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The Courage to Be

Alive But Not Living

By Caroline-StoryGirlCAPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 3 min read

The second she heard the garage door open, Catherine tensed. All day she felt relaxed and at ease. This was her time to be herself. Once in a while, a flash of anxiety swept through her because she knew her husband Paul was due to arrive later that evening. He worked hard for his family and she admired that in him.

During her day, Catherine managed to dodge any anxiety she felt over Paul’s arrival but the hum of the garage door opening sent her anxiety through the roof. Her body went rigid. Her blood raced. She leaned against the kitchen counter when a flashback of her life with Paul swept through her mind.

They married when she was twenty-four years old. He was twenty-nine. Catherine, fresh out of college still felt unfamiliar with the world, having endured an unstable upbringing with an alcoholic parent, divorce, and turbulent teenage years, didn’t know who she was or what she wanted in life. Until she met Paul.

A handsome self-made businessman who ran a rapidly expanding business as a contractor charmed his way into her life. He was different then. She felt they could build a life together. She chided herself, remembering the article she read today about different kinds of love. It made her wonder if when they married, did she truly love him? Or was there another reason? Escape perhaps? She sighed. Fifteen years of marriage and all of it a blur.

A few years after they married, she noticed he had an explosive personality. If she said anything to contradict him, he would anger. Her opinion didn’t matter. Sometimes he flew into a rage for no apparent reason. Endless rants were the norm when he felt provoked. She never knew what to say or what not to say. In her mind, she didn’t know what she did to provoke him. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t figure this part out. What was she doing to make him so irritated with her?

As the years progressed, she learned, as she did with the alcoholic parent who also burst into this same type of rage, to keep quiet. If she said anything, the screaming escalated. If she said nothing, it eventually stopped. Sometimes she tried to fight back but he twisted her words around, confusing her more. Finally, she lost sight of herself. Catherine became a pleaser. A person with no personal boundaries when it came to Paul. She lost herself and she knew it.

Catherine stared at the garage door leading to the kitchen. His footsteps were deafening. Her eyes fixated on the door. She marveled in disbelief after so many years, only now had she begun to recognize herself again. Catherine and her psychologist worked on her fears when it came time to stand up to this man who triggered her every weakness but who also brought out her strength.

Catherine took a few deep breathes and plastered a smile on her face. The door swung open. Within seconds Paul would appear. During those last few seconds, she realized she didn’t know anything about love. Fear, obedience, and pleasing were her go to’s. Love must be magnificent she thought to herself. She felt something stir in her heart.

At that moment Paul walked through the doorway. He smiled although his face looked tired after a long day at work.

“Hi, honey”, he said, greeting her with a kiss.

“How was your day?” Catherine asked.

“Work Catherine. Work. What else?” His voice had a hint of irritation to it. Paul thumbed through the mail. Without looking up he asked, "Did you call Mr. Jenkins about our appointment tomorrow? The guy is such a jerk but he's a good client. If he wants us to rebuild the deck again we'll do it." He turned to look at her, expecting a reply.

Catherine hesitated; her heart pounding inside her chest. The palms of her hands grew cold and clammy. She looked him in the eye.

“Paul, there is something we need to talk about.”

To be continued……………


About the Creator


Hi there! I’m a fiction writer. Written all my life. Want to inspire if I can. Living on a guest horse ranch in Baja California, Mexico. Married to a Mexican Cowboy!


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