DOUBLE STANDARD – DOUBLE LIFE (continue)
The day of the move came, with heart heavy, eyes teary, feet weak and body trembling Carolyn took one last look at the place she had called home for the past 8yrs. Almost as if she was in a predicament similar to that of Lots wife, Carolyn dared herself to keep focus and not look back. It took all the will she had, every fiber of her being but she was determined. She did not look back physically or mentally. She allows her body to remain stiff and her mind blank. Then, like a tsunami under a still sea, the silence brake ‘Caroline, don’t you hear me talking to you’ hollowed Steven. Startled Carolyn jumped to her feet with the realization that they had reached their new home and replied ‘Sorry honey I was not listening’. ‘We need to get things packed out today and you need to prepare the best meal possible because some of the members of the psychology fraternity from this area are coming over to dinner,’ Steven instructed. ‘So early honey, I thought we would get settled first’ Carolyn questioned. Obviously upset, Steven retorted ‘Do you realize I am out of a job?’ I have no time to waste, I need to let my presence be felt and, the sooner the better’ he continued. ‘O.k. dear’ replied Carolyn forcing a smile. With that said she was off. In a matter of hours they were finished unpacking and by 6 o clock she was almost finished with the dinner. By 7:30 she was ready for their dinner guests.
Approximately 8:00, the guesst started to arrive, an hour later; dinner was well on the way. The conversations were casual and friendly with Steven trying to eke out the information he needed without asking. After all the guests left, he went over the information he got. The job that he wanted was occupied by something well loved; a member of the community, a son to every one, the community’s pride and joy. Taking over this position was surely going to be a challenge. Carolyn did not dare to say anything she decided to just waite and see what happens.
The waite was long, days become weeks, weeks roll over into months, and tension began to rise as money got low. They both knew the best thing to do was for her to go out and work. She however, did not dare to say it. As for Steven, thinking about it leave him feeling as if there was a syringe pinching at his heart and tearing it apart. The fights were constant as, he took all his frustration out on her though she tries her best to do every thing right.
One day he awoke, it has been a year and he still was not able to get into the only firm in the area. Being a small rural community, he has envisioned it to be much easier. He thought his expertise was well needed. But, it was not so, he could have left to work in another area but he felt he must stay close to Carolyn. He could not give her a chance to feel too free. He could not let go of his hold on her. Nevertheless, a decision had to be made and fast.
A few days later, Steven called Carolyn into the living room and calmly broke the news to her. ‘I have decided you should work for a little while until I get a job. It’s been a year and our savings is running low,’ he told her. Carolyn could not hold back the smile that came across her face. Calmly she replied ‘I will get started on finding a job immediately.’ Steven broke her off ‘There is no need for that, I have already found you a job,’ he told her. ‘You will start working on Monday at the Commercial Bank in the town where I will take you to work in the mornings and I will pick you up after work in the evenings’ he continued. The smile on her face was short lived, she realizes that he was not about to let her go too far but, at least she would be out of the house for a while each day. So, without protest she asked if that was all and left.
Monday came and the work began, Carolyn fits comfortably in her job, her first job, ‘God this feels good’ she whispered as she basked in the moment. She was out, he was watching her but it did not matter she was out. Before she knew it, she was working for six month. She made new friends, open up a little to them and they began to ‘watch her back.’ One day, out of the blues, she ran into their old friend Errol. They chatted and updated each other on what was going on and decided to keep in touch but she did not tell Steven.
Carolyn was so happy that she began to shine,soon she got promoted and home life gets better. Steven’s temper had cooled a little, they rarely fight and Carolyn loved that. They began attending church and were soon well known in the community. They were no longer strangers. This was good for Carolyn but Steven was benefiting too. He started to volunteer at the church for counseling and word spread. Before long, he began to make his way into people’s heart.
Carolyn continued to work for another few months, then it happen……… One evening as she walked into the house, she could feel the tension in the air. It was so heavy she could almost hold it. Softly Steven began “Honey I am taking over my role in the home, as of today you will no longer work”. Carolyn felt like the walls and ceiling was closing on her, the room suddenly became dark and she no longer could breath. “But honey we could……” three slaps sent the rest of the sentence down her throat. She staggered. Knowing it was pointless to argue she asked “Can I go in on Monday to officially resign and say bye”. “No!!!” said Steven, “I have already called in to let them know you are not coming back”. Actually he continued “What ever you left in your desk will be sent over to you. Remember I got you the job so I have the right to terminate it”. Carolyn could not believe her ears. She cried through the dinner and straight into bed that night. To add to her nightmares, he announced that night that after being in church he realizes they were missing something. He told her it was time for them to start a family. He needed a child. While motherhood was great Carolyn knew it was just another way of keeping her in bondage.
Steven went back to work, and Carolyn was once again a full-pledge housewife. This time however, it was difficult; her months of working made it hard for her to contend with being at home. Everyday she died a little inside. Since the church was instrumental to Steven getting the job they continued to go to church but nothing else.
A few months later Carolyn found out she was pregnant and a little beam of joy came back into her life. Steven actually started to be nice. The first three months were good she felt the closest to happy as she thought possible. They continued to go to church and the out pouring of love was great.
One day as Carolyn sat on the verandah patting her stomach that has now began to show, a weird feeling came over her. She realizes that she has not seen her mother and sister for years. There was no one to share the joys of pregnancy with. She vowed “then and there” to reach out to her family. She decided even this once Steven would understand. Simultaneously, a car at rapid speed resembling her husband’s burst around the corner breaking her thought pattern. Carolyn was frightened “Could this be Steven” she asked herself. She soon found out as, within seconds Steven swerved into the yard burst the car door open and was up the stairs. “Carolyn! Carolyn!! Carolyn!!! He shouted his fury mounting. Carolyn was not sure what to do but before she could decide, he pulled her off the chair and to her feet. “Why didn’t you tell me you were keeping contact with Errol?” “I… I did not remember” she replied. ‘Are you sleeping with him?” Is he the baby’s father?” “Is this how you repay my trust?” Carolyn did not get the chance to answer because the questions came with slaps at a furious pace. No longer could she just allow him to beat at her, she began to retaliate but it only made him more furious. Carolyn hit at him with all she got and he pushed her. She went over the balcony and all went blank.
Carolyn awakes in the hospital, she felt for her “bump” but it was no longer there. She lost the baby. As she sat there crying, a message she heard at church started to play in her head. She remembered how the pastor said that a marriage should be and, she realizes she had enough.When Steven came in her room hours later with roses, she flatly refused them. When he told her to say she had an accident because she refuses to listen to him and climbed up to clean the windows, hence her fall; she told him softly but clearly no. “I have enough, I am going to have you arrested if not for myself then for my baby that you kill” she continued. Steven could not believe his ears, for some reason though he did not argue with her. He pleaded and even cried but, she was adamant. After leaving the hospital she reported what happened and he got arrested. She told every one what she have been through. She became a real advocate against domestic violence. Were the strength came from she did not know. After her brave talk out, many women came out and join her, women whose husbands were in high positions. They got courage from her and she felt good.
Steven tried to get back at her but she surprised him instead with divorce papers. He could not believe that after all he did to keep her under his control she had found resilience. Carolyn never looked back she found herself and began helping battered women to get justice. At the end of each motivational speech, she would make sure to tell the audience that her rationalle behind taking the abuse was ' I have money to spend and a nice home to live so I will just try to please my husband." She would go on to tell them an abuser never changes and as such they should never ever excuse their behaviour. This would be met with loud appause much to her pleasure.
Carolyn thank God everyday for the message that saved her life. She began to live her life to the fullest having friends again and her family. She decided not to have any regrets except that she did not speak out earlier.