Something good has happened. Really good. It shows how holding on and believing things will change has a power all of its own.
My friend, Gina, went through a really bad divorce last year.
It was one of those weird situations where there doesn’t overtly seem to be anything wrong that you can put your finger on as the reason for the divorce. Apart from the fact that John, Gina’s ex-husband, doesn’t have a sense of humour. You can get divorced for all sorts of reasons but I don’t think you can divorce someone for being humourless.
I should have known there was a problem when John didn’t laugh at my jokes. It’s not that I am forever walking around cracking one-liners like a stand-up comedienne, but occasionally, like most people do, I will say something that is kind of funny. Except John didn’t think anything I said was funny. Ever. He didn’t think shows renowned for their funniness on T.V. were funny. He didn’t think the cute things little kids say were funny. Nothing got him breaking into a smile. Nada. Zilch.
I should have known there was a problem because I have met men who never laugh before. Just a few, but enough to last a lifetime.
All of those men were abusers.
I didn’t find out until a few months ago that John had been an abuser.
The reason Gina’s marriage broke up was that she was being abused and she ended it.
She put up with the abuse for years. She told no one, not even her sister who she is so close to that they finish each other’s sentences.
John told everyone he ended the divorce because he had fallen out of love with Gina. He painted her as boring and uptight. As someone who was holding him back.
The real reason was that he abused Gina so badly he could have done jail time.
I took Gina to hospital well over a year ago. She suspected she had an ovarian cyst. I remember thinking at the time that she was holding her stomach in the wrong place to be suffering from a cyst but in the rush to get to hospital I kind of forgot about it.
Gina told me a few months ago that there was no ovarian cyst.
John had been checking his stock portfolio in bed one morning. Many of his shares had dropped. He was so enraged that he began to kick Gina, who was sleeping at the time, in the back, kicking and kicking until she fell on the floor.
That ovarian cyst was actually an abrasion on the liver and serious internal bleeding.
I had no idea. That’s what gets me. I had absolutely no idea. There was never a mark on her.
When someone tells you they had to suffer in that way there is a kind of crying that goes on that is completely internal. You hear the tears rushing around inside your head but there is no way to let them out. The horror of the situation is so bad you don’t even want to release your tears out into it. The grief is fingers sliding down a wall, unable to find a place to lodge themselves.
Gina has worked really hard to rebuild her sense of self since divorcing John. I am really proud of her.
When she first left him I remember her telling me that all she really wanted was to sit in the park on a swing and watch the world go up and down, back and forth, as carefree as a child.
You can’t do that when you are riddled with anxiety and self-loathing.
Gina has met a new man. A lovely man. He is seven years younger than her.
I am delighted to be able to tease her about being a cougar.
I am even more delighted to hear that she has put up a swing in the garden of her new house.
To swing as she pleases.
Image - Freedom by Clyme from DeviantART