Atlanta, Georgia, July, 1999


We are not together.

We will not be together.

I can only say that now, when I am safely at a distance from your reach.

I have paid for the non-existence of our potentially wonderful life together, but I refuse to pay anymore. You are responsible for your mistakes, for your choices, for your actions. As am I for mine.

I fed your monster for six long and painful years. I laid prostrate on the ground and let you trample, beating your war dance rhythm as you left me in the dust, swallowing mouthfuls of dirt in your wake.

I regret every moment you undermined me and tried to chip away at my soul, every swing you took at my character and my faith, but, most of all, I regret that I trusted you. I believed that, one day, you would stop battering me with your crippling abuse, and you would wake up from an endless nightmare.

That never happened.

Instead, I crept around corners, terrified of breaking the eggshells of your delicate temper, shrinking from your disdain and your scorn, all too aware that at any moment, with no warning, you could lash out in a tempest of emotion, fueled by God only knew what.

Negotiation did not work and, to my horror, soft words of comforting love and support did not touch your knotted heart, nor did my pleading for you to stop attacking me, to know me as friend, not foe.

You will no doubt pass this letter off as an act of vitriol, and, as you live in a state of constant denial, I'm sure this monologue will serve only to fill your wastepaper basket even higher.

But it matters not.

This letter, Joe, is essentially for me.

How glorious it feels to finally expel you, not with vengeance -- for I do not believe that two wrongs make a right -- but with relief that you are no longer able to affect the elation I feel, or to cloud the beauty the world holds for me with outstretched arms.

Our marriage, Joe, is over.

And my greatest pride is that the passion within me overcame you.

Emma Redgrove

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