Wednesday night I was doing my thing, ringing up customers and trying to send them away with a smile when I looked up and saw him. Yes, him. Travis. He stood back smiling like he expected me to be happy to see him, and I felt my blood turn to ice water in my veins. I started to shake, not so much with fear, but boiling anger. He said he wasn't there to bother me. It was alright. He only came to see the kids. (Interestingly enough, he must've expected to see the kids at work with me....)
One problem. The kids don't want to see him.
I asked all three of them if they wanted to see him, and encouraged them to do so.
I guess that seeing someone rant and rage and kick and scream and throw and shout and stomp and run and slam and curse every day of your life makes you pull back. I told them all that I would take them to him and that it would not offend or hurt me whatsoever. I did not want them in any way refuse him out of some sort of obligation or loyalty to me.
Not one of them wants to see him right now.
It breaks my heart. Not for Travis. I know that he is laying in the bed that he made for himself. He was told for years, more years than anyone deserved of the damage he was doing to all of us and he persisted. It is very difficult to allow someone to live with the consequences of their own actions. But live with it he must, because it can no longer be at the expense of me or my children. Kendra wrote it so eloquently:
Now I feel free. I feel like a weight has been lifted. I am far away from that situation...from that house...from that state of mind. And I am so happy! When you're living in it, you don't even realize how oppressive it is. I felt like everything was closed off and I was destined to lead one kind of life. Now I feel as if the whole world is opened up to me...
Some days I feel it, like a dirt I can't wash off - the scummy film of abuse. The names you were called like stickers pasted around, swaddling you like a mummy with torn and filthy bandages. The real you is under there but you feel that all you or anyone else can see are these labels, the things that he said you were.
Since he got here, Travis has pretty much left me alone. But there is that feeling of knowing he is here and that I might encounter him around every corner that stalks me. It is the reason that after being separated for months, I knew I had to leave Texas. Even that state wasn't big enough for the both of us. His deciding that he needed to be here, and that his needs mattered more than the space the rest of us needed for healing to take place is just confirmation that this is right.
I am stronger every day.