Although Chris kept his word about being totally transparent with me regarding his finances, my victory celebrations turned out to be rather short-lived.
I soon realized that letting me know how much money came in, and letting me actually have a say in how that money was then spent, were two completely different things. Chris was naturally extravagant and enjoyed spending lavishly on what I considered to be “frivolous” details.
He bought a lot of home appliances that I really had no use for, and while he did cater for all C.G’s and my expenses, he kept coming up with excuses not to pay for other basics like rent and a couple of debts we had incurred. Had these lapses been as a result of a genuine lack of money, I might have been a bit more accommodative of them however, this was not the case.
When it came to paying the rent, for instance, Chris would come up with an argument like: “I don’t like the way the landlord harasses me for his money. He disrespects me so, I don’t see why I should respect him by paying him.”
Much as I tried to point out how ridiculous his arguments were, and that there would be no cause for the landlord to “disrespect” him if he paid the rent on time, my arguments fell on deaf ears, with the inevitable result that we began getting evicted from one house after another.
As if that was not bad enough, stories of these evictions often found their way into the press, and it was the shame of this that I found myself unable to deal with, especially when I started getting calls from my family asking if I had a roof over my head for the night, and reminding me that I could always return home and never again face the shame of another eviction.
When I felt I could not deal with another eviction, I actually began to consider this option, but the memories of how alienated I had felt the last time I returned home effectively squashed this train of thought pretty quickly. Instead, finding myself trapped in a situation that I couldn’t see a way out of, I reacted like a cornered prey.
Lashing out with a strength I didn’t know I possessed one evening, after we settled into the freshly- arranged living room of our latest home, I finally put my foot down by giving Chris a final ultimatum. “You either make sure the rent is paid on time here, or C.G and I move out. I mean it, Chris the next time we are forced to leave a home over rent, I won’t return to any home of yours.
C.G needs to grow up with a sense of security, and I won’t let you make him live under some cloud of uncertainty about how long he gets to call any one place home. If you can’t keep a steady roof over our heads, we’ll go to someone who can,” I warned him sternly, my eyes as cold as ice, relaying the steely determination I felt to carry through my threat if pushed just once more.
He studied me in silence for a few moments, as though weighing how serious I appeared to be, before quietly responding, “I have always taken care of you and C.G, and I always will. Yes, we’ve been evicted a couple of times, but haven’t I always had somewhere for us to go? Have we ever had nowhere to spend the night? For goodness sake, just look around you isn’t this house much nicer than the one we just left?”
“That’s not the point, Chris! It’s the bloody principle of the matter that I’m talking about!” I swore in frustration.
Source : The Observer