One evening returning home from a bad day on the road, my world began to slip. If I had done something at that time, would my destiny have changed? This is just a thought that lingers.
Traveling salespeople can emphasize when those boring days fishing end and the only place you want to be is home. You can travel all day from appointment to cold calls, and the monotony can build. Throw in the headache of driving through rain and city traffic on a mid-day week of uneventful sales calls anything can resemble a home.
Six months prior, I experienced a similar day. It was a Friday evening and the hope of being home for a weekend was bright. I had recently moved back into the home in hope of reconciliation or just the mere plight to ensure that what I could not fathom to be real was indeed not occurring. My mind was over manipulated to observe a “reality” that was not real.
In my mind I could not entirely grasp the idea of a relationship that could disintegrate after the journey to create a family was such a long road. For years we struggled to have children and start a family. For at least five years prior to the birth or our first child we consulted and went through several processes of fertility clinics and various doctors. At least, seven practices. Finally, through three IVF treatments we were able to conceive.
That Friday after a summer separation and moving back into the home earlier in the week I was blinded with hope. The hope that the reality I witnessed could not possibly be true. The hope that my children were not really living a dysfunctional home life. I could not have been more wrong. The home was in complete atrophy both physically and mentally.
The time away had served me well. I had time to reflect and become physically sound. The separation was positive and function-able. Although when your children begin to react to the separation, you heart begins to break. There were no tears or questions, but when your child does not want to eat you know there is something wrong.
It was not my complete decision to move back. There was a lot of push from my family and hers to keep trying for the sake of the children. It’s next to impossible to leave a relationship un-scathed from an abusive spouse.
Getting back together after Separation
Anyway, I came home one Friday full of hope only to get trapped into the wicked web. Like any Friday night return from the road you cannot wait to relax. I walked into a typical night. Pizza was on the counter and the kids were eating. Not everybody was excited to see me, but my kids sure were happy that I walked in the door. Smiles pervaded as I walked through the home and made my hellos.
There was something amiss. My wife kept going out on the back porch to smoke and talk on the phone. As I relaxed and spoke with the kids I got the feeling that something was not right. It was not the first time I felt this way, but I felt like I did not want to push any buttons that night. As the dinner time came to an end and my little ones were ready for bed, we brought them up to their beds wishing them a good night and reading some books. For the past several months I had gotten in to a routine of working out, and that night I had the itch to continue. I decided to go to the gym that night. When I got back I realized that my wife had drank another bottle of wine and was drunk and argumentative. I did not want to be part of that. I decided to spend some time with my oldest son. We played a game and then watched some television noticeably not engaging with my wife and her phone activities. As my oldest sons’ bedtime approached my wife came back into the house to instruct us to get a move on things. I took my son upstairs and set him up in our bedroom to watch a show. I came back down stairs to eat quickly and check emails.
False Domestic Violence Accusations
Within minutes my cell phone rang. An old friend of mine who I started communicating with again months prior was on the call. He asked me what was going on. I said that I was just relaxing from a work out. He then became awkward. He asked again what was going on. I asked what he was talking about. He asked where I was in the house and asked me to look outside. As I motioned to the front of the house and look out to the street I saw flashing lights. I said, “OMG the police are here,” and he was like yea what’s going on. I quickly got off the phone. The doorbell rang, and I addressed the police. In the corner of my eye I noticed my wife in the driveway speaking with another officer. The policeman at the door asked me if I knew why they were there. I said that I had no idea. He went on to explain that it was for a domestic dispute. I said ok and he began to question me more. I immediately began to question why this was happening, but I wanted to point out the obvious as well. Did they realize she was intoxicated, did they realize I just came from the gym and was sober, did they realize my oldest was coming down the stairs and upset.
In fact, the most upsetting part of this experience was when I was told later that my son asked a babysitter “if I was a bad man because the police came to our home and I left that evening.” Thankfully this sitter said absolutely not but she had the wherewithal to let a mutual friend know that this had occurred. Anyway, I was instructed to leave because if the police had to come back I was going to be arrested no matter what. I consoled my son and let him know that I would be back.
The police informed me that a neighbor had called to complain about screaming, but no screaming occurred. This immediately got my suspicion high, but really erked me was that my friend had called to warn me.
Later that evening as the police watched me leave the property, I called back my friend to discuss what had just happened. He asked to meet, and so we did. I wanted to show him that I was still in my work out clothes, sober and had no idea what just happened. He could see all that but something told me that he knew something else. I just could not put a finger on it. I could not grasp what just happened and why he was involved. We went out to discuss what happened and talk a little about his divorce. Later my wife called him, and I questioned him as to why he was taking her call never to get a clear answer.
What’s interesting and something that I did not put together at the time was that there was a previous incident with him a week prior. I had not officially moved back, but I spent some time there on the weekend helping to organize the kids’ rooms for school. I worked the boys’ rooms leaving my daughter’s room for last as she had a lot of clothes mixed about from the summer, school and those items that did not fit. I was making tremendous progress. I was banging out bags, dressers and closets. Things were coming together. Meanwhile, my wife kept interrupting me. She would say, “you didn’t have to do that” and she was going to get to it. It was getting late and she had to settle the kids down. Maybe it was time for me to go. This kept going on and on. She was trying leave the house and ensure that I was not there. Finally, I was ready to go, but super suspicious.
I left the home and the street but curiosity got the best of me. I found my friend pulling up to the house.
I later found out that there was no romantic involvement, however having a close friend turn on you during chaotic times is difficult. Moreover, it is of merit to acknowledge that a family therapist I was working with at the time who met my wife once or twice in therapy warned me not to go back to the house.