Three weeks earlier
Perhaps before I describe what befell me after the cops came that second time. The calmer and more jovially cruel copbs. But then again I was done discussing weaponry or things of that nature. My previous cool, mania overlaid with petulance and what I considered to be biting and incisive wit, had given way. I was drugged now. I was beaten. So maybe I should talk about the first time.
The first time was weeks before. It was the beginning of September and one of those golden days that have become ominious since 9/11. It was earlier in September though this particular golden day. And I’d asked for a divorce a month before so the house was prettied up for the selling and this was Thursday the Brokers Open house day.
That first time I got sent to the bin, I’d been up for six weeks taking Adderall, drinking energy drinks and fake absinthe. I’d been revising my books because some hotshot agent had read the first bit and asked to see the rest. So all summer long, I’d been writing other people’s books for money and my own book at night. And I’d be chatting some with online lothario who in my weakened state seemed just the ticket to liven my the deadening that my marriage had been freighted with for years and years. And then in the final months after I finished the book and the book got rejected I had asked for a divorce.
Actually I hadn’t asked for a divorce really. I’d said if you ever smoke pot again I will divorce you. It wasn’t because I thought badly of potsmoking. I like smoking pot. I think most people are at least slightly more palatable when one is high than they normally are. And I suspect that I too am. But I could be dead wrong about that.
I’d told the husband though that he should stop smoking pot. It was because I was beginning to realize that he might be smoking pot all day long every day and this was leading to some decisions that were not sound. He was always doing things like buying a cappuchinno without checking the bank balance first. And then the bank would fine him, no us because I thought married people should share bank accounts and probably because we’d started out with me making more money than him, he had fully endorsed that proposition. It had been later after the kids when I made less and he made more.
I can say that this was irksome because I considered myself at least as clever as him (that’s me stopping myself from saying that I consider myself cleverer than him) and undoubtedly a harder worker. But academia embraced him from the start and scorned me. I figured I was a better teacher as well so it embittered me that I’d missed the tenure boat and had mostly been adjuncting and struggling to get enough freelance work as a ghostwriter to keep the wolves from the door.
Unfortunately those wolves had been huffing and puffing outside of the various doors of my life for a good long time. And I had been feeling that after all of the trying and the trying it was never going to be a time when there were no wolves. I’d been through two graduate schools and worked every single job I could manage to get. From secretary to copywriter to graduate assistant and deand’s office minion. I’d scrabble and scrapped my way from one job to the next working and wriggling to make it all work and still I was poor. The husband had not had to have so many jobs because of having parents who appeared like wealthy people.
Years of that kind of thing can wear upon you particularly when children start appearing. The daughter appeared while I was writing my dissertation. The other one who was considered at that time when we were too uncivilized to recognize the vast number of available genders unfortuatnly impinged upon by a dearth of pronouns. The girl and the other one contributed to the poverty quite significantly. And they were work too. A lot of work.
By the time we find me being hauled off to the bin for the first time, I’m as thin as I have ever been. As a result of the six months of Adderall, energy drinks, absinthe, writing and teaching and scraping the house and repainting the house and scrubbing the floors and taking care of kids and conducting an imaginary affair over the internet. All of these things burn off calories. So I aws thin and tense on the day of the broker’s open house.
We had no money. We needed every single penny we could get out of the house and it was in the kind of disarray that houses owned by people who have no money are always in disarray. So, people who have no money to hire workers have to try to do things themselves. I myself, skinny enervated and possessed of quite shaky hands went myself on a ladder to scrape and paint the front of the house. I asked the husband to pick up that task so that I could go pull up carpets inside. One day I walked out to the front to see if he needed a class of water or something because of all that laboring in the hot sun. The ladder was propped against the house. The paint can was unopened, and the husband was nowhere to be seen.