It came down to this:
Me: “I am pulling in the garage when I get home.”
Him: “Bikes are there.”
Me: “Move please.”
Him: “Fuck you.”
It was the evening of July 3rd. My daughter and I were watching fireworks in our local town. He had been moving out for a week or two and was nearly finished. I had refinanced the house and given him his share of the equity.
I won’t share the rest of the text conversation, but I can tell you that it was the first night that I told my daughter that I didn’t feel comfortable staying in the same house as her dad. Not only was he drunk and angry, but he slept with a loaded gun right beside his bed. I didn’t share the details with my daughter, but she was emotionally distraught. She knew there must be a good reason for my decision, but she also feared for her father’s own safety if we didn’t go home. Without it being discussed over the last few months, she seemed to know his emotions brought him down to suicidal possibilities.
For the most part, I’ve been able to put the ugly times out of my memory, but I can’t seem to shake the events of that evening. I was so torn on who and what to protect, and whether or not the police should be involved. If I took that step, our bubbled life would have been completely exposed. I don’t know if I made the right decision, but we all got lucky. Nobody got hurt that night and the bubble didn’t break.
Because I can’t shake it, that damn garage argument has become symbolic of much of my marriage.
When we first got married, we lived in a house with a one car garage. Guess who parked in the garage? (wasn’t me). Guess who had to clean snow off their car before going to work many mornings ? (yep, me.) At the time, I chalked it up to his quirkiness about having really clean vehicles. It was not a battle I cared to fight. Looking back, I bet many people, including my father, thought “he’s an asshole making his wife park outside.” I never saw it from that perspective at the time.
In our second home, I got a place to park inside, and we lived there twenty years, so the garage dilemma was irrelevant, but it was under the surface….just waiting.
In our last home, we had a two car attached garage AND a two car detached garage. Lots of space. No worries, right? Hmmm…..
I got one space. It was in the detached garage. When it was raining, I got wet going to my car. When it was snowing and icy, I tried not to land on my butt getting to my car.
The attached garage was almost like a room in the home. It was a showplace for his motorcycles.
Over the next three years, the last three of our marriage, it definitely became a sore spot. My father had passed, and there wasn’t “room” for his 4-wheeler at our place. The true self centered nature of alcoholism was raging in our garage space.
So, on July 3rd, when we had already been to court and he had 90% of his stuff out of the house, I said I was parking where I wanted to, and all hell broke out. Crazy. And sad. Sad that physical “space” and physical “stuff” were his primary concern for most of our marriage. So many things I can look back on and be more aware of now.
Guess what? My daughter and I decided to leave that last house behind us. We bought a new place. It DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A GARAGE! Lol. But we had one built with a nice little enclosed breezeway, so that we can walk safely to our vehicles each morning.