A couple of years ago, I blogged about irony and defined it as the poignant contrast between what you want and what you get. The reason for writing that post was because my husband and I had just had our family portraits made; the first and only ones we had during eighteen years of marriage. That was in April of 2009. By May of that year we were in the process of divorcing. The picture we had taken shows a happy family, but the reality was that we were coming apart at the seams. At this stage of my life, I have that family portrait hanging on the wall outside my bedroom door. It is a precious reminder to me that even though our marriage didn’t work out, my ex-husband and I along with our daughters are still a family.
Today, I’m thinking again about irony, but for a very different reason. July 13th is the day that the protective order against my abusive ex-partner runs out. That is six days from now. Since he had stayed away from me after having dropped his appeal last August and because there had been no further damage to my property, I had planned on letting the matter drop. He was leaving me alone – that was all I ever wanted. To all appearances he was going on with his life, and I have been doing the same. I did not know where he was and was content not to know. But then, on July 5th, he changed everything when he broke the no-contact portion of the protective order by faxing a job-application for a non-existing position to my workplace. I went to work on Wednesday morning, July 6th, and it was lying on my desk – all applications come across my desk; this is something he knows very well, since he knows I’m the administrative assistant.
Seeing his name, reading his writing – and there is no doubt that it is his; I’d recognize that grammar and syntax anywhere – was like taking another hit to the side of the skull. The fear was immediate and left me physically ill and shaking, but after that came the realization that it didn’t matter how much I wanted to let things drop, he is never going to allow that to happen. I can’t fathom the kind of person who would make such an ill-considered decision. But then again, I can’t fathom the kind of person who would tell a woman that he loved her, and then beat her, and then want to hold her to make up for it. I can’t fathom the kind of person who would threaten to commit suicide, drive drunk, or go out and find someone to rape if his girlfriend would not give in and have sex. I can’t understand that kind of mentality. Thank God I can’t. My only question is: why? What’s the point? What in the world is he trying to prove? Doesn’t he realize that he is forcing my hand? I wanted to let it go, to forgive, to move on. Obviously, he is not going to allow that to happen.
So here we are – same place we were last year; we’ve come full-circle. I am in the same situation, except so far there are no nails in my tires and my mailbox is intact. I am left with no alternative but to legally pursue my own protection. It is not what I wanted. It is not what I hoped for. But that’s irony - the tragic gap between what you want and what you get.