Any time I have listened to my gut, it has served me well.
When I did not listen, I was in danger.
Twenty one years ago, I did not listen to my gut.
I guess I had not developed the self-preservation skills enough to listen.
I jumped without thinking first.
And in the past ten years that leap has come back to bite me in the ass so many times I wonder why I ever did it.
Why did I marry him?
Some four or five years ago, I was astounded by a phone call in which he admitted to a grievous, unfathomable, horrible crime. There was a hard period of comprehension, acceptance, and a long period of trying to help... for the boys sake.
I should have listened to my gut that was churning in anger and betrayal.
I didn't. I kept trying to help.
I should have listened when the nightmares came back.
I didn't. I tried to tell myself that I was teaching the boys how to be better human beings.
I should have listened when he became a familiar lump on my sofa.
I should have paid attention when he got comfortable enough to reach for the remote and channel hop as if he belonged on my sofa.
He did not move in. I may have been naive, but I was not stupid.
When he got a home on the other side of the city, it was a relief.
When he moved back to Toronto, I could breathe easier.
And then the mail came. And kept coming. And finally I hit a point where I stood up and said "No more!"
I opened a letter from our government on day to find that they thought he lived with me, because his mail came to my address.
So that was the beginning of a fight to prove he did not live with me, and the end of his maildrop.
Things were quiet and predictable for a number of years.
When we did not get child support for an entire month, we started looking for him.
My gut began to churn when I was forced to admit that he had either lost another job, or he had been arrested again.
But some part of me wanted to believe that he had learned the first time.
I should have listened to my twisting gut.
But no, we made calls, sent instant messages....and that was Wednesday.
The Thursday before, Betty's father died, and we had a hell of a week.
And now this past Thursday I got a long distance call from his brother. He who never calls me had reached out this time to tell me that the Genius had been arrested again.
My gut flipped and turned to water.
"Do you know why?" I asked
"No, just that he's been in jail a month or so."
Now, why would Genius 2.0 not ask his older brother why he was in jail? In the back of my mind, I know something was fishier than a herring cannery, but I didn't push.
Instead, at the urging of a friend, I went digging the next day.
He was result number three in Google.
My eyes skimmed over the info, his name, his age... oh my god, his email address, oh my god, there's his instant messages handle...and my forehead hit the desk.
He was caught in a sting designed to catch people like him.
This crime was worse. More immoral, more slimy, more intending, worse than his prior conviction.
I wanted to sob, not because I harbor any feelings, because I have nothing but hate in my heart for him. I wanted to sob because I didn't see this one coming.
I wanted to sob for my shildren, because this story is carried on every major southern Ontario newspaper, website and sex offender list known to every frightened parent.
He had already been in jail a month.
On the first day of his children's new school year, he was caught by the police who keep children safe from people like him.
Right then, I wanted to throw up.
I still do.
I have learned from this. I have learned I am still capable of hatred. Pure, black, oily, stinking, putrid hatred that sits in the bottom of my gut. It keeps company with my rage.
They are neighbors that I thought I had worked through, but I doubt now I will ever be rid of them. I hate knowing both Hatred and Rage. I think of them as squatters that I may never be rid of.
I can only hope that Hatred and Rage will eventually be scorched by my new friends Hope and Love.
I have made new friends that accept me as I am; hatred, rage and all.
They don't know what a big step it was to open myself up again.
I can only hope that through this window I've opened again, only light and goodness come through.
Because I don't know if I can live with these oily squatters for the rest of my life.