I didn’t sleep well last night. The weather is cooling, so I had the air conditioner off and once again I heard the world beyond the whir. Last night it was a pack of barking dogs, screeching tires from the boulevard, and the neighbor’s rumbling pick up. Most of the sounds only caused a brief break in my sleep, but one of them took me back to another time.
About 2:30 a.m. a rumbling pick up pulled up outside and backed into the driveway next door. That sound made me instantly nervous and nauseous. It is kind of funny in a sad sort of way, because I haven’t had reason to fear that sound for over 15 years.
My exhusband used to drive a rumbling pick up, and on the nights he drank — most nights as our marriage neared it’s end — he didn’t come home until about 2:00 a.m., and he always came home drunk, loud and obnoxious. When I woke to last night’s rumbling pick up, I saw the time and instantly became a different person, living in a different state, enduring a different life. I tensed, waiting for the sound of a key in the lock; waiting for the lights to blaze on, waiting for the yelling to start.
Of course it didn’t happen. In truth I probably only spent a few seconds expecting it. I spent a much longer time contemplating who I am now, and how much better my life is. But still I wonder how I ever ended up in that other life in the first place, and whether I will ever trust my own judgement again.
Just a couple of years ago, after realizing I had made yet another poor choice in men, I told a friend of mine, “This is what my life has taught me: any man I am interested in is obviously not good mate material. I need to find someone I can’t stand. He would probably treat me right.”