I was ending my marriage because of what I had done; because it was wrong. Because I lied and I was in love and even though my husband said, He’ll never be with you, and I think I knew it to be true but wanted not to hear it, I still walked away from everything I had ever known. Every safety, every love, all of it. Hiroshima, just like that. Then my grandmother died. And my father several months later.
But the deception and duping of me? Well, that was public humiliation. What happened between my husband and me was private – and now you know. You know that I deceived and hurt my husband and was a wicked woman who wore the scarlet A for far too long and I am officially taking it off. But whatever it was, it was personal. It was between us.
Sure, he knew how to hurt me back, but I didn’t see him as an emotional terrorist. Not really. But what was happening in my house, in our house, was not even a subtle form of emotional abuse the goal of which was to make you think you are completely mad (think Hitchcock’s Gaslight). I was being monitored constantly, shouted at, objects were being reorganized, clean dishes were made dirty again, which may sound ridiculous and is but believe me when I tell you. These were things direct from The Book of Surrealist Games – only here, they were slightly more inventive – I am no longer sure what I would call it other than cruel and abusive. Clever, is simply kind and would be delusional.
We, my ex and I, once saw a film together called Funny Games and neither of us thought it was funny in the least. What is happening now reminds me in some ways of that film – of that. Of a marriage that is essentially bullied and raped and pillaged and is made a public spectacle…
So why do I write about this now? And why so many subjects combined into one? Because I find that I have to trust to you – my reader. And so here is what I know, or part of it, laid out before you – and you can determine what you think. The parts that remain private, well, let them remain so – and what you already know, then I suppose you already know.
My divorce, like any divorce, would not really have been a reason to spy on me; not unless my husband lost it and I don’t think he did. Nor would it, in my view, have been a reason to psychologically terrorize me or anyone else – to reshuffle bookshelves and book titles so that the spines spelled out a story (you know when your environment has been manipulated, trust me) to make you think x y or z. And so when I was getting a divorce, around that time, my whole household environment was manipulated: everything. But especially books and media and many other objects such that it became like a stage set. My home stopped being my home. Certain photographs were paired with other framed photographs. Furniture was slowly damaged and the veneer of wood bleached away. Dresses had their hems picked undone, straps of dresses were cut, clothes and underthings were soiled deliberately with lipstick, stockings were ripped, shoes scuffed ruined buckles broken, straps cut.