Last night I got out my journals from that time and read through them again. I remember writing them like it was yesterday, when in fact it was the early 80’s. What I remember the most was that I wrote them with the knowledge that he read them daily, and because of that they are more like letters to him, than my own place to vent my life. I know you are thinking that they must be interesting to read, but in reality they are a repetition of my cry for love and my denial of reality.
I waited for the ‘honeymoon’ to resume after this abrupt break – but it never did. And while I waited I tried to monitor everything I did to ensure that I wouldn’t be ‘deserving’ of another slap. I know I never once thought he reminded me of my father. Not then. I was still so infatuated with him – so utterly consumed with wanting him to want me. From that moment at the beach he started holding me at arms length, granting me the favor of his attention, his body, his disdainful love. Before that time it had been an equal sharing, a romance, a discovery of each other.
It was right around then the Police came out with a song – “I’ll be watching you”. The words went – Oh can’t you see, You belong to me ~~~Every move you make, Every step you take, I’ll be watching you. He loved this song. It also was a popular song for strippers to dance to. I’d be serving customers while the strippers peeled to this song and look up and he would have hoisted himself up behind his bar and would be watching me and pointing at me – mouthing the words. At first I thought it was cute, but it embarrassed me the customers were watching. He was making sure that everyone knew I was his. And – he was making sure I knew I had to toe the line. Or else.
When you work in a bar, any bar, you develop a type of friendship with your customers. I had my favorites – nice guys who came in for a drink at lunch or after work, just to relax and spend some time with their friends. It was a popular bar, one of the few in Ontario where the strippers could take everything off (as long as they held a scarf or something). Working in this environment makes you develop a thick skin towards nudity, sexuality, alcoholism and drugs. For me it was a business. I wore skimpy clothing (sometimes almost transparent) and heels. I never stopped from the moment the doors opened until my shift ended at 6:30. Every single customer added to my income and I worked hard for the money I made. It was nothing for me to carry 32 glasses of beer on my tray and four jugs of the same in my other hand. The bartender watched my every move and if I stayed longer at a table to chat – he wanted to know what it was about. If my eyes followed a customer – I heard about it. Sometimes I would break out in a sweat in the middle of my back – those tingly scared sweats – if a customer put his arm around me. I knew I would pay for it. So I developed a ‘do not touch’ policy and enforced it with everyone. The management backed me up on it and would throw a customer out if they touched me. They had no idea I was protecting myself from something else.
But it wasn’t a two-way street. The bartender looked at everything. Not just a casual glance, but those sweeping once over glances to ascertain the woman was worth looking at in the first place – then the second look. I asked him once why he was looking at these other women when he had me. He turned and looked me up and down and sneered. Turning away he said, “To see if they want to f**k me.” I wanted the earth to open and suck me up, and in the next instant I vowed to work harder at making him want me – and only me.
From that moment on the beach – things changed. Our sex life became the stuff that romance novels are based on. With a twist. He would suddenly sweep me off my feet and carry me to the bedroom and rip off my clothes. I would almost swoon with the violence of it. I would think ‘He wants me! He wants me so badly!’ Then, in the middle of a passionate kiss, where my eyes were tightly closed and I was trying to melt into him, he would draw back and slap me as hard as he could across my face. My eyes would fly open and he would be watching me for my reaction – waiting. The first time it happened I was confused. I knew he was angry because I had been talking longer than was necessary to a customer. He hadn’t said anything about it and we had gone back to my house in what I thought was a comfortable silence. While preparing supper he had swept me up and carried me to the bedroom. My reaction to the slap was to raise my arms and whisper ‘I love you’. Then I buried my face in his chest to avoid another slap. He ravished me then, instead of making love, and called me names and told me I was a tease with the customers and this is what it got me. I reveled in it. I went to work the next day with extra make-up to cover the red mark that remained. Our lovemaking from then on was always an outlet for him to find different ways to inflict pain and degrade me. I thrilled with the domination. I would let him do anything – as long as he wanted me.
I had myself convinced that we were just into kinky sex. It was when the beatings stepped outside the bedroom door ---