the final straw at nautilus teachings

temptation surrounds us,
food, alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling…
we also are exposed to gyms, churches, farmers markets,
the beach, parks, people on bicycles, skateboards…
we consciously have choices
good over evil
kindness over cruelty
love over hate
peace over war…
for sher,
she chose obedience
to her parents
to her faith
to her silence.
she vowed no one would ever know
the shame she felt
how ugly, dirty and worthless…
she kept her voice hidden
as much as possible
knowing whatever she was thinking
was best kept to herself…
as a child this worked out ok
as a teenager, she added giggles
and expressions with her face and hands
but by high school speech class
forced her to find a tiny voice.
mostly she wrote
and at writing she excelled.
in grade school she had to take speech classes
because she stuttered.
they never really worked
but she did learn some tricks
like what letters to avoid starting sentences with
and how to breath.
during her first marriage
she did not use her voice.
it was all she could do to deal
with her mother dying.
but she sang all the time to her son
and talked to him all the time
because with nicholas she was free.
in her second marriage
she would get verbally assaulted
for even speaking her own thoughts
she kept long thick journals
of words, photos and drawings
her soul lived in a silent,
bound, paper world.
the night he has his episode
the one where he broke down
and called the police on himself
he threatened to burn it all,
he even held them up high
with a lit light underneath
snickering at her,
“go ahead, call your daddy, sheri…
he cannot save you
just like you cannot save yourself
or my children…”

over the few months they lived
in florida
while he was gone
she began to paint
like a crazy woman
stay up all night writing her stories
and then BAM
he enters her life again
and this time
holding a bag of weed
right out of rehab….
did he really think she would crack?
fuck no!
she stood very straight
grabbed her $150
8 quart all-clad
spaghetti cooker
and screamed
‘get out of this house
and never come back…’
he was so high
he just laughed at her.
as he turned to leave
she pulled the cooker back
over her head and threw it
straight at his head
she missed him
denting the stainless steel
refrigerator she just bought…
he hopped in his truck
drove off
and sher
crumbled to the ground
pounding her fists
against the wall
and screaming
‘i fucking hate him
i hate my life
Lord, please show me the way…”
the summer breezed by
the kids were excited about school
the house was coming along
the pool was just about complete
and he
mr. smoke weed every day
she was paying his enormous
credit card bills
waiting for the call
informing her the boat
had arrived from paris
and interviewing divorce lawyers.
august hit with blazing heat
she was looking into getting
re-certified to teach school
researching cross-dressing
talking to her cousin
about helping her find a house and job
back home in Illinois
and getting her home finished up
to put back on the market.
one Tuesday morning the phone rang,

“sheri, this is… your boat is….
when would you like to pick it up?”
she thought for only a moment,
‘i would like to sell it..’
“i’m sorry. we have already talked to your husband
and he told us he would pick it up.
we just need the date…”
‘oh, well, i will have to get back with you…’
sure enough
two days later
in he pulls
grabs nicholas
and the two of them fly up to annapolis
to sail her home.
she was stuck,
the whole process took about a week,
the boys sailed her into port
down south off of Eau Gallie
on a bright sunny day.
the girls were so excited.
sheri was even excited.
“you see. we can rent the house
and take the kids
and sail around the world
just like we planned…”
she knew right then and there
she would never be locked up on a boat
with him-ever…
he moved aboard the boat
lived as a woman
and refused to talk to her.
one day while the kids were in school
she drove over to see him.
again, he asked her to get high
she saw all his bras, fake boobs, toys,
opened the side portal and began
tossing things out
‘what is a matter with you?
this is disgusting…
why are you doing this?’
then he proceeded to hit her over
and over
she tried to protect her face
so he beat her chest…
she finally broke free
ran up to the top and called 911
the police came and arrested him
took pictures of her
and when she got home
this message was waiting…
“this is your sister in law…
you get my brother out of jail
or i will finish what he started.
this is all your fault,
you lying piece of shit,
i am coming down there tomorrow
and he better be out of jail…”
sher erased the message
took a shower
and cried herself to sleep…