Thursday, June 19, 2008

"You're Going To Get Yourself Stabbed."

I got home last night from work at my normal hour. I arrived home in my normal car. I unlocked the door with my normal key, and then I unlocked the deadbolt with my other, normal key. I didn't enter through the window, or come down the chimney, or make any unusual noises. I went outside to coax the dog in, and I stood there and petted her for a while. When I came back in from the backdoor, my husband burst out of the bedroom holding a large hunting knife in the air.

"What the fuck is wrong with you!?" he screamed at me. "I was screaming your name! Why the fuck didn't you answer me?"

Perhaps he was screaming my name. Perhaps he'd been making sure it was me who had come home in my car, entered the house with my house key, and arrived at precisely the same time I always arrive home. Perhaps he'd genuinely been surprised that his wife was coming home from work...and so maybe he had been shouting my name and gotten afraid when I didn't answer because I was outside with the dog. Maybe that happened...but I'm not sure why.

I stood before him, the knife still held in the air, a wild, angry look in his eye. I felt strangely calm, but rather confused.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?! You are going to get yourself stabbed acting like that! Jesus fucking Christ!" he ranted.

I realized as he stood there, still threatening me with a knife, that I was in a moment that felt pretty unmanageable, and I said a little prayer. I didn't respond to him for a few moments. I also, slowly, realized that there's a real good chance that he wasn't concerned about who was coming in the house at all...there was just too much he could have done to confirm that it was me, like look out the window at my car in the driveway. There was no need, also, for him to continue to hold the knife like that, so menacingly. There was no need for the yelling.

"Do you think this shit is funny, you acting like that? Are you playing some kind of fucking game?" he asked.

Finally, I responded, "No. I've been at work for a long time. I'm not coming home to pick a fight with you. I didn't hear you calling me because I was outside with the dog."

He finally lowered the knife and walked away, slamming the bedroom door, and shouting at me over his shoulder. I collected my purse and books from the kitchen counter, and I went and took a long bath.

Honestly, I think he wanted me to know that he is very angry about how I wouldn't let him bamboozle me out of money. I think the whole display was a pretense to scare me, to take power over me. He wanted to threaten me with a knife because he doesn't like it that I'm growing, setting boundaries, and standing up to his manipulation. He's scared, and he wants me to be scared, too.

I am not sure what to do with this incident. I have promised myself that I won't live with him if he's scary...that I won't be afraid to come home anymore. I wasn't quite afraid of him, knife-wielding maniac that he was...but I'm not sure that my calmness wasn't just the way I respond to crises now. Crisis after crisis after crisis has made me rather indifferent, rather still on the inside and out. Maybe I should have been afraid.

Today, I'm wary and distant. He is presenting lots of interesting shaming behaviors, and he seems to need desperately for me to feel like I've done something wrong or like I'm at risk of losing him. I'm not afraid of losing him. In fact, I'm more afraid of not being able to let him go.