Cheaters never win and winners never cheat

24 03 2008

My ex used to move his ships around when we would play Battleship, something I had always suspected but finally caught him at.  He would use his white pegs to keep track of coordinates I had already called out so that he would know what territory was free.  He later explained that he had thought this was how the game was played as real ships would move under threat of attack.  This coming from the same man who thought the song American Pie was about John Lennon’s death.  I should have seen the stupidity a mile away.  There were a lot of things I should have seen a mile away and missed because I didn’t want to admit that I had seen them.  It’s easy to do.  I can remember griping to friends and family members in one breath and turning on them in the next when they had the audacity to agree with me that he was no good.  There were warning signs and red flags and I missed them all. On our first date he shared with me about his past as a child molester. I felt that that was a sign of complete honesty, one of my two demands for the perfect guy. The other demand was affection.

Somehow in a week’s time, I had moved out of my family’s home, decided not to go to college and to try a relationship with Shelby. Within a month he had moved in with me and within six months we were married and pregnant with our first child.

Alannah Rhiann was due August 21, 1995. Her conception was not a happy memory, but oh her birth, her birth was. I remember preparing her room. Since she was due in mid-August, I began my maternity leave at the end of July. Though this pregnancy wasn’t extremely complicated, I had so much water weight and swelling that there were many unbearable days.

Shelby had taken on a second job to make ends meet, so he left around four in the morning for job one, rode his bike home to grab a quick bite around three in the afternoon. Then he would ride to his second job around four-thirty and work until midnight. Looking back, that was some of the happiest times in our marriage too. I think now that they were so blissful because we were apart. Most of the good times in our marriage were when we were separate. I bought gobs of fabrics and patterns and spent the days making baby clothes and blankets and the like. I remember I would sit in this old rocking chair his grandparents had given me and read stories to my stomach, to my baby. Usually it was Kipling’s Just So stories, I have always loved Kipling’s work.

The days were quiet, the house to myself. There was a fear there as well though. I was overdue and when you keep waiting for a baby to be borne, it’s an anxious time enough by itself. Couple that with calls from friends and family, “Did you have it yet?” and the fear, or is it anxiety, of having your first child, many days being alone was hell.

My Button was borne in the evening hours of September 2, 1995. I had no drugs or painkillers and was on a high that I have never been able to duplicate. I remember them letting me lay her in bed with me, cuddling up to her and just staring at her. Memorizing her. She looked best in mint green; pink didn’t suit her at all.

Her nose was adorable, just like a little button, upturned like my own, but cuter. I later learned from my grandmother that our noses are Johnson noses.

About two weeks after Alannah was borne, I got sick. I felt it coming, my energy leaving me. It was the seventeenth when the anemia rendered me useless. I remember watching ice-skating with Button on the couch, waiting for Shelby to get home. He called around nine. Sometime after that I was gone. That seemed to end the bliss of the birth.

I went back to work. Shelby quit his second job. We began alternating schedules to avoid day care costs. I quit waitressing and began working at a local office doing microfiche processing. The money was not as much of an improvement as I had hoped.

December 5, 1995 Shelby called to have me pick him up from work. When we arrived, he was nowhere in sight. A few minutes later he stormed over to the booth and told me he had been fired. Misuse of the register he said they told him. We called my father, who offered to get an attorney. We went to the Unemployment Office. I wanted to go after the manager. Linda had been my friend, she hired him for me. She had always given him the best raises and been so nice. Why would she fire him for as he said, not ringing up an order of fries.

Shelby claimed he had already rang them up, but that the customer had not yet gotten them. He claimed that what management saw, was him handing an order of fries over without charging. I was outraged; even if he had done what they claimed, why fire him for it. I found solace in the idea that they had fired him because they couldn’t afford to keep him. Yeah, that must be it.

Thankfully; he spilled the truth with a little encouragement from their lawyers. He had been robbing them for months. Skimming from the drawer so much so that they had brought in a loss prevention person to find the shortage. I was so glad he told me before my dad hired an attorney. What an embarrassment that would have been.

Over the next month, he would be hired a day here and fired the next. I am still not certain how he kept losing jobs. Finally I convinced him to try the Navy. We moved back to my old home in Virginia in 1996 as his first assignment was there at NOB Norfolk.

I soon became a single mom in many regards, as he was never home. To fill the days and months of his deployment, I took my daughter on roads trips. In one year we traveled over 30,000 miles of the US. A year later we were pregnant with our second child and our marriage was failing.

Shortly before the birth of our second daughter, I learned some scary would-be-truths about my father’s role in my mothers infidelity and the sexual abuse of my childhood and I was lost. I begged God to kill him so I wouldn’t have to. Two weeks later he collapsed. The doctors found cancer on his spine, and said had he waited a week longer he would have been paralyzed from the neck down.

I also learned my husband was having many affairs and my pregnancy was not going well. I felt entirely alone.

If there has ever been a time in my life where I truly wanted to give up on life, it was then. I threatened suicide, praying that Shelby would stay and he did. But I regretted that threat immediately, as I had no idea why he really changed his mind. He swore it was not due to my threat, but in all honesty I think we both knew it was.

The only happiness I found was in my babies and I formed my world around them. I would rise in the morning and feed them both and then we would all three retreat to my room where we lived. Too scared to face my father who was recuperating downstairs and not strong enough to deal with reality, I hibernated away for over a month. I struggled with trying to formulate an idea, which would save my marriage over the pride inside that repeatedly told me I was not at fault in our marriage.

The next few months were filled with experiments I attempted in order to become like the women with whom my husband had affairs. I underwent liposuction to downsize the areas, which my daily workouts weren’t helping. I bleached my hair platinum blonde and ordered contacts to make my eyes blue. When his new love interest had long brown hair, I spent a great deal of money to have extensions glued to my hair to make my hair length reach my ass.

Nothing seemed to work.

I frequented the bars with he and his shipmates, I mirrored his behaviours and ignored him, I tried smothering him with affection. But deep within I knew it was hopeless.

The following month, Shelby told me he was now impotent and blamed my looks for this problem. I was both enraged and heartbroken.

We had somehow wound up with a shipmate of his residing with us. Eric had been drunk one night and I offered our couch to him. He hadn’t left in months. Eric and I got along grandly. He was protective and tried to help me formulate plans to get his buddy’s attention. One night he asked Shelby if he could take me out to the bar as Shelby had overnight duty and didn’t enjoy country music. Shelby consented and Eric and I hit the town. I am still not sure what happened that night; I was so drunk. I do know I awoke the following morning with my clothes downstairs with Eric and myself naked in my own bed. I questioned Eric if we had done anything, and he emphatically denied the notion. A few weeks later I kicked him out of our house for good and told Shelby my fears. He was at first angry but later worried that I may be pregnant and we called his parents for moral support.

Their reaction was to call me a slut and question the paternal father of our children. I swore at that time that when we went home for Christmas my children and I would not have any contact with his parents.

Looking back, I wish to God I had went. But I stayed with my family and he drove over to his parents’ home to visit alone. What happened that night has since changed so many lives forever. Using the claim of impotence brought on by my looks, Shelby molested his youngest sister as she lay in bed. His mother had run out to the store and his father was out chopping wood for the fireplace. He continued by molesting his young brother as well.

He returned to my family’s home late that evening and the following day we drove down to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas for his new assignment in the Navy. At this time, the children had told their parents about what he had done, but no one else was yet aware. It was late February when he returned to Kansas from school that we first heard a whisper of what had happened. Shelby was arrested on a driving violation and questioned for the molestation. After denying all charges, he wanted to go back to Virginia as soon as possible. On the way, I continually questioned him, was there any truth at all to the accusations. He swore there was not and I stood by my husband. It would be several months before I heard anything more.

We were re-stationed in Kingsland, Georgia and he was to be deployed almost immediately. I met who was to be one of my best friends ever shortly after moving. Robin was the neighbour immediately to our right and seemed to have endured almost everything I had ever went through. I saw a strong woman and I tried to become like her. We bonded quickly and I felt I could share anything with her, including my worst fears and darkest secrets. I told her about the adultery I suspected and the hurt of my youth. The only thing I left out was the child molestation accusations and the possible truths behind them. After Shelby had gone out to sea for a three-month long cruise, I stumbled upon love letters from women with whom he had had flings while overseas. This, coupled with the death of my grandmother who had taken me in as a small child, tore me apart. I finally decided to make the trip home for the funeral and planned additional trips along the way. I met with Shelby’s ex-girlfriends and parents and everyone else who knew him before I had. What I learned raised my suspicions even more and I contemplated staying in Kansas and leaving him for good.

Why I returned…I am not sure. Most likely because I have never been able to take the easy way out. I must know the truth and face differences head on.

When I got back to Georgia though, my insecurities got the best of me and I found myself blaming me for all the actions he had ever done. I wrote him letters, promising to change and become whatever it was he desired and begged him to give me one last chance.

Upon his return, I waited on him hand and foot for weeks. Then one Saturday morning it all fell apart. I had returned from work about 3 in the morning and he mumbled something to me about how they wanted him in the office the next morning to do paperwork. I thought it odd, as they normally weren’t even there on Saturdays but shook the thoughts off. He left and I went about beginning to do laundry.

A few hours later he returned with a slew of investigators who wanted to search the house for pornographic material. I watched helplessly as this gaggle of men tore through everything in my house from top to bottom. Every slip of paper was examined and then they began to inspect my babies. DCFS was called in and pictures were taken of every inch of the girls’ bodies. My home was deemed unfit for the children and the girls’ were forced to watch their daddy be handcuffed and dragged from our home. He was not permitted to have any contact with the girls until after they had been examined for sexual abuse. I bawled and watched as my babies were prodded and examined, undergoing something I had sworn they would never have to endure.

But that was not to be the end of my hurt and embarrassment.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Services, hereafter referred to as the NCIS, began questioning neighbours and children of our friends. We were to learn that he had played risqué games in our bedroom with our friends’ daughters. He called it sleeping beauty, the girls would lie on our bed and he would kiss them to awaken them. It began to test my relationship with Robin, as her family was being constantly interviewed. Both my husband as well as the investigators left me in the dark. He was allowed to move back in to the home, but I was not certain if it was safe. The girls showed no physical signs of molestation but my thoughts wandered.

There had been an incident in which Shelby was putting our children in bed and I came in to find that our oldest daughters’ pull-ups had been removed. She was crying and wanted them put back on though he attested that she had removed them. I was unsure what to believe.

My friends had been instructed to tell me nothing and Shelby was telling the NCIS more than he told me. I was entirely unsure of what was going on and still am unsure of what all he admitted to doing to all these poor helpless children. I tried to go on as though nothing had happened but that was a fruitless task. I began to reside online.

Before, though we had owned a computer I had rarely gotten online at all. But suddenly I found an escape and “friends” willing to escape reality with me. Shelby and I began having more problems and after a physical fight involving our girls, he moved out permanently. I began planning where to go and what to do. I finally broke down and told my father what was going on and that I needed his help to get me out of hell. Shelby and I agreed that a divorce was inevitable.



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