Jackie always wins...
Chapter 1 – Betrayal
I sit in my jail cell, staring through the small barred window up at the sky blankly, drained out from the endless screaming, the crying. What happened? How did I end up here? What did I do wrong? And then I remember. I remember everything that Jive has done to me.
It all started 20 years ago. I was young. I lived with my mother and we weren’t very well off. I worked at a local supermarket and earned a minimum wage. We may have had only a little but what we had was enough for us. My mother loved me and supported me in whatever I did.
I had a lot of friends, and while we couldn’t afford to go out and paint the town red, we did manage to have a good time together. My mother was more of a friend to me and my friends loved her as much as I did. She was a wonderful cook and the dinner parties we had at home were so much fun. My friends loved coming over – they would bring some raw food and cheap wines and my mother would make the best food delight.
It was a happy time and we didn’t think much about our financial hurdles.
And then I met Jive.
I had gone to a local diner with my friends after a long day at work. We were sitting in our booth and having some fries and cokes – that’s all we could afford! But that didn’t matter because we were together and having fun.
And then, this man walked over to our booth and smiled at me. I blushed in confusion. What did he want? He told me that he had seen me coming to this diner many times and wanted to get to know me better. My friends giggled, and, well, so did I.
He said his name was Jive and that he worked in a software startup nearby. He said that he had recently moved to our town and been coming to the diner for his casual bites. He lived in a studio and barely knew anyone. He said that he loved the way I laughed and that he would like to take me out to dinner.
I was a little shy away. A total stranger, new in town, and living alone wanted to take me out. He saw that I was not comfortable. So, he said that he could understand my distrust and that I could invite all my friends along if I wanted. I said that I would think about it. He gave me his phone number and told me to call him if I would be interested in going out with him.
That night, I went home and told my mother about what happened. She was so excited! She said that it wouldn’t hurt to go out with him once and see what he was like. She would come with me.
Filled with trepidation, I called Jive. He was so happy to hear from me! He said that he had prayed that I would call back because he liked me. I said that he didn’t even know me! He said that what he had seen of me so far had made him want to get to know me better and that he was looking forward to meeting me. I told him that I would be bringing my mother with me. He was happy; he said that it would be lovely to meet my mother.
So, the next evening, my mother and I went out with Jive. I dressed up like I never did, wearing my only pretty dress. Jive got both my mother and me a nice bouquet and took us to an upscale restaurant.
Not wanting to be seen cheap, my mother and I ordered the least exquisite main course on the menu at the restaurant. Jive smiled gently and said that we could order whatever we wanted. He asked if it would be okay if he ordered for us. We were both a little overawed by the fanciness of the place, and so we said ok. The dinner was nice, though I secretly felt that my mother’s cooking was better. Nevertheless, we enjoyed ourselves. Jive went out of the way to make us comfortable.
The evening ended all too soon and it was time to go home. He was a perfect gentleman. He walked us home and then said goodnight at the door. He asked if he could see me again. I smiled and said that I would like that.
From that night on, we would see each other as much as we could and he took me to different restaurants, the movies and so many different places that I had never been – nor could afford to go to. It was all like a dream too good to be true!
Jive was this cute, sweet, and confident man who seemed to know everything. He had a good job, he was so charming, and he was so interested in me. I couldn’t understand what he saw in me. I was shy, timid, and had little self-confidence. I was swept off my feet!
His confidence overwhelmed me. He knew what to do, and he started telling me how to manage our money. I was grateful for his heart and the advice that he would give. He cared about me! I felt really good that a man like him would care about a girl like me this much. I fell for him and when he said that we should move in together, I said YES without a blink!
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Moving in with Jive felt so perfect! He told me he was going to take care of me forever.
That I wouldn’t have to worry about anything – especially not money!
He said that I didn’t need to work anymore.
That he would take care of my mother and me from now on. He didn’t want his partner slaving away at a low-paying job.
My mother was so happy for me. The money– to us –was a blessing!
What mattered more to her was that I had found a man who was kind and loved me very much.
Jive had an upscale apartment in a very nice community that is close enough to my mother’s house.
He told me that I could fix the apartment as I pleased and it was my home now.
I was over the moon!
I went shopping with the money he gave me.
I bought new curtains, new sheets for
the bed, a few pots, and pans, and then I bought some groceries.
I wanted to surprise him with a candlelit dinner on our first night together in our new home.
I worked all day, cleaning the apartment; it was quite messy.
But then, I said to myself, he works all day and comes home tired. How on earth he would have time to take care of the house chores?
I quickly worked on the dirty dishes and clothes scattered across the apartment.
Right after that, I set about scrubbing the floors, windows, and doors until they shone.
By the time I was done, the apartment looked completely different.
Neat, tidy, and pretty.
I was very pleased with my work.
And then I started making a special meal for Jive.
I called my mother and asked her for secret recipes on how to make a lovely meal.
I set the table and waited for Jive to come home.
It was dark when he finally came back.
I had dozed off because I was so tired. He roughly shook me awake.
I was dazed and in shock!
Why was he so rough?
I jumped up, still groggy from sleep, and asked him,
Are you all alright?
Why did you wake me up like that?”
He screamed at me.
“Who the hell told you that you could buy all this stuff?
Did you ask me?
Why did you spend so much money?
I gave you that money to take care of the house, not to go crazy shopping!”
I was stunned! I hadn’t bought anything for myself.
I used all the money he gave me to his house.
And yet. This is how he reacted – with verbal abusiveness!
I was so upset that I started crying.
I shouted back at Jive, telling him that I had done all of this for him. Because his house had been a mess.
I thought that he would be happy with what I had done for him.
He suddenly went quiet. I got scared.
What was happening?
And then he sighed.
He said, “I’m sorry. I was just overwhelmed. I have a rough day today.
I come from a very poor family and so we always had money constraints.
I learned to save money the hard way and spend only on essentials.
All of this,” – he
waved his hand around – “seems unnecessary to me. I was expecting you to save that money and spend it carefully.”
I felt bad. I hadn’t thought about how he had wanted me to use the money.
It wasn’t my money, after all. I should have asked him first.
I should have been more considerate.
I rushed to him and hugged him, and said,
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking! I just
wanted you to have a beautiful place to come home to so that you could relax after work.
I should have discussed the matter with you before I bought all this stuff.
Next time, I will ask you before I buy anything for the house. Will you forgive me?”
Jive hugged me back and said,
“Thank you for understanding. The house does look lovely. But next time, ask me first.
I want good things for us, but I need to ensure that we use our money carefully.
You are not working anymore, and I also need to take care of your mother.”
I pulled back. I said,
“If money is so tight, I can go back to work. You don’t need to shoulder the burden all by yourself.”
“No. This is something I want to do. It is my job to provide for us.
Anyway, let’s forget about it and have dinner. What did you make?”
I immediately got distracted because I was excited about the food I had made for
As we sat down to dinner, he commented,
“Wow! You made the dinner looked so delicious! Is it expensive?”
I felt hurt that he did not appreciate the effort I spent to create the dishes I had for
But I didn’t want another fight, so I simply said,
“I’ll be more careful next time.”
He smiled and reached out for my hand.
Everything was alright again!
And so, my new life with Jive began.
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I thought that incident was the last of it. I didn’t share what happened with my mother – I didn’t want her to worry. It wasn’t such a big deal after all. It was just a miscommunication.
But then, as the months passed, I noticed that Jive would always comment about my spending habits and budgeting skills.
He would say that I needed to control my spending, that I should listen to him on how to budget and where to spend money.
I laughed about it at first, but then I would wonder why he was always saying these things.
I didn’t usually spend money without telling him first, and since that first night, I was careful with our budget. And I made sure I did not spend anything on myself.
I only bought things we needed for our home. I didn’t want there to be financial conflict in our relationship.
Months turned into years. And as time went by, Jive began to get angrier.
He yelled at me, kept telling me that I was spending his money mindlessly. He started asking me that I should not spend his money without getting his permission first.
He made the money rules for me – that I couldn’t spend any money without first asking him. If I did – even when it was for the house or something we needed, he got really angry and began verbally abusing me.
He told me I was financially incompetent and that I should leave money matters to him.
Sometimes, I also got upset and said that I wanted to go back to work. That way, we would have more money and he wouldn’t have to get so stressed about our money problems.
Jive, however, just got even angrier and shout at me that I didn’t appreciate what he was doing for us.
He blamed me that was selfish and didn’t care about our relationship.
The mental violence caused by the power struggling between Jive and I soon became the everyday deal.
All those fights and shouting always made me end in tears.
Sometimes Jive would storm out of the apartment and not come back for hours even overnight.
The first time he walked out, I worried like crazy. I didn’t know where he had gone. I didn’t know who to call.
I called my mother. I was crying hopelessly.
She said I should give him some personal space and these kinds of fights were a learning process of relationship.
I had never told her about my money problems with Jive.
In front of my mother, Jive was always attentive and loving, showering me with love and full attention. My mother had no idea about how harsh he could be.
When I tried to discuss with my mother how Jive had been reacting to my spending, she just said,
“Be more considerate. Jive is right. He is the one earning the money so you can live a comfortable life.
He is also generous enough to take care of me. I know that sometimes men can be difficult. Learn to be more patient with Jive.”
I was a little upset about what my mother said, but I let it go.
Right now, I couldn't quit thinking of Jive's whereabout.
I sat in the dark, got eaten away with worry.
I didn't know how long was the wait.
Jive came back at last.
He still looked mad.
I ran to him and held him tight and burst into tears again.
I told him I had been so worried about him...
He pushed me away and went to our bedroom.
I was crying even harder.
I followed him into the room and was going to scream at him about being so inconsiderate, however, I remembered what my mother had said to me.
I simply went to him and sat next to him on our bed and said, “I am sorry. I’ll do better.”
I didn’t say anything further. He just hugged me and said, “I’m tired. And I need to work tomorrow. Let’s go to sleep now.”
I was so relieved that Jive was no longer mad at me and my emotional roller coaster made me pretty exhausted.
I said "YES" and we just hit the bed.
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Jive and I ran into a sort of deja vu over the next 6 years. He was fine for a few days and then he would erupt about my spending – even when I hadn’t done anything wrong. He called me useless, and that I was a dead weight on his shoulder and that I didn’t understand him.
But then, when Jive calmed down, he would tell me that he worked hard and that times were tough. That I needed to be more considerate and appreciate how much he did for my mother and me. After all, he loved me so much!
Deep inside my heart, I felt bad.
Jive was right.
He did so much for us.
Jive was the one who was working to keep us together. I was the one who needed to be more understanding. I told myself that I would try harder.
I worked more in the house, trying to make our place as comfortable and beautiful as possible – without spending any extra money. I wanted Jive to be proud of me. I wanted to prove to him that I was trustworthy.
I did everything Jive asked. I would not buy anything without asking Jive first. Not even food for the house.
Jive didn’t want me to go out with my friends because they spent too much money, and we didn’t have that kind of money to waste. So, I did.
I cut all ties with my friends. Jive wanted me to visit my mother less because he felt that I was not spending enough time with him. My love and guilt for Jive started my trip in making excuses to my dear mother about why I couldn’t come over.
Not once did I see the kind of gender discrimination and emotional abuse growing in our relationship and I didn’t even notice the way loneliness was creeping up on me.
Those first few years were not too bad – if one could discount these fights that we had.
We had a good time too.
When Jive was in the right mood, he would take me out to restaurants, buy me pretty clothes, and was sweet to me.
However, the problem was that the longer we spent together, the nastier Jive would get about our money issues.
Then, one night, six years after we had moved in together, we had a huge fight.
Jive had invited some of his friends over for dinner and I had spent the entire day slaving in the kitchen and cleaning the house so that everything would be perfect for the evening. I had made a huge effort and the apartment looked warm and cozy, and the dinner had been cooked to perfection. I was very pleased with my efforts.
Jive came home from work. He didn’t say anything about the house or the delicious aromas wafting in from the kitchen. Instead, he went straight to our bedroom to change and get ready for dinner.
When his friends arrived, Jive was pleasant and happy. But when everyone sat and started the dinner, Jive kept mocking me about my spending.
One of his friends' wives commented, “You have kept your house so well. It is lovely!”
Before I could say anything, Jive commented jokingly, “Yes. She uses up a lot of my money for her little interior decoration hobbies!”
I felt bad but laughed along with the rest of them.
As the evening wore on, Jive kept drinking, and his comments about me got more and more acidic until even our guests were feeling uncomfortable. The evening ended soon, and his friends left.
I was seething! It seemed that he wanted to sabotage our relationship! As soon as they left, I turned to him and said, “You are horrible! How could you be so unkind to me in front of them?”
He was drunk and he shouted back at me, “You are nothing but a leech! All you do is take my money and sit at home and do nothing! I am the one who has to do all the hard work. I take care of you and your mother. And instead of being grateful, all you do is feel sorry for yourself! You are truly worthless!”
That’s when I knew that I had to leave. I could not take this “relationship” anymore. This time, instead of him leaving, I left.
I went to my mother’s house that night. I was crying when I got there. She hurriedly let me in and asked me what happened. I told her everything. How Jive had been treating me for the last six years, and how I had put up with his abuse and manipulation all this time.
My mother didn’t say anything. She just held me tight and kept singing me songs while I cried my heart out. After I stopped crying, she said, “You are tired. Go to bed. We will talk in the morning. I love you.”
My mother put me to bed, and I fell sobbing asleep.
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4TH JULY 2021
The next day when I woke up, I immediately felt a throbbing heartache. My heart was in a dark place and there was no window.
I wanted Jive to call me.
I wanted him to apologize to me.
I wanted him to admit he was terrible.
Jive didn’t call.
Neither did he come to me.
A few days went by.
There was no Jive.
My mother told me to be patient.
She said that sometimes, you need to give each space to grow.
Jive just needed time to realize that he had been difficult.
It was ten days before Jive came to my mother’s house. He brought the flower.
Jive was in very bad shape. He said in a trembling voice,
“I'm so sorry, Sweety.
I got drunk that night.
I was being a jerk.
I didn’t come to get you sooner because
I didn’t have the ball to tell you that
I miss you so much. Please come home.”
I sobbed, “No. For the past six years, you have given me all the emotional bombs. I don’t want to be with you no more. Ever.”
Jive stared at me with his bloodshot eyes. Looked into my eyes like I have no heart. He muted for didn't know how long and finally said,
“Please don't do this. I am under a lot of stress. Things are tough at work and I want to provide for you.
I know I have been difficult when things don't work out the way I want with you, but let me promise you this: I will change. Just please come back to me."
Another decade of silence went by.
I can’t live without you.”
Jive seemed so helpless and desperate.
Cat got my tongue. I wasn’t expecting Jive to ask me to marry him.
My mom called me to her room.
“Give the guy a break. He has begged you to forgive him. It takes a lot for a man to do that. And Jive had taken care of us for so many years, despite you two not being married. And now, he is proposing. Give him a second chance.”
I didn’t know what to do.
I still loved Jive.
And I also remembered how wonderful he was.
Despite all the fights, Jive took care of my mother’s financial needs. And when there is no money conflict between us, Jive was a really nice guy.
He could be so loving.
I decided that if I tried harder, Jive would eventually stop getting so stressed out about money. He hadn’t had an easy childhood, but if I loved him enough, he would learn to let go.
I went back to the living room.
I tried to make myself calm and clear, “Your apology is accepted this time.
But if you ever treat me like shit,
I will be forever gone.”
Jive nodded eagerly,
I will try my very best.
I promise I will never be that jerk to you again.
Please don’t leave me.
Please come home.”
And all of a sudden, he went down on one knee and grabbed a ring from his pocket. He shook my hands,
I started crying. My heart is silent.
Marry me? Please?” Jive has the light almost dimmed in his eyes.
I couldn't make a sound. Only nodding with tears.
Jive slipped the ring onto my finger, a diamond ring I couldn't stare at. He hugged and kissed me and was acting crazy, “You made me the happiest man in the world!”
My mother had been watching from the door. She rushed in and hugged us both. She was also crying. We all laughed and cried at the same time.
Everything was bright again and I was going to be married!
All these years, I had waited and hoped that someday Jive would ask me to marry him. And now, my wish was granted. I was so happy that I silenced that little voice at the back of my mind that was telling me something wasn’t right.
Jive told us to get dressed and that we went out and celebrated. He took us to a fancy restaurant, and that was the first time I tried a bottle of expensive champagne!
What a night it was!
We laughed, we kissed, and we loved!
And when the night was getting late, Jive dropped us at my mom's place– just as he would've done the first time we went out six years ago.
He kissed my forehead and said that the next time he took me to our apartment, I would be his lawful wife.
Oh my! The butterfly in my stomach!
I forgot about the tears I had shed all these years and was now looking forward to my life as being Jive’s wife!
This was our moment. Me and Jive.
Little did I know that my nightmare was just going to start.
Chapter 2 – The Denial
Our wedding vows- it seemed just like yesterday.
What a beautiful day.
The white lilies filled the wedding chapel when I walked down the aisle to my soon-to-be wedded husband.
Jive was in a silvery blue tux and looked so handsome. My heart was racing.
I almost messed up my bridal makeup with the watery eyes. Jive held my hand tight and the kiss was the forever lava.
My mother couldn't help herself but shed happy tears the whole time.
Our nonfancy and small wedding did not bother me. I was marrying the man I loved. With maybe a tiny little disappointment inside the back of my heart, but I knew a wedding can be costly.
Jive said we cannot afford a big wedding and invite that many friends of mine.
"A simple ceremony was enough.
I love you." I said to Jive.
Till death do us apart.
We were back in Jive's apartment. Newly wedded with all the joy and happiness.
For the first 11 months as newlyweds, things couldn't be better between Jive and me.
Love was in the air.
But I did get lonely sometimes. Cannot see my friends that much and hang out as we used to.
I tried to be a devoted wife and ensured Jive got a nice dinner when he got home.
However, soon enough, Jive started to flippantly comment on my excessive spending.
I responded: “Yes. I bought wine and strawberries, but no worry. I made the budget.” then I would try not to engage in any possible fights and tiptoed away from the scene.
It all seemed so familiar.
As time went by, Jive just cannot hold his temper anymore. He became mouthful about how I was spending his money when we were together at home. And even at my mom's place. Jive kept saying how incompetent I was in handling his money.
Almost every other day. The financial conflicts never end and we were getting worse. Jive seemed to have all these buildups inside him that were going to explode again and again.
I can tell it was no longer just about money.
This is about me.
How he thought who I was.
I should do as he said.
No strawberries and wine.
This time, however, I kept my mouth shut. Any communicative loop would only irritate Jive further to eventually become the super emotional bomb.
I never thought a person can feel so lonely in a marriage.
It was only wine and strawberries.
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