Betina and Peter in their marriage have witnessed many trials. This is their dialogue in the aftermath of an occurrence which threatened to destroy everything they both held dear…
Betina knows a place and a feeling of helplessness and fear. A state of mind which when it grips her, never seems to let go; she has to fight and crawl her way out of it. She is weary and alone in this place and all she wants is to get out. What she doesn’t know, is how to navigate her emotions away from this desert of misery. As each day comes and goes, she feels as though her will weakens even more.
She knows that she has to try harder to help herself, fight for her life and happiness; yet this reservation to even try consumes her, why? She knows her resolve will determine to some degree the outcome of this saga which has become her life, but something much stronger seems to be holding her down.
She looks around her and sees her children. She hears their voices, their laughter and their cries. Their voices travel and echo around the house as she lays in bed and she suddenly wishes that she was a child herself. She wished for the innocence and freedom that came with youth. Somehow the thought of this is soothing to her, and for the moment all seems calm in her body and mind…but reality has a cruel sense of humour… in a little while it hits home again. This thing has been, since her marriage to Peter. She knows full well that holding on to the past especially to its negativity, would never allow her move on to some normality of life, especially since there were so many unresolved issues.
Her issues were many and overpowering. They were mainly with Peter’s family, especially his mother. He would always get caught in the middle of it all and as any rational human being would, he took no sides, just tried to deal with things as diplomatically as possible. The stand he often took meant that he treated her without sentiment and dealt with the issues almost as a court room judge would. Often he came across as preachy and uncaring. Betina believed herself to be a rational person, but this thing he did, she could not fathom; exactly what was he trying to accomplish and for whom? Where exactly does he draw the line and be her husband?
As a result, she’s unhappy and angry all the time because she thinks he has no spine to even correct them and their errors, whereas he thinks he’s doing his best. She’s filled with so much rage and anger, and constantly struggles to keep both in check in order to maintain some peace and order in their lives.
Looking back, she realizes that she is still filled with so much resentment towards all of them especially his mother. Betina believes she’s on a sole mission and its purpose was to destroy their relationship. Somehow Betina feels that this mission has been accomplished, because where they were at that moment was far away from happily ever after.
“Why don’t you hear me? Why don’t you see the pain and damage you are causing with this thing you do? Am I to be punished perpetually for one single mistake? Come on…you have to know that this is not right.” Betina vividly recalls her words to him.
She believed that he had fallen victim to something…what? She had no clue. “They or something have you believing that I will leave our life, so you buy into the fear. Those thoughts do cross my mind, I fantasize about it frequently but I also know that it would be just that…fantasy.”
The truth of the matter was that running away from their life or him, would not solve anything. She had to consider the bigger picture. It was not just the two of them anymore; there were other lives to consider. How exactly does she look her 3 year old in the eye and say mommy is leaving because she’s scared of what life may be five years down the road? How does she deny these children their right to a secure home with both mom and dad present at all times? The security of family life where both parents have a contribution to make, raising them in a manner they had come to know all their lives. Their children like most people, had also come to form an opinion based on their reality of what a home should be for them. She knew this included both her and their father; how does she take this away from them?
Then there was also this little matter of love…what does she do with her love for him? How is it possible to love him so much and still feel so much disappointment and anger towards him? Why do these negatives consume her so? As they evolved in the life they share, she is finally developed the courage to decipher between guilt and truth. The things that he had gotten away with, all because of the guilt she had carried in her heart all those years.
She feels responsible for him, his happiness and safety. In retrospect she sees the arrogance in her thinking. She began to see life from a different angle, an angle which neither judged nor condemned either of them. Rather this angle made her see herself as a woman prone to err and him as well. She no longer had the desire to smile and make happy as long as it brought peace, whilst inside she was screaming in agony with a burning desire to smack the jealousy, inadequacies and manipulations out of him.
“We are indeed kindred spirit in the sense that we do know each other quite well. Just like you, I anticipate every move even before you think of it, and I can read your face and expressions like a book. That’s why the lies don’t work anymore: the shrugging of shoulders and forced smiles as proof that all is good.” She remembers telling him. All these ceased to have any impact on her.
All these memories and more were painful and haunting to her. The times he allowed them speak to her as if she was nobody; she remembers being called a gold digger by his mother. The times she had to apologize and make happy when all the while she was the one who deserved to be apologized too. The times when she cooked and cleaned after them all like a maid, and still had to care for three new babies barely four weeks old, and yet he still did nothing. He just watched as she bore the insults and humiliation. All he said was that it was her cross to bear. Their pastor she could have accepted that from, but him?
All that she could think of was where was the promise of being there and shielding her from harm? Where did love go then? How will this hurting stop? Who can she tell her pains to, her best friend? Her best friend was the one who brought all the hurt in the first place; her best friend broke her heart.
Looking back now, she realizes that he could not have done any better; this was because of his general make up. He had adopted this superiority in character and belief, placing them above others; his exact words were “We know better and are stronger in spirit. Why let the weaker spirits suffer a test you know they can never pass.” Although remaining silent, she was screaming inside! Who died and made him mediator between her and her maker? At other times when he came up with the same line, she screamed and protested her disapproval and complained of her pain; all he did was call her selfish.
Moments like this, all that made sense to her was how stupid she was to have fed his warped view of their world. She Fed his perversion of what was right and wrong, enabling him by understanding each time and when he finally, apologized, only to return to the same pattern a few days later. She felt like an asshole for having tried to rationalize and justify him, always saying to herself…”perhaps he will see sense this time around and this will all stop.” It never did, and her suffering continued.
Finally arriving at a place where her soul was lost, asleep and confused, yet somehow it was this same Peter who reached out to her, stood, fought and help her breath again. The stress was horrible, the ordeal was devastating, but he was strong and like a raging bull fought his way through; razing any and every obstacle that stood in their way.
But what purpose was it all for, if he raised her up only to trample all over her again? Yes, that’s exactly what she believes he did. She knew that her knowledge of life was limited, but also knew one thing for sure; love does not treat anyone this way. He constantly compared and measured her level and quality of love for him, always claiming his as more worthy and superior.
He always said how he never measured up in her eyes and she lacked respect for him…this always confused her. She wondered how it was that after 22 years of marriage and 5 children, he could come up with something like this. Surely there must have been love somewhere in all of this. Why is it that as long as she disagreed or had a separate opinion about anything, it automatically meant that she is not one with him.
Here she was thinking that the uniqueness in unions is the diversity in thought and understanding, which when it comes together, has the capability of unleashing an incredible solidarity that no negative force could penetrate. Then again, what does she know? She had cried so many tears and faked so many joys that finally; she knew she was no longer willing to live this way.
Why does he want to own her? How could she be in this relationship where the very thing destabilizing is the same which is supposed to be her strength?
Every action or gesture connected to her or carried out by her in some way had an ulterior motive; he allowed his mind to conjure weird thoughts and belief’s and then turns around and judges her based on them. So many years of reasoning and rationalizing, always trying to make him see that these things were not real, but what he assumes them to be; in the end she would be in tears and resign herself to sorrow again. This had to stop…if there is no trust, where is the love? One cannot work without the other.
She finally decided to fight back; she will not have him define her anymore, no more ugliness and the assumptions that his opinions and fantasies are truths. He had broken her heart so many times; she now feared it would never mend again, at least not by him.
“I broke your heart? Ha! How do you break something that died a long time ago? Yes! You died a long time ago darling, all I have been doing for years is try to shock you back to life. Where is the girl I married? The girl filled with so much life and exuberance that I could hardly keep up. It’s as though you just gave up on life, our life. Tell me…what was so bad about it that death seemed a better alternative? Your body was certainly here, but your spirit had gone. Did I not treat you right? We had dreams and hope, planned how to map out our own little world and make it right as we saw fit. Somewhere between baby two and the triplets you morphed into a zombie.
You just made happy and went along for the ride, for so long I tried… oh I did try, to make you see me and accept our present as it was then. That did not mean our future would be same, but you coached your spirit not to budge, your version of reality was permanent, there was no way to reach you. I died to you. The children were luckier than me; at least they got the occasional smile, laughter and hugs.
They could still find their mom in that shell that you had become; somehow, they knew you were still in there. Every promise I made to you was from the depth of my soul, I know and still believe that you are my love and my life…this is not my making, it just is.
When you describe this man that you believe I have come to be, and these crimes I am supposed to have committed against you; I’m at a loss for words because I do not know this person, neither can I identify with him. I know that my desperation to keep us together made me cross certain lines and did things far from my character; all I did, I did so that we would not lose us. I had lost my best friend and I desperately wanted her back. You changed, you no longer thought like you or reasoned like you; you became sad and cynical.
I know that in your eyes, things have gone beyond mending, but that is for those who have no faith in love. You may say that you lack the energy or desire to try, but think about this my love, can you let go of any of your children?
Is there anyone of them that could possibly drive you to such an act? Yet you are quick to want to discard me, turn away and close your mind to me as though I never even was…this is what I saw and felt and how you make me feel.
My heart is not broken, no…far from that! My heart is aching; the ache lingers because it knows not where these accusations come from, and is exhausted from defending itself. I have been accused, convicted and condemned all at the same time…why? Where is this love you speak of so eloquently of? You my love have me imprisoned by the only thing which gives me hope…your love.
I have tried and cannot visualize my world without you…so tell me, where do we go from here? Everything I believe and know to be truth, is what I use as measure when dealing with you…every opinion, gesture, question, disagreement or acknowledgement, have all been based on what I consider my truth, our truth. If these have hurt or undermined you in anyway, then accept my most sincere apology; what do I gain from hurting or destroying intentionally, the very thing I desire most.
I know in my heart that my feelings do not deceive me, how then am I to accept that you are here with me, when I feel you and know that your soul is gone far away from me?
“This is the pattern of our life, we weave a web so tight that it’s become impossible to unravel, and perhaps if given a chance at weaving again; perhaps better a second time… if you will not stop to hear me, how do you begin to understand what is wrong or even have an inkling as to how to make it better? I fear I will be lost without you, but being here with you is not healthy for me. It’s almost as if there is a force that is making sure of this, because one minute you swear to do right, make it better this time, but next thing I know, I’m being interrogated and bullied all over again. The attention that you pay to details in your accusations, naming days and quoting times of my errors, insubordination and betrayal are truly staggering.
Anyone tenacious like that surely is out to prove something, what exactly would you achieve by catching me red handed as you put it; red handed at what? Not loving you enough? I have begged you to let me go…why would you want to be with someone whose love you are not so sure of? You claim you cannot make such a decision and have no desire to do so, now I’m stuck and thorn between choosing which is more important; your happiness or mine? Between doing what serves us best as a family, or what makes us happy individually. For each time I don’t smile and hug after you have abused my emotions and my soul, you get angry because I don’t make happy and play house with you.
Am I not entitled to my own soreness? Surely I should be able to have the privilege to sulk and be angry for as long as I want… our making up should not also be mandated by you should it?
You have broken my heart and it cannot be mend this time, at least not by you. I despair at it all coming to nothing, the struggles that we have faced and triumphed over in the past, and all we managed to achieve together; and I ask myself many times, to what purpose then was all this for? What glory is this to God? Someone please throw me a line…for I am drowning in this deep sea of sorrow and confusion.”
“Throw you a line? I will throw you a line, how about you come clean with me? Tell me exactly why you did not hear my voice when I shouted my fears and worries.
You were so unhappy with me you found comfort away from me. It can’t be because our love died, No! I would know if that was the case. I saw you look at me when everything was calm, and the night was still. I saw your look. It was always the look of love. You wince and grimace as though you struggled to remain so. Later I realized it was the battle between your head and your heart.
A new heart, a new place; where the stress of our world was far away. That’s what you found yourself. Now you want me to let go because you found a false release. I feel ashamed and dishonoured, but then I knew this would happen. You were an accident waiting to happen.
I have cried and cursed all at once, asking why? Why did God let it go this far? Don’t you get it? You are my prize, my treasure, my essence: You were not given to be shared or soiled, but that was what you chose; to share and soil your body and soul with another.
Forgive one mistake you say? I’m exhausted from rage and anger. Perhaps I’m guilty as charged. Funny thing though, is that I’m angrier with myself than I am with you. I kept pushing and pushing you to face what was happening. I wonder if I had not pushed so hard, perhaps you would have not gone so far.
We are now both in hell and I see your pain and mine every day. Why do you punish yourself so? Why? I know my sorrow and have made peace with these ghosts of pain. You my love need to take the first step towards healing. You need to forgive yourself. Your prison is self-made Betti, for long ago my love, I forgave you.
Angry yes, rage even more, but stopped loving you…never! Not for one day!
I have seen life through so many colours and many times I choose the colour Rose; because it shows beauty in even the ugliest of pictures. I am made this way, I have grown this way and this way I have found love in you.
There are no words to describe such beauty as my world as I see it in you. So accept my line and pull yourself up. As for me…I’ll wait here, and will wait still, until I feel your tug and I will pull you up.”