We have decided to buy an oriental rug for a recently completed master bedroom/bath addition, so head to Green Front in Farmville which houses an entire warehouse of oriental rugs. The addition itself is cause for continual harassment as it was a choice I made without him to spend money my mother had left me rather than give it to him. I felt it was an investment that would (and did) greatly add value to our house. By the time the addition was complete we had been sleeping in separate rooms for about six years, and in our three bedroom home it was now time for my daughter and son to have their own rooms.
My inheritance could have purchased me my freedom, yes, but at the time it was a quiet part of the cycle (remembering I didn’t realize at the time it was an abusive cycle) and I was again hopeful that the painful experiences would maybe be a thing of the past.
Not remembering until it started again that nothing, absolutely nothing, could be easy and relaxing. He could never join in my excitement about anything, nor was he able to let me be in it. He had a way of deflating any enthusiasm with his attitude, his words, purposefully making sure I was ‘in line’.
We drive to Farmville, park close to the rug building, and enter through a smaller storefront into a cavernous room brimming with oriental rugs. Pile upon pile upon pile of rugs filling two floors of an old tobacco warehouse. A salesperson shows us to the area with rugs the size we are looking for and another climbs atop a huge pile and begins pulling back the corners of the rugs so we can see the pattern. Twenty minutes into it my husband firmly states, “Pick a rug!” I haven’t seen anything that I like yet and struggle with the sinking feeling of where things are headed. I ask is there one he likes. “I don’t care. Just pick one and let’s get out of here.” I am exasperated. Feeling pressured I stick firm as this is a major purchase, thousands of dollars. I plead we’ve come all this way, I’d like his input. He walks out.
The salesmen are uncertain what to do, and look at me. I shrug. I tell them I’ll chose a rug without him, privately knowing full well if it is a choice he doesn’t like, and he will not like it because he likes nothing I choose, I will hear about it for years to come.
When I do decide on some options I exit the building and walk to where the car was parked. Only it is no longer there. This, by now, is rather normal. I simply find a bench along the street and sit and wait. He comes back about an hour and a half later. I don’t ask where he’s been, but meekly say I’ve picked out some rugs for him to ‘approve’. I ask can we go see them? Understanding that isn’t going to happen, I get in the car, and he drives off. I am beyond the point of argument.
A few months later we purchase a rug privately from an ad in the paper. I don’t care for the rug, but I want something on the floor so I buy it. Yes, I was buying the rug, yet I needed his approval to avoid his perpetual disapproval.
After the shooting, when I was released from the hospital I was fortunate to be able to spend a few weeks at a friend’s house until I had recuperated enough to live independently and care for the children. Days before we were to come home, my friend accompanied me to my house. When I mustered the courage to go back into the bedroom I noticed the rug missing. I later called the cleaning company that was dispatched after the shooting to inquire where the rug was. They said it was ‘unsalvageable’, meaning they could not extract the blood stains.
Unsalvageable. A word that describes my marriage as well. Irrevocably stained at the end, unable to extract the pain, to be made clean.