What They Said
When we said some words, in front of a minister, before God.
They said our vows were holy, unbreakable.
I signed with my life.
When he exploded because I moved furniture in our newlywed apartment.
They said things would get better.
I waited, on eggshells.
When he blamed me for something he had lost and yelled, and yelled, and yelled
They said I should not have yelled back.
I took responsibility for the escalation.
When he soiled everything, did nothing, and my frustration boiled over
They said I should respect him.
I could not, and felt a failure.
When the yelling and fighting and demanding became too much and I ran away
They said our bond was sacred.
I went back to him.
When I did not want sex, and he pressured and bullied me
They told me I needed to love him.
I drank numbness to satisfy him.
When his abuse became intolerable, and I left the house to escape
They said our relationship needed help.
I kept going through the motions.
When, exhausted, with a newborn, I said no to sex and he railed all night, relentless
They did not say anything
And I was too tired to even think of a response.
When I rang the police, to ask if they could stop the yelling
They said if he was not hitting me, they could do little.
I swallowed my pain.
When I ran to my family after yet another argument
They questioned my communication skills.
I continued struggling.
When I broke down in Church, begging God for help or relief
They said I needed to believe more.
I prayed harder.
When he worked through our family holiday and we were without him
We breathed freely, walked on solid earth
I found clarity.
When I finally walked away
They questioned my motives.
I believed myself.