I sit at the head of the bed, as far away from him as I can possibly get and still hear his bullshit.
I stare straight down at my contracting belly, my chronic pre-term labor set into motion once again by the trauma that has just come crashing down on me like a boulder off a cliff.
As I watch my baby and beg my body to relax, I listen to his calm, emotion-less answers, that seem to float from his mouth and painfully slowly to my ears.
"I'm not a monster. I tried not to. You never want to have sex with me. I had to." His answers drip of deferred blame but he does not dare to actually say it was my fault.
One by one my questions are answered. Different women. Different places. Over a year now. Sexual addiction. Compulsive behavior. Internet hook-ups. Lunch breaks at work. Missing savings account funds explained.
I watch him then turn from a stone-cold bearer of my worst nightmare into a little, crying child. He begs me, what are you going to do? Who are you going to tell? Are you going to make me leave? Will you make me leave my children?
I am now the one who is cold and unemotional. It's as though my entire body and mind has shut down to protect myself and my unborn daughter from the unbearable pain. My world, my marriage, has fallen apart, just 3 weeks before I am to welcome this new life into our home. We have failed her. I have failed her. How could this actually be happening to me...
"Just....get out of here."
He leaves the bedroom to make a bed on the couch, and has no trouble falling asleep, as I can hear his disgusting snoring from the bedroom. I crawl into bed and stare at the ceiling, trying to suppress the scream that wants to make it's way from my chest, through my throat and out of my mouth. But there are two more children in the house who have no idea that their worlds just fell apart too. And I can't handle trying to figure out what to tell them, not now. I have to give birth in 3 weeks. A newborn to care for. I have a business to run. I have a cheating husband.
I am suddenly overtaken by a rage that I have never felt before. I hear him blaming me. I see visions of him performing the unspeakable acts with the complete strangers, women I don't know who have now touched the man who swore to touch only me. My body quivers with anger, and I can't lay there one more minute. As if overtaken my a force, I rise out of bed and float to the kitchen, where I am drawn to the knife block, as if it is calling me. I stare at it for a minute, gripping my hands into a fist so tight that there will be broken skin tomorrow. His peaceful snoring is mocking me, laughing at me, rubbing it in that I mean so little and his family means so little that he is capable of not only this disloyalty, but of sleeping right now.
I grab a butcher knife, and I walk methodically over to him on the sofa.
I stand there, holding the knife in my hand, staring at his face, deep in slumber. I feel the power and I relish in it, I take some sort of sick comfort in it, and I bask in it for just a few moments.
Of course, I do nothing. Somewhere inside my sanity seeps in, and I begin to softly cry, defeated again, powerless again, because I could never hurt anyone the way he has hurt me.
I return the knife to it's home, and I slink back into my bed, where I await sleep to take me away from this life, even just for a little while.
The morning would bring the hospital and monitoring. The week would bring his exit. The month would bring the birth of my precious daughter. The years would bring separation, divorce, and therapy for me and the kids.
These memories are the knives that stab me awake in the middle of the night, now in the present. Memories I thought were processed, filed, and stored away in the past, seemingly triggered now by the growing belly I possess once again.
Eyes fly open, head spins to where my soulmate now sleeps next to me, his hand unconsciously and lovingly resting on my stomach, protecting his son, and I remember that this one will never. We mean everything to him, and he would never.
He hears my wincing, opens his eyes, pulls me to his chest, and reminds me of this in a whisper. "I love you."
And it's enough to keep the anxiety, the memories, the flashbacks away for tonight. I draw in a deep breath, blow it out, and close my eyes.
Better things are to come.