“Dad, it’s Ptissem….I’m sorry but we’re not going to make it to lunch today.”
I hated lying to my parents…especially when I could tell my dad didn’t believe me. He knew something was up. I’d never leave it this late to cancel lunch, not after all the trouble my mum had gone to.
But there was no way I could turn up at their house in this state. Especially after my husband had warned me not to tell them anything, as it would only make my sick parents even worse…
I can’t actually believe that all this happened over a playdate…
En route to my parent’s house for lunch, I’d innocently pointed out the house of a new friend I’d made at my son’s playgroup, and told my husband we were going there for a playdate soon.
I wasn’t expecting the barrage of questioning that came my way about who this woman was, why it was necessary for me to go to her house, and then for him to outline all the bad things that would happen to me and our marriage if I carried on meeting up with her…
I couldn’t make sense of how a simple playdate had been blown so out of proportion.
As my husband pulled up into the supermarket car park, I quietly prayed that he’d calm down and realise he was overreacting. But a quick trip inside the shops to grab some fruit for my parents did nothing to lessen his mood.
As he got back into the car, he dove straight back into shouting about why it was totally unacceptable for me to go to this woman’s house for a playdate. He’d never met her before and as much as I tried to explain that it was just an opportunity for my rather shy 2-year-old to play with other children; my words only served to send him into an even angrier frenzy. He started driving faster and I began to panic at his out of control driving. He was whacking the steering wheel whilst shouting, to emphasise the points he was making and with his focus elsewhere, the car kept crossing into the opposite lane.
And then he turned his attention to me…and started to punching my leg instead, promising to “fuck me up!” if I dared go on this playdate…
I gave up defending myself and turned to crying instead. These incidents were getting worse and showed no signs of stopping. I’d started to feel so sorry for myself.
He pulled into another supermarket carpark, turned off the engine and started furiously grabbing my head, shoving it back and forth, my headscarf sliding off, tears rolling down my face amidst the cries of my 2-year-old in the back of the car, from witnessing his father in such a rage.
Once he lets go of me, I immediately reach for my phone, sobbing uncontrollably. This is it, I tell myself, my parents need to know. I bring up my parent’s number on my phone and my husband warns me to be very careful about my next move – “Is that really going to help them Ptissem? You’re going to make them sick with worry!”
And so, I drop the phone on the floor and continue sobbing. I tell him to take me home…fully aware that I can’t let my parents see me like this. I gain a little composure and call them to cancel.
Later on that evening, I get a call from my dad…”Ptissem…I know something’s wrong. Tell me what’s happening.”
And so, I do.