My mother-in-law contacted me again the other day. I don’t call her “ex” because you divorce the husband, right? Well, I was married for four years to her son, and divorced him seven years ago.
One of his friends found me last week and sent a friend request on Facebook. I honestly couldn’t recall who he was or my connection to him, and being I pretty much just add peeps I actually know, I ignored the request.
A few days later he requested again, with a note: “Are you the Angela that was married to —?”
I let the request sit for several days. While we–the core of the Web 2.0 and earlier crowd–live very public lives, some parts of our lives we actually do keep private. Though I’ve never denied access to FB for concerns of privacy, that’s what I was faced with now. (Side note: I was also struck with just how transparent I generally am when realizing this is the first time I’ve considered my privacy.) I’ve happily dropped off the face of the planet as far as B is concerned. I stopped blogging. I moved across country. I changed my name, albeit just back to my maiden name. I moved again. Meanwhile, my friends protected my privacy, and my mother-in-law even refused to give him information about my whereabouts, or even to forward his emails.
Now, you want to add me as a Facebook friend? Why? We have no relationship. You were his friend, I barely knew you. You, like the rest were complacent in my duress. You speak from a voice of comradery, as if we bond in what we share as he’s the one who’s lost his way.
It struck me, the unawareness of the toll that my marriage had on my very being. Ignorance, really.
Then again, have I ever lifted my voice since walking away? Since the day that I decided that the desire to not be an episode of Jerry Springer outweighed my desire to follow my religious conviction to believing in my marriage and shunning divorce.
No. But here I am.
I will not add anyone who connects me to that past. At 5′ 4″, he towered a foot over me. He smothered my face with pillows. He threw me across rooms. He strong armed me across the chest. He gripped my arms. He smashed my wrists into the wall. He blocked the door, and I slept in my marriage bed with a knife beneath the mattress.
My cries were ignored in light of the sanctity of the marriage union. They merely counseled him, then chastised and rebuked me.
I lifted my face above the shame to beg for help from his mother. I hid in the hospital. There they asked me if I went to church, suggesting I’d find asylum there. No. You see, then I never bruised. Ironic isn’t it, that now I bruise easily.
In the first week of marriage his true colors came out. He struck at my face and sent my glasses flying. I suffered for four years because there were no bruises, his abuse didn’t seem bad enough. Because “we” don’t believe in divorce.
Are you fucking kidding me?