Friday, October 07, 2005

Stop and let me tell you...

I'm going to write one more post this week about my ex-husband and his drinking/driving habit, and then I'm done for a while.

(Rewind my life back 7 years.)

Both of us played softball for the same club. Which wasn't such a bad thing when it came to who's weekend it was with the children because it meant that regardless of which parent they spent their weekend with, they always got to see both of us at some stage. It also meant I could keep a discreet eye on his drinking.

One time when it was his weekend with the children, I watched him drinking at the clubrooms...I knew he'd gone well over the limit. At one point I even went and sat down beside him...he KNEW why I was there, and it had nothing to do with the small talk we were making. It's possible that this fuelled his resolve to do whatever he wanted, that it was none of my business etc...he continued drinking. If his girlfriend had not been drinking I never would've said anything. But as it was, she was matching him drink for drink, which meant one of them was going to be driving my kids, more than likely my ex.

After much chewing on my bottom lip, I went and spoke to both the children. Said something to the tune of "You two can come home with me tonight ok? Dad can come and pick you up in the morning so you can all enjoy some time together". They asked why. Never lying to either one of them before I said "Because I think Dad's had a bit too much beer tonight and it's safer for me to drive you...I'll just go and talk with him now about it. You two wait here ok?"

I didn't want them anywhere near us while I spoke with him. I have to admit, by this stage, I had no qualms whatsoever about being undiplomatic. I went up to him and said

"Hey, I'm off now..just letting you know I'm taking the boys home with me tonight".
"Oh?....Why?"
"Because you've had too much to drink tonight...come and pick them up in the morning".
"I see...do you really want to go down that road?"
"Yes actually, I do"

There ensued a small scene in front of clubroom patrons. There were no raised voices. At this point the whole conversation was conducted back and forth with low, steely voices but it was obvious something was definitely going on with us. For the first time in our history, I stood my ground against him without bursting into tears. I hate confrontations with a passion but I wasn't going to back down, come hell or high water. I didn't give a fuck who was watching, I was right and he knew it.

Unfortunately, we were interrupted by Cameron. My ex-husband's girlfriend had found where the children were sitting waiting, and told them that their mother was asking for them. This was one of the few times I've wanted to make a fist and smack someone in the face. I couldn't believe she deliberately made a point of putting them right in front of our 'discussion'.

Ryan was torn between staying with his Dad, and coming home with me. He (Ryan) refused to move from the seat he was now sitting on. I had to physically pick him up and carry him on my hip before I could leave. Cameron, thought I was only going to take Ryan with me, and leave him behind with his father.

He still insisted on taking them. I told him that should he get behind the wheel with my kids in the car tonight, the cops would stop him at the bottom of the drive. My brother was (and still is) a police officer...it would've given him no end of pleasure to be the one stopping him. I can't say how he would've reacted if he'd found the two nephews he adored in the back seat. I do know, it wouldn't have been pretty.

I walked out of the clubrooms that night, carrying my 7 year old, leading my 9 year old by the hand and hearing their father tell me he'd see me in Court. I called back over my shoulder..."Bring it on". I managed to keep it all together until I got halfway down the stairs. Until that time I had been continuously talking to the children, trying to make them smile...told them how they could have some fun with Dad in the morning.

Ryan stopped me mid-sentence when he quietly interjected. His words had me gritting my teeth, my stomach fighting to recoil, and the tears start silently lacing their way down my face.

"Mum...You just broke my whole heart".

I've never forgotten those words, and although it sounds dramatic, still thinking about them today makes me want to weep.

The three of us slept in the same bed that night.
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