I am staggering under the weight of several duffel bags up a steep hill with my six-year-old girl behind me. I hid the car so well even I can’t find it.
It’s hot, I’m sweating and my little darling is complaining bitterly that she’s too tired to walk anymore. I hid the car in case he came looking for us at our friends’ house. Now’ I’m worried he’ll find us anyway, staggering along the roadside.
About three weeks ago my lovely perfect husband, my best friend of fourteen years, went mad.
Before that he was mad about me, totally in love and so grateful I stuck by him through a long episode of clinical severe depression. Now suddenly he despises me. His face contorts and his top lip curls into contempt when he looks at me because, to this new version of him, I’m an impossibly vile thing hell bent on ruining his life.
He has been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder and according to the doctors he is experiencing an acute manic episode.
Yesterday he attacked me. Physically, in front of the neighbors who heard me screaming. He was trying to get the phone off me while I was trying to call for help. The madness in his eyes was scary as shit.
He had volunteered to go into hospital two days earlier, then got fed up with the décor, I suppose, and released himself. Up until then his absence had been a lovely reprieve from the craziness and arguments (for our little girl too) but I got no warning and he came home breathing fire.
After the police were called by one of the neigbours, he ran. I had officers, helping me pack, an ambulance crew assessing my physical and emotional well being - their verdict: I was in shock. Well dur. Wouldn't you be? The man who only weeks ago worshiped the ground you walked on has turned on you like a viper?
My neighbor and my best friend both came running; one took custody of our distraught dog and the other assigned herself to pick up my baby from school.
I was marched out of our home and escorted to the police station, where after making a statement I was ‘advised’ to find somewhere to stay. “This is how murders happen.” the constable said. Then they take out what's called and AVO (apprehended violence order) against my former best friend and life partner to protect me.
I went to my besties’ where she and her lovely husband were feeding my baby girl. I hadn't eaten anything since a couple of crackers for breakfast so my friend called a lawyer friend of hers, gave me her phone, some water and food.
I’d hidden my car then too.
So I find myself in another friend’s home alone with my baby girl who is playing in the other room with another child’s Leggo.
I’m trying to make up a bed while fielding calls from my husband’s doctors, concerned family and a very sympathetic and apologetic Psychiatrist. My friends are still not home when there’s a knock at the door. Adrenaline leaves an acrid taste in my mouth, and I ask the doctor to hold on while I peep through a window.
It’s not him.
Even though I’m at the bottom of a long dark private road, off a dead end street, on the edge of a forest, there’s a bloody door to door salesman standing there in the dark with a bunch of paintings under his arm. Why now? Why here? Why me?
Closing the door I ask the doctor “Do you think I could be cursed?”