You know the song. Sinnerman by Nina Simone. You know the tune. The song that plays in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair. I love that movie. Maybe because I love the art in it. Maybe because I like the music in it. But maybe also because it's an interesting story of how one man manages to trick so many and yet the woman who comes to know she's playing with fire still falls in love with him. He of course believes he will escape justice regardless of his actions. Pierce Brosnan's character may have gone on to live happily ever after with the woman who loves him but off screen a man who lives a sinful life will not have such an ending. Instead they often reap what they sow… it may take time but eventually they will receive ten fold whatever poisonous seeds they planted.
Remember, whatever you plant, you will reap!
Therefore, sow good seeds. Sow the Word of God.
Galatians 6:7 -7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
names have been omitted in this post
She settled in the chair across from me at Rosa's Cafe… a chain restaurant that served tacos, enchiladas and sopapilla's. I had a plate of sour cream and chicken enchiladas, spanish rice and beans. She was having crispy beef tacos and a side order of chips and queso. It was one of our favorite restaurants… we liked the ease of it, the little patio on nice days, the fact it was kid friendly and on Tuesdays they had the taco plate dinner at a discount. Today we were kid free and enjoying our meal in a shady spot on the patio… it was an off time so we had it to ourselves which made it even better. Dressed in sandals, khaki shorts and a tank top with a straw fedora on her head she looked the epitome of summer and the palm tree fronds blew overhead in the light wind and sunshine.
"Oh my gosh, have some of this queso, I can't eat it all." She urged at me pushing the cup toward the center of the table and then taking a bite of her taco.
"I'm starving, I'm glad we came here. Good thinking… although I don't think I ever get tired of this place." I told her. Wearing a ball cap, shorts and a wrinkled button down top with the sleeves rolled back I popped a chip in my mouth.
"I know… I love it. So tell me what's new in your world… what's going on?" She asked me.
"We have mediation next month. I can't believe I have to take off work for this. If I was to take off it would be to do something fun. You know, like spend time with my kid not go discuss her. Or argue about her. It's all nonsense. He just thinks it up." I told her with irritation.
"Well, he's pulled enough stunts that you'd think they'd have enough to do something about him. Hopefully they will shut him down. He always manages to get away with stuff." She told me.
"Yeah… I know. There's been so much it's unreal. Do you remember the pool table situation? That was a real doozy." I remarked.
She tilted her head slightly "Remind me… I'm not sure."
"Oh, it was lovely. That was during the divorce. We'd decided to sell the pool table, right? I mean… there was no reason for us to keep it. So I'm still living at the house at that time and he puts out an ad to sell the table. Some guy calls and wants to buy it. We arrange to meet at the house. " I tell her and she nods. I continue "But, it's his week with the kids. I tell him beforehand on the phone that there is zero reason for the kids to be present for this, right?" I explain, referring to my soon to be ex.
She agrees, "Yeah, I mean I'd see no reason for them to be there. This is business."
"Right. So I asked him to leave them with his mother. But no… he shows up and the kids are with him. They are waiting in the living room on the main floor with my mom and I while he goes downstairs to meet with the guy. The guy looks it over, likes it and offers him fifteen hundred dollars for it. He says yeah, that's fine." I pause and take a sip of ice water, "He wants a receipt…. I mean, I get that… he was paying cash. So then… " I continue, then referring to my ex "He comes upstairs and DEMANDS I get on the computer and type up the man a receipt. He was ugly about it. So I told him no. Then he gets up IN MY FACE… literally a half inch and screams at me 'YOU GET DOWNSTAIRS AND TYPE HIM UP A RECEIPT!!!! RIGHT NOW!!!!!' and my mom is standing in the kitchen on the opposite side of the bar from me. The kids are huddled together scared clinging to each other in the living room completely freaked out."
"Why couldn't he just write up a receipt? Doesn't even have to be typed. Just write up something. Takes two seconds." She told me.
I nodded "I know… exactly. He was acting like a psycho. Screaming like a maniac. He kept doing it. I couldn't get away from him, I was trapped between him, the bar and the little end wall to it. So he sees that I'm not moving and doing it. I stand there and grip the counter top with my left hand to steady myself and my mom is telling him he needs to stop. She thought he was getting ready to push me backward or hit me."
"I hope you called the cops on him." She told me.
I shook my head, "I calmly tell him I'm not doing it and my mom begins saying how he's completely out of line. She wasn't yelling, just telling him. He then rushes around the granite bar into the kitchen where she's standing in front of the cooktop trapped like he's going to charge her. She shrinks back away from him. Then at the last second he whips around and storms off downstairs. I don't know what he did after that. I started trying to console the kids. They were crying hysterically from his behavior."
"That's crazy. He needed to be called on. All this and in front of the kids." She shook her head.
"It is ridiculous. And… you're right, I SHOULD have called the police. I could have used it in court. Should have had a report filed on him. But I was so stressed and was focused on the kids obviously. And my mom. Another lesson learned. I wish I'd had it on video." I reflected.
My friend sat across from me and seemed to be in thought… "You know… I know it seems like he's always winning… but eventually people like him will run out of steam… eventually they screw up big time, they mess with the wrong person or something… and they are finally on the receiving end of it. It may take awhile but it happens." She told me and poured more salsa on her taco from a tiny clear plastic container.
I dipped a chip into the cup of queso, "It's been going on five years… do you realize that? I filed October 2012. This is 2017. But in that I know it's going to get better. I have too much on him at this point. That has to count for something. Surely someone can shut him down."
She nodded and spoke "Yeah… and you've handled it the best you can. With way more patience and grace that I ever could have. More than most. You know how many people read stuff like what you've been through and think how they would have lost it by now? You know how many people are probably enraged reading that mess? It reflects badly on him. All you want him to do is behave and be the man, the father he needs to be."
If they really loved you they wouldn't have screamed at you, pushed you, hit you, pulled at you like a puppet to be manipulated and then the worst of all… used your children as pawns in a custody battle because they want to win. They aren't content with 50/50 either. They want to win. Time and time again they show their true colors by their actions shown and then cry that you are oh so terrible. Please. They may have fooled many… or maybe just a few but eventually people begin to see that the saga continues… years on end… and people finally come to the realization that all those outcries of "She's angry, mean, crazy, etc" are nothing but lies and they have been aiding and abetting the devil in disguise.
People wonder why you didn't leave or leave sooner.
Because if you haven't been in a situation, in a marriage where abuse or especially insidious sociopathic abuse occurred you have no idea how truly hard it is to escape. The sinner stands there seemingly saint-like while you are standing in a world of confusion and lies, of fog and chaos due to emotional abuse of projection and gas-lighting. Refer to the 1944 movie Gaslight. You can't explain something you don't even have a grasp on yet yourself. You cannot leave something you don't understand and are trying daily to just get your footing. You have mortgages, children, school plays, in-laws and soccer practice to tend to… the fact that you are barely keeping your head above water just becomes something you slowly learn to cope with… something you adapt to on some level.
Someone asked me once if I was ever mad at my mother for not leaving my dad sooner. I was thirty-seven years old when she left him and it was a day of celebration when she divorced him. She had moved in with me during my divorce process. I told her once my divorce was final: "If you go back home you won't ever be able to leave again. This is your one chance. Right now." She thankfully chose to not go back and filed as she'd wanted to for so long. The day she had him served I cried…. tears of victory. It was a victory for all of us… such a long time coming. It was also bittersweet… my youngest sister wasn't with us. It was all too in our faces that we had not all gotten away unscathed. We were minus one. I had been my mother's confidant during their marriage… some might say she shouldn't have leaned on me. Some might say that was selfish. Some might say she should have left much sooner. I struggled for some time coming to terms with the fact she didn't leave during my childhood. Yet the brutal truth is she couldn't. And when I say that I don't say it lightly. There would have been enormously negative consequences and I knew that even as a child. Having lived it myself right there beside her… suffering alongside her all the years of toxicity, I can empathize with her situation and why she felt she had to stay. We as a society, as a whole need to stop pointing fingers at those who didn't leave or victim blame and instead be the understanding empathetic ears and hearts to those who have been oppressed for much too long.
The sinner of a man can't always be stopped and so often those smaller than the orchestrator suffer needlessly…. and no matter how much you try to cut those chains, to break away to get free… no matter how much you hope you won't hear his tires in the drive each night or his resounding footsteps coming in the house… no matter how much you walk around with a quiet sadness because you are barely hanging on by a thread…. no matter how much you see the despairing reality that stuff means more than family, no matter that control is deemed more important than love…. no matter how much you question how a good God could let you be born in this disastrous mess… no matter how much you wish someone would just fix this dark prison so you could all rejoice in freedom and light… you keep praying, you keep praying for a miracle and until that miracle is delivered the clock ticks on and the song of sin continues… but God is great and He loves you through all the sins you endure… keep praying.