Four Years of Freedom

by Dara Wells
(USA)

Four Years of Freedom, sort of

Four years. So much has changed. So much has happened. My son has doubled his age. I'm about to buy my second house in these four years. With my new husband. I have a teenager. I have a thriving middle schooler (although the flourishing part hasn't changed a bit).

So many mixed feelings about today. I should feel better about today. I should be happy about where I am in life and "how far I've come." I know all the things I should feel because it's been FOUR YEARS! I've had four years of freedom is what I should embrace. Except I don't. And I haven't.

The nightmares and the panic attacks, tightening of my chest, pounding in my head, and welling of tears in my eyes continue. Memories and thoughts and why's and what if's and how come's and how could you's, floods, waves, whatever people want to call it persist. That's what I feel. Because today, four years have passed.

I've thought about sharing or posting or publishing or Facebooking or Twittering, whatever. So many times I've thought about it. Why don't I; I don't care what people think of me? Is it because it's no one's business? Am I protecting him? Myself? My kids? I don't know.

Others have told me from the beginning that I'm going to have to talk to him again. Why? Because we have children together? No, I don't. He lost that privilege four years ago, today. When he put his hands around my neck and squeezed and told me I needed to die, he lost that right. A lot of things have happened and have changed, but not that.

Four years! I can picture it vividly. From where I was sitting on the couch at his friend's house that night when we were out celebrating his birthday. To the car ride on our way to the bar downtown when he was calling me names. To we got home, his hands around my neck, his weight on me, and his breath on my face. And, my throat hurting, calling for help, hoping my daughter could hear me.

Four years and I can't tell my daughter every day "thank you for saving my life." All I can do is try to be a good mom and hope that she knows how much I love her and how proud I am of her, all of my babies.

As far as freedom goes, I know I'll never entirely get that. Not from my former husband or from that day. The images and the memories will remain. After four years, the binds are not quite as intense. Maybe after another four years, the barrier will release further.

One of my favorite song lyrics is from the Lumineers song "Stubborn Love" and goes "...the opposite of love's indifference." Hating is so much work as compared to moving on. Sometimes more labor than love. Indifference: feeling nothing. I think I'm somewhere in the middle, drifting from port to port with stops along the way. As long as I don't sink, I think I'll be ok.

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