Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Smashing Computers

No, not smashing as in, "boy, aren't they smashing?" but as in "smash the bloody thing!".

We were living in Vestfossen (Norway), in a house we were temporarily renting while getting things together prior to moving to England. Back to England for Paul and I, for the first time for Bjørn, my partner at the time, and for the two girls.

Bjørn and I had been experiencing a lot of problems in our relationship, problems that had been ongoing for... oh, I dunno... about six years at a guess. Things were a bit wobbly before that point but it was around there that they started to become a real problem. How we'd managed to stay together so long that we ever came to England together is pretty much a mystery (although there was some kind of passion between us that's hard to define and I don't believe in giving up on a commitment, especially when children are involved).

Anyway, we were planning our move and Bjørn had promised that he wouldn't be contacting the woman who'd already been instrumental in breaking up our relationship. That's how we'd actually come to live in the house in Vestfossen. We were living in a house we'd built on Ormåsen when he fell in love with a woman in Florida, who he'd never met and who so obviously was taking him for a ride. And all the while he was treating me as if I were something that he'd found stuck to the sole of his shoe. Or worse!

To cut a long story short, he told me to either put up with him spending hours upon hours either chatting online or on the telephone with her, or get out. Rather foolishly I'd allowed the mortgage and deeds to the house to be put in his name alone, so not wanting to go through lengthy court proceedings, I decided a house just wasn't worth anymore emotional pain than he'd already caused me, took the kids and rented the place down in the village.

He came crying, begging forgiveness. This was the second time I'd left -- the first time because he'd hit me -- and once again I took him back. We thought moving to England might give us a new start, a new chance to get our relationship together. A foolish idea, I know, but it seemed feasible at the time. Things always do when you're gripping on to straws, though.

Promises were made but as you've probably guessed, they weren't kept. Several times I woke up in the night to find him at the computer, chatting with Denise in Florida. So that he wouldn't get caught again, he started going down to his cousin's business premises to chat from his computer. People weren't quite as loyal to him as he thought they were, though. The crux came when we invited friends for a barbecue but rather than entertain them, he spent the entire evening in the house, chatting with Denise.

The next day, following a huge row, he promised it would be over for good. He phoned Denise and told her so and even phoned her husband and told him about their online affair. Then he took a hammer and smashed the computer to bits. There were bits of twisted grey metal all over the living room, and shattered glass from the screen, but the thing that sticks in my mind more than anything is my younger daughter turning around in the armchair and saying "I suppose that means we don't have a computer anymore, then?"

She should never have witnessed that.

And it wasn't the end. For Denise, yes. But not for the way he abused our love.



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