Friday, March 18, 2011

Tipping Point

NOTE: This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?

The thought crossed my mind that sleepless nights were meant for introspection, some sort of mental airing out of problems. And as my fiance' snored next to me, I gave myself to an internal glare in the mirror. I had my entire life mapped out: finish grad school by 26, get married at 27, have 2 kids by 30, and live happily ever after. I was close to finishing grad school, and I was engaged, perfectly on schedule.

Except that it wasn't perfect. Just that evening, Jason had grabbed my arm brutally, pulled my face close to his, and told me in no uncertain terms what he was going to do to me if I defied him again. I had done something I wasn't supposed to do without his permission. Something that would seem trivial to others, such as taking out the trash and saying 'hello' to the man who lived next door on my way back to the apartment, was not allowed. I had to learn my place, my fiance' told me, his breath hot on my face. This time I did not flinch at the pain in my arm, and when he let me go, I went to the freezer for an ice pack without saying a word.

There had been glaring red neon signs along the way, of course, that told me in no uncertain terms that this man was going to be abusive. But Jason was the only one who had ever asked me to marry him, and he 'fit' into the map of my life. I moved in with him, pretending that his emotional and now physical abuse would get better.

What I did not foresee on my road map was the tiny blue flame that was kindled the very first time Jason told me that I was stupid and worthless. Each new derogatory comment or insult fed the fire growing inside of me, and this was the culmination. I felt white-hot with the conflagration within me.

I would kill this man sleeping next to me if he hit me. He would hit me and I would kill him. I knew this certainty within my bones. I lay there next to him, and I thought very hard. I could stay where I was, marry this abusive man, kill him, and go to prison. Or I could leave him, go on with my life, and to hell with what everyone else said about where I was supposed to be at my age. I sat up in bed and looked at Jason. I could barely see him in the darkness.

So not worth prison time, I decided. If that meant never marrying, so be it. My road map was adding a detour. I have never looked back.


  1. Good for you! I'm 25 and I used to think 25 was the perfect age to be married. I think I'll be bumping the age up to me some time, I hope.

  2. Life plans never seem to take into account reality. Glad you took the detour to a better life.
    My bad relationship experience took place at a younger age, but I felt many of the same things you capture so well here.

    Here from TRDC

  3. Sadly too many young women aren't as smart. Isn't it amazing how we'll do whatever it takes sometimes to fit our lives into that frame? WEll written!

  4. I love how matter of fact and strongly written this was. The anger, sadness and fear for not what he would do, because you made it such a foregone conclusion, but fear for what it would make you capable of were handled with such honesty that this really shined for me.

  5. I am so happy you saw the detour sign and didn't keep driving on a busted-up road! Fantastic!

    I have to agree with whispatory - the fact that this was a true introspection, through and through, remained completely YOUR story beginning through the end proves that even in this writing Jason holds no power over you. I love it.


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!