Readers, this article contains references to drugs, alcohol, abuse and rape.
Making love used to be an adventure.
We lunged onto a wild ride. Making love on the mountainside with the damp, soft grass underneath us. Watching the sunset high up on a steeple, as we experimented with the cold cement as our bed, swaying like bells above. Passionate play with unzipped pants, careening at full speed on the highway until our car almost skidded off to a ditch. Bouncing on a guava tree with the midnight stars as our witness.
Love manifested in a multitude of ways. Red roses spewing enticing fragrances as our living room shook with our passion. Chocolate truffles smudged on our soft skin to flavour our lust in the kitchen. Whipping cream garnished our scrumptious parts in the garden.
But our favourite place was our bedroom, with the silky sheets caressing our scintillated skin. The smell of my partner in his pillow, transporting me into his inner being. His musty sweat dripping onto my breasts, his raw breath whispering his longing.
When Love Left
Alcohol soon invited itself into our menage a trois. I begrudged its arrival. Then weed joined in, stealing my passion away. When ‘shrooms jumped in, I begged out. My husband feigned deaf. Our bed, so crowded, left no room for love. I was not making love with a man anymore. I was having sex with a corpse.
Yet, my husband carried on his ritual. Yes, making love became a ritual. Rather, having sex became a ritual. The ritual turned into a chore. After giving birth to two babies, I was heavy with chores. Sex was at the bottom of my long list of chores.
Meanwhile, he abandoned his responsibilities, continued his affair with drugs. He slumped on the couch, sprawled on the bed, dozed on the floor as I cooked the family’s meals, bathed the babies, tucked them in bed, washed the dishes, and crawled up the stairs towards my bedroom after a long day at work. I brought home the bacon while he guzzled the money for his stash.
As I opened the bedroom door, there he was, stoned on the bed, ready and waiting for me to perform my last chore. The sight of his stupor halted my steps, punched the wind off my chest. The urge to turn away and hide deemed formidable. Most of the time, I succumbed to it and escaped into my children’s bedroom to cuddle them till I fell asleep.
Most nights, my husband woke me up and dragged me to our bedroom for his nightly dose. I watched the spider weave its web on our grey ceiling as he filled his impious cup. My head banged the headboard, the bed groaned with our weight, and I laid limp. Numb. Unfeeling. Dead to him.
I begged him to stop. But he wouldn’t. He demanded my body with a vengeance. Other nights, I fought him, created barricades, threw pillows at him, but it was useless. My efforts squelched. My pleas smothered. Submitting to his demands was a simpler, ironically easier way to get my much-needed sleep.
One night, I was sleeping with my two girls. Suddenly, I heard a raging roar of force. The bed lifted in the air as we tumbled onto the floor. A tsunami of a mattress pounced upon us, bodies splattered on the hardwood. Babies crying. I perched my youngest on my hip, soothed her sore head, and fought like a one-armed mama bear.
My 5-year old ran to the phone and dialed 911, crying for help, but hung up as soon as she saw her daddy approaching her. Shrieks of fear rang in our ears, our little girl slipped away. His face was red as a beet with venomous fury. His breath reeked of Coors and Marlboro. I threw pillows, baby powder, stuffed toys, Mr. Potato Man.
We ran down the stairs just in time to hear a knock on the door. The police arrived. My daughter’s call proved effective. Their presence calmed us all down, it was almost miraculous.
Even my husband took a deep breath and surrendered on the couch. He complained of me sleeping with the children, it sounded silly. But the cops understood. We were not their first case of domestic violence.
From then on, my husband was more cautious. He demanded less, and I continued to take refuge in the children’s nursery. Our marriage buried in a graveyard of resentment. Sex was a loathing thing.
There is no making love without love. And when you do not consent, rape is the word.
Don’t do what I did.
Love snuck out on us. It was gradual, so gradual that I woke up one morning wondering how we reached this point.
Alcohol and drugs definitely stole our romance away.
When one is not wholly present with you, communication disappears, even physical communication. Your senses numb, your body irresponsive. Sex is all about responsiveness, all about senses.
I tried to convey my feelings and thoughts to him. We discussed his drug dependency. We argued about my repulsiveness towards alcohol. I suggested moving to another city for a change of environment and friends. (I was willing to sacrifice my career again to save our marriage.) I told him “no” many times. My words fell on deaf ears.
I exhausted all means and I wanted out.
He refused to leave me. Why should he? He had a roof over his head, a table full of food, two adorable daughters, and a wife who paid the bills.
My big mistake was when I could not continue our intimacies, I hid behind my children. The babies were the center of our joy, and they were not the reason our love left. However, they rescued me with their presence and affection.
I should have left sooner, but I didn’t.
So learn from my mistakes. Finish reading this article a little wiser and evaluate your relationship.
Gabriela Francisco. Filipino-Canadian. Avid storyteller. Sunset chaser. Poodle lover. Beach walker. SOAR (Survivor of an Abusive Relationship)