I don’t know what made that day any different than all the other days I tried to leave. It seems like I had been leaving for so long at that point that I had to wonder if it would ever actually happen. I suppose I was just at my breaking point. I was going to either die, or watch someone I loved die. I had to escape the crippling madness. I was just so tired.
The night before I left, as well as the days leading up to it were some of the worse days I would ever endure. My wife’s addictions were in full swing. The demons circled her in flight with ever step she took. She had been on a bender for over week and there was no end in sight. I had lost my job about a month before. She kept showing up asking for money and when I refused to give it to her she would cause a scene. She would tell my boss that I wouldn’t give her money to feed our son. That I abused her and that I was stealing from the company. She had a habit of doing this sort of thing. She got me fired from every job I held since we were married. Most employers just couldn’t handle the constant drama. Some believed her. None ever had to walk in my shoes.
I did love her. I suppose that’s what made it hard to stay gone every time I would leave. But her mental state and additions were just too much to handle by myself. I reached out to her parents a few times. But they wouldn’t listen. I was having trouble keeping my own life together. The walls were constantly closing in and I was caught inside. When she got pregnant I thought it would change things. We left our home in Northern California to be close to her family back down in the southern part of the state. We stayed with her parents for a few months. I found a job managing a lawn and garden shop and we soon moved into our own apartment. Everything was going really good. Until our son was born. Then the drinking and drug use started back up again.
She would have people over and they would be loud and party all night. I would have to get up early for work and be up all night with our son, who was crying most of the time because of the noise. When I would get upset and throw everyone out she would go into blind rages. I would lock myself in the bedroom with our son while she pounded on the door and broke things around the apartment. I wouldn’t give her any money to use for booze or drugs so she would invite men over when I was there and flirt and carry on with them to get what she needed. There were times I would be home trying to sleep and she would have a group and people over. She would be all over guys in our living room while I tried to calm the baby down in our bedroom. I supposed I deserved it. I held on for way too long.
How could I leave? I was stuck. The plan when we left Yreka was to save up some money. Get her and the baby into an apartment and then turn myself in to settle the debt I had with the state. But then her addictions resurfaced. I couldn’t leave her alone with the baby. I couldn’t leave her alone with herself. But as long as I was still a fugitive from the law I couldn’t leave with my son. I was tired of running. I wanted to give my son a good life. So I came up with the only plan I could.
I figured that if I just left and had all power shut off, she would have no choice but to move back in with her parents. There I knew she would be safe and my son would be well taken care of. They would all hate me, but that wasn’t that far off from the already deep dislike and resentment they harbored for me. Again I reached out to her parents, who again told me I was crazy and wouldn’t listen.
So I packed a bag and got into the car to head to my sisters. As I was pulling out of our garage she jumped onto the hood and wouldn’t let go. I had to pull her off and lock her inside the garage. I drove the car down the road, parked it and came back to let her out. She began hitting and punching me. Then in an instant started crying and begging me not to go. It was always the same. I just ran, as fast as I could, back to the car and took off.
As it happened she never did move back in with her parents. She moved in with a man whom she had been seeing while we were together. It would take me almost a year to start paying off my debt to society. I would see my son only one more time before going on the inside. I would try to contact them while locked up but they would refuse my calls. I would never see either one of them again.
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’m not sure I believe that. I think part of me died that day. I am not stronger because of it. I am just more aware of what I have now. They say that life is nothing more than a series of tests. Each test we make it through brings us closer to enlightenment. If that is true than I should be glowing right about now. I wonder if surviving is the same as passing. I wonder if failed her by staying with her as long as I did. I wonder a lot about those years.