A Moment Like This

On Monday I ran across this piece, part of Sweetney’s excellent “Through the Fire” series on divorce, and I was particularly struck by this passage:

Reading [Eleanor Roosevelt’s] story that afternoon by the pool, I could no longer dodge the truth about my own personal life. My marriage was a sham. I was furious that I had given all my power to my in-laws. And I knew I had to take it back. It was two more years – and one daughter later – before I finally gathered the courage to file for divorce.

I don’t know that everyone has “A Moment” when they realize that their marriage can’t be saved, and I think some people have that moment and only recognize it later.

At least, that’s what happened to me.

My moment came in the drive-through of the CVS pharmacy. I had recently moved to Tallahassee and was working full-time. My then-husband was looking for work. I was at the CVS to pick up his prescriptions (he’s a Type I diabetic with high blood pressure and acid reflux, so it was quite a few prescriptions).

I handed the cashier the credit card (it was his card, I was just an authorized user) and she informed me that it had been declined. I called then-husband.

“The credit card was declined. Do you know what’s going on?”

“No. Oh, well…. actually, yeah. I had you taken off the card.”

“Why did you do that?’

I could almost hear him shrug. “I don’t know. I was mad at you for something.”

And you know what I did?

Despite my Amherst education and a solid decade of girl-power indoctrination, I bought the prescriptions with my own money, and slinked home. I don’t recall if I apologized, but I probably did.

But that moment kept coming back to me. And every time I turned it over in my head, I got angrier. Those were HIS prescriptions. He wasn’t even working at the time. And then to remove me from a credit card that he controlled, simply because he was mad at me? For an offense he didn’t even remember?

Slowly, I became appalled. Not necessarily at him, but at myself. Appalled that I had learned to put up with such petty behavior. Appalled that I was letting this happen to me. Like Pauline in the piece above, I was furious that I had given all my power to someone else. Appalled that my son was watching, always watching, with his bright intelligent eyes.

It was months before I actually filed for divorce, but that day was a turning point – maybe not the straw that broke the camel’s back, but perhaps the grain of sand that tipped the scales.

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