I had escaped. I was safe, and my shipments were on their way to California. My daughter picked me up at the airport. I was so happy to see her, so happy to be back on California soil, and out of the Mississippi Twilight Zone. I was home.
But, little did I know that the trauma bonding would continue. The mask was about to come completely off.
I phoned him and told him that I’d arrived safely, and also told him, “You know that I am not coming back, don’t you?” I told him that there was no way I could face a winter living in that shack he lived in. There was no heat, the windows were all broken or cracked, and one of the dogs lived in the house about half the time. Plus, even if he lived in a palace with all of the amenities and luxuries a woman could possible want, he was a broken man. He could only walk very slowly and laboriously. Most of his teeth were gone. He was impotent. He was a shell of the man he once was. I explained that I did not want to be burdened with a disabled man, especially one with no resources. But even with resources, I would not have stayed. I would not go back. I told him, “you are twenty years too late. If we’d married twenty years ago, I’d stay and take care of you, but I don’t owe you anything.” He insisted that the land could bring some money. He insisted that he could walk better, and was “getting better everyday.” I reminded him that I’d just left, that I knew what his condition was, that I knew where he lived and how he lived.
He kept trying to paint an illusion of happiness, freedom and travel. He knew that I loved to travel, so suddenly he was also a lover of travel. (I was to learn later that mirroring is a narcissistic behavior because they are empty). I asked him when he was last on a plane. He couldn’t remember, but he remembered that he had a fear of flying (!). I patiently explained that he would not be able to travel without a lot of support, and would need to practice flying for short distances, then build to longer flights. He insisted that he could.
I knew that he wanted to trap me, keep me in Mississippi working for him, being his assistant, nurse, cook, housekeeper and driver. As well as financial consultant and occasional sex partner. For me, that would have been the ultimate prison.
We would go back and forth like this night after night, with no real resolution. It was like talking to a wind up toy, who had rehearsed his lines and waited for the full effect, which never came. I never agreed to go back. Then his frustration set in.
“You know, I used ta go with my father and work in New Orleans. His sister lived in New Orleans, and we would go there sometimes to work around the yard for the white woman his sister worked for. One day when I was about 14, I went there, and the housekeeper called me upstairs. That was the first time I saw a woman’s pussy.”
I was shocked. Shocked that he told me that. Shocked that he was molested at 14. Shocked at his trauma. Repulsed at the act.
I asked, “Why did you tell me that? You realize that I’m your wife and not somebody on the street? I did not need to know that.” His response was to shrug it off. He’d had the desired effect of wounding me with the information.
There was even more to come.