I have egg on my face but I wish I didn’t. I’ve been going on about how great it is that my sister saw the light and kicked out her abusive, no-good husband. How she’s ready to start afresh and break this cycle of abuse and dependency she’s found herself in. How she’s realised she doesn’t need a man to make her happy. Looks like I was wasting my breath because the spawn of the devil incarnate is back.
Actually, he never left. That whole song and dance about her kicking him out a couple of weeks ago was just a smoke screen. She was just telling us what she thought we wanted to hear.
I was really happy all day today. I had a good night out last night with people I count as really good friends, creative, enthusiastic people who inspired me so much that when I got home I stayed up and wrote until three in the morning.
I had a good day at work. I was told that I was an invaluable part of the company. Me, invaluable, to Cruella De Ville and her sidekick husband? I felt like asking if I could get that in writing. Preferably signed in blood.
When I got home I knew something was up when I saw that my Mum had left me five messages. I immediately thought something had happened to my Dad and was cross that my Mum hadn’t called me on my mobile. (She hates calling people on their mobiles and always worries she’ll call when someone is sitting on the toilet.)
But I digress –
Mum told me the bad news this evening. My sister and her ex are back together and want to try again. I couldn’t believe it. A thousand cliches hit me at once when I heard the news. You could have knocked me over with a feather. It hit me like a ton of bricks, a bolt out of the blue, a sledgehammer, a lightning strike. I was quite literally (and in true Aussie style) a stunned mullet.
OK, so I know I’m being a little facetious right now but I’m struggling. I feel like I’m trying to wash a sink full of dishes and no matter what I do the washing-up liquid won’t froth and the dishcloth won’t wipe the plates clean. I am in one of the lower circles of Hell where I have been sentenced to an eternity as a cleaner washing the dirty dishes of the entire world. And it sucks.
I’ve been spending the evening reading about battered wife syndrome and it makes for sobering reading.
My sister is stuck in that cycle now and I am afraid she might not make it out alive. I’m afraid that giving someone too many second chances makes him unable to modify his behaviour, makes him answerable to no one. I’m afraid that getting into the habit of making a hundred and one excuses for behaviour that is at worst, horrifying, and at best, unacceptable, allows a view of reality to be created that leads you to think that is all there is. That is all you should expect.
Most of all, I am afraid my mother is not going to live through it. ‘It’s so hard to stand back and watch someone hurt your child, your baby,’ she said today. ‘I don’t think I can stand it any more.’
I don’t think I can stand it any more, either. I don’t want to face that it is happening – that my jolly, little sister who used to dream of being one of the kids in the Von Trapp family – may have to endure further beatings from a man she claims to not be able to live without. I keep waiting for that moment when you are having a nightmare that is particularly gruesome and you wake with a flood of relief as you realise the whole thing was just a bad dream; but the moment never comes.
If I were a poker player right now I would fold. The stakes are too high for me. But I can’t. I can’t just leave the game can I?
How bad does it have to get before you walk away? I ranted on the phone to my sister just an hour ago. How bad does it have to get?
She hung up on me and when I called back the phone was off the hook. Perhaps this is how it’s going to be from now on, our days full of conversations we will never have. I wish I had inhaled her voice when I could, just in case it’s years before I hear it again.
The moon is full and low in the sky. The light it casts is creamy. My skin is silver by moonlight. I am awash with the magical glow of it. I wonder if my sister sees that moon, and if on some level she senses I am also gazing up at its brilliance. And I wonder if it affords her some comfort.