When he drank, my husband became an overwhelming monstrosity. One drink was one too many, ten never enough. The more I tried to be supportive, the more he was in denial, declaring, “I can quit anytime I want.”
Emotions carved a hole in me like the machete Donny used to slice at the shrubs, vines and lurking snakes. I hated seeing my husband in a drunken stupor, losing touch with reality. But when he was sober and in his right frame of mind, I became goo-goo eyed, in love with him all over again.
The paradox of my heart.
One foot in front of the other—that’s how I kept my sanity intact. Much too encumbered to mull over my plight, I tended to my girls and even began thinking about babysitting other children for extra income.
By then, Donny threatened much, delivered less. I tried to ignore his childish ways whenever he became too tipsy to do anything but slur and stumble about.
Except for maybe once . . . or twice.
I opened the door and knew full well what to expect. Glassy-eyed, with his newly grown mustache over a silky smirk, Donny was swaying back and forth. My Prince Charming had turned into a frog. He mumbled and staggered in. His pores reeked of booze and a sour odor permeated the air.
“Where have you been all night?”
A snicker and a sneer, his only response.
“You’re drunk as a skunk,” I said in disgust. I watched him trip over his own feet and throw himself on the sofa. “Do you know what time it is?” I persisted.
“Shut up, woman!” he slurred, rolled over and sprawled on the couch, out cold.
Enough is enough. I’ll show him. I’ll teach him if it’s the last thing I do!
I went into the bathroom. Donny’s shaving-kit beckoned.
Images of a masterpiece ran wild in my head. With purpose in mind and a razor in hand, I stood over my prince-turned-toad, still snoring. Most likely, he dreamt he was a young Nimrod, back in Antigua chasing skirts, for all I knew.
Ever so cautiously, I leaned forward and began to give him a wee bit of a trim . . .
Come morning, I sat across the kitchen table from Donny, my gaze fixed on his slouched frame, forehead glistening, eyes blood-shot, hands trembling with white knuckles as he gripped the coffee pot. Suffering from another painful hangover, I observed while he poured.
I glared, poker-faced, amazed by my own bravado. Suspense was killing me.
“How’s your mustache?” I asked.
Nonchalantly, he brushed his fingers over his lip and started to rise. “It’s fine,” he croaked, and downed his coffee. He refilled his cup and headed out, slamming the door behind him.
Oh well . . . I did try to clue him in. I went into the kitchen to make breakfast.
An hour later, I answered the phone to the anticipated call. “Hello?”
“I’ll give you this one,” my husband retorted. “You’re getting to be a gutsy broad. I’m getting picked on here by all the guys at work.”
I snickered to myself. “Kinda surprised you didn’t notice anything this morning, Donny.”
“Well, you got me. Have to admit, this is a good one.”
I placed the receiver down and sat back on the recliner. A smile twisted the corners of my mouth as I replayed the events of the night before . . .
I’d bent to my task but had frozen when he stirred and muttered something. I backed away and ditched the idea of finishing. I left him asleep in the living room and crawled into bed.
Over coffee this morning, I figured he’d take a hint. Instead, he went straight to work with half a mustache.
I confess: such rare acts of sweet revenge gave a natural high.
(excerpt from Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace)
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“The moment I started it, I had echoes of ‘The Glass Castle’. This is recommended for anyone who loved Walls’ memoirs, as they have some strong parallels.” – Kath Cross (blogger).