"I guess we just don't have anything left.
Huh. No, I guess we don't.
Then comes the silence,
but this time the silence is your ally.
It's the silence that allows you to accept what has just happened.
It is silence in the face of the panicked ringing of the phone that's still in your hand.
It is a silence that seems like hours instead of seconds, and you are afraid to break it because you can't be sure this is real and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it is, this is the easy part.
At first you don't trust the silence because it has not always been kind.
This all started with silence, remember?
First came the subtle discrediting of your inner voice, that took the things you knew as wrong and made them right, or maybe it was the other way around. You're not sure, anymore. Your inner voice could try to talk sense to you, but nothing you had to say worked on him. Those aren't arguments, they're discussions; no one is yelling, right? You aren't wrong, you are a liar. You didn't make a mistake, you're incompetent. You can't defend your point because your point is indefensible and not just because you don't like to...
You can't even be sorry because that's not acceptable either.
If you were really sorry, you wouldn't have done...
whatEVER the hell it was you did
in the first place.
Your silence became your best back-handed defense,
when you would have preferred a baseball bat.
The silence of his voice,
that was the calm before the storm.
Sometimes it meant that he was content, full of cheeseburgers and curly fries and ranch dressing, watching while John Wayne just "Pilgrim'd" the shit out of everyone, spanked his woman and started another bar fight at top volume on that huge. fucking. TV.
Other times it meant that he was watching you, and he was thinking, and the more he would think the more COMPLETE INSANITY he would think OF and the angrier he would become before you even knew what was happening.
There is the silence of people who are going through it just like you.
They are women who went to school with you, women who went to church with you, women who worked with you. You bump into each other at the grocery store and on the internet, but you are alone and they are alone, all of you and your muffled inner voices.
You can't help them or they you because no one believes this could be happening to anyone else. You won't know about them until much later. The strong ones who manage to get themselves out, and you will wonder how many more haven't made it, yet.
You do not know now that for months you will bounce from couch to couch and spare room to spare room, that you will borrow money from your parents for a deposit on a miniscule apartment, or that you will have to give up your job and most of your "friends."
You do not know the lengths to which he will go to get you back.
You do not know he will play your family (or he will try) against you,
and then he will use you against them.
You don't know how low he will sink.
And it is low.
You don't know, and it is better that way, because what you haven't gotten yet that is that living with HIM...
has made you tougher than you know.