My Toxic Husband
Life is really a big gamble. You have to be conscious of each of your steps.
Once you pass a step, there is no looking back. You will have to bear the consequences. But such advice is only practical in the case of marriage, only for wives. Who told that the wives should be the sole sufferer when one’s marriage hits the brakes?
I met him, the toxic husband, like every girl who saw their prospective grooms when they called upon your house with their elders. The marriage happened within the space of a few months. Do I know him well? Do I wish to spend the rest of my life with a man I am uncomfortable with? I don’t know. I was not ready.
My parents were happy. I can’t blame them. For all parents, girl children are always a burden irrespective of their status and situation, even though they won’t publicly announce that. My folks were happy that their soon-be-son-in-law was a rich guy with properties in his name. As if those are the crucial points that make a marriage click.
Problems started creeping into my life when I told him that I wanted to continue my job as a writer. Before my marriage, I was working with a reputable newspaper company. At first, the man laughed at me when I mentioned my plan. What was there to laugh at? I don’t know. Days later, he found me scribbling something in my notebook. He rushed into the room to tell me that I was a worthless wife. It was bewildering to see him rage like that.
I begged my toxic husband about what I did. He was still fuming. Then he gave me a lecture about the role and responsibilities of a wife in a family. I asked him if I should ignore my dreams and desires to make him happy. He dashed out of the room without uttering a single word. I knew then that a crack had been made in our relationship.
The following day, the toxic husband was sweet to me. He wished me good morning and kissed my forehead. I felt that all this was a mere farce to make up for the last day and that he was pissed at me. After smiling and waving at him when he left for work, I decided to put my pen on the paper. But I couldn’t find my notebook at the table or anywhere. After hours of futile search, it hit me.
My loving toxic husband must have hidden it. I felt like strangling him. I figured that he must be a psycho. I wasted my time in the kitchen making food that he loved. When dawn came, along came the man. When he entered the house, I swear I saw a smugness on his face. When he saw that I had made him food.
He merely muttered, “This is what a wife should do.”
I was shocked at his comment.
Days went like that. On my birthday, my brother gave me a laptop.
He kept a card inside the packet, saying, “To the girl who loves words.”
I had a gala time with it. The man, my toxic husband, didn’t like me staring at the screen. I tried to make peace between us. I used the laptop only after he left the house. Since that birthday and that gift, I never saw him smiling at me.
So, one night, when he came home late and saw me with the laptop, all hell must have broken loose. He rushed to me and snatched the laptop from my lap, and threw it to the floor. With a huge sound, the laptop was now left in pieces. Shocked, I looked at his face and saw him red with anger.
“What is your problem?” I asked him, staring at his face.
He, too, stared back at me.
He slapped me hard on my face and replied, “You are my problem.”
That monster, my toxic husband, hit me twice more and left the room.
As usual, the next day, I packed my bags and left for my home. The swellings and bruises were still visible on my face. I didn’t want to hide it. I wanted the whole world to see what this man did to me. When I reached home alone, my parents presumed something must tell me wrong. For the next few days, I was the talk of the town, with almost all of my relatives taking their time to visit and advising me to go back to him.
They told me that it was a wife’s duty to be content with the one you have. I had decided what to do next. The man never called me; he never came to my house. He might have thought I would do that like all those unfortunate girls who return to their husbands.
My parents and brother stood by me. That was enough for me to file for divorce. Soon, calls came from the man’s family. Still, he didn’t call me. When the date for the hearing was fast approaching, one day, he called me. I was surprised. He told me to meet him for a coffee. I said yes because I wanted an informal, natural closure.
That toxic husband has not changed much. He still looked like a man every girl would love to marry. The coffee shop was secluded, with barely two or three customers. I was relieved of this seclusion. He started talking. He talked about how much he missed me and wanted me to come back into his life.
Strangely, it struck a chord in my heart. He told me that we would have been perfect. I smiled at my then toxic husband and told him that, of course, we would have been perfect had you let me write.
He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “How could I? A wife is supposed to be living for her husband. She has to take care of the family first. Writing is not a good thing for a wife.”
For a while, I couldn’t believe that I was sitting there with him, the man who crushed my dreams, who stopped me from becoming something, my then toxic husband.
I smiled and said, “You haven’t changed.”
I drank the coffee we had ordered, left my share of the price, and walked away. I wanted to get away from him. I can now imagine his face all confused and angry.
Indeed, men being educated will not change anything in this world. Only when they decide to keep away from their chauvinist ideals do they receive respect and love from their spouses. Walking away from him, I felt a splurge of independence. I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel.