St Patrick’s day spells regret. Each year the ridiculous glitter green accessories seem to fill the store shelves a little earlier than the year before. I know realistically that is not true, but every year it takes me off guard and I feel a pang in my chest, a weakness in my soul as I feel the sudden rush of regret and disgust. Disgust with myself, disgust with the circumstances and the actions I had once let myself fall in to. Disgust with him as I remember how overbearing he could be – how charming and deceptive. Disgust as I try in my mind to place all the blame on him, but then I know that I carry blame on my own shoulders. I am at fault as much as he was; I have no one now to blame but myself.
St Patrick’s day 2008 saw Lent. Still a couple of days left before Easter at that point, so even Lenten time reminds me of my disgust and my depression. Lent starts in February this year, just as it had in 2008. Seven years later, my uncomfortableness around this time has slowly lifted – the depression slowly becoming weaker and shorter as each year passes. But I still remember. Last year I promised myself that I have forgiven myself, but this year I wrote the story out and rehashed memories for all to read.This year, as Ash Wednesday looms near, I am not so sure I really have forgiven myself.
The festivities that night were just as tacky and glittery green as any other year downtown. By the time we made it downtown, David had already started in on me, trying to convince me that being with him wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I was already in a low place and though he was jovial, he was allowing his domineering behaviour to sneak through. I have no one to blame but myself.
Later in the week I was the most depressed I had ever been. I had literally vomited because I was so disgusted with myself. I confessed and fought and tried to give up. Thank God my husband wouldn’t let me give up. Thank God he forgave me.
David was angry.
Every year when this time comes, I start to dream. I start having nightmares and the fear comes back. As if the depression isn’t punishment enough. In April of 2008, David was threatening me, he promised to hurt me. I believed him. I knew he was capable, I knew how crazy he could be in fights. I had heard the stories of him hurting himself in order to scare his opponents. If he wasn’t afraid to make himself hurt, he sure as hell wasn’t afraid to make me hurt.
He deployed to Iraq shortly after and I felt safe for a time. A year later I heard he had returned and I would white knuckle my steering wheel if I saw a black Nissan Titan around town – afraid it would be him and that he would recognize my car. I was afraid that he would see me and the anger would return. I dreamed of what he might do if he came across me in town. I was pregnant by then, and the fear became exponential. Those lucid pregnancy dreams did not help one bit.
Eventually I heard through the grapevine that he had moved to Alaska. I felt so, so relieved. The dreams ceased and I felt safe again. Even so, as I dwelt on the past the next year I had a few of these dreams again. I dream he has his hand around my neck, his face close to mine with that determined gaze of his. I know he doesn’t ever think about me anymore. I know that these dreams are irrational, especially now that the likelihood of us ever being in the same city again is slim – that’s what I tell myself anyway when I wake up in a cold sweat.