MidLife in Crisis: Joyce's AwakeningbyMyhands316©
This is the third and final story in the Mid-life in Crisis series. Again, due to time constraints, my wife is the only editor for this story. If there are mistakes, I take full responsibility for them. Please remember this is a copywrited work of fiction and all legal disclaimers apply. I hope you enjoy the story.
My first ever Blog entry:
Hello, my name was Joyce Wolford. I really don't know how to do one of these blog things, but my daughter and therapist tell me it will be good to write this down. Two years and six months ago, I would have never thought I would have that much to write about. So much has changed it is hard to know where to start.
I was raised in a good Christian home by loving parents. I did all the things people did back then, before the internet, cell phones, and all this modern technology. We went out and looked at the stars, rode our bikes in the fields, went to movies in safe groups, and planned our weddings as a pack of giggling girls.
I met Richard Wolford at a church function my parents insisted I go to. I was impressed with how focused he was. While most boys were running around and getting into trouble, he knew he was going to Seminary and becoming an Ordained Minister. He always treated me with a distant if cordial respect.
It was at my mother's insistent prompting, that I started dating him. I mean he was a mother's dream. He was a nice, clean cut, polite and respectable young man, when those things were not in fashion. He never used bad language in their presence and never tried to take any liberties while we were out on our dates. It was six months before he would even be seen holding my hand in public. Kissing and other activities were only things you only did in private. He was the perfect date, if a bit boring for my freer spirited self.
The only one who noticed the subtle changes in me was my best friend Bernice Mott. I call her Bernie. We would talk about everything. She was the first one I told when Richard asked me to be his wife. She was the first one I told I was pregnant. She was the first one to know almost everything about me.
Yes, I was a virgin bride. No, I didn't have a problem waiting for him to finish school. If I really think about it, being engaged to Richard gave me a reason to avoid other men. While I was in school, it gave me a sense of freedom. I had my thin platinum ring that would back off any guy who started to bug me. My mother was extremely excited about my wedding. It was the one she always wanted but couldn't afford.
Everything went as planned. My parents couldn't have been happier. They were able to get me married off before I could be tempted in the sexual revolution that was going on at the time. Those were conversations I always hated.
I got pregnant soon after my nuptials. I honestly have to say, I loved being a mother. I doted on my children. Also while I was pregnant, I didn't have to worry about having sex with my Richard. He accomplished his goal, and didn't want to risk hurting the baby.
Sex with Richard was all about him getting me pregnant and keeping God's commandment of not denying your mate physically. That meant that twice a month, in the dark, if I wanted it or not. He would climb into the missionary position, shove himself into me, and grunt until he was done. Other than getting pregnant with my three children, I received no satisfaction from it what so ever.
As he worked through the ranks while becoming a senior Minister, I had to take on more responsibility in the church. At first it was leading the nursery. Then came the Sunday school for women. Next was marriage counseling or single women's groups, to prepare them for a God centered marriage. I had my own money, because I was employed by the church. My money was to keep the house maintained.
Richard had his own account of course. He would give me an allowance from his money to make sure I never got behind in the bills. Other than that, I have no idea what he did with his salary. According to him, it was none of my concern.
This was the picture of my happy marriage. Again, looking back on it, it wasn't so happy. At one time I did feel content, but as the kids grew up and started having their own lives, I was no longer even that. Complacent would be a better word.
Please don't misunderstand. My husband was never overtly abusive. He never hit me or yelled belittling things at me. At best, most days I was treated with cold indifference, as he led his congregation down God's path. In all outward appearances, I was the perfect Minister's wife. I had suppressed the happy go lucky girl, Joy Hampton so far, I didn't think she existed any longer. I suppressed the fact that I always was more comfortable around women. That I never liked sex with my husband, and that I had an opinion of my own.
Bernie was my only friend who didn't know me as the uptight entity Joyce Wolford, I had become. If I am to be truly honest in this blog thing. I have to admit, the only time I felt complete, was when the two of us girls, were doing things together. She was my rock. She was the one who kept me sane when the kids were sick and whining. If I couldn't do something, it was Bernie who seamlessly stepped into my place and made everything right again.
So, what happened two years ago that changed things? Well actually it was a bit farther back than that. Over the previous summer, we had let our daughter, Elspeth; go to an internship camp. This was so she could find her vocation. It was the first time Joy Hampton showed her face in over twenty years.
Joy put her foot down and told my husband that I would pay for her trip. That she needed to see some of the real world, before she was forced to settle down. He was putting pressure on the boy that had been dating her, to propose. I honestly didn't see any attraction between the two, but Richard was sure that David was a good match.
Richard read me chapter and verse about the dangers of the world outside his church and that she would be pulled into vile temptation. Richard believes in the freedom of choice, as long as you chose what he wants you to. Any other options are ungodly, in his opinion
For the first time in longer than I could remember, my daughter was happy with me. We talked and I felt like we had repaired the bond that had been missing since she entered her teenager years. I was so happy that my baby girl wanted to talk to me again. Joy started slipping out more and more. Then she left.
I felt like someone came and carved a huge hole in my middle. The highlight of my day was waiting for her to call me every night. Do you know how saddening it is to know you are fixing simpler dinners, just to get it out of the way, so you can sit there and stare at the phone until it vibrated?
I wanted to fly out and hug her when she called me crying because some old woman who she befriended died. I didn't know what to do about the change in her voice whenever she started mentioning her roommate Amy in every conversation. I about went crazy when we were told that some of the men had tried to assault her.
The first time I actually thought of doing physical harm to my husband, was when he tried to insinuate that somehow Elspeth had brought this upon herself. It was also the first time I looked at my marriage and found it wanting.
Two weeks later, I picked up a very subdued Elspeth. I wanted to smack my husband for being an insensitive clod, with his self centered interrogation as soon as he saw her. I tried to find out what was bothering her, but I despaired. The breach that I thought was healed had just been covered over. All I could do was watch as she tried to come to grips with whatever was bothering her.
The day I stopped caring about my husband, was the day my daughter tried to tell me that she had found someone to love. At first I was happy, and then she said Amy's name. My first reaction was to start lecturing her about the inappropriate nature of that kind of relationship. All the time Joy was screaming that our baby had found someone to love, and like so much of her life, we missed it.
Our discussion caught Richard's attention and he butted in at the worst possible moment. He did nothing but denounce her and kicked her out of my home. Joy finally wrenched her head up and tried to fix it before it was too late. Joy had heard everything our daughter said, and it all made sense to her. Joy knew the loving feeling of being with another woman and feeling complete. Joy cried as she watched her only daughter go into the airport and walk out of her life again. This time it felt like it was forever.
That afternoon, I purged to Bernie. I felt like I would never see her again. I knew she had made her choice and there was no turning back. For the first time in my life, I hated someone. The unfortunate thing was; I was married to him. Joy's heart was truly broken and she didn't know if it could ever be fixed.
I refused to talk to Richard and for the first time in our marriage, I refused him his twice monthly sex. He admonished me about rejecting him and headed back to his own bedroom. I could never speak the profanities Joy was screaming in my head, as he walked his sorry ass out of my room.
That catches you up to a year ago. After much prayer and fasting, I finally started talking to my daughter, not at her. I started to get a glimpse of her happiness. I figured it was time to try and repair my marriage. The stalemate couldn't continue.
Here I have to say that in the past few years, I haven't been inside my husband's church office that much. I had noticed that he had gone through several receptionists since Mary Planters and her husband moved away. I also notice that they were getting younger as each one left or were replaced.
Never expecting to come to the office, I didn't hesitate when I saw the empty desk, to go past it and walk in. I opened the door and saw my husband in profile. What I never expected was to see his young assistant kneeling between his legs, doing something I never would. His pants were around his legs and she had him in her mouth. I didn't utter a sound as I turned and closed the door behind me. They never paused in the sin they were committing.
Mrs. Rittenhouse stopped me. "How is everything? You're looking a bit pale Joyce." Her voice sounded strained and her eyes were wide.
"I'm fine; I just forgot something in my car." I told her and walked as fast as I could out of the building. I headed straight home and made it to my bathroom before my stomach emptied. I remembered what Elspeth told me about seeing a penis and it making her ill. About how she got sick when that boy David, had kissed her. Just thinking about that young girl on her knees doing that... my stomach lurched again. I kneeled there until there was nothing left for me to bring up. Even then, my stomach clutched as tears streamed down my face.
I was heart sick. I never thought about violating my marriage vows and there he was doing that, with a young woman. I was hurt. No, I was furious. He cut off his only daughter because she was honest with him. Yet, he had lied to me and God every day as he fornicated with other women. I realized he was too comfortable in what he was doing, for this to be the first time.
This is what they called a deal breaker. I could never look at him again without seeing that revolting scene. He was so self-absorbed I doubt he even realized I was there. I rinsed out my mouth and spewed out the water, thinking about the rude way she was holding his testicles as she bobbed up and down on his member. I could remember the sickening sounds, while she slobbered over his crotch.
If only he didn't come home. I might have been able to control Joy. But, true to his nature, he came in and started in about why dinner wasn't on the stove. About, how I could be negligent in my duties as house keeper and wife. Joy had had enough.
"Have your harlot cook your dinner." I screamed at him. "Don't think you will ever put that thing into me again after what I saw." I was tempted to slap the smug look off his face, but I refused to resort to violence.
"What did you see?" He asked imperiously. He didn't even have the courtesy to look guilty.
"I saw you having sex with that... that tramp, that whore, that woman!" I refused to back down. I was, as they now put it, DONE!
"I have never had sexual intercourse with another woman. I would not abuse my vows to you in that way." His tone and manner told me that he thought that he had done nothing wrong. "You will not service my needs that way. I am a man of flesh, with needs of the flesh. Granted it might have been a bit sinful, but I have repented my sins of the flesh."
"You hypocrite!" I actually screamed at him. "You kick out my daughter for sinfulness, but you are doing worse."
"She will have to be judged for flaunting God's natural law. Yes, I have erred, but I do ask for forgiveness. You must grant me this forgiveness so we can get past this little incident. I will ensure that you will never see that again." What an insufferable pompous ass.
"I notice that you didn't say it wouldn't happen again, that only I wouldn't see it. You must think I am defective." I could take no more. Joy had been suppressed for too long. "I am leaving. I will contact you when I have regained enough composure to speak to you in a civil tone. I, most likely, will not be coming back." I started opening my drawers.
"You are going nowhere." He actually tried to order me. "We haven't finished discussing this. You will submit to me in this issue, as is proper for a woman in your position." He tried to lord over me like had so many times before. "I will not allow you to harm my ministry with this foolishness. You have denied me and I found relief elsewhere." He grabbed my arm, trying to stop me from removing my under-things.
"I haven't harmed anything, and I will not." I wrenched away from him. "You have done enough damage already. So, if you do not want the police involved, I would go into your study until I am done packing. I will not be treated like chattel. I am not a possession. I have been a good and faithful wife and mother for over twenty years. This will not be my reward." I pushed him out of my room and slammed the door in his stunned face.
I packed as much as I could fit into my three bags I used for church retreats. The rest could wait until later. I needed to get out of there before I did something untoward. I put my bags in the mini-van and put my toiletries in a clean garbage bag. As I left the house, I informed Richard at full volume.
"I am leaving. Do not call my cell phone. I will contact you when I am ready to talk to you again. I am taking the van. If I can leave in peace, I will say nothing to no one as to why I have left you." The door slammed behind me and I honestly didn't look back. I could feel his eyes on me, as he looked out of his window. Without hesitation, I pulled out and headed down the street.
As always, the first place I went to was Bernie's.
I was better than I thought:
After having Elspeth and my counselor read my first blog, whatever a blog is anyway. I read what I wrote. And yes, I have to admit, that I sounded just as much a pompous ass as I accused Richard of being. I guess I am just that far out of current speech patterns and the only writing I have done has been for the church. I really did speak that way. So, maybe, that influenced how I wrote it.
Sorry honey, although it did and does make me laugh, I will not take Amy's advice and start calling you father Dick. Even if, it is a current shortanace of his given name. Yes, it is an appropriate misnomer to who he is and how he has acted toward me. But, I will not succumb to such belittling temptation. I love you and thank you, for all your support.
Okay, taking my doctors advice and my ten deep breaths, I will try and go on.
I was almost inconsolable when I reached Bernie's house. I also didn't know she had visitors. Thankfully, Bernie, being who she is, took me in and put me into a guest room until she could excuse herself from her company. I have no idea how long I laid there crying. I must have blocked out some of the time. My next vivid memory was waking up with Bernie rubbing my back and giving me some much needed, soothing tea.
We must have talked for hours. The whole time Bernie was either holding my hand or touching me in some way. I think it was just the life line I needed to let Joyce rest, while Joy started to find her way to the surface again. Bernie verbally took me back though my adult life until she found her best friend again.
By the end of it, we were giggling like two school girls. "There she is." Bernie sighed. "You have no idea how much I've missed you Joy-Joy." Bernie stroked my face, calling me by my childhood nickname.
We laughed until I cried happy tears, over some of the trouble we used to get into. I fell asleep in her guest bedroom. She cuddled in and held me. For the first time in since high school, I felt truly at peace. Yes, I know my life was in a shambles, but Bernie had found that part of me again and held on to it until I could find my way back from the brink.
The next morning, over coffee, Bernie said the words that made me realize that I might have a chance to salvage something that I had thought was lost forever. She told me quite frankly.
"Honey, you need to go talk to Elspeth." She held my hands on her table. "Of all your children, I think she will be the most likely to understand. But, please go there with an open mind. You might be surprised."
"Do you really think so?" I was terrified that my daughter would reciprocate the actions of her father. She had enough cause.
"Jeremy is too much like his father. You know that. Steven is too self-absorbed to see anything other than how this will affect his life. He won't care about the pain you are feeling, he only cares about himself. Later, after he grows up some more, he will pull it together, but until then. Elspeth is your best shot. Remember she had the strength to stand up to Richard and go after what her heart wanted. She got that strength from you." She made some rather hard assessments about my life and children, but deep down I knew she was right.
"Okay, do you think I should call first?" I asked, almost afraid to do what I knew was necessary.
"No, if you really want to know where she's at with you, just show up. That will tell you all you need to know." Bernie was holding my hand again. "Once you can accept that, then there might be some hope." She sighed sadly.
"If you think it is best." I knew I had her address somewhere, but didn't know how I was going to get there. "What about money?" I asked finally coming to some semblance of common sense.
"Sweetheart, for once I'm glad Richard made you have separate accounts. You have your own money. Use it. Let him have to make the house work on his own. It might be educational for him. I would also call the bank first and tell them other than deposits, he is not allowed any information about your accounts. I think they will even let you put a password on it. Sweetie, you have to protect yourself. You know how he's going to react. Thankfully, it takes a decision from the board to fire you. I'd call the home office and tell them you are taking a vacation. You have enough of it coming."
I don't know how I would have coped if it wasn't for Bernie's sound advice. She sat with me as I did what was necessary. She even went to the store with me and helped me buy a GPS thing, so I could find my way to my daughter's home. Bernie, in many ways, is my Godsend. I know if it wasn't for her, I would most likely ended up back in the oppressive relationship with Richard.