The following was written while and because of writing and preparing letters and documents to Zoya's latest antics.
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I spent my adolescence trapped between the onslaught of puberty and a suppressed, but not any the less raging for it, anger at an abusive father controlling the minutiae of the daily lives of my mother and siblings. He ruthlessly exploited our dependencies and weaknesses to further expand opportunities to dominate and manipulate by setting us against one another, all the while with poverty and illiteracy in our air, water and dirt.
This is a very rough sketch of the backdrop to the unfortunate events that transpired between my sister & myself. The details are unimportant here. Suffice it to say, those events profoundly affected both of us. I have made it a point of honor to inform my serious romantic partners of those events, trusting in their decency and good taste for discretion. I had always done this before things got “too serious.” Partly for reassurances that my partner really did love me for who and what I am. Besides, they would likely find out sooner or later. This also meant that it was necessary that any possible fiancee meet my family in Arkansas. I don’t remember whether I told them of this precondition to marriage. Whether I did or didn’t, I would have put off marriage until she had met them. This was not to seek my family’s approval. An important advantage of poverty is that one’s parents have no wealth to speak of. It was so that any fiancee would know what I came from and what she might be getting herself into. If she still wanted to get married, we could. Both of my ex-wives made the journey to Arkansas to meet my family several years before marriage. Zoya & I made our visit in June 1998. There’s no use in her denying it. I have pictures. It would only be a minor inconvenience to ask my siblings for an executed affidavit. They might be fuzzy on details, but they would all swear to a visit some time before she & I were married in 2000.
Zoya’s attempt to make use of these heart-wrenching events from some 40 years ago in our custody dispute does not show her in the best light. She knew well before we married of those unfortunate events. She knew well before before we had children. It was only until the custody hearings began that she began to be “concerned.”
At the time I was unprepared for how low she would stoop to gain some petty advantage in an ongoing legal dispute. It was this, more than her waiting several months to disclose her initiation of office seduction until I was researching plane tickets to my mother’s funeral. Her death came almost year after a diagnosis of Stage IV terminal ovarian cancer. As difficult as the painful timing of her disclosure was, I remained willing to consider the possibility that it was some psychological issue that she needed to work out. This was in spite of her consistent and repeated assertions that it had been her decision, her choice, her responsibility to chase after some little twat at work. I carefully probed, on occasion casually suggesting that she might have been the victim of a manipulative seduction. She was clear. She was insistent. She wanted a clean break and that it hurt her more than it hurt me. This affair was something that she had thought about for some time prior to beginning chase. It was something she had doggedly pursued with vigorous intent. She left me with no reason to think otherwise. I do not know what she told her spouse or what she says about her behavior now. All I know is what she told me persuasively with clarity and conviction.
Initially, it was estimated that my mother might have six months from the time of her diagnosis of terminal. She did not die until April 21, 2011, almost a year. Her impending death was known to be inevitable well in advance. Zoya told me she began her pursuit of that little twat at work in the November before. That Zoya did not wait even a week until after the funeral after the death of her mother-in-law, a woman she claimed to have respected…. I don’t know how to finish that sentence without resorting to overwrought and profoundly misogynistic imagery.
As bad as April and May in 2011 were for me, it was not until Zoya’s failed attempt to use against me in court the childhood traumas alluded to above that the severe depressive episode of the last several years began in earnest. I had fundamentally failed in my reading of her character and personality. I had placed my trust in a propped up by a successful deception. The discovery of my failure destroyed any confidence in my judgment to know who to trust, who not to trust and to what degree. My trust issues have always centered around uncertainty about social skills. Even after years subjected my father’s machinations, I have always believed some people are trustworthy. I never allowed myself his paranoiac mistrust. I suddenly found myself unable to talk to even my closest friends, even ones that I had known for decades. I often wished that I still had my mother to help work through this horrible situation. Even before her diagnosis, I had called her several times a week with conversations lasting a few minutes to sometimes a couple of hours. I could not. I was alone.