Saturday, December 23, 2006


6am - December 23, 2005

I woke up to the clang of the phone ringing. Eyes closed, I fumbled on the nightstand, looking for the receiver.

"What time is it?" I grumbled, my voice muffled by the pillow.

"I don't know. Are you up?" My mother. One of two people audacious enough to call me at that hour.

"I am, now."

"Look, when you get up - well, when you get out of bed - and you go to check your email... I just want to tell you I'm sorry. Mo, are you listening? You need to be prepared when you see it."

"Prepared for what? When I see what?"

"George sent you an email this morning, Mouth. He wants a divorce. I'm so sorry."

"What? How do you know that?" I asked, eyes opening painfully against the morning light.

"He sent a copy to your father and I."

"Why would he do that?" I frowned.

"I don't know, Mo. Call me if you need anything."


I laid in bed for about an hour, thinking about why we'd decided it was best that I leave Bahrain, why I'd come home, and why he'd ask for a divorce two days after I'd had a third heart-breaking miscarriage. Then I thought about money - or the lack of it. It was the end of the month. There was $500 in my checking account, and I didn't have a job. My mortgage was due in less than ten days. I heard his voice in my head, a conversation from three days before.

"I think you should wait to get a job. Get your classes started, figure out how much time and energy you'll have after you're established in your coursework. Then, if you still want a job, get something part-time, on the weekends."

At the time, it had seemed like he only wanted me to be successful. Had he planned it? We'd argued the next afternoon when I came home from the hospital. He perfunctorily asked if I was alright, and moments later laid into me. It hadn't occured to me at the time that the argument meant the end of us.

"It's them or me, Mouth. You canbe faithful to your husband, the man you pledged to love, honor, and obey, or you can keep hanging out with your friends. Them or me, Mouth. Which is it?"

I hadn't answered him. All I'd said was that I wasn't going to let a man dictate to me who I could or could not spend my time with, husband or no. I didn't think it was fair for me to have to give up my support group, people I'd known for years, because of his insecurity. He thought surely a woman couldn't be surrounded by men all the time and not give in to temptation. I'm made of stronger stuff than that. The argument didn't end well, but I didn't think he'd leave me. Not so soon after the baby. Not two days before Christmas.

I called him. The phone seemed to ring forever on the other end. Finally, he picked up.

"Are you sure?" was all I said.

"I'm sure."

"What do you expect me to do about the mortgage payment? It's going to take me a little while to get a job."

"Gee, Mouth, I don't know. Since those friends of yours are so great, why don't you ask them for it?" The line went dead.

... a few months later...

"I miss you, Mo, and I love you. I think I made a mistake."

"Is that an appolagy?"

"No, I still don't think I was wrong, I just don't want to be without you."

"Then we're no better off than we were in December, George. I tell you what: I'll give you a year. One year to the day after you told me you wanted a divorce. One year to figure out what you want, and to get it right. After that..."

I didn't finish the sentence. It didn't seem necessary.

... today.

A year ago, today, I obligated myself to waiting for a man who didn't want me. A man who didn't love me because I wouldn't obey. A man who made our private life public to my family and friends.

Today I got my freedom.

It's a strange feeling. Strange, but welcome.

"Free at last, free at last,
Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!
The very time I thought I was lost!
Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!
My dungeon shook and my chains fell off!
Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!
This is religeon, I do know!
Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!
For I never felt such love before!
Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!"


LV said...

Kind of confusing. I assume the first date is supposed to read:
6am - December 23, 2005


Mouth said...

Thanks for the head's up - fixed that date. You're right, it was all muckered up.