I didn’t go shopping this week. He meant it as a punishment but for me, it was a reprieve. I wasn’t ready to see Tyler again. I wasn’t ready to not see him either. His email remained unreturned still. I still had no idea what to say. I should tell him that I was worthless and unworthy, that I was nothing and had nothing. At least that’s what the man I had married would have me think. And I really couldn’t disagree.

Our conversation, the night after soccer training …

“Who were you talking to today?”

My blank look must have annoyed him. “At soccer training,” he snapped. “A man.”

“Oh.” I blinked as my mind scrambled. Obviously my son had seen us and mentioned it. Not surprising since I didn’t usually talk to anyone. Thinking only that I would probably never talk to Tyler again I carelessly said, “What does it matter.”

“You’re a married woman Lillian,” he said with a sneer. “You could act like it.”

“Not for much longer,” I shot back, my voice low but furious.

“You’re being ridiculous.”

I shook my head in disbelief. Even after all the talks, the months that had passed, he still refused to believe I meant it.

“You are,” he said scornfully. “What do you think is going to happen? You divorce me then what? You have nothing Lillian. No money, nowhere to go. You are nothing without me.”

I felt tears well in my eyes but I blinked them away. I would not let him see me cry. He was right. I hadn’t worked for more than a decade. He paid all of the bills so I had no money. Well, an account from before we married that had a few thousand in it. Not enough to start a new life, not without a job. All of this flew through my mind as he delivered his next attack.

“Go ahead and leave Lillian,” he invited in a silky voice. “I’m sure the boys will enjoy seeing you on weekends.” I couldn’t hide my dismay and he laughed cruelly. “No judge will give you custody, you have nothing of worth to offer them. No money, no home, no job.”

“I’m not useless,” I said, my voice weak. “I’ll get a job.”

He’d looked at me like I was nothing and walked away. The following day I’d been informed that ‘the boys’ were going shopping so I could have some extra ‘me time’. Lucky me.

I’d used it to look for a job and ended up with a headache and a sense of hopelessness. Then I’d sat and stared at Tyler’s email, remembered his words about potential ‘us time’. The temptation to email him, to arrange a rendezvous while everyone else was at soccer, was strong. But overriding that was my shame.

Not because I was still married. Even though we shared a house and even a bed, the marriage was over. There had been no intimacy, physical or otherwise for months. No, I was ashamed at what I had become. A woman dependant on a man for everything. How had I let him control everything? How had I let him isolate me so thoroughly? I had nothing, not even hope at that moment.

The email I sent read:

Tyler,
I’m sorry, I have nothing to offer you. Maybe at another time.
I wish you well,
Lily

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