Lifestyle & Retirement / Simply Southern Cappy

Crossing The Line

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The first time Tim beat Julie she was seven months pregnant and terrified of losing her life and that of her unborn child. He took pleasure in punching her in the face that day, and when she tried to run, he threw her to the floor.

She had the presence of mind to roll over in time to protect her stomach and the baby within, but her actions provided an opportunity for him to kick her with his new six-hundred-dollar western style boots. When he tired of hurting her, he grabbed a beer, sat down and watched television while she writhed in pain on the floor.

When Tim was sober the next day, he saw what he had done to his beautiful wife. He broke down and sobbed like a child who had just witnessed the result of his favorite dog run over by a Mack truck.

Julie believed him when he swore it would never happen again and she forgave him because she needed to believe in something. Of course it happened again, and before long a pattern of abuse had developed, one that lasted throughout their marriage.

You might ask how and why Julie allowed the battering of her size-six body to continue for all those years. You might even question why any sane person would choose to remain someone’s punching bag day after day.

Julie’s inner voice, her mangled self-image, had successfully convinced her that she deserved to be punished. Tim had no trouble persuading her how lucky she was to be married to him and if he was unable to control his anger, then it was her fault, not his. She stayed with him because on some level, she believed his irrational lies.

Perhaps the other reason she remained married to him was because Julie had a need to fix broken things which included relationships. Her dream of living happily ever after never wavered, not even when her own body was broken and bleeding.

I am livid today. I would like nothing more than to hire a Sumo wrestler to beat Tim to a bloody pulp and give him a taste of what his size-six wife endured for too long. In addition, I feel enormous anger at myself. Why had I not moved heaven and earth in order to spirit my friend away from that monster?

Right after her first beating, she came to me brokenhearted, revealing the black eye, swollen nose and cracked ribs. Not knowing what else to do, I sympathized. I put my arms around her and cradled her, soothed her as best I could. Why had I not shaken her till her teeth rattled? Why did I not try to talk some sense into her? Why had I not provided a safe harbor for her in my own home?

There were other times when I sensed that she was being abused but, afraid of overstepping the boundaries of our friendship, I kept quiet. I wish I had a nickel for every time I told myself that it was none of my business and that the best thing I could do for Julie was to pray for her. I didn’t know how to determine that delicate but defining point at which it becomes acceptable, even crucial, to cross the line. I made myself believe that sooner or later she would turn to me for help at which time I would be there for her.

Julie and I met when we were young and we spent years of mutual moments in each other’s lives. Girl stuff; teenage stuff; wife and mother stuff. We exchanged recipes, saw "Beaches" together twice and cried all afternoon both times. We even created short stories together, exploring different philosophies as we wrote. We shared hairdressers, housekeepers and hundreds of snapshots. I’ve lost count, if I ever knew, of the hours we spent discussing the ups and downs and kid-sized problems relative to our children.

Before we realized it, our conversations took a turn; our grandkids, instead of our grown children, became the center of our exchanges. Lord, how we laughed at the antics of those little ones. Julie was my constant friend for so many years, and I was hers.

Today, every aspect of me is numb. I walk from one room to the other forgetting how or why I got there. Tears spring from my eyes with no preamble. I wear black, not because it is my best color, but because it is the definitive color of death.

How I wish I could go back and do things differently. If I had only given credence to my intuition, we might be sitting at my kitchen table right now drinking coffee, laughing at a joke or engaged in a lively discussion over the latest best-seller.

If only I had reached out to her instead of waiting for her to come to me, things might have ended differently. Tim might not have beaten my best friend unconscious. He might not have dragged her inert body to the sink or held her head under dirty dishwater until her soul was gone from this world forever.

Battered and bruised was not what Julie wanted to be when she grew up.

 __________
Editor’s Note: Cappy Hall Rearick is a humor columnist for the Lowcountry Sun in Charleston, South Carolina. She is the author of seven published books. Visit her at www.simplysoutherncappy.com.

“PUTTIN’ ON THE GRITZ”

Cappy Hall Rearick was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She was an English major at the University of South Carolina and later became a Flight Attendant for American Airlines. Some years later, she moved to Los Angeles and then to Pennsylvania. In 1994, she returned to her beloved South to settle in St. Simon’s Island, Georgia with her husband Bill.

Cappy, an award winning short story writer and syndicated columnist, is the author ofseveral successful columns, including:ALIVE AND WELL IN HOLLYWOOD, TIDINGS, SIMPLY SOUTHERN and PUTTIN’ ON THE GRITZ monthly in the Lowcountry Sun Newspaper in Charleston, SC. She also writes an e-column called SIMPLY SOMETHING.

Cappy is past president of the Southeastern Writers Association. Her recently published novel, THE ROAD TO HELL IS SELDOM SEEN, a 2012 nominee for the Georgia Author of the Year, is available at www.amazon.comin print and can be downloaded and enjoyed at Kindle, Nook and all the electronic readers. Get ready to read and do nothing else because it’s a page-turner!

She is writing her next book, BRIDGING THE GAP, a psychological novel of deception and suspense. The SIMPLY books (SIMPLY SOUTHERN; SIMPLY SOUTHERN EASE; SIMPLY CHRISTMAS) are bound to make you laugh and maybe even tear up a little bit, especially if you enjoy remembering the good old days. With every page you turn, however, Cappy Hall Rearick will bring the South alive for you.

Rearick holds membership in the Georgia Writers, South Carolina Writers, Atlanta Writers Club, Florida Writers, North Carolina Writers and she is a sitting Board member of the Southeastern Writers Association.

In addition to writing, Cappy is a popular public speaker and can breathe new life into those good old days for your conference attendees. She is a dynamic creative writing instructor and is available to teach classes in column writing, Southern fiction, humor, memoir and short story writing. She brings forth fresh ideas to match her imaginative ways of turning a phrase. Book her now … and breathe new life into your next writer’s conference. Attendees will learn a lot, laugh a lot and go away itching to write better than ever.

If you would like to receive a monthly column of SIMPLY SOMETHING via email, send your request along with your email address to Cappy at: cappyhall@comcast.net She will be delighted to add your name to the preferred column list.

Read Cappy’s BLOG at: simplycappy.blogspot.com

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