The Straw

Alice had been living in a sort of living purgatory for the past month. Lief had been giving her the cold shoulder- the games, the hot and cold, the “you have no voice” sort of treatment for awhile now. But it had been escalating.

Alice fears that she may be pregnant, you see. And Alice doesn’t take that lightly. When she discussed the possibility of pregnancy with Lief- he responded angrily. Here was a man who had just made love to her and then turned right around and told her that if she were to conceive- it was her sole fault- as if she were the Virgin Mary. Leif refused to use extra protection, he insisted that Alice keep her legs open for his “health” but should Alice find herself single and pregnant with two children already- Leif outright stated “what do you expect?!! A financial plan?!! I have kids- so I care but no I will not discuss it!“

Alice was terrified of becoming pregnant from Leif. She knew that he would not take care of her, he would not care for anything but himself. She knew this because he told her so. She was suddenly faced with a challenge- either keep Lief happy by allowing him to possibly get her pregnant or face his wrath if she refused sexual contact.

It didn’t take Alice long to reach her decision. Naturally, Leif would be shocked because he doesn’t listen to Alice. But Alice decided that evening that Leif told her she would be on her own- unmarried and again relying on the help of friends, family and strangers. Food shelves even. Leif refused to acknowledge the possible physical, financial or emotional hardship that Alice would face immediately. Not only did he refuse, but literally yelled at her for broaching the subject.

Alice has two children already. In fact, Alice has always been easily pregnant. Her children have different fathers from different decades. Alice experienced maybe the best of her pregnancies when she was 26 years old and her on again off again boyfriend requested to marry her. She knew that it was “the right thing”, “what a gentleman would do”…but she did not love this man anymore.

The second father had previously sought Alice’s hand in marriage. Alice had wanted more time to consider but given the surprise nature of the pregnancy and a looming lack of health insurance- Alice approached HIM for marriage so that she could provide healthcare to their baby. He said no.

Alice knows that Leif is much more like the man who wouldn’t provide for his child than the man who said he would marry her and do the right thing. The irony is that the father who wanted to marry Alice is a “free spirit”, not religious and very left leaning.

The second man had no political thoughts, only financial. He said that he wouldn’t add his pregnant fiancé to his health plan because it would cost $300 a month more. That was much more than he was willing to pay for Alice and his baby’s health.

Alice couldn’t help but see this man in Leif. There were many straws. A stack of them. But the final straw, for Alice, was when Lief intentionally humiliated Alice in front of a dear friend. Alice didn’t even know whether she could face her friend ever again after that.

But face him she did and like a real friend, Adam validated her feelings and gave her a hug. It was funny because Adam and Alice had met through his business but had become friends over time, despite the fact that Adam is at least ten years Alice’s junior and absolutely jaded. But Alice has always admired his candor. Always.

Alice is moving on. She is annoyed and concerned that Lief is wants to “be friends” which Alice knows is the oldest excuse in the book to maintain a sexual relationship. But maybe Leif didn’t get the message. Alice will not have sex with anyone she doesn’t trust again. Let alone someone who claiming to be a follower of religion but espouses not of said values.

All Alice can do is wait and hope that she is just being paranoid about being pregnant. Because there is no way Alice could confide in or trust Lief to help her or their baby, regardless of the pro-life lip service he gives.

Alice knows she’s on her own with this and anxiously awaits the time frame in which she can be sure one of way or another if indeed she is being punished for her behavior. Because only a wrathful God would sentence her such.

Edit- Leif told Alice today that he never forgave her for a time when she was angry months ago. The implication being that he has hated her for months. He then asked to be friends.

One of the first things he said to her was “don’t let me hurt you”. And Alice was terrified because she knew….he would hurt her and anyone else. Unfortunately, she did not heed this advice fully.

Alice has since cut off the lines of communication as Leif has expressed that he no longer wants Alice and Alice has determined that whatever lies in the future is her own fate to decide. Under no circumstances will Alice contact Leif again. She is certain that he is either looking for someone else (as he really did flirt with other women in front of her face) and she knows he cares not whether she may be pregnant. He has made it abundantly clear that Alice is Alice and Leif is Leif and there is no partnership. Ever.

Funny how Alice used to be “interesting”, “intelligent” and “funny” only a couple months prior and now at best- according to Leif- she has a sexy “ass”, he compliments her on looks and performance and even that started to wane.

Alice saw this coming a mile away, maybe two miles away. She knew to keep in touch with her friends and she knew that there would be other people who value her as the smart, educated, well spoken, youthful and caring person that she always has been. And there is no shortage of attention. Alice has yet to fully plan a date but she has been asked dozens of times. And finally Leif has given her the permission to move on.

Did she love him? Absolutely. Alice has never given massages for hours to anyone else. But that love was one sided. While she loved Leif, he loved himself more. Alice has no doubt that Leif has been hunting for a more compliant woman for months. Funny thing is- he doesn’t want complaint. This, he is forever doomed to drown in a pool of his own reflection…


Published by kristinatehrani

Born a first generation American, half Irish Catholic and half Persian Jew, I like to write about a childhood mired in the chaos of never knowing where I stood. The only constants in my life have been reading, writing and a passion for social justice. I am a nurse, a single mother, a domestic abuse survivor, radical feminist and outspoken advocate for logic, public health, gray areas, and purposeful dialogue. I know entirely too much about sociopaths, autism, and medieval British history. I write under a pen name to protect the privacy of my family.

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