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CHAPTER 7

Obscenities

In May 1996, only a few weeks after I had begun the standing order to put £200 into our joint account, the telephone bill came. Only a few days prior to that, Jon demanded to know what I spent all my money on, and made a huge scene, saying that I had run up the phone bill.

In early May 1996 the phone bill came in through the letterbox. Because Jon had made it perfectly clear to me that he didnít want me opening his post, I normally didnít open letters addressed to him. On this occasion, however, I made an exception. I felt justified in opening Jonís post, considering the fact that I was expected to contribute towards the bill.

When I opened the bill, I was shocked to see that it was for well over £400. When I looked on the itemised listing, I saw all of these calls to Tuvalu, the exact same place where the calls had been made the year before. I didnít understand who on earth Jon could be phoning in Tuvalu, so rang a couple of numbers on the listing.

To my horror, the calls to Tuvalu were adult chat lines. I had always imagined that sad, lonely, pathetic men rang those sorts of numbers, not married men with attractive wives. What kind of statement did it make about me if my husband would spend so much money chatting to other women on those lines?

When I realised what Jon had been spending of his money on, the first thing that I did was phone him at work.

ĎI just received the phone bill! I rang some of the numbers and I know what youíre up to!í, I spat down the phone.

Because Jon was at work, he responding to my accusation by calling me ĎHoneyí and ĎBabeí to make it seem as if we were a happily married couple. I couldnít stand the way Jon called me ĎBabeí in front of his colleagues, but when he was at home with me he would call me ĎAss-headí and all sorts of other insults.

I was in such a state of shock that I tried to conduct my life as if everything was normal. Instead of phoning in sick, I even went to work, which was a huge mistake. There is no doubt in my mind that a few of my colleagues would be delighted if they knew that my personal life was in such turmoil.

I really donít know what was worse, my marriage or my work. Both of them were equally destructive. Jon had spent so much time complaining about how unhappy he was at his work that I didnít see the point in telling him the people I worked with were just as unfriendly. It was a cross I bore on my own. On the few occasions when I did confide to Jon about the situation at work, he gave me such bad advice that it soon became quite clear to me that he really didnít know what in the world he was talking about.

One time when I told Jon that one of my bosses complained about my audio typing, Jon said, ĎWell, you know you need very specialised skills to audio type.í

What planet was Jon on? Just about any monkey could audio type, which is why their pay is so low. If audio typists needed such specialised skills, then they certainly wouldnít be getting £5.50 an hour, which is what I was being paid at the time. I suppose the audio typing gaffe what when it finally dawned on me that Jon really didnít have a clue as to what he was talking about. Anyone who can type and who has reasonable hearing should be able to audio type. If I could do it, anybody could.

Rosemary, a very embittered woman who had severe acne scars on her face had always made no secret of the fact that she didnít like me and didnít want me working at Barclays Mercantile. From the day I started working in the Personnel Department, Rosemary made it her business to prove the quality of my work was suspect. Because I could no longer deny the fact that I was having serious marital problems, the quality of my work no doubt suffered. Rosemary, therefore, had the opportunity she had been waiting for. With my self-esteem already shaky, all she had to do was to bully and harass me until she was able to get enough evidence together to prove my work wasnít up to scratch.

That evening, when Jon came home, he didnít speak to me but took his bicycle out for a ride. I didnít speak to him all night long or the next morning. I was far too upset to say anything to him about what I had uncovered.

The following morning, which was a Saturday, I got ready to go to my job at Country Casuals. Jon got up and left in his car. I didnít know where he was going and I honestly didnít care. My heart was breaking and nobody was there to pick of the pieces of my shattered life.

As I walked to the bus stop, I saw Jon drive past me in his car, but I pretended that I didnít see him.

ĎKrystal,í Jon called out to me as he drove past.

Being typically me, I refused to acknowledge his presence and walked right on by.

ĎWell fuck you then!í, Jon snarled as he sped past. Jon didnít like being ignored, even if he deserved it.

Work at Country Casuals was just awful. Not having a friend in the world to confide in, I poured out my heart to Fran, the manager, about what I had discovered about my husband. I have always been such a sensitive soul, in search of my soul-mate that I honestly, truly couldnít cope with the fact that my husband would rather speak to a prostitute on the phone than have a loving in-depth conversation with me.

When I finished work, my friend John picked me up and took me to his house. I poured my heart out to him, but eventually I had to go home. I could not have stayed at Johnís forever. He was very understanding, but really couldnít relate to what all the fuss was about. He made no secret of the fact that he kept pornographic magazines under the cushions of his couch for use whenever the urge arose.

John drove by my house and dropped me off while Jon watched his car through the window of our home.

Where have you been?í, Jon asked me, as I entered through the back door. Of course, Jon could have come to work and seen me if he had so desired. Jon never came into my work at Country Casuals even though it was in the town centre, not even to say ĎHelloĎ.

ĎIíve been over to Johnísí, I replied.

ĎJohn! You went over to Johnís! Jon just hit the roof when he realised that I had spoken to John about our problems.

ĎI donít want John in this house ever again!í, Jon demanded.

Jon had never liked John, one of the only friends I had made since moving to England, and was looking for the perfect excuse to get him out of our lives forever. Even though John had never done anything wrong except to be a friend to me, he was forever banned from our house. Even though it was Jon who had been misbehaving, I was the one who was being made to suffer. This did nothing but intensifying my feelings of isolation.

The following day was a Sunday and I had been sympathetically invited to a party at a neighbourís house. I went to the party and stayed a couple of hours. Even I knew that I wasnít very good company, and made my excuses and left. Aside from the fact that it had been made clear to me that it is socially unacceptable to discuss oneís personal problems, I felt filthy inside. I couldnít possibly imagine how on earth anyone would want to be near me. I was untouchable.

Would the weekend never end? All I wanted was to go to work to get some respite from what I was feeling inside. If my betrayal wasnít bad enough, Jon was off work all weekend, which only served to rub salt in my wounds.

The weekend wasnít over yet, as this particular weekend my hell had been lengthened for May Day. Therefore, instead of being able to go to work and forget about my problems at home, I was forced to endure the agony for yet another day, hating every second of my own company.

On the Monday, I went for a walk to try to come to grips with the pain that seared through my soul. I happened across Anne, who I sold Avon to and who lived across the street from me. Anne started speaking to me about Avon, and to be honest, Avon was the last thing on my mind.

When Anne saw how distraught I was, she invited me in for a cup of tea and allowed me to pour my heart out to her. It was in Anneís house that she showed me her short-wave radio, which was able to pick up police signals and some telephone conversations. It was Anneís short-wave radio that confirmed my deepest suspicions.

Anne told me that one Monday evening, a night when I was at beauty therapy school, she was listening to the short-wave radio and tuned into a man having phone sex. Anne knew that it had to have been someone in close proximity to the house and assumed that it was another neighbour. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that the man engaging in phone sex with a prostitute was my husband.

Anne appeared to by sympathetic to my plight as I poured my heart out to her. Days later, however, I was to discover that she had relayed to the other neighbours on Mansfield Road what I had told her in the deepest confidence, when I was at one of my lowest points. Not only had I been betrayed by my husband, but also my neighbour.

I was so upset about what Jon had done that I phoned a psychic hotline and told the lady on the other end of the phone of my despair.

ĎI see some thing under lock and key that you donít know anything aboutí, the reader told me.

ĎWhen it all comes out in the open, your husband will blame you for it,í the reader added.

It was such an interesting reading. I was intrigued to know exactly what it was that was under lock and key. The only thing that I could think was that it might have something to do with money. Other than discovering that my husband had been unfaithful to me, money seemed to be my primary concern. I honestly didnít know what in the world could be worse than what I was already experiencing. I would soon find out that things could get much, much worse.

On Monday evening Jon went to work, leaving me with nobody for company but myself. It was then that I finally had time to think and reflect on the pain inside. I picked up the phone and rang Jon at work and poured my heart out to him, asking him how he could do such a thing. Jon replied that he was upset because I would not have sex with him. Jon also mentioned that he didnít like me selling Avon. To this day, I honestly cannot understand how my selling Avon would prompt him to have phone sex with prostitutes.

I explained to Jon, as I had many times in the past, that when the situation at home had become so untenable that I had to live with Wendy, something inside of me died. I told him that I couldnít have sex with him because the sexual side of me had died. What I didnít know at the time, however, was that when a person is depressed his sex drive diminishes. I must have been really depressed because I had no sex drive at all.

As far as my selling the Avon was concerned, if it bothered Jon that much, then I would give it up. I was so willing to compromise to make our marriage work that I hadnít even realised that I was making all of the concessions and Jon doing whatever Jon wanted.

After our conversation, I went to bed content that we had worked through our problems. The happiness that I felt, however was short-lived because found myself extremely despondent only a few days later our heart to heart chat.

That weekend Jon went out and bought a dryer on credit. I have no idea if it was because he thought I wanted it or because he wanted it, but I was very pleased to have a new dryer. Six months later Jon would come to me with the bill for the dryer, which he hadnít paid. He asked me if I would write a cheque from the joint checking account to pay for it, which I did. In reality, it was my dryer because I had paid for it, but to this day it is sitting in his house with most of my other belongings.

I did stop selling Avon, which is what Jon wanted. It wasnít so much to please Jon than because I had sunk into a despair so deep that I just simply didnít have the energy to walk around from house to house, peddling my wares. In that respect, Jon triumphed. He was doing everything in his power to isolate me from the rest of the world and little by little, he was succeeding.

It wasnít long after I found out about Jonís secret life of phone sex that any respect I had for him was dwindling rapidly. An inner rage seethed through my being, which was clearly evident in just about every aspect of my waking and dreaming life.

One evening I made plans to attend a dinner with my beauty therapy class. I had worked all day long at my awful job at Barclays Mercantile and was so tired, depressed and upset that I didnít even bother to take a shower or change into different clothes.

As I was walking out the door to go to dinner, Jon asked, ĎWhere are you going?í For the first time in I donít know how long, I couldnít contain the hate that had welled up inside of me for the man who had broken my heart. ĎWhere I go and what I do is not of your business.í, I dispassionately informed my husband.

Because of all of my problems at home and work, it would have been better if I had politely declined the invitation to dinner. I was so unhappy that there was no way in the world that I could sit at a dinner table with anyone and make polite conversation. I did make a comment about colour analysis being for people who didnít really need the money, which didnít go over well at all amongst the table of potential beauty therapists. The other ladies attending the dinner knew that I had problems and that something amiss. Since I hadnít discussed it with them, however, they had no idea what could be wrong. Because they didnít understand what was going on in my personal life, they naturally assumed that the problem must be me.

It is for that reason that as a last parting shot, one of the ladies who had been kind enough to give me a lift home on Monday and Tuesday evenings gave me what she though was a good piece of advice about what I should do with my life. I am sure that she meant well and politely accepted what the woman had to say, which in reality was a verbal slap in the face.

It was easier for me to allow people to believe that I was crazy than for them to get even a glimpse into the true horrors of what I was going through at home. It was easier for me to allow people to believe that I was the one with all of the problems than for them to really see the monster that I had married. People didnít understand the reason why I behaved so oddly was because of the appalling marriage I was in. They didnít see because they didnít want to see.

About a month later, which was June 1996, I drove to see a friend I had met at my beauty therapy course. During my visit, I poured my heart out to her, just as I had just to about anyone and everyone who would listen. At the end of the visit, I found my battery had gone dead in my car, and there was no way we could get it started. I rang the house, hoping that Jon would pick up the phone. After about an hour of repeatedly trying to get in touch, my friend reluctantly drove me home, I knew that I was imposing on her, but I didnít know what else I could do.

When I arrived home, Jon was coming in from a bike ride. Apparently he had come home, listened to my messages pleading for him to help me, and decided to take a nice leisurely bike ride instead. I didnít say one word to Jon about what he had done because by that time even I knew that it was hopeless trying to get any reason out of his sick, demented mind. Instead of letting the situation rest, Jon became hysterical and a litany of obscenities spewed forth because I had the nerve to phone my husband five times and leave messages asking him for help.

I honestly couldnít believe what I was witnessing. Not only could I not county on my husband to help me out in a bind, he lost control of his sanity whenever I attempted to ask him to do something that was an entirely reasonable thing to ask.

By that time even I had had enough of Jonís unreasonable behaviour. I therefore told him that I was leaving and going back to the states. When Jon realised he had gone too far, he backed off. It is worth noting, however, that at no time during the course of our courtship, marriage and subsequent divorce, did Jon ever apologise for any of his actions, no matter how appalling they may have been.

The following Wednesday Jon took me to my friendís house to pick up my car. Amazingly, Jon was just as nice as pie. He put on a phoney smile and told my friend that we were going to the movies, as if everything between us was just fine.

When we arrived home from collecting my car, Jon commented to me that my friend and her partner had a lot of confidence, which was no doubt attributed to their obvious wealth. Jon equated self-confidence with money, which is one of the reasons why he needed so much money.

Jon also told me that my driving was actually pretty good, which was in total contradiction to what he had declared six months earlier. Jon really could be nice when he wanted to be.

After my car had broken down and Jon refused to come get me, I didnít want to go out in it anymore. I didnít feel safe and was afraid that it would break down again, leaving me totally vulnerable and helpless.

It couldnít have been much more than a week after my car broke down that I had an altercation with a bus driver. He didnít stop for me and I was so angry with him that I got in a huge fight and I told the bus driver that he was no gentleman for refusing to stop for me. The bus driver told me that I had to get off the bus, but I refused. When the bus arrived at the bus station, I went directly to the service desk and filed a complaint.

I was so upset about the incident with the bus driver that I confided my woes to the most inappropriate person in the department, Jo. She was a very overweight woman who liked to have a drink every day. Jo had a major chip on her shoulder and hated anyone who came from a significantly better background than she. She therefore detested Americans, Germans, and just about anyone else who wasnít British born and bred for that matter. When I told Jo I was so upset that I wanted to contact the Basingstoke Gazette about the poor bus service, she agreed with me wholeheartedly. Taking Joís advice, I went and spoke to the Basingstoke Gazette about my ordeal and agreed to have my picture taken.

That evening when I spoke to Jon about what had happened, he advised me not to have my photo taken. I did not understand why Jon did not want me to have my photo taken, but decided that maybe he was right.

The following day, when the Basingstoke Gazette found out that I would not be having my picture taken, the woman who wrote the piece phoned me and irately informed me that it was I who had approached the Gazette, not the other way around. She wasnít concerned in the least that my husband didnít think it was a good idea for me to have my picture taken.

ĎYou contacted us!í, the journalist barked.

ĎWhat do you mean by that?í, I asked, surprised that she would be so angry because I didnít want to have my picture taken.

ĎYou contacted us with the story, we didnít contact you!í, was her reply. The reporter slammed down the telephone and I thought that was the end of the matter. Sadly, I was mistaken.

Evidently the reporter was so incensed that I didnít want to have my picture taken that she changed the tone of the whole story. Instead of focusing on the poor bus service, she decided to make me look like a complete idiot. I, of course, knew nothing of this until Friday afternoon when someone at work brought it to my attention.

To add insult to injury, Jo, the person who suggested that I take my grievance to the Basingstoke Gazette, was the one to tear the article out of the newspaper and circulate it to everyone in the entire department. Rosemary had all the ammunition she needed, and wasted no time in going out into my work area and blatantly asked Jo for the article.

Even Jo balked at such a request. She didnít mind going around behind my back and trying to surreptitiously stir up trouble, but she was too much of a coward to perform such despicable acts right in front of me. Jo didnít mind being a snitch, she just didnít want anyone else to know that she was a snitch.

When Rosemary had the incriminating evidence in her possession, she called Mary, another manger into her office, and they had a lengthly discussion. There is no doubt in my mind that Rosemary used every bit of influence she could to get me fired, but for reasons known only to the management of the department, I didnít lose my job. My boss did, however, take every opportunity to bring up the subject of the newspaper article just to make sure that I felt just as awful at work as I did at home.

That afternoon the security guards at work showed the article to Jon, who had made one of his very rare appearances at my place of work. Oddly enough, Jon never said one word to me about the incident and I never said one word to him about it. I suppose that we were just to embarrassed to talk about it. Our failure to communicate was an apt reflection of how far our marriage had degenerated.

That was my first and last contact with the press. I had to learn the hard way that the media will present people and situations in a way to generate sales, which is not necessarily an accurate reflection of real life situations.

With all of my personal and professional problems, something had to give. Throughout the whole mess of my marriage, I still tried to attend the beauty therapy course, which really wore me out. Naturally, I had so many problems in my life, I wasnít able to finish the course work. Because I wasnít able to finish the course, I didnít get the qualification and was therefore not able to start my own mobile beauty therapy business. Although I learned a lot about beauty, it didnít mean much without the qualification. I finally had to face the fact that I would not be able to have my own beauty business, which I saw as my key to financial independence and freedom from Jon.

I really didnít think that things could get any worse, but I was so wrong. In early July 1996, Jon decided he wasnít going to be secretive about his sexual predilections any more.

One afternoon I found a bottle of really cheap liqueur in our recycling bin. The one thing that I noticed about this bottle was that it was of such a poor quality that there was no way a snob like Jon would be caught dead drinking it. I had known that Jon had kept a bottle of whiskey in a cabinet in the kitchen, although I had never seen him drink from it.

The plastic recycling bin that we put our old bottles in was completely chocka-block full of various brands of alcoholic beverages. I never drank a great deal of alcohol because aside from the fact that it is really expensive, it also has a lot of calories, which is not conducive to dieting. I had seen Jon drink occasionally, but not the brands that were in the recycling bin. With this in mind, I can only assume that he brought people into the house and drank with them while I was at work, or he was a closet drinker. It is important to note that one of the accusations that Kim had made against Jon was that he had a drinking problem.

Jon also started watching pornographic videos as early as 10:00pm. One evening I woke up from my slumber and went downstairs to find my husband in the living room watching a blue movie. I went back upstairs and stayed there the rest of the night. I tried to ignore it. If I ignored it, maybe it would all just go away.

One morning I rose from my usually fitful sleep to discover that Jon had left a contact magazine on the floor of the living room. He had circled various ads. The one thing that I noticed about the women he was trying to contact was the fact that not one of them were as pretty as me. The one thing that I wondered was why Jon would tell me that no man would purchase my sexual services when it was quite clear by looking at the professional prostitutes who advertised in the magazine that they were not nearly as attractive as I was. With that knowledge in mind, I couldnít understand why Jon would desire a prostitute more than he desired me.

If those revelations were not enough, the same morning the postman delivered a letter that had been addressed to Jon. By that time I was very suspicious and decided to open the letter. To my horror, what I found was a Polaroid snapshot of my paunchy husband. He was nude and sported full erection, and I believe it is actually illegal to take a picture of a man who is fully erect. In addition to the photo, Jon had written a graphic letter, using lewd language that I had never heard or read in my life. What hurt me the most was the fact that Jon specifically stated in the letter that he was looking for someone who he could have sex with during the day, and if he liked the person he may even extend the dalliance to the weekends.

While I was slaving away, working at a job that I hated so that I could bring home money to my husband, he was engaging in sexual activities with all sorts of women. The realisation that I was giving my husband money to support his obscene habit made me literally sick to my stomach.

Jon had it all figured out. He took a job at Racal, working 24-hour shifts so he could live a secret life that I had no knowledge of. Although I didnít particularly want Jon to work shifts, I never said anything about it because I was happy that he had a job. Perhaps if I had insisted that my husband get a proper, Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00 job, our life would have been so different. I will never know, however, what our life could have been.

After receiving the letter in the post, I went through the house and found pornographic literature all over the place, to include the kitchen and living room. In addition, Jon had kept scented massage oils in his drawers to use whenever needed. I was sickened that Jon had been engaging in all of those nefarious activities in my home, right under my nose.

I decided that enough was enough. This time I was definitely leaving. I was so enraged at what Jon had done that I even managed to get his credit card from him to pay for my plane ticket back to the states. Jon was so upset that I was leaving that he sat on the floor of the kitchen, tears streaming down his face, begging me to stay.

I screamed at Jon, kicked him, punched him, and told him that I didnít appreciate him bringing whores into my home. Jon assured me that he had never, ever brought a prostitute into the home and that if I would stay, he promised that he would change.

I was all set to go back to the states except for one small problem. I wanted to go in the middle of the summer and I couldnít get a flight to St Louis, the closest direct flight to Little Rock. When I got back to the states, what would I do? It wasnít as if I had a family I could stay with. I would be welcome to stay with my sister, but that would only be a short-term solution. With no money and no home, I was in a pretty difficult predicament.

I ran into a woman who had been in my beauty therapy class and told her that I wanted to leave my husband, but didnít elaborate as to why.

This woman, who knew that I wasnít happy, said, ĎWell, if you want to be totally selfish, then just leave him and donít give him an explanation for why you are going.í

Evidently, that was the perception that other people had of me. People thought that I only wanted to leave my husband because I was being Ďselfishí. If they only knew the truth. I was anything but selfish.

To be honest, after seeing the letter and photo, I didnít feel that I needed any explanation to do anything. It seemed that although I was the wronged party, my husband was getting all of the sympathy. Jon was being seen by others as the one who was being hard done by. Once again, I lost my bottle and stayed.

During the summer of 1996, I really tried to make a go of our marriage. I made arrangements for us to go to Marwell Zoological Park. When I fond that Jon had used one of the condoms from the packet that he kept in his car, I just went to pieces. Of course, after that little known discovery I was totally hysterical and not fit for any kind of social outing. The trip to Marwell, therefore, had to be cancelled. Jon took the opportunity, however, of letting me know that he had spent over £50 on gas and food for the day and that I had ruined it all because of my behaviour.

Jon and I did eventually get to Marwell, but it just wasnít the same. The impetuousness of the act had already passed. While Jon and I were in Marwell, he announced to me that we would not be seeing the birds because he found them to be quite petty. To be honest, I really didnít care whether or not we saw the birds. What did upset me, however, was the fact that Jon would make even the most inconsequential of decisions without asking me what I would like. What I wanted didnít matter. But did it ever?

Jon and I also went to Dr Chessingtonís World of Adventure and managed to stay the whole day. One thing that I found particularly unsettling was the fact that Jon insisted on sitting on the end of one particular ride. Even though the conductors told everyone to move, Jon refused. I thought that I was going to die of embarrassment, but my husband stood his ground and didnít mind making an exhibition of himself. Jonís tendency to make an exhibition of himself would become clearly evident months later, when I would be confronted with the full apex of his problems.

I, however, was anything but an exhibitionist. I was becoming more and more reclusive as each day passed. I didnít want anyone to notice me. I didnít want to just blend into the woodwork, I didnít want to be.

Another thing that I noted was that Jon was able to put on a show of having a good time, which I was unable to master. My heart was breaking and I was miserable, and the whole world could see it in my face and body language.

Early one morning I awoke to have Jon on top of me, groping my body and trying to have sex. I was highly annoyed by his behaviour and felt that considering the sort of people he liked to hang out with, he was putting my health in jeopardy.

ĎIf you are going to have sex with me, you are going to have to use a condom because I donít know who you have been with and what kind of diseases you have picked up.í

I was very matter of fact in my demand to Jon. There was no way in hell that I was going to have sex with a man who had such dubious morals that he would solicit prostitutes, advertise for sexual partners in contact magazines, and God knows what else. Fortunately for me, when Jon heard my stern command, he dismounted and went back to his side of the bed.

By this time, I had been sleeping on the very far edge of the bed. For the past year or so I had unconsciously slept as far away as I could from Jon because I didnít care to have any bodily contact with Jon at all. This, no doubt, affected my sleeping patterns. On most days I was out of bed by 7:00am. I was afraid that if I stayed in bed Jon would decide that he wanted to take what he considered to be his conjugal rights.

Because I received no support at work and no support at home, I lived in a constant state of exhaustion, which only served to bring me deeper and deeper into a severe depression. What is amazing is at that time, or any other time since having been acquainted with Jon, I didnít even know that I was depressed.

One evening Jon came home late as usual. He took his jeans off and didnít even bother to hide the fact that he wasnít wearing any underwear. I knew that whatever Jon was doing was sexual in nature, but I didnít know what.

ĎWhat are you doing, wearing no underwear?í, I asked my straying husband.

Jon didnít even bother to answer my query any more than he had answered any of the others I had directed at him since the day we met.

Jon walked over to my side of the bed and replied, ĎI know you donít approve of my lifestyleí, before he carried on getting ready for bed.

So it was a lifestyle, was it. I had heard many names for the activities that Jon got up to, but I had never heard it referred to as a lifestyle. I suppose that was my husbandís way of legitimising what he was doing. If it was a lifestyle, then it was okay then, wasnít it.

I had a job interview as a sales administrator at Lansing Linde, which I wasnít successful at. I wasnít surprised, however, because I had never been offered any positions for any of the jobs I had applied for. I suppose that no matter how hard I tried to hide it, people could sense there were underlying problems and decided not to risk adding me to their team.

On the day of that particular interview, however, Jon had dropped me off at Lansing Linde, but we had not agreed upon a time for him to pick me up. Since Jon said nothing about picking me up after the interview, I had planned to take the bus home.

Directly after my unsuccessful interview, however, I spotted Jon driving in his car while I was walking down the road to the bus stop. I waved to Jon and he came back to get me. Jon told me that he thought we could go to MacDonalds, and I accepted his invitation. Because I hadnít called Jon and he didnít know when my interview finished. I initially believed that it was such a pleasant coincidence that my husband just happened to be driving down the road at the same time my interview had concluded. I assumed that Jon had planned to pick me up and he never indicated otherwise. Years later, after having reflected upon all of the other uncanny coincidences that were to occur during the course of our relationship, I would wonder just how much of a coincidence it really was.

Naturally, with things the way there were between us, I could never envisage ever having any of Jonís children. The thought of bringing his children into the world was an abomination to me. I honestly couldnít see any good reason why I should bring a child into the world that would turn out to be just his or her father. Even though I wasnít having sex with anybody, I took my birth control pills faithfully.

So desperate was I not to have Jonís children, I even went so far as to ask my doctor if I could be sterilised. To my amazement, the said that I had to have my husbandís permission to be sterilised. I was stunned that in this day and age, where women are supposed to be emancipated, I wasnít allowed to do what I wanted to do with my body and would have to have my husbandís permission to have a surgical procedure performed!

My doctor also said that he didnít think that it was a good idea for me to be sterilised because I would be out of work for weeks and there could be other complications. I was surprised that my doctor was reluctant to sterilise me because when I was in the military, the doctors would sterilise just about anyone and everyone who wanted to have the procedure performed. In my opinion, the military saw it is an effective means of birth control and were not particularly bothered about any possible complications because their service members were an easily replaceable commodity, just like any other tool of war.

In the Autumn of 1996, Jon decided that he wanted a mobile phone. One of the men he worked with had a mobile phone and Jon felt that he couldnít be outdone. Years earlier, when I mentioned getting a mobile phone for myself, Jon didnít think that it was a good idea, saying that I would just run up the phone bill. I never said anything to Jon about his hypocritical attitude. I never said anything about anything.

The one American holiday that I have always celebrated is Halloween. On the Halloween of 1996 I asked Jon if he would please pick me up some candy to give to the children who came trick or treating. Oddly enough, even though I had asked Jon to do me that one small, little favour, I had been let down by him so many times that I went ahead and bought some myself to give to the children.

That evening, Jon let me down once again. He didnít come home until sell past 9:00pm, long after the children had gone home and were cosily tucked in their beds. Jon had been shopping in Reading and showed me a pot that he had purchased as proof of his alibi, even though most of the shops were closed by 6:00pm, leaving him with three unaccounted hours of time.

Jon was always buying presents for himself, so I wasnít particularly impressed by this crockery pot that he had obviously spent a lot of money on. I was long past getting upset at my husband for spending all of his money on himself and none on me or our family unit.

What I did find unusual, however, was the risen state of excitement Jon was in when he arrived. He seemed to be very aroused and had a hyperactive demeanour, not being able to stand or sit still. He was much too agitated for an individual who had just been shopping, but I had been subjected to so much of his bizarre behaviour that I just let it go unnoticed. It wasnít as if anybody would have believed me if I had told them anyway. I left Jon sitting in the middle of the floor of the living room, adoring his prized pot. Since he had come too late to give the trick or treators any candy, he decided to eat it all himself. I was very upset with my husband for letting me down once again, but knew it wasnít worth even speaking to him about.

The very next Saturday my world collapsed all around me. I was working at Country Casuals and Jon rang, asking me to come straight home after work. Jon was so insistent that I come home immediately that he told me to take a taxi, not that he would have given me any money to pay for it, of course.

When I arrived home, after having taken the bus, I found the house to be in pristine condition. Jon had cleaned the house for probably the first time since I have moved in with him three years earlier, an act which in itself let me know that something was amiss. Jon sat me down in chair while he sat on the couch.

It was at that moment that I learned of the full impact of all of Jonís unexplained absences and erratic, abusive behaviour. Jon informed me that the police had been to the house and had made an appointment to interview. Jon was going to be interviewed for indecent exposure!

Jon, the master manipulator, broke down in tears as he told me of all that he had been doing. Jon had conveniently portrayed himself as the victim in a cunning attempt to deflect any criticism away from himself. When I heard such devastating news, I didnít know what to do.

I ran to Jon where he was sitting on the couch, tears streaming down his face, and put my arms around him to try to make him feel better. Within a matter of seconds, however, the horror of what my husband had finally sunk into my mind.

I became hysterical, screaming at Jon, asking him how on earth he could have done such a thing. I honestly donít think that I have ever been so angry in all my life. For the past four years I had had to witness Jon go absolutely berserk for the slightest things and go through hideous personality changes right before my very eyes. Now it was my turn. I just totally flipped out. I donít think that I have ever been so hysterical and angry at a person so much in my life.

I screamed at Jon, ĎIím not going to protect you this time! This is something you are going to have to get out of all on your own!

I had saved Jon from a very humiliating court martial and prison sentence by protecting him from Kim, and I was paying the price for my intervention. I had written Dale Bumpers and requested a congressional investigation because I did not believe that Jon had done all of those things that Kim had accused him of, which meant that Jon wasnít brought to justice in 1993. Because of me, Jon was able to walk the streets freely, doing God only knows what. Instead of Jon being grateful to me for working to spare him from a very terrible humiliation, he was punishing me for any wrongdoing that his twisted mind had decided that I was guilty of. I wasnít going to put my neck on the line for Jon ever again.

Evidently, Jon had been driving around all over southern England, sitting in his parked car, masturbating in open, hoping that any passers by would happen upon him. Apparently, Jon got a sadistic sexual thrill from the shock value that he elicited when unsuspecting passers by would happen upon him.

Everything suddenly fell into place. It explained why my husband had gone out so many times not wearing any underwear. Underwear was too cumbersome and slowed the process of exposing himself to others down. Because Jon didnít wear underclothes, he could pull his jeans up and down from his genital region quickly and efficiently.

It explained why Jon wanted his mother living in the house with him. He had a captive audience who he could shock anytime he liked. It explained by Glennys would tell Jon that he needed to be in the local mental hospital, Park Prewitt. It explained why Jon wanted to have sex with me in the living room, with the lights on and the doors unlocked. I realised that Jon wanted Glennys to open the door and catch up at it.

Jonís need to shock people explained why he would insist on having bowel movements when he was speaking on the phone to me. When, over the telephone, I didnít realise what Jon was doing, he had to tell me all about his ablutions, thus bringing about a feeling of disgust.

It would also explain why Jon would shout at me that I must be crazy the one time that I changed my clothes and the curtain to the bedroom was slightly ajar. The people who Jon exposed himself to must have told him that he was crazy, and he was merely transferring their sentiments onto him. And lastly, it explained why Jon would always be late from picking me up from an appointment, and would usually be in a foul mood afterward. Although he enjoyed the thrill he got from exposing himself to people, he did not enjoy the way they responded to him, which probably to call him names.

Jon told me that the only way that he could go to sleep was to expose himself to people, and tried to make me believe that he suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, thereby taking any of the blame for his indecent actions away from himself. Jon tried to reason that if he had an obsessive-compulsive disorder, then he was not responsible for his actions because it was an illness.

The fact of the matter is that what Jon had done was premeditated. Jon had to have planned to go out and commit the crimes if he would leave the house without any underwear and would place a dishtowel neatly on the driverís seat of his car.

To add insult to injury, when Jon was questioned by the police, he put the blame all on me. He told the police that he had to go out and commit those acts of indecency because he was very unhappily married to me. Well, I was unhappily married and I did not go out and commit criminal acts!

That evening, instead of phoning in sick, which is what he should have done, Jon went of to work and left me to deal with the bombshell that I had just been presented with. I handled the situation the only way that I knew how, I drowned my sorrows in a bottle of sherry.

* * *

In retrospect, it seems quite odd to me that I reacted to Jonís sexual aberrations the way I did because I had been sexually abused myself. I was taken on dates with my motherís girlfriends when I was as young as five. At twelve, my mother and her girlfriend had already taken me to see a pornographic movie. At fourteen I came home from school to find my mother in bed with her girlfriend. At fifteen, my friends from school were phoning me and telling me that my mother was well known as a lesbJon among certain circles in Little Rock.

If anything, I should have taken the fact that I married a pervert all in stride. Based upon the various forms of sexual abuse that I had been exposed to, combined with the fact that I didnít get any support to help me to deal with my earlier experiences, it seems only fitting that I would select a man who would enable me to re-experience all of the filth and degradation that I felt growing up.

* * *

The following day, which was a Sunday, Jon had an appointment to be interviewed by the Basingstoke Police. He had got the time of his interview incorrect and therefore did not show up at the appointed time. At about 10:00 on the Sunday morning, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find two police officers, who were enquiring of the whereabouts of my husband. While the police officers waited in the living room, I went upstairs and told Jon that they were waiting for him to escort him to the police station.

Jon did not want to ride in the police car with the officers and was allowed to take his own car. We agreed that if need be, I would have to go to the police station and get him out of jail. I had never even been to the police station in Basingstoke, yet I was expected to go there and retrieve my husband if he was arrested. I had never even had so much as a speeding or parking ticket, yet my husband was indoctrinating me into a life of crime that I did not want to have any part of! Fortunately, Jon was allowed to go home on his own, which spared me the humiliation of having to bail him out or do any number of things that one does when one is associated with a common criminal.

During the conversations that ensued, Jon told me that he wanted me to stand by him during this traumatic period in his life. Our whole marriage had been a sham. Jon hadnít wanted me around because he actually desired my company at all. He only wanted to appear normal to the unsuspecting public. He married me because, not being British by birth, I would just assume that his strange behaviour was a cultural difference, and it would therefore took me a long time to decide that his behaviour wasnít cultural, but abnormal.

Jon wanted me to stand by him during the possible court case because it was not something that he could face on his own. Therefore, even though he did not care for me personally, he knew that he would stand a much better chance with the authorities if he appeared to be happily married.

Jon also told me that if he was charged and his case went to court, he would not be able to work at Racal anymore because he would not be able to face his colleagues. It was at that point that I told Jon that he had to have a job. I made it perfectly clear to him that would not stay with him if he did not job because I simply did not earn enough money to pay off all his bills and maintain his rather expensive lifestyle for him.

It was when Jon realised that I would not be there to bail him out financially that he decided to look for jobs outside of Basingstoke.

Why should I pay all of Jonís debts for him? He never paid one single bill for me. I had to go 18 months without any new underwear and had to wear the same pair of shoes every day, regardless of whether they actually match with the outfit that I was wearing for that day. I had to cash in my life insurance policy and annuities just to meet my financial obligations. I have to give Jon money each and every payday just for the privilege of living in that house of horrors. I didnít have any friends because everybody thought I was nuts because of my strange behaviour that was a result of having to live with him.

Jon certainly hadnít stood by me, yet I was expected to stand by him. I honestly couldnít believe it. Jon never gave a damn about me, but he expected me to stand by him. Just so long as Jon was okay, that was all that mattered.

Although Jon had a series of interviews and line-ups at the Basingstoke Police Station, he portrayed himself as the victim, and me as the horrible, evil woman who had driven him to commit those despicable acts. Evidently, Jon had been going around exposing himself for a number of years, and not surprisingly, tried to make the police believe that he had only been doing it since he had been married to me, thereby effectively placing all of the blame for his actions onto our marriage.

It is probably safe to say that Jon has indulged himself in his compulsions from a very early age because there are too many clues to an inherent personality disorder. Jonís mother frequently told him that he was crazy and should be in the Park Prewett Mental Hospital, but Jon never revealed to me what he did to provoke such an abusive attack. From as early as the age of 12, Jon was involved in petty crimes to include stealing money from a market stall and damaging property in his neighbourhood. Also from an early age, Jon had taken to self-mutilation by carving up his hands and feet.

There is another thing about Jon that I have always found to be quite perplexing. Jon told me that he had a cyst on his head that needed to be removed. The military doctor performing the procedure wanted to give Jon a local anaesthetic to remove the growth, but Jon told the doctor that anaesthetic wasnít necessary. It seems extremely eerie to me that Jon was not able to feel pain. Because he had an extremely high pain threshold, he could have operations performed with no anaesthetic, and he could take a knife and painlessly carve up his hands and feet.

If Jon was physically a numb individual, then it is possible that he was emotionally numb as well. If Jon had no emotional feeling, then it is possible that the only way that he could actually feel any kind of emotion was to engage in unsociable activities. The only way that he could feel alive would be to perform illegal sexual activities because the thrill of knowing that he was doing something he shouldnít be doing was just as exciting as the act itself.

And after having performed a significantly deep analysis on why the man I married would feel the need to engage on socially unacceptable, perverse activities, perhaps the same type of analysis could be used on me. Perhaps my particular life experiences deadened any feeling that was inside of me to the point that the only way that I could feel any type of emotion at all was to pursue relationships with very violent, abuse, dysfunctional adults, who were very likely the only beings who had the capacity to make me feel anything at all. Perhaps I had become so anaesthetised to the abuse and obscenities that I had experienced, that the only type of love that I knew was a painful, distorted, molested type of love.

Being in the military and always on the move, Jon had the perfect opportunity to expose himself to people with little risk of being caught. It would have taken quite some time for the local authorities to build up a profile of the perpetrator of such a crime. Just as soon as they twigged on to the fact that Jon might be the culprit, it was time to be posted to another assignment, thereby initiating the criminal activity all over again.

I would not be surprised in the least to learn that the military authorities knew all about Jonís problem but decided to cover it up. The reason for this is because I have personally spoken to many people whose work performance and military records were not nearly as commendable as Jonís, and they were not allowed out of the military. For some reason the Army allowed a senior NCO out of the military and paid him lots of money and a pension for the rest of his life to do it, when peopleís whose records were no nearly as exemplary, where not allowed out. I just donít understand it.

Jon made a point of telling everyone that he wanted to get out of the Army, but the only thing he was able to talk about was the good times he had whilst in the military. If Jon had such a good time in the Army and loved it so much, whatever in the world possessed him to give it up? There has got to be more to the story than both Jon and the Army are letting on.

After Jonís second altercation with the law, he told me himself that every place he went, as soon as people found out what he was really like, then he would just move. From what Jon told me, I had the distinct impression that Jon had ever intention of carrying on with what could be best described as an alternative lifestyle, and as soon as anyone twigged on to what he was up to, he would move on.

This feat in itself was very easy for him to accomplish. When Jon started working at Racal in Basingstoke, I doubt very seriously that his employers checked into his military past because they were apparently not aware of the fact that he had been detained in the Army and faced a court martial. When he eventually left Racal to go Banking and Clearing Services in Edgeware, he enlisted the help of some of his colleagues to give him personal references, which he smugly read out to me, quite happy with himself for pulling the wool over the eyes of yet another employer.

During Jonís many interviews with the police, one of those well meaning, misguided souls must have suggested that Jon and I go and get some marriage counselling because Jon came home saying that we were going to counselling. Jon would have just loved for me to see a marriage counsellor who he was paying for because he would, once again, be able to use it as an open forum to manipulate me and make me feel even guiltier.

I was repulsed at going to counselling with Jon because as far as I was concerned, we stopped being a couple long ago. I donít know what it was that we had, but it certainly wasnít a marriage. I had no desire whatsoever to speak to some counsellor about the awful things that my husband had done, and said so.

* * *

I had a lot of experience with counsellors and knew very well that they can often do more harm than good. When my first marriage broke up, my first husband drug me to see a counsellor who was being employed by him. This woman was merely going by the information that my first husband had presented to her, and was obliged to say exactly what my estranged husband wanted her to say if she expected to him to come back week after week for more counselling. I was accused of being anorexic when I weighed at least 130 pounds, thereby being a few pounds overweight, if anything. I was accused of having an affair with a man, but no mention whatsoever was made of the fact that my ostensibly wronged husband had been physically and verbally violent and had treated me horrendously for the duration of our marriage. To top it all off, the counsellor, who was being paid by my first husband, told me that she felt that my son would be much better off being looked after by his father, and man who had broken my nose and dislocated my jaw. She told me the courts would not necessarily award me custody of my son, the reason being that I was in the military and therefore could not give him a stable home.

I had no desire to go through counselling again, to be told by someone who was being paid by my second husband to say what he wanted him or her to say. Counsellors try to be objective, but the bottom line is that they are going to say and do what the person paying their salary wants them to. If not, within a matter of time they will have no business at all. It is also worth noting that it has been found that good friends are often give just as reliable, if not better advice than counsellors. Sadly, I didnít have any friends. Who would want to be friends with someone who had the problems I had.

* * *

The next day, which was a Wednesday, I came home to another evening of hell.

Jon made a point of telling me all about his day. He had to endure the embarrassment and humiliation of a line up, where he was picked out by a number of people. Although Jon denied this, one of his accusers said that after masturbating in full public view, he got out of the car, which meant that his illness was worsening. Jon was not content to sit in his car and masturbate. He no longer got excitement out of that and therefore had to leave the car and go out into the public at large. What on earth would he do next if he wasnít caught?

After dinner, Jon asked me to give him a facial. The thought of touching him made my skin crawl because I had refused to have any physical contact whatsoever with him since I discovered that he had been consorting with prostitutes. Against my better judgement, I went ahead and gave Jon a facial.

After the facial, to my horror, Jon decided that he wanted to turn what I was doing into a sexual affair.

Against my will, Jon took my clothes, piece by piece. Jon then took my blue futon from the disused dining room and laid it in the middle of the living room floor, next to my therapy couch. The next thing that Jon did was to force his sexual appendage inside of me without my consent.

I protested. ĎBut you told me that I was an obese, grossly overweight sexual turnoff,í I pleaded to my husband and rapist.

ĎBut you have a beautiful body,í cooed Jon.

Gee, for the last three years Jon had been telling me to suck my stomach in because it was fat. He told me that my stomach was getting bigger and bigger each day. My husband made just about every derogatory comment imaginable to try to hurt and humiliate me. Then, just when Jon was facing court action because of his sexual predilections, he decided that I had a beautiful body.

The fact is that Jon had realised that he had gone too far with his sexual perversions because he was in trouble with the law a second time. Jon decided that he was going to start having normal sexual relations with his wife as a form of Ďrelease of tensioní, and nothing else. What he never even took into consideration was the fact that I might object. I may have had a low self-esteem, but I wasnít so sick that I sexually desired my abuser and tormentor.

I had my arms crossed over my breasts because I didnít want Jon to look at them. I refused to kiss or even look at Jon, as tears streamed down my woeful eyes.

There was absolutely no doubt in Jonís mind that I didnít want him to do what he was doing, but he kept doing it, relentlessly, for what seemed like hours. Jon must not have found my sobbing face to be erotically stimulating because he decided to enter me from behind. After what seemed like ages, with my crying and Jon violating my body, he was unable to come to a climax and decided that it was pointless to carry on any longer. It is beyond me how on earth any man could become sexually aroused by a distraught, objecting woman, but I guess that some men like that.

After Jon raped me for the second time in our marriage, I took my clothes and ran upstairs to the safety of my bedroom as quickly as I could. There wasnít a thing that I could do about the fact that my husband had sexual intercourse with me against my will.

It wasnít as if I could phone the police and tell them that my husband had just raped me. The Basingstoke Police knew my husband very well, and had even sent him home to me. It was probably the police who suggested that Jon take me to get some counselling. It was probably the police who suggested that Jon have sexual intercourse with me, hoping that he would not waste any more of their time.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the police figured they would have less work to do if they sent Jon home to rape me instead of raping innocent strangers on the street. I doubt very seriously that the police would even consider it rape, but merely a frustrated man taking advantage of his conjugal rights. If Jon raped his wife, they could call it a Ďdomesticí and do nothing about it, but if he raped a stranger then they may have to actually go out and do a little bit of work!

I tried so very hard to forget about what my husband had done to me. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that I would end up marrying a sexual deviant.

The day after the rape, I had to go into work to face all of those bitchy people who never in a million years would be able to get a job in a decent company. Jo was in her prime. She made a point of picking up on every little mistake I made, going into Rosemaryís office and conducting a strategic meeting to determine how best to get rid of me. They had been using these tactics since the day that I had begun working at Barclays Mercantile, and for the most part I put up with their juvenile behaviour. At this particular time, however, I really didnít need such pettiness in my life. I had important problems that needed to be sorted out. To be honest, the fact of the matter is that if Jo and Rosemary had been happier with themselves, they would never have felt the need to harass me, someone who wasnít in a position to defend herself.

That afternoon, after having worked all day long under the strain of trying to keep family secrets, I saw Jo shuffling around with some papers that I had typed up. I knew that they were letters that I was responsible for, so asked Jo what she was doing with them.

ĎDonít worry about it,í Jo said to me as she shuffled into Rosemaryís office to show her the letter.

A few moments later, Rosemary rushed out of her office and declared, ĎItís just Krystal, not paying attention to detail again!í

Rosemary made sure that she told the entire department that I didnít pay attention to detail at the top of her voice, thereby enabling the 30 people in Human Resources could hear her derisive words.

I had heard just about enough. I had too much to deal with and didnít need to have some bitter, twisted woman speaking ill of me to all of my co-workers. Rosemary may very well have felt that I didnít pay attention to detail, but there were more orthodox ways that she could have broached the issue. Being a human resource professional, I felt that it was highly inappropriate for her to screech her misguided opinions out in the open, for the entire section to overhear.

I had known for a long time that Rosemary thought that I didnít pay attention to detail because she had even had the nerve to tell my boss privately, and actually tried to have my pay cut. Rosemary was priceless, and considering her unreasonable behaviour, was not particularly well thought of in the company.

I was so upset about Rosemaryís clear attempts at humiliation that I went into my bossís office, who, incidentally, had more important things to worry about than some hysterical woman. We spoke for a while, but nothing much was accomplished. The only way that anything could have been accomplished was to tell him what was going home, but that was something that I could never do. I needed the money too much.

I didnít want to go back in to work, but my boss made me promise that I would go in the next day.

Rosemary told everybody that I didnít pay attention to detail. Under the circumstances, I feel that I paid pretty good attention to detail.

A couple of weeks after Jon had been picked up for indecent exposure, he had a birthday. Even after all that he had said and done to harm me, I still wanted him to have a nice birthday and suggested that we go to London.

At London, we went into Mysteries, which is an esoteric shop. Jon didnít want to stay there and said he wanted to go for a walk. I didnít want Jon to be bored and agreed to meet him in half an hourís time.

After some time I tired of Mysteries and stood outside in the rain, waiting for Jonís return. After what seemed like ages, Jon finally returned from his walk. He didnít volunteer any information as to where he had been and I didnít ask. I was still so naÔve that I actually believed that he really had been for a walk. It wasnít until several years later that I was to discover that just around the corner from Mysteries was the red light district, hence the reason for Jonís desire to go for a walk on his own.

When Jon finally met up with me, he was in a state of excitement and wanted to walk all over London. I personally wasnít feeling well. The stress of being married to a monster and working for a bunch of bullies had taken its toll on my immune system and I was suffering from a very bad cold that just would not go away.

Because I was achy, had a headache and runny nose, I didnít particularly want to wander around aimlessly in the centre of London, in the pouring rain. After about an hour or so of wandering the streets of London in the pouring rain, I was so ill that I told Jon if all he wanted to do was to walk around in the rain, then I would like to go home. When Jon realised that I was prepared to leave him to his own devices, he agreed that we could go to a restaurant and eat. Jon very rarely ever took me to a theatre or show in London. It wasnít his style.

Jon and I went into a Chinese restaurant to eat. I had agreed to pay for the meal, since it was Jonís birthday. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Jon ordered alcoholic beverages, starters, a main course, and desert. The bill came to about £50 for only two people! I was somewhat concerned that Jon had decided to treat himself at my expense because he knew very well that I did not earn very much money. I dutifully paid the bill and the tip. Jon never even once thanked me for his birthday dinner. Jon never even gave me a birthday dinner.

Jon was so terrified that people in Basingstoke were going to discover his dirty little secret that he started looking for work away from Basingstoke. He was offered, and accepted, a job at Banking and Clearing Services, or BACS, which was located in Edgware. Jon would be given a housing allowance for his first six months and would be expected to find accommodation by that time.

I suggested to Jon that maybe he should get a rented room so he would not have to live on his own, but he would have none of that. He rented a studio apartment and was particularly pleased that the owner of the flat was a policeman. I can only suppose that as Jon signed the rental agreement, he thought to himself, ĎIf you only knew what I have been up to, you would not be renting to me!í

Jon had spent his entire £60,000 redundancy package on his favourite person, himself. He therefore didnít have any money for food. I took the only £10 that I had in my purse and sent it to him in the post, thereby enabling him to have lunch with his co-workers. After I sent Jon my only £10, I didnít even have enough money for bus fair and had to scrounge around the house for a few pennies. I can only suppose that any personal sacrifices I made for Jon had always, and would continue, to go by unnoticed.

While my mind was trying to cope with the awful family secret, my body didnít see any reason why it should have to co-operate. From that day forward, I developed the worst case of mastitis imaginable, which of course, I was too embarrassed to speak to my doctor about.

Within a month or two, I must have put on 20 or 30 pounds. Food had become my only solace in my miserable, pathetic life.

I was in such a distraught state that my doctor prescribed me tranquillisers, but refused to renew my prescription. My doctor seemed to feel that whatever marital problems I had, I should be able to solve them on my own without the need of drugs. I was on my own. No support at home, no support at work, no support from my doctor. How much more on my own did I need to be?

It was during the ensuring conversations I had with Jon that he accused me of phoning his work. Jon said that I had phoned his work in tears, telling his co-workers that he was having an affair with another woman. When I assured Jon that I had never, ever done any such thing, he accepted my statement and thought that his colleagues must have been trying to wind him up. I have absolutely no idea who it was that phoned my husbandís work, but it certainly wasnít me.

Jon would constantly complain that his car was old and unreliable, and told him on several occasions that he could use my car as a trade-in for a new one. I had almost nothing in the world, but the few things I did have, I was willing to give to my husband. Although Jon was quite happy to complain about the age of his car, for reasons known only to him, he didnít want to accept my offer to use my car to get a new one. All he ever did was to complain that I wasnít contributing to the home, but whenever I did try to make a contribution, he rejected it.

I was to discover, however, that not even a year after I left Jon, I rode past his house to discover that he had a brand new T Registration car. He had pleaded poverty to me the entire time we were married, but the moment I was gone he decided to treat himself.

My car was due for a MOT. I was in such a devastated state that I couldnít deal with paying for a MOT and car insurance. I hadnít even driven it for several months because after it had broken down, I didnít feel safe in it anymore. Because I wasnít driving my car, I decided to sell it. I therefore had to make sure that it was in proper working order before I advertised it.

Jon got the car running for me on Sunday and decided to take it for a test drive. Several hours later, Jon returned home in a severely agitated state. He had been speeding in my car and was stopped by the police. I was mortified that Jon would take my car and commit criminal acts in it, acts that had been inspired by a television program that we had seen the night before of all things!

Jon had been inspired to use my car in his perverse activities because the previous evening we watched a television program about a man who picked up women, raped and then killed them. The man was eventually found out, but not before he tried to have his wife committed to a mental institution. The man had been committing the acts in cars that he had borrowed from friends, which made it all the more difficult for the police to pinpoint who the culprit actually was.

It was only a day or two after both Jon and I watched the television program that Jon took a renewed interest in my car and started taking it out. Jon thought he was so clever, but the fact of the matter is that his motives were so very transparent. Jon may have been able to fool everyone else, but he certainly hadnít fooled me.

I was so upset about the fact that Jon had decided to take my car out and commit criminal activities, I went to the Citizenís Advice Bureau and spoke to them about my problem. The volunteer advised me that my husband couldnít throw me out of the house, but I couldnít make him leave either. I was also advised that I shouldnít under any circumstances leave the family home, not even to go on a holiday. I knew that I couldnít trust Jon as far as I could throw him, so if I wanted to stay in the house, I couldnít leave for even a day.

When I spoke to the volunteer at that CAB, I told her about Jonís trouble with the police. The woman told me that the police had the option as to whether or not to charge him. If, however, Jon had exposed himself to a child, the police would have no choice but to press charges.

The volunteer also advised me that I should cut my losses and get out of the marriage as soon as possible. For some reason, I was afraid to make a move.

I would end up staying in that house for another year, my mental health becoming progressively worse each day that I stayed. I didnít, however, have the courage to make a move until it was much too late. By the time I did leave, my reputation would be in tatters and I would be made out to be the villain in the demise of our marriage.

Not more than a day or two after I visited the Citizenís Advice Bureau, the police phoned Jon and told him that he was only going to get a Caution. It was then and only then that Jon decided that he wanted to talk to me about what had happened. I knew from past experience that Jon would only use any discussions that we had as an opportunity to try to manipulate me and make me feel guilty for not being what he wanted.

ĎI donít want to talk about it.í, I said to Jon, as I was walking up the stairs, trying to extricate myself from a conversation that I didnít want to have.

ĎLetís talk about this. It is important for us to talk about it for the state of our marriageí, Jon said to me, sitting on the top of the stairs.

It was a bit late for saving our marriage. Jon should have thought about our marriage when he rang prostitutes, went curb crawling, solicited whores from contact magazines, and then exposed himself to passer-byes on the street. Our marriage had been on a highway to hell for a long time and as far as I was concerned, there wasnít a thing left to say.

ĎI donít want to talk about it,í I reiterated, Ďas far as I am concerned our marriage is over.í

Enough was enough. There are some things that can never be repaired. Did Jon really think that I would want to stay with him after he had committed all those obscenities?

When Jon realised that he had in fact gone too far and I wasnít going to forgive him, he looked me straight in the eye and barked, ĎI have been sleeping on the floor for the past several months hoping that you would forgive me, and now you are telling me that the marriage is over. I think you should leave this house!.í

Since Jon wasnít going to be prosecuted for his deeds, he didnít need me anymore. He therefore decided that he would discard me since I had served my useful purpose.

By this time I was in a serious state of dispassion and looked Jon straight in the eye and replied, ĎYou canít make me leave. I have been to the CAB and they said that you canít make me go.í

Throughout Jonís entire life he had been able to manipulate situations in his favour, thereby getting everything he wanted whenever he wanted. Whenever Jon tired of a woman, he discarded her and used any means to make sure he ended up the winner. Jon discarded Kim and he was trying to discard me.

ĎWhen did you go to the CAB?í, Jon asked me in surprise.

ĎJust today.í, I retorted in defiance. For once, I had been able to give as good as I got.

When Jon realised that I wasnít as pliable as he had hoped, he flew into a rage and single-handedly moved the sleeper-couch from my room upstairs to the downstairs living room.

From the day that I met Jon, he had never suffered from so much as a cold. It wasnít until he had been picked up by the police that he succumbed to the first and last cold that I have ever been aware of. He walked around the house in pure misery, trying to solicit my sympathy. I found it odd that when Jon was able to fulfil his sexual compulsions, he was physically well. When Jonís activities were curtailed, however, he became ill just like the rest of us.

Because I am only aware of Jon suffering that one cold the entire time that I was acquainted with him, I can only assume, therefore, that Jon went back to his old ways in the London area where it would be significantly easier to blend into a crowd. Every time Jon came home from London, he would have his trusty dishtowel draped across the driverís seat. I can only assume, therefore, that the dishtowel was used to soak up any bodily fluids that may have resulted from his nefarious activities.

Many students of the esoteric arts have correlated physical illness with stress, and my experience with Jon thoroughly attests to the fact. When people have too much stress in their lives, they suffer from dis-ease. The only thing that can effectively eliminate illness is to get rid of the stress. The best course of action, however, is often easier said than done.

I, for one, had suffered from colds psoriasis, eczema, mastitis, and viral infections for months, if not years on end. But then again, my activities had become severely limited.

Whatever happened to that slim, vivacious woman who had a career, home, car and money in the bank? That person had been slowly whittled away, day after day, until she no longer existed. That person was dead.

When Jon moved to Edgware, he informed me that he was going to have a bar put on the telephone so I would not be able to phone my friends or family overseas. That one act alone would have served to isolate me more than I already was and Jon knew it. The only thing that stopped Jon from putting a bar on the phone was because I told him that if he carried out such a despicable act, I would phone all of my friends and family and tell him what he had done.

Jon was so obsessed with what other people thought of him that he didnít carry out his threat, The fact that he was prepared to cut off the only lines of communication I had , however, speaks volumes about his character. He was so controlling of any telephone contact I had that he would unabashedly walk into the room and listen to every word I said, thereby making it impossible to speak to anyone privately.

Another thing that Jon did was to have his chat-lines put on the British Telecomís Ďfriends and family discountí. Jon was so pleased with himself with what he had done because I didnít find out about it until almost a year later when Jon presented me with the telephone bill. What struck me was the fact that Jon was so unashamed about the fact that he used chat-lines, which he even laughed and joked with the telesales operator about it. If I ever engaged in such practices, I certainly would not have admitted them to anybody in the world.

Jon decided that he wanted to take his computer to his flat and informed me that I would have to get my own computer. I had sold my old 386 computer to one of his friends from work for £50, and my monochrome 486 laptop was no longer suitable because it only had DOS as the operating system installed, and I had grown spoiled with the ease of Windows, which is a Graphic User Interface. No longer being able to use Jonís computer, I went over to the computer shop not far from my home and purchased a system on special offer.

When Jon found out I had a new computer, he told me he wanted me to put it in his room. I could see the handwriting on the wall. The minute I moved my computer into his computer room, he would take it over and it would no longer be mine, just as all my other possessions had ceased to be mine. Jon had taken so much from me already, and my computer was definitely off limits. I therefore phoned Jon on his mobile and apologetically told him that since it was my computer, I wanted to keep it in my room.

Although Jon had already taken just about everything in the world from me, it wasnít enough. He wanted my computer as well. For once, I stood my ground and refused to allow him to take control of my computer. To cite just how sick I had become, even though I had worked hard for that computer, and it was one of the few things in this world that I could call my own, I even felt guilty about not handing it over to my husband. Because I had given Jon just about everything else that was a part of me, it seemed alien to me to keep anything for myself.

I was very pleased with my new computer and told one of the women who I worked with all about it. By the way she rolled her eyes as I began to excitedly relay my good buy to her, I knew instantly that she wasnít interested in the least about the computer or anything else even remotely related to me.

When I sensed the womanís offensive body language, I ended the conversation at the earliest possible opportunity and never brought the subject up again. I had become so unpopular at work that my colleagues couldnít even stand for anything nice to come into my life, which is just as much a reflection of the unhappiness in their lives as it was mine.

Jon began sleeping downstairs in the living room. Because he had a sadistic personality and craved excitement, he insisted on having the door to the house unlocked during the night. Whenever I tried to lock the door, Jon would get up and unlock it. This routine went on every time he came home from Edgware, which caused me to become an extremely light sleeper. There was no point asking Jon to lock the door, because he acted as he did for the sole purpose of instilling fear in me, which he was successful at.

When Jon began sleeping with the doors unlocked, I naturally became very anxious. Every night I would walk downstairs and lock the door, and every night Jon would get up and unlock the door after I had locked it. My only hope was that the criminal who came into the house was more humane that the criminal that I was living with. There is no doubt in my mind that the sleep deprivation that I endured took its toll on my psyche and personality.

* * *

Many years earlier, while living in the barracks in Germany, I went to sleep with my door unlocked and woke up with some individual touching my body. I screamed bloody murder, and the man fled the room. Because of the trauma of what I had experienced, I was prescribed valium by the doctor to calm down. Although the police were called and an investigation ensued, I was made to feel by friends and acquaintances that it was something I shouldnít discuss. Many less sympathetic, if not disturbed people, felt that it was just a big joke.

One important lesson that I learned all those years ago was that one should never go to bed with their door unlocked because one never knows just who could be lurking around the corner.

A couple of years later I met a young woman who went to bed without locking her door, and I chastised her accordingly. She didnít understand what all the fuss was about. She hadnít yet had the displeasure of waking up to find some man touching her body, and therefore assumed that I was just being paranoid. I have never discussed that particular past experience with Jon, so I can only assume that he came up with that sadistic practice all on his own.

* * *

One movie that very much reminded me of the state of our marriage was ĎThelma and Louiseí, which I would advise any woman to watch. It is a clear example of how far people can go when they become desperate. Both women characters were from Arkansas and one womanís husband was a real asshole, just like mine. The husband had total control over his wife. The one very annoying habit that the husband had that reminded me so much of Jon was the fact that he would use the remote control to change the channel on the television without any regard for anyone else. Whenever we sat in the living room watching television, without fail, every time I became interested in a program, Jon would take the remote control and change the channel without any regard for what I was watching. I had to laugh to myself when I saw Thelma and Louise, because the husband in the show was in so many ways similar to the man I married.

Because I wasnít able to come to terms with what Jon had done, I decided that I wanted to buy my own house and leave him for good. Buying a house was such a huge step for me, but I nevertheless made an offer on a property and told Jon all about it. Because of problems at work and my worries that I would not be able to cope with such a huge expenditure, I lost the courage to take a step to freedom and backed out from the deal. What I didnít know, however, was that Jon had pilfered though my post and had stolen some important documents relating to the proposed house purchase.

Because I was so depressed, I would spend much of my time laying on my bed, listening to music, and rocking myself to sleep. I was in so much despair about the life that I had chosen for myself that I had lost almost all will to keep going from day to day.

I lived in my fantasy world, dreaming of meeting a man, any man, who would take me away from my unhappy marriage. Any man I met who was even halfway nice to me would become my knight in shining armour in my fantasies. Real life was just too much for me to bear, so I spent as much time as possible in my dreams.

One evening Jon came into the bedroom where I was laying in the dark and asked me if I was depressed. What kind of question was that? I was married to a sex offender who had systematically destroyed my personality and my soul. I was astonished that my tormentor should ask me if I was depressed. Well, of course I was depressed!

ĎNo.í, I replied, in disbelief that Jon should even have to ask me a question like that.

Jon wasted no time in leaving the room once he satisfied himself that I wasnít depressed. Would it really have mattered if I had replied affirmatively? Would Jon have changed? I doubt it. I think it would have pleased him even more to realise that he had driven me to such a state of mental despair.

Jon never ever took me anywhere in Basingstoke. I donít know if he was ashamed of me, ashamed of what he dad done, or a little of both. Whenever Jon did take me out, he would take me somewhere far away, such as Slough of Swindon. I was upset about this, but didnít dare bring up the subject. We never spoke about what he had done. To speak about it was just too painful. It was a subject that was taboo.

On more than one occasion Jon told me that he would never take me to any parties at work because the people would make fun of me. I didnít elaborate on this because I already knew my husband had a very low regard for me.

On another occasion Jon told me that he would never take me to a show in England because he was afraid that I would say that I hated English people. Considering the fact that the vast majority of the English people who I had met thus far were of a dubious character, is it any wonder that I had an intense dislike for English people. Jon, coming from a severely asocial background, simply couldnít understand why I harboured such sentiments towards so many people who were so obviously common.

With my personal life falling apart, it was only inevitable that it would flow into my work, which was becoming progressively more unbearable. The situation wasnít helped by the fact that Rosemary and Jo were doing their best to trip me up. If they had been decent people, they would have at the very least stood back and allowed me to muddle through life as best as I could without interfering. Instead, they decided to kick me when I was down.

It is not for me to pass judgement on my co-workers at that awful time in my life and the part that they played by forcing me out of the company. I doubt very seriously that the majority of the individuals in the Human Resource Department at Barclays Mercantile had enough moral fibre to reflect on their actions and the part they played in creating my internal hell. I would like to say, however, that the way many of my colleagues treated me when I had to have been going through one of the worst personal crisisís in my life was totally disgraceful. Their treatment of me is, however, their responsibility to work out in their own way and in their own time, and to think about all the things they did to harm me when it would have been just as easy to stand back and allow me to find my own way through my personal drama in my own time.

I would like to point out that we get treated the way we treat others. I wasnít surprised in the least, therefore, to hear through the grapevine that Elaine and Rosemary, two managers who worked relentlessly to have me dismissed, where in fact the ones to find themselves made redundant not long after I left the company. That, I must say, is poetic justice.

In July 1997, on the verge of a breakdown, I was left with no alternative but to resign from Barclays Mercantile. My bossed called me into his office and yelled at me about something I had said to someone. I was at such a low point in my life that I just fell to pieces. For me, it was the straw that broke the camelís back.

When I told Jon that I wanted to quit my job, his only response was, íYou need to make sure you have another job to go to before you quit Barclays.í

The message was clear, I needed to have a job because Jon wasnít going to support me financially any more than he had emotionally. In a state of distress, I nevertheless resigned. There was no way that I was going to go back to that snake pit.

Newly unemployed, I had to go out in search of a job, the prospect of which terrified me.

When I confided to Jon that I was concerned that I would end up on the streets, his only comment to me was, ĎYou wonít end up on the streets.í

There was no mention of whether Jon would give me any kind of support, because of course, he had no intention of doing so.

One afternoon I decided to treat Jon to lunch at Pizza Hut even though I had no money coming in and really couldnít afford it. At Pizza Hut, Jon made sure he took advantage of the opportunity at hand, and ordered a couple of beers, a starter and a main course. For financial reasons, I normally donít order starters, but said nothing to Jon about his selection. After the meal, I paid for it and the both of us left the restaurant together.

I suppose it was because I had a beer or two myself, that when I was in the car with Jon I became upset because once again, Jon had taken advantage of my good nature. Without fail, every time I offered to take Jon to dinner, he made sure that he ordered as much food as he possibly could, knowing fully well just how little I earned.

I was so angry with Jon that I said, ĎYou sure do eat well when someone else is paying the bill.í

ĎThat is not true! I am hurt that you could say something like that!í, Jon replied in dismay.

Instantly, I regretted what I had said and felt guilty for having felt the way I did. I rarely told Jon how I felt about anything that made me upset or unhappy. By that time I knew that whatever efforts I made to change the situation between Jon and me were futile.

One morning Jon saw a man completing some garden work in one of the neighbourís properties. Not be to outdone, Jon decided that he wanted to have some work done on his garden, even though he was quite capable of doing most of it himself.

Jon agreed upon a price of £300, which I thought was a bit expensive, but I didnít want to quibble since Jon had been the one to make the arrangements. When the gardener finished the work that had been agreed, I wrote him a cheque from the joint checking account, which Jon had asked me to do. When Jon came home, however, he had a change of heart and decided that he wasnít going to pay the man and proceeded to cancel the cheque.

When Jon cancelled the cheque, he put me in a very difficult position because he should have queried the bill himself instead of leaving me to take care of it. Jon went back to Edgware and left me to speak to the gardener, who understandably wanted payment.

Jon eventually paid the man, but he had to return and re-do the work that had already been completed. I felt very awkward speaking to the gardener because he tried to elicit my sympathy when there really wasnít anything I could do about the situation. The agreement had been made between he and Jon, and really had nothing to do with me.

* * *

I had become accustomed to people going back on their word because it was one of my motherís favourite tricks.

When I was a child, my mother would not allow me to wear make-up even though all of the other girls my age wore it. My mother told me that when I was 13 I would be permitted to wear make-up, but when I reached 13, my mother didnít like the way that I wore it and said that I couldnít wear it until I was 15. When my mother saw how devastated I was because she could do such a thing, she changed her mind and said that I would not be allowed to wear make-up for two months. Essentially, I was being punished only because I wore my make-up in a manner that my mother didnít like. My mother loved harming me, and for that reason would mete out punishment for any imagined wrong.

I was also not allowed to go out with boys. My mother told me that when I was 14 I could double date and when I was 16 I could go out on proper dates. When I turned 16 and wanted to date, which is what my mother had said, she changed her mind once again. The fact of the matter is that my mother didnít want me going out with any men and constantly tried to brainwash me into believing that Ďmen are animalsí. I can only assume that she picked up this attitude from the many negative experiences she had with men, and it is probably for that reason she turned to women for emotional support.

* * *

Since I had discovered my husbandís secret life, I had fallen into a deep despair. It seemed as if a black cloud hung over me and there was nothing I could do to make it go away. Every morning it was the same. As I woke up and put my legs over the bed, all I could think of was what I horrible life I had.

I would think, ĎHow much longer can I go on like this? Something has got to change!í

The sentiments I felt never changed. During that awful time in my life, I never once woke up happy to be alive. I couldnít confide my feelings to anyone because the moment I tried to tell someone that I didnít know how much longer I could go on like that, they would shut me up and tell me that I shouldnít talk like that. There wasnít a soul on the face of this earth who was interested in my pain and was prepared to listen to me try to explain how I felt.

I also harboured deep feelings of hatred toward Jon for all that he had put me through. I had saved enough money for a down payment on a house, but I had to fight to keep myself from using that money and hiring a hit man to finish my unfaithful husband off once and for good.

The world would not have missed Jon, and I would have been doing humanity a favour. He was just one of those sad individuals who had been damaged beyond repair. Jon does not consider what he does to be perverse, he considers it his Ďlifestyleí. I would not be surprised in the least to open the newspaper one day to find his face splashed across it, having been discovered as a serial killer, such as Jeffrey Dahmer, Dennis Nilsen and Fred West.

One evening when Jon and I were having a discussion and I told him exactly how I felt about him.

With absolutely no emotion in my voice at all, I stated, ĎWhat I would like most in the world is for when you are driving around in your car, to have an accident and die.í

I donít think that up until that time Jon really realised just how much I hated him, but at that moment he could feel my contempt with a full force. Jon was initially taken aback that someone who once loved him so much that she would give up her career and pension for him could hate him with all her heart.

Within seconds, however, my husband regained his composure, shoved a tape recorder in my face, and said, ĎWould you repeat that?!í

Of course I wasnít going to say that I wished my husband was dead into a tape recorder. I wasnít that stupid. I can only suppose the reason that Jon didnít take any action with regard to what I said was because in some sort of twisted way, he actually enjoyed having a wife who despised him and wanted him dead.

By the summer of 1997, Jon was only coming home about once a month. Instead of missing him, I actually felt a respite from all his abuse when he was away.

When Jon came home for the weekend, however, I was plagued with panic attacks and feelings of anxiety and confusion. I would become dizzy and couldnít concentrate.

One Sunday afternoon my neighbour, Esther, phoned me and asked me if I wanted to take some rugs to a kennel with her. It was this particular day when I was at my all time worst emotional state and confided to Esther about all the things Jon had done to make me so unhappy.

Esther had on previous occasions asked me in earnest what Jon had done, but I felt her inquisitiveness was more out of a sense of morbid curiosity than an actual desire to help. In the past, I had refused to disclose to Esther what Jon had done because I was too ashamed. On this occasion, however, I was in such a distressed emotional state that I confided all to her.

Within a week of telling Esther my deepest, darkest secret, Esther coldly informed me that she didnít want to be my friend anymore because we had nothing in common and she wasnít a Ďsocial workerí. Even though Esther could see how much she was hurting by her words, watching tears stream down my cheeks, she continued to say horrendous things to me for well over an hour. Esther stood firm in her resolve in the fact that she did not want to be my friend anymore.

I walked home from Estherís house a broken person. The only person in the world who I had told about my husbandís secret life had turned her back onto me. I was so upset by Estherís rejection of me that I took a tranquilliser and cried myself to sleep.

To my amazement, the following day Esther phoned me at work to wish me luck on a job interview that day. Although Esther attempted to make up with me for the awful way she had treated me when I needed a friend, our friendship was never the same after that. I could never trust her again. What good is a friend who cannot be trusted? What good is a friend who will say she doesnít want to be friends whenever she hears bad news?

A couple of years after Estherís rejection of me, I spoke to a mental health professional about her reaction to what I had confided to her. He said that Esther had told me she didnít want to be my friend anymore because she couldnít cope with what she had heard. Estherís reaction may have had a psychological explanation, but her rejection of me made me feel more filthy inside than ever before. People must have thought that because I had married such a person that I must therefore be that way as well: and that certainly wasnít true.

One Sunday afternoon I found myself sitting in the living room with Jon. I can only assume that Jon had decided that he was going to make up a story about the neighbours because he started interrogating me about everyone I knew. He even asked me about people who I had been banned from seeing, such as my friend, John. It didnít take me long to tire of his game because his tactics were quite transparent. I knew that Jon wasnít really interested in my relationships with the neighbours, but merely wanted to gather information for reasons known only to him.

Tired of answering the endless stream of questions that Jon directed my way, I looked him directly and said, ĎI know, you just want people to think you are a nice person, but really you arenít.í

Jon knew I was on to his game, and he stopped dead in his tracks. He couldnít stand it that I knew what he was all about and he no doubt was seething inside.

In late August 1997, Jon took me to dinner in Hook as a sort of late anniversary present. We stopped exchanging cards and presents when he moved to Edgeware, and I certainly didnít care to outwardly acknowledge our farce of a marriage. My birthday and Valentineís day went unacknowledged as well, not that I expected my husband to do anything to celebrate.

As Jon and I sat in the Indian restaurant, I saw a manager from my former company, Barclays Mercantile, with his entourage in tow. While I recognised this somewhat attractive man, he didnít appear to recognise me.

I sat in silence and observed the quartet. I wondered what kind of life they lived. Even if the manager did recognise me, never in his wildest dreams would he imagine what I had to go home to each and every day. He, along with just about everyone else at my former job, just saw me as some weirdo who nobody wanted to talk to or socialise with. I would be surprised if one person in the entire company thought well of me ever wondered why I was so strange.

I sat in the restaurant, eating dinner with my husband, a shadow of my former self. At one time I had so much confidence, a car, a home, a career, a pension, friends. One would never know it, to see a timid, thirty something woman in that restaurant on that particular evening.

Jon had achieved his goal. He got what he wanted. Jon had sucked out, little by little, until I was nothing but a shell. I had no soul. There was no life in the body that at one time had belonged to me.

On the way home Jon decided that he wanted to go to a movie. Instead of taking me to the large cinema in Basingstoke, he drove around the countryside, looking for an obscure one out in the middle of nowhere. I didnít have to speak to Jon about this because I suspected that the cinema in Basingstoke was one of his favour haunts, a place where he liked to go to expose himself, which is why he wouldnít take me there.

I instantly became annoyed with Jon because his actions were affecting my social life. Jon couldnít take me anywhere in the area where we lived because of the crimes that he had committed.

Jon tried to put his hand on my leg, and I was having none of that. The nerve of him. He thought that he could take me to dinner and we could go back to the way we were. No way!

The cinema that Jon took me to, which was located in the tiny town of Fleet, wasnít showing a movie at the time we arrived. I was incensed because I would have liked to see a movie. I suppose that Jon sensed my chagrin, because in a blink of an eye he went through a complete personality change.

ĎI know you wish I was dead!í, Jon snarled at me as he slammed his foot onto the accelerator. Jon sped down the winding country roads at top speed just to frighten me. Tears were screaming down my face, as I begged the man who I no longer recognised, to stop the car and let me out. Of course he wouldnít, the show was meant for me and me alone.

When I told Jon I thought that he was a road rager, he replied, ĎI Ďm not a road rager. Road ragers take an interest in other drivers on the road. I donít!í

Somehow, Jon had been able to convince himself that because he didnít take an interest in the other people whose lives he was putting at risk, he wasnít a road rager. If he wasnít a road rager, what was he?

Jon ruined my evening and I hated him with even more intensity each and every day.

Whenever I tried to tell anyone about Jon, they simply couldnít comprehend his behaviour.

The first thing that anyone who I confided to would do was to ask is if he was a drinker. Drink, they believed, must be the reason why he behaved so badly. I wish it was as simple as that, but it just wasnít.

Some individuals who I confided in would look at me coyly, as if to say ĎI donít believe a word youíre sayingí, and demurely say to me, ĎBut, he sounds so nice on the phoneÖ..í

I just absolutely amazed and appalled at the same time that people could think that my husband was a nice guy just because he had a good telephone manner. I guess that it just goes to show how shallow some people can be.

When I went on to state that neither of my husbands were heavy drinkers, people were even more perplexed. It was difficult just too for them to understand that some people in this world are just plain old mean, with or without substances.

One day Jon struck up a conversation with me about one of our neighbours. This neighbour hadnít held down a proper job in at least twenty years, and lived off state benefit. For reasons known only to Jon, he really resented the fact that this man made a profession out of leeching off the government. Jon felt that the neighbour was defrauding the government and told me so.

I responded to Jonís derisive comment against the neighbour by reminding him that he too was defrauding the government. Jon was giving his mother money while she received state benefit, claiming that she had no income. Jon glared at me. Even though he lived in a glass house, he certainly didnít mind throwing stones.

The purgatory I was in ticked along nicely until November 1997. My friend made arrangements for a girlís night out, and we planned to go to a nightclub on Saturday night. She arranged for me to walk over to her friendís house and we would all take a taxi together.

When Saturday night arrived, Jon came home quite unexpectedly. I was very upset with Jon and didnít appreciate his attitude. He never answered his mobile whenever I phoned and I would not hear from him for weeks at a time. Then suddenly, without any notice, Jon would show up and expect me to play happy families.

Jon handed me the phone bill and asked me to pay it. It was then that I informed him that I wasnít going to be paying for any of the calls to chat lines, and he assured me that he hadnít made any. Later, when I had a better look at the bill, I noted that at least one of the numbers on the Ďfriends and family discountí was a chat line. The following Monday I verified it by phoning the numbers listed and asking the person who answered the phone what type of number it was.

It was when I was really pissed off with Jon that I met Darren at Sueís house. I hadnít flirted with a man in a very long time and took the opportunity to invite him over to my house for a cup of coffee, but not before ascertaining that the woman who he was living with was his older sister and not his partner.

The following morning, Jon and I got into a disagreement and I angrily told him, ĎYou donít care about me at all!í

To my surprise, Jon replied, ĎNo. I donít.í

I was taken aback by what Jon had said. I had expected him to tell me not to be silly because of course he cared about me, but he made it perfectly clear to me that he didnít care about me at all.

I went into the living room a few minutes later and asked Jon if he meant it when he said that he didnít care about me. Jon then went on to tell me he had no feelings for me at all, but he still didnít want anything bad to happen to me.

Even though I hadnít asked Jon what any of his friends thought of me, he volunteered, ĎMartin thinks youíre shit!í

ĎIs that what Martin said to you?í, I asked Jon in astonishment.

Jon then went on to tell me those were not Martinís exact words and rephrased it by saying that Martin had told him that ĎI wasnít the sort of person who he wanted to socialise with.í

I was upset but not surprised that Jonís friend would say such a thing about me because his whole circle of friends seemed to be a have no depth at all.

When Martin rang the house a few weeks later, I was somewhat cool with him when, recalling what he had said to Jon about me. For the first time in years, Martin had taken the time to ask me how I was doing. If Jonís friend had such a low opinion of me, what did he care how I was doing?

Equipped with the knowledge that Jon no longer had any feelings for me, I asked him why he would not give me a divorce. It was then that I learned that the only reason why Jon wasnít prepared to divorce me was because he couldnít afford to, plain and simple. Somehow, Jon had turned all of our problems onto me and managed to successfully make me feel guilty because he had taken an apartment in Edgware and was consequently didnít have any money to get a divorce.

Jon also brought up the subject of my refusal to have sex with him.

ĎAnd why wonít I have sex with you?í, I asked Jon, interested in his reply.

ĎWeíre not going to get into that.í Jon hastily replied.

Jon was quite happy to bitch to anyone and everyone who was willing to listen about what an awful wife I was and how I wouldnít have sexual relations with him, but he always conveniently omitted why I wouldnít have sex with him. Jon didnít see that it was bad enough that he was putting his health at risk because of his inappropriate lifestyle, but he was completely out of order to believe that he had the right to jeopardise my health as well.

One of the things that upset Jon was the way one particular neighbour, BrJony, had responded him. Jon seemed to think that I had told this particular neighbour about his brush with the law, but he couldnít have been further from the truth. I was too ashamed to tell my neighbour about all of the things that Jon had done. In fact, I had become so introverted that I had cut off ties with most of the people who I had once been friendly with, and had turned down most invitations to social events.

If Briony, our neighbour, was behaving aloofly, it was because of the few things that I had told her thus far and certainly not the major things Jon had done that turned my stomach just to think about.

The only thing that I could say to Jon in response to Brionyís attitude towards Jon was, ĎBriony has a family!í

The one important thing that I said to Jon just went right over his head. He simply didnít understand that because he was a sex offender, he was a danger to children and therefore shouldnít be around them. Jon really, honestly, truly thought that he was normal and that virtually everybody engaged in the same sexual practices that he did. Jon had convinced himself that he was merely practising a lifestyle choice and had no understanding at all of the implications of his behaviour.

I really liked Briony a lot, and what Jon did hurt me because I had to give up my friendship with her. I knew very well why Briony would want to protect her children from a man like Jon. I would have done the same.

And of course, during our dialogue, Jon had to make sarcastic comments about my beliefs. He took every possible opportunity to deride me and stated, ĎYou are a professional astrologer and tarot reader. You should be able to understand people, but you donít.í

Jon never took any notice of the fact that maybe because I was so psychic was one of the reasons why I didnít want to have anything to do with him.

Jonís arguments were well thought out, as he obviously had taken a great deal of time to think of how he could insult me perfectly. He always made a point of trying to imply that I was the villain in our failed marriage. He wanted it to seem that because I was interested in esoteric subjects that I should have compassion and understanding for anti-social people Ė that I would accept them for who they were. I may very well have been interested in astrology, tarot, numerology and other esoteric subjects, but I was still a human being and was therefore appalled by many of the things I had been exposed to since having become acquainted with my husband.

Jon also made a point of bringing up something else that I had told him in confidence many years earlier, and decided to use it derisively against me.

When I was married to my first husband, sometimes he would make me so angry that I would literally see red. I didnít dare speak to him about it because of the violence he would direct towards me. I would therefore take a pair of scissors and cup up his underwear, ties or anything else of his that I could find to vent my frustrations.

I felt that it was far better to cut up my ex-husbandís clothes than to cut up his body, but I suppose Jon didnít see it that way. Jon made a point of sneering at me for cutting up my first husbandís clothes, as if what I had done was really heinous.

I knew that it was pointless trying to defend myself to Jon because he only picked up the few things that I had done in anger and turned them into monumental crimes against humanity. I knew that if Jon was able to judge me so harshly for the few little things that I had done, then he would be able feel superior to me and not have to look at his own inadequacies.

After the last important conversation I was ever to have with Jon, I didnít see the point in carrying on with the charade any longer. I decided that maybe it was time for me to do something about my perpetual state of unhappiness and despair.

I was able to get a list of solicitors from the Citizenís Advice Bureau and selected Clarke & Son Solicitors only because Lamb Brookes kept cancelling the free appointment that they advertised through the CAB. After speaking to Jane, the solicitor, she assured me that if all went well I could have my divorce in about five months. During the consultation I was also led to believe that I would get a divorce settlement.

I didnít know, however it would have been appropriate for me to use Lamb Brookes, as they were the firm of solicitors who represented Jon when he had been picked up by the police for indecent exposure. As it turned out, Jon chose Doggett & Co to represent him, which I found to be quite interesting. Perhaps he didnít want Lamb Brookes to represent him in the divorce because he thought it would be easier to lie to another firm of solicitors.

I decided that under the circumstances, I would file for divorce on the grounds of Jonís unreasonable behaviour. I told Jane some of the things that Jon had done but didnít say anything about his being picked up by the police for indecent exposure. I was such a sick enabler that even when Jon had driven me to the point of divorce, I still protected him. I felt guilty even divorcing a person who so obviously deserved to be divorced.

Christmas was a bit awkward. I spent Christmas with my friend Darren, but I still had to go home to feed the cats, who were, incidentally, very angry with me for neglecting them. On Christmas day I came home to find Jon in bed on the sofa. I didnít know how to handle the situation because although we were getting divorced, I couldnít ask him to leave, and he still came and went as he pleased.

Jon had bought me a present, which I didnít know how to respond to. I have never been sure of the proper etiquette of what to do when one is getting a divorce. I didnít know how to cope with Jon being in the house and asked him when he was leaving. I didnít expect a reply and didnít get one.

One morning in late January 1998, when I was feeling particularly desperate, I phoned Jon on his mobile. Because I was phoning from a pay phone and not from home or work, Jon answered on the first ring. It was at that point that I realised all those times I had tried to ring him from home or work the previous year, he had merely refused to accept my call.

During the conversation that ensued, Jon informed me that he was moving back into the house. He made a point of telling me that I had lived in the house for the past year, doing as I pleased, and he was going to put a stop to it. Jon also told me that he was going to look for a job in Basingstoke as soon as he moved into the house. I found that revelation to be somewhat odd considering the fact that he moved away from Basingstoke because he didnít want anyone to find out about his past.

Jon was right about one thing. For the past year I had had a taste of freedom and I didnít want to give it up. I only had to put with him sporadically, but knowing that he would be gone soon was what kept me going. I couldnít bear the thought of Jon moving back into the house and having to see him every day. If Jon was moving back in, then I was moving out.

Because I needed a place to live, I answered an ad in the paper for a room in South Ham. I had always thought of leaving Jon and moving into a rented room in the past, but my awful experience with Wendy had always deterred me. Things must have really been bad, therefore, if I was prepared to move out of the house into some God-awful place. I agreed to take the rented room and Jon agreed to help me move out of the house. I simply couldnít bear the though of sharing a house with him again.