This is Maribel. You must always remember to pronounce the b as a v. She's a Toy Manchester Terrier, another Shelter dog. She looks pretty cute snuggled up in my satin comforters, doesn't she? That, of course, is what she wants you to think. All but the eldest of my children are terrified of her. If you are, apparently, under 70 pounda she is the bane of your existence.
See how plump she is? This comes from scaring my four year old away from his meals. Not a day goes by without my son fleeing to me in tears because Maribel has bullied him out of his food. He tries to lock himself in a room to eat.
If Maribel were any bigger, we'd all be dead. You may think I am only referring to my family, but no, I'm speaking on a world-wide scale.
She's lucky I'm extremely fond of her fat little feisty self.
Perhaps you are aware that it is flooding In Texas. Yep, we're pretty much underwater here. The thunder is pretty intense. The lightening turns the darkened skies purple.
I have a frequent daydream that I am somehow able to travel back in time, possess the body of the girl I once was as the woman I am today. Most of these are vengeance fantasies. Once of my favorites is to go back and have my spirit inhabit the girl I was when married to [redacted] GLM.
Like Voldemort, I think his name needs to be said. [redacted] GLM: Let it be known that this person is one colossal waste of molecules. Worse than that, even. This is a man I will loathe until my dying day.
He was Mormon. I was heavily involved in being Mormon then, too. He ended up being excommunicated with me being one of the Church witnesses against him. Strangely, sickly, enough, I married him after that Church Trial.
Now that I've started this sordid tale, I kinda wish I hadn't. It's too long and complicated and annoying. What's up with the fact that as I reluctantly married him, I knew he was mean and ignorant and cruel and stupid and ridiculously arrogant? I knew he was lying to me about pretty much everything, too, but it was such a hassle to confront him on his deceit, bring on his defensive wrath. It was back in the 80's, on March 15th as a matter of fact, that he came by to tell me that if I did not get in his car and drive up to Reno with him that very night, he'd never see me again.
If I could time travel back to that moment, oh, how I'd laugh in his face! Instead of meekly climbing in his car.
I was married him for about a year and ten months. You know how when you read or hear about those women who are battered, you think, Why does she stay? Why does she let him do that? I was one of those women. And I still can't completely answer that question. He beat me up pretty regularly in that year and ten months. I remember once he pulled off my clothes and carried me out of our apartment and threw me in the complex dumpster. I remember my abject shame and horrible embarrassment. When people saw and just turned away, I was glad; I was too ashamed to want help.
I was going to college then. That was the time when my writing began to improve. Most of my poems at Satin Slippers were written during that time. I remember a boy in the class wrote a poem about me and the fingerprint bruises on my arms. How humiliating, to be a woman beaten.
Besides taking writing courses, I took a lot of Women's Studies courses. I began to plan my escape, to plot as only a prisoner can do.
I'd tried to leave before. Once, he tied me up, put a gun to my head, said he was going to kill me, then kill himself. I knew that I had to prepare things so that I could simply disappear one day.
Isn't it strange how hard some things can be? I mean, things that are so right can still feel so wrong, so hard. Leaving him felt, at that time, to be the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life. Looking back, I can't quite figure that out. I was really quite young, I only had a cat, no children. (I'd miscarried after he'd pushed me around one night. A blessing of a miscarriage.) It should have been simple to leave.
I had rented another apartment in another town. I had a job set up to begin the very next day. But I remember sitting with my cat on the floor that first night in my new apartment. I didn't yet have a bed or any furniture. I couldn't sleep. I was so scared. What had I done? I was alone now. I was all on my own. And in that long cold sleepless night, these things terrified me more than a life of being beaten. Something sick and craven within me wanted only to crawl back to [redacted].
At that time, the bravest, strongest thing I ever did in my life was to resist my weakness. To get up, filled with fear, and go to my new job. To not give in to the tidal pull of insecurity, the sick gravity of the destruction inside of me that longed only to return to the pain I knew, the familiar brutality.
Of course, unfortunately, the new job was with Toyota, and I was only walking into the sticky web of that old spider, John. But at least John was interesting. (Does the illness never end, oh my god?)
There are many facets to the fantasy I have of returning to take over my body back when I was with [redacted]. The main theme, though, involves fixing him with a steely gaze, shaking my head in slow disgust, turning my back fearlessly and with much disdain, and walking away. Of course, in some of these daydreams, there is a fair amount of my kicking his worthless ass all over town. All fucking over town. What a satisfaction that would be. I feel good just thinking about it.
Maribel is sleeping now. She apparently needs to sleep on satin. She's a dog who knows her own worth. Maribel takes shit from no one. It's entirely possible that the reason she was at the Shelter when I found and adopted her, was because her prior home had been abusive. Maribel is brave. She's flat-out cool. She has no fear. I picture her, a tiny little dog, just setting out on her own, refusing to stay where she was mistreated. She would staunchly choose the risk and danger of being a 9 lb dog in coyote country over brutality any day. And god help any thing that got in her way.
She'll steal my boy's breakfast tomorrow morning, and she'll snap at the big dogs if they annoy her, and she'll curl her glossy 16 lb body on my favorite pillow and dare me to move her. What can I do but laugh and love her and hope she lives forever?