Continued from here, the search for understanding…
Almost a year passed and I went back to part-time study. There had been no contact from S and I had begun to move past my fear and get on with my life. I made some new friends and they had a young daughter. We would hang around and play board games, V falling asleep on their sofa until I drove him home and we went to bed. Life was looking good again. I even made plans to visit N in Canberra.
Then S rang. No apologies or explanations about disappearing. He told me that he was in Brisbane, had a good job, a nice place to live. I felt at peace in my life and his return didn’t shake me up. He began to ring every few nights, to see how V was. He asked us to move in with him. Huh??!! Hadn’t I made it clear a relationship with his son didn’t include me??!! Obviously not. I explained it again and thought that was the end of it. Except for that seed of fear that had begun to grow again.
One night returning home from B’s house I found over 20 messages on the answering machine from him. I put my sleeping son to bed and went to listen to the messages. The first few were along the lines of… hope you’re having fun with your friends. The messages became worse and worse as he became angrier and angrier that I wasn’t home, that I was keeping his son out so late, that his son needed stability and routine. As the messages rolled on and on, I found myself on the floor, arms wrapped around my legs, rocking back and forth, tears streaming down my face.
The messages ended but I couldn’t move. I sat staring at the phone, the tears slowly stopped as I felt myself shrivel up a little more. I detached a little more. The phone rang and I answered knowing it was him. I told him that routine is good for a child, but so are breaks to routine with healthy social relationships. I told him he had a right to be concerned about his son and I would listen to his concerns, but he had no right to tell me who I could spend time with. Because, of course, I knew that was the real issue. Who I was spending time with. It seemed a detached Mari was a focused Mari.
He disappeared again and I struggled. The fear inside me was reaching boiling point, but still I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I was terrified of him, of his demands, of what I had once let myself become. I was torn between wanting to run and hide with V and wanting V to have some kind of relationship with his father. I would have dreams of living a life under an assumed name in some pretty obscure places. A few months later V and I moved in with B and her daughter. I wanted to get away from my parents home, the home that S could find me so easily in.
We moved. He rang. The phone was in my name and not silent. He had moved. He gave me the number I could reach him on. He wanted to see V. It started that he would be happy to see him from a distance. We just had to name a time and place. We began to plan a day.
He rang the next day. He wanted to spend 10 minutes with V. Just 10 minutes. I could send my friend with V, I didn’t have to be there. B told me later that I went pale as I listened to him on the phone.
The next day he told me that he wanted his first visit with his son to be worth while, that he wanted to spend the day with V… and me. Just us. Drive to Brisbane and spend the day alone with him. When I was ready. He said he would wait for me to feel ready.
I rang the family court the next day and asked for advice. I told them I was terrified of his demands and uncertain that I could make decisions that were fair. They recommended a mediation session. S could attend by telephone if he was unable to drive down from Brisbane. I organised one and waited for his next call.
He didn’t ring. I waited a few days. My nerves were becoming undone. He didn’t even know about the mediation session, which was coming up the following week. I rang the number he had given me. Yeah. Posted that call here (last one listed). I rang the mediator and told him the situation. I was asked to not cancel the session in case he did ring.
Yep, you guessed it. Session cancelled on the day. S had disappeared.
As I said the other day… I’m leaving things out. Some are important, such as J2 reentering my life as a friend while I lived with B. He didn’t ask for more than friendship. He felt for us. Two single mothers struggling to make ends meet. He would arrive with a jar of good coffee, a packet of biscuits and two litres of milk. Heaven to B and I. The stability he offered us through his friendship wasn’t enough for the fear I was battling. I wish I could thank him for all he did for us. I have a vague memory that it was he who suggested contacting the family court. I wish I could apologise for the way I treated him at the end. Anyway… the story continues.
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