torched my house and killed my dog. He was becoming progressively unhinged because he was facing arson, attempted murder and animal cruelty charges and he was obsessed with controlling my thoughts and actions as my testimony could seal his fate. I’d already lied to a grand jury to protect myself and my family by testifying that I didn’t know what happened that fateful night. But my abuser was obsessed with controlling and owning me once again, as it had always been.

I drove for seven hours to my sister’s home replaying my abuser’s most recent threats in my head. He had lashed out because I wasn’t under his thumb where I’d spent the majority of my life. He blamed my social media presence for the problems he had created, saying I needed my ego stroked by the attention my friends gave me. He accused me of being addicted to it when in truth it was his addiction to stalking my accounts and my freedom to make meaningful connections with friends that ate away at him. He told me that my children were afraid of me and that my brothers and sisters didn’t know who I was anymore. He told me if I didn’t come to my senses, seek real help and return to him that my life would be a living hell.

I arrived at my sister’s home and numbly prepared for the shower. My abuser sent a never-ending barrage of texts in an attempt to coerce me to meet him alone somewhere so that we could talk. I politely told him no and went about the day trying not to think about the potential danger I was putting myself in. I tried to remain stoic as I prepared to face this violent man who’d already demonstrated the damage that he was capable of causing.

As expected, my abuser showed up looking agitated and intimidating. The scars from his burns were visible on his head and I felt panicked as I remembered seeing him engulfed in flames. I stayed in the kitchen, frozen against the counter, throwing sandwiches together. I wanted to avoid the monster as long as humanly possible. My feet felt like bricks. I broke into a cold sweat and my hands were shaking. I couldn’t stop imagining him approaching me from behind, pouring gasoline over my head and lighting a match.

I could only avoid my abuser for so long, as everyone at the shower expected us to talk, maybe kiss and make up or kill each other, I wasn’t sure. When I ran out of things to do in the kitchen, he approached me and said “I want to talk to you, NOW”. I followed him downstairs to a private room. The moment we were alone, he grabbed me and pulled me onto his lap saying he wanted me with him, where I belonged. I stiffened. So he threw me off his lap and toward the brick fireplace. I caught myself just before falling, turned and pointed a finger at him. Then he hit me.

He stormed out of the house and I stood there in shock for a couple of minutes. I took a deep breath and went upstairs. The atmosphere at the party had taken an ominous turn and everyone seemed to be glaring at me. My abuser’s threatening texts started coming in faster than I could read them. By the next morning, I had 100s of messages confirming just how unbalanced he really was.

“My cell phone battery will be dead soon. If you have anything to say now is your chance. Not that I expect shit from you. I’m killing myself today just as soon as I muster the courage. My cell will soon be dead and so will I. There. I said it and I meant it. Fuck this shithole fucking world. No one is going to find me by my cell signal either because it goes off in a few minutes. Don’t come to my funeral. I am not going to be arrested and thrown in some psych ward. I AM Not!!

He fired off expletives one after the other. “Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. And fuuuuuuccckkkk you!!!! Fuck off. Go fuck yourself. Fuck you. Fuck You!!!!!!!!!! Fuck you very much. Fuck you. Making it easy for Lily. You don’t have to worry about coming back. It’s all gone. There is nothing to come back to. Go back to pathetic Twitter and fucking stay there. You win Lily. I’m insane. I’m insane because I can’t deal that after a lifetime I’m alone. That is why. I am not capable of dealing with this. I don’t know how to deal with this. If you wonder what set me off it was you quivering in fear just being with me. That pretty much was more than I could handle!”

I went to the Apple store and opened a new account with an unlisted phone number. The phone calls and texts stopped and I felt safer and more at peace. Two days later, I was told that I was unwelcome at the wedding because I was intentionally trying to hurt my abuser, the arsonist who almost killed me.

Sempre la Famiglia

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