A grandmother's childhood lesson serves a young woman well when life brings an abusive man into her life.
Silvie Jasper was a pretty vivacious, energetic woman. Or at least she used to be. There wasn't much left of her vivacity or her bubbly outgoing nature since her marriage.
What had started out as what Silvie had believed was a marriage between soulmates had turned into a nightmare. She was trapped, she couldn't get away from Kyle. She hadn't the strength or the courage. Or so she believed...
Woman cleaning floor | Source: Shutterstock
Silvie was nervously adding the last touches to dinner when her husband arrived home. He was so handsome! Even now, Silvie was always struck by his charm, at least until he dropped his mask.
"Darling," he smiled, and kissed her. "So, what's for dinner?"
Silvie smiled back. "Hi, hun! I made your favorite! Roast beef, and dumplings...and for dessert, blueberry pie!"
Kyle smiled. "Lovely!"
Sad-looking woman | Source: Unsplash
He looked at the table. It sparkled with silver and crystal, all set on snowy, crisp linen. He frowned and straightened a fork a millimeter. "That wine glass, it's dirty, Silvie!"
"No," Silvie said anxiously, "I washed everything before..."
"There's DIRT on it! LOOK!" and he held up the glass to the light to show her an infinitesimal speck of dust. Silvie took the glass and rushed to the kitchen. She washed it frantically under boiling water and scalded herself in the process.
"There," she cried, holding up the glass, "All clean!"
People who bring you down are toxic, they feed on your insecurity.
Making food | Source: Unsplash
"Darling," Kyle said, "I only want you to improve, to be worthy...Now, how about dinner?"
Nothing was quite as it should be. The perfect pink roast beef was undercooked, the dumplings were soggy, the salad had too much vinegar, and the pie's crust was too crumbly.
Silvie stood with her hands in the soapy water as she washed the dishes (Kyle thought dishwashers were pools of bacteria) and thought about her life. What had happened to her? What had happened to the girl she used to be?
Silvie found herself smiling as she remembered her visits to her grandmother. Odette Reilley had been a formidable woman who had raised seven children alone and had been energetic and strong-willed to the end of her days.
Dinner table for two | Source: Unsplash
"I wish you were here, Gran!" thought Silvie as tears flooded her eyes, "You'd know what to do...And if anyone told you the dumplings were soggy..." Silvie giggled imagining her feisty grandmother facing down the arrogant Kyle.
Silvie had spent many afternoons with her grandmother the summer before she started school, and had been fatally attracted to the wild jungle the old woman's back garden had become.
After 'rescuing' her several times, Odette had taken a piece of sewing thread, tied it around the four-year-old Sivie's ankle, and the other end around the kitchen table's leg. "There," she'd said, "You can't get away now!"
She'd piled up toys and a stack of paper and crayons within reach for Silvie to play with while she bustled around the kitchen making dinner. When she was finished, she'd walked over and simply snapped the thread.
Angry-looking man | Source: Unsplash
Silvie had gaped at her in astonishment. She could have been free anytime she'd wanted to! "Silvie," Odette had said, "The only thing that can make you a prisoner is believing you are one!"
She'd held up the fragile thread. "You see? This couldn't hold you unless you let it. I fooled you baby girl, but don't you ever let anyone else fool you again!"
Silvie gasped. Kyle was fooling her! The thread that held her to him was one he'd spun out of her lack of self-esteem. He'd made SIlvie believe she was worthless, that nothing she did was right, would never be right!
But it was a lie, a deception. Silvie WAS strong, she was capable and talented and bright. I don't need him, she thought, "I don't WANT him!"
Grandmother with child | Source: Unsplash
"What did you say?" Kyle called from the TV room, "Darling, are you talking to yourself? I think you might be a little unbalanced..."
Silvie wiped her soapy hands on her apron and walked into the room. "Actually, no, I'm not unbalanced." she stood in front of him, with her chin up and a glitter in her eyes. "I was talking to YOU. And what I said is: 'I don't WANT you!"
"You don't want me to what?" Kyle asked, clearly confused.
"I don't want you in my life. We're finished." Silvie said calmly.
"We're not finished, and we never will be. You need me. Who else would want a loser like you?" he sneered.
Divorce papers | Source: Unsplash
Silvie laughed, the first happy laugh in a long, long time. "I'm not a loser, Kyle, you are, and I'm snapping the thread!"
"Thread? What Thread? You're mad! Unbalanced!" Kyle screamed.
"Get out, Kyle, this is MY house. Go bully someone else!"
The next day, Silvie filed for a divorce from Kyle who kept whining that he didn't understand why she was leaving him. As for Silvie, she was free, free thanks to a piece of thread tied to a kitchen table.
What can we learn from this story?
1. People only have power over you if you allow them to. Silvie believed that she had to be with Kyle and that she wasn't good enough until she remembered her grandmother's lesson.
2. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself, walk away. People who bring you down are toxic, they feed on your insecurity to boost their own ego. People who love you build you up.
Share this story with your friends. It might inspire people to share their own stories or to help someone else.
Any resemblance in this story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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