The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Cautionary Tale


I should be thinking of dead soldiers like my father who fought in World War II or my friends who were in the Vietnam Conflict or Jacob’s best friends who had been in the current day conflicts on this Memorial Day; instead I am thinking of dead marriages. My son’s marriage is a cautionary tale to all those embarking on marriage. My own marriage is now 32 years long; it has changed and settled through the years. In all those years that we fought and perhaps even hated each other at times, I never considered destroying my husband. Divorce would be enough.

No one wants to be a cautionary tale for others because why should others benefit from your suffering? Few will learn from Jacob’s tale; most people think they are unique and smarter than the people bad things happen to.  Sill, I warn you. Be sure about the person you are marrying; do not be blinded by love or lust or the combination. Ask your friends’ opinions and insist on their honesty. Listen to them because they may see a truth from the outside that you do not see from inside the bubble.

I wish I could go back now and ask my son’s ex-father-in-law for examples when he said “She’s difficult.” on the heels of his daughter’s engagement. He said they did not have to get married which seemed odd from a church deacon. There were stories behind those simple words. In the end though, a family can become hypocritical and gather round the wagons ignoring the truth as a group. Was he really fooled by the stories or just doing the ‘fatherly thing’ as his wife explained?

When I read the police statement of my then daughter-in-law full of innuendo and short on fact, I saw how undeniably she hated Jacob. I knew she was not happy with Jacob, but this was different. She had been waiting for just this moment to rid herself of her marriage and yet seem blameless in its demise. Remember that statement in It is not about fact or truth but about what you can get away with. Her statement was about what she could get away with inferring as was her testimony. She had no relevant fact to offer to these accusations. So much inference that could not be proved or disproved. She had been building the legend around Jacob within her own family for months. Why were they so ready to believe and ask not one question? Perhaps because they had been manipulated by her stories, and they never knew him. Perhaps they just wanted to evict him from their family. Perhaps they could not recognize what was not in them. Perhaps they really did not care about truth.

A last fight on the drive back from Harmarville when he stopped to put her out made him like putty in her hands. This was the start of the end. Her first call was to her mommy as if she was a stranded child, and her mommy’s first call was to me. I just wanted peace and that meant her gone. I suddenly was in the middle of a maelstrom, although I did not know it at that moment. My stomach always churned when their numbers came up on caller ID. It was a protective instinct of foreboding against them. I wonder if anyone else has ever felt this way about contact with this family.

The day Jacob was arrested, his wife told one of his friends online about the arrest. She told another friend later. Her father called us to assure us that he had always liked us, i.e. we were not to blame for these accused acts . It was patently clear that they expected us to just fall in line. Jacob’s wife thought his friends would all turn against him. This family forgot that we all knew the Jacob they did not know and never wanted to know. We also knew his wife. I guess they were so inured to capitulation that we perhaps confused them.

So if you asked me which came first, the chicken or the egg; or in this case, the hate or the accusations. The answer is that hate came first. It was clear in her tone of voice and on her face through the years.  These accusations coming on the heels of her mother’s decision to help move her out just fell so fortuitously into her story of the horrible person she had married. Perhaps Jacob had a certain naiveté or fatalism about his life that he missed her true hatred or maybe he was just accustomed to it.



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