I had toyed with the idea of leaving quite a few times. In fact months ago I had spoken to a cousin who was a policeman. I needed to know what my options were. I had posed the question hypothetically. Suppose a woman wanted to leave her partner, but was concerned about her safety whilst trying to leave, what could the police do? He informed me that at the woman’s request they would come to the home. My follow up question was suppose her partner didn’t want the police in his house. What then? He explained that her request for the presence of law enforcement would supersede. The primary objective in such a situation would be to ensure the safety of the woman and to keep the peace. If the situation should escalate they would remove the man from the property. I knew he was never going to just allow me to walk away. “Dad please take me to the police station” I said.
Neriah, dad and I got into his car and we took the short drive to our local station.
“Good evening ma’am, how can I help you?” asked the officer.
“I need to leave my husband’s house but it’s likely that things could get ugly and he will not allow me to leave.”
“You would like us to come to your home to assist?”
Then he took a deep breathe. “My officers have been in training all day and I know that they are very tired. In my experience, ladies tend to need take their time in these matters. The whole thing can take hours. I don’t think my officers would be able to handle that after the long day they’ve had. Can we do this first thing tomorrow morning?”
Lol, no, not really. You don’t know me and I’m not taking “no” for an answer. “Sir, I can assure you that I don’t have a vast amount of belongings. Furthermore I guarantee that I will be done within an hour.” He was studying my face. I was praying. The very idea that freedom might be denied me made me realise how shackled I had been in my marriage. Liberty was in my grasp, if it were taken from me now I would be shattered. It had to be at this moment. I wanted it right away. I needed it immediately.
“Ok ma’am. Give me a few minutes to get my officers together. Do you have a vehicle in which to carry your belongings?” The rush of adrenalin had obviously knocked out the organising section of my brain.
“No, but my friend and her husband have a vehicle. I know they will help if I ask. They don’t live far from here.”
“Get your friend and meet me at the junction of this road.” He said.
I went back to the car and relayed the conversation to dad and Neriah. The next stop was Amber and Caleb’s home. I didn’t even have to go into any long deep explanation. They were willing to help. Caleb removed some of the crates of vegetables that he had packed at the back of his van to make space for my belongings. My father and Neriah left, while Amber, Caleb and I got into the van and drove to the junction to wait for the police. When they eventually met us, Caleb led the way to my ex-husband’s house. Before swinging off the main road Caleb dropped his wife at my parent’s home. As we drove down the bumpy road I just remember feeling dread at the showdown I felt was sure to happen. Caleb parked and I took a deep breath before opening my door.
“What do you need me to do Byooti?” he asked.
“I’m not allowed to lift anything because of my operation. So if I drag things to the top of the steps, can you just bring them down? I don’t think it would be a good idea to ask you to come in.” He nodded his approval.
As I mounted the steps, my ex-husband opened the front door. The policemen were right behind me but I still felt fear.
“Hi babes, what’s going on?” he asked.
Don’t “babes” me. “I’ve come for my things. I’m leaving.” I brushed past him and went to the spare room to retrieve a suitcase and then headed for the bedroom. Starting in one corner of the room I began to throw things into the suitcase.
“I think you’re overreacting. You didn’t really have to bring the police here. We can sit down and talk about things. You are making me out to be an unreasonable person.”
I spun round. “Unreasonable? What part of this marriage has ever been reasonable? It’s your way or nothing. Things are only ok when everything goes exactly as you want it to and I’m suffocating. I . . .” Stop! Don’t you see it? He’s distracting you. He’s trying to score points with the police. Your job is to pack. Nothing else. I resumed pulling out drawers and throwing clothing into the suitcase. He engaged one of the policemen in discussion. Trying to score points. When the case was full the other officer took it and wheeled it out to Caleb. Before long I had cleared out my wardrobe and drawers and moved on to the kitchen. My adrenalin was pouring over. The last place was the spare room where I had miscellaneous items. Satisfied that I had everything I went to the front door. As I was about to step through it, when I remembered one very important thing. I turned around to face my ex-husband and slipped my wedding ring off my finger. I held it up to him and said “This is yours, I won’t be needing it anymore.” I placed it on the table which was right next to the front door. I walked down the steps and into Caleb’s van.
“Byooti goodbye. At least say goodbye!” I could hear the desperation in his voice.
“Goodbye” I replied. I don’t know why I said it. Didn’t this night’s occurence scream goodbye loudly enough for him? I didn’t feel sad or sorry that I was leaving. He killed my heart and this was the natural consequence. This moment in time taught me a valuable lesson about God. We disobey and hurt Him so many times. We do unspeakable things, yet He loves us still. Unconditional love. This man plunged a knife time and time again into my heart until he caused it to stop beating for him. I didn’t have the capacity to love him unconditionally, besides it was never God’s plan that His children abuse each other. The healing process has taught me something else. I am in a position now where I can talk about my married past without anger and pain. When a memory is triggered it no longer brings tears. I would like to think that if I met him at the roadside in need I would help him out. I can’t tell for sure because I have never seen him since that night. Healing enables a victim to show love in principle; give a needed glass of water, or not allow a door to slam the perpetrator in the face as they come through it after you. Healing and indeed forgiving doesn’t mean that you will or should return to the emotional state of love where you grow to love them again to the state of falling in love with them. We can love in principle, we don’t have to love emotionally.
As we arrived at my parent’s home, all hands were on deck to help unload the van. I went to the police vehicle as I had had to give them the last few items. He handed them through the window and said “It seems as if your husband has followed you. We will stay here until you have finished taking all your things inside your parents home.” I was grateful, I hadn’t noticed he was parked across the road. When everything was inside I returned to the police vehicle to give my thanks. I hugged Amber tightly. She was like the younger sister I didn’t have. She didn’t know yet that I was leaving the country very soon. I prayed that she would forgive me for not telling her. I couldn’t risk him finding out about my real departure plans. ‘God’s name is a place of protection, good people can run there and be safe’ Proverbs 18:10 The Message Bible.