I never planned on being a single mother of four children at age thirty-two, but heck, what was a girl to do when her Prince Charming transformed into Mr. Hyde faster than I could say, “I do.” Part of that Hyde was constantly getting me pregnant. The moment I popped one out he would be manipulating his way to get another. I got smarter, but so did he. With the last one, he even resorted to drugging me and having his way.

Geeeees. That ticked me off, so when he was out of town one glorious cloud-covered day, I hurried to the doctor, had him do some snipping and took care of that problem once and for all.

When he figured out that I wasn’t getting pregnant, he started filing adoption papers at the local agency. If he took care of the kids, or even helped, that would have been one thing, but to dump the whole workload on me, plus keep me never knowing when his explosive time bomb temper would erupt, and he kept me constantly on edge and lacking sleep.

So why did I stay for twelve years? That is the question I am always asked. Stupid question if you ask me. Why does anyone stay in anything that is bad. FEAR. They become used to it. We are creatures of habit. Besides, I knew if I tried to leave him he’d hunt me down and kill me to let me know that I could not take that kind of control of my life. No siree, Bobby. I, Christina Alice Thompson, was his possession, complete with the Barbie grin, Barbie make-up plastered over my tired and stressed face, and size ten jeans, which he kept demanding needed to get down to three. Forget him. I had four children. I should be a size ten. No, I earned the right to have a stomach, stretch marks, and wider hips. It was my badge of honor. I should be praised for squeezing those eight pounders out of my petite frame.

I also stayed because my parental family motto was, “If you are married, you are on your own.” They would have no more to do with me, which actually was a blessing since they are all crazy. So I stayed married. I smiled and dressed and acted like I had the perfect life that society says you are supposed to have. I thought about divorce every now and then. But when that fancy passed me, I counted myself lucky that I hadn’t given up on my marriage as easily as the rest of America.

The real question is why did I leave? I left because I was befriended. People sneaked over to my house when he wasn’t looking and told me that he treated me like shit. I know this sounds shocking and unbelievable and all that, but I didn’t know. I thought the way I was living was just the way life was. Heck, my dad beat the shit out of me monthly and he was a doctor. So what did I know? These ladies helped me plan a safe escape. They lined up work for me and promised me the world if I left him. I copied off our financial papers and nosed around his desk for anything interesting I could find whenever he left for work out of town. I didn’t know how much money we had and was mad as butter sizzling on a grill when I found out we were doing quite well. The week I found this out he had thrown a milk jug at me for buying the kind of milk that costs twenty cents more than the kind that tastes like crap. Jerk.

But I stayed. I loved him. He was kind at times, took me in his arms and told me how smart and helpful I was and how he was lucky to have me. He was lucky to have me. Too lucky. His luck didn’t run out until one breaking moment. It was such a stupid thing. Really dumb, but for some reason I could handle it no more. He called me fat. That did it. I called my lawyer. I called the ladies who had been helping me and I said, “I want out.” I grabbed my bags, the kids’ bags, and walked right out the side door. I was never to come back again. Never. I would not stay with a man who called me that. Everyone has limits. Besides, who was he to call me fat when he was lugging around fifty extra pounds? He called his weight problem “sympathy pounds” because he put them on at the same rate I put on fifty pounds when I was pregnant with the first. Maybe that was why the fat comment was my last straw.

Double Jerk!