You should have killed me.

Posted: September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Going to class that night, I was stressed out. I was going through a very rough divorce because my soon-to-be-ex had turned vicious. I was facing complete financial ruin and bankruptcy. I had been strongly advised by my attorney to settle as quickly as possible and to avoid going to court because I would lose. The law was clear; he was entitled to half of everything and the fact that he hadn’t worked for years didn’t mean anything. He was going after the house, my retirement, alimony and because I worked for my family, he wanted half of my father’s business. This meant he was doing everything he could to put me and my family out on the street.

It had been a rough couple of weeks and it didn’t look like it was going to get any better.

I started class on time and everyone was there. I felt a bit off but didn’t think anyone could tell. I had my usual cup of coffee and the topic of the evening was one’s own personal integrity. I had them all read about integrity and honor being more important than your immediate life. It was a good class that lead to over an hour of discussions. A couple of times I had to raise my voice to get their attention because they were starting to talk over each other and I couldn’t keep up with all of them.

As I was packing up for the evening and grabbing all their lessons to grade in the days to come, one of my student’s stayed behind. Her name was Maria and she wanted to ask me a question. We had time, so I pulled out a chair for her, sat down and listened.

“I just wanted to know if you are alright,” she said.

“I’m fine. Maybe just a bit tired, that’s all.”

She shook her head, reached over and put her hand on mine. “No, it’s not that. I watched you tonight while everyone was talking. There’s something bothering you. Do you want to talk about it?”

Maria always brought me a cup of coffee when I came in on Friday night. She was bright and attentive and was always smiling.

“Well, I won’t lie but it’s not anything I can talk about right now. Besides, this class is for you guys and not me and it does help me to come here and be with all of you. Truly it does and it means a great deal to me that you took the time to ask.”

“Stay right here. I’ll be right back,” she said as she ran out of the room. She was back a few minutes later, out of breath and running out of time before her bed check. She put a photo down on the table. It was a picture of a young child in a wheelchair who was obviously suffering from cerebral palsy. It was her son.

“I’m showing you his picture because I want you to know something. What I did that got me in here was wrong but I didn’t think I had any options. It was a stupid mistake and now he’s staying with my Mom. You said earlier that your honor and integrity were more important that your immediate life. I made a choice to help him. I committed insurance fraud and got caught and you know what? I’m glad I did it because it got him some care for a few months that he needed.  Whatever you are dealing with, I just want you to know that I will listen, even if you’re not supposed to tell me anything because I know you have to remain anonymous for your own protection, but I’ll listen anytime you want.”

I leaned over and hugged her. I looked at the time and she had less than a minute before her bed check. She gave me another quick hug, grabbed her picture and ran out the door.

Driving home, I thought about what she had said. The fact of the matter was I was running scared and being threatened and pushed around by a man I had been married to my entire adult life who I no longer knew. I was scared and worried and being careful. I was being careful and I had never been that way.

People often ask the question “What is truth” and the answer is so simple.

Truth is what you say it is. Nothing more and nothing less. You decide what is true for you and that is what it is. Truth is static and can knock down walls and cut through steel plates and always remain what it is you said it was.

The truth of the matter was I was a hypocrite.

That was my truth.

I was not doing what I was telling others to do. I was making decisions based on the fear of what would happen to my life if I did fight. I had turned into a cowering, scared and somewhat pathetic woman.

I had turned into someone I no longer respected or liked. I was a coward because I was worried about money. The realization hit me so hard while I was driving home that I had to pull over and take a few deep breaths.

What right did I have to go there, teach these women everything I could if I was not going to practice it in my own life?

I had no right to do that.

The rest of the way home, I kept seeing that little boy strapped down in a wheelchair along with his mother’s face shining with pride and love over her little boy. A woman who had decided, on her own and without any help from me, to give up her immediate life to help her child.

I was ashamed.

I walked into my house, threw my purse and briefcase on the couch and picked-up my phone. It was late but I didn’t care. I had something to say to someone.

The soon-to-be-ex answered and before he could say anything, I told him to not say a word and just listen.

“Sam, I’ve thought long and hard about your demands. I know you are legally entitled to them, but that’s not the point of my phone call. I just want you to know that after all these years of being married to me, you should have known better.”

“Known better than what?”

“That if you were going to come after me, you had one shot and you should have killed me. You didn’t and that was your mistake. Game on,” I said and hung-up the phone.

My attorney was going to kill me, but so what? If I was not a person who was going to live by what I preached, I was already dead. I formed my game plan and took my shot and guess what?

I did what I preached and everything turned out just fine.

If only my students understood that they teach me as much, if not more so, than I teach them.

  1. Mari Thomas says:

    Thank you so much, I needed this post today 😀

  2. We create our own truth – so true! I found peace in that realization myself.

  3. I can’t get rid of the lump in my throat. What is it that makes us repress who we really are? It must happen like a drip drip drip of water on a stone.
    Happily there are those who have insight, courage and a caring nature to nudge us back on the right road. Guardian Angels come in many forms.

  4. anxiousgeek says:

    Great psot, I really liked this.

  5. Jeremy Bates says:

    Glad it worked out for you. I sense in your writing a considerable amount of seething anger. Hang in there.

    One thing that you said that troubled me. You said, “You decide what is true for you and that is what it is.” I couldn’t disagree more. Truth is truth. If truth is what we say it is then why not say 4 plus 5 equals whatever I want it to be?

    I’m not here to bust your chops. I am sincerely glad you had things go your way. I just wish more men had things go their way in divorces as women win over 90% of custody cases.

    See how it goes?

    It would be much better if we could all get along. I do know that when I get married, there will be a prenuptial for the sake of both parties.

    I truly hope you find a lasting peace and resolve your anger. It eats at the soul and unchecked destroys a person.

    • Susan Lewis says:

      Hi Jeremy,

      This is one of thousands of stories of mine. This particular one had some anger in it and rightly so.

      If you read any of my others one you would not think of me as an angry person, but I do express my emotions freely. I don’t know you or if you write at all but if you do, then you know about writing what is true for you or the character. It doesn’t make it carved in stone. It’s just a story about a moment in life.

      So, I have nothing to resolve. Things are quite good and wonderful for me but I do appreciate your good wishes.

      When I am talking about truth, I am not talking about science. 1 plus 1 will always equal 2. I am referring to a person deciding what is correct and true for them and how they decide to lead their lives. Yes, I see how it goes.

      Divorce is always a difficult thing to go through and I also wish more people would get along but…welcome to planet Earth. 😛

      My soul is doing well!