Urban Dictionary – 2008
Dacia; The alcoholic virgin Roman Goddess. She was a virgin because she was afraid to love again after her first love. She was famous for her sex appeal and her wonderful personality. She had a beautiful heart and body. She had a low self-esteem because her face wasn’t usually as beautiful as her heart. Her heart was the most purest and truest of the lands.
Dacia; A word that infers something is cool, awesome or hip.
Chapter One - 1993
If I were deranged, I could walk into the bedroom, grab one of the dozen guns he collected, and shoot him in the back of the head. All the odds were in my favor. At such close range, I would have hit him no matter how bad of a marksman I was. I’d planned every detail of my escape, but now that it was time, I almost couldn’t go through with it. Instead of walking out the door, I found myself standing in our bedroom with the gun case open, wondering how difficult it would be to pull the trigger.
The gun felt heavy in my hand, but not cold. Weren’t guns supposed to be cold? It felt all wrong. I certainly liked a little naughty in my life but not this kind of bad, not wrong.
An image of the bloody mess Leonard’s head would make if were splattered on the wall appeared in my mind’s eye. Chunks of his gray matter sliding down the wall into the carpet finished the scene.
I thought of a double bloody mess if I shot him first and then myself. Would I put the gun in my mouth or hold it to my temple? Who would have to clean it up or would they even bother? The trailer would probably be condemned. Hauled away. I came to the conclusion our blood would be comingled in some landfill forever. My stomach roiled. I put the gun back in the case, and locked it. Breathing slowly, I reminded myself that everything was ready for my escape. My life was about to change.
Throughout our short-lived marriage, he had insisted on controlling everything from what I wore to when I worked, when I went to bed, when I got up, and what I ate. He also took my money. My check was getting directly deposited into a joint account from which he paid the bills. He would give me fifty dollars a week as an allowance, like I was his kid instead of his wife. God, I hated him. Little did he know that, for the past year, I’d hidden most of what I’d made. I’d created a tiny nest-egg to get a new life started and had slowly packed my belongings into four cardboard boxes, putting them into the back of a car. I did it little by little so he wouldn’t notice. First my keepsakes, then my clothes. I didn’t have much. Finally, the plan had come together … for the most part.
I left the cream-colored wedding dress hanging in the closet. Leonard had insisted that was what I wear when we exchanged our vows at the Justice of the Peace. It was short and borderline slutty looking, not really a wedding dress at all. He wouldn’t let me wear heels either and told me how I was to wear my hair. There was no talk of whether or not I was going to change my last name, it was assumed. The biggest red-flag I ignored was that he insisted on the traditional ‘obey’ in my vows.
To this day my stomach turns whenever I think of how he had stripped me of the last bit of my youth, as if his sole purpose had been to pluck me from my formative years and make me old, cynical, and cold. I was freaked out about uprooting my life, especially since it could be another ‘from the frying pan into the fire’ situation, but I knew I couldn’t take one more day of this loveless, sexless marriage. I refused to be his doormat or pissing post any longer.
Although my husband wasn’t physically abusive, he was verbally abusive, emotionally unavailable, and downright mean. His favorite past-time was to belittle me to others—friends, co-workers, or total strangers. Whoever would listen. His most common complaint was my cooking. As if a woman’s worth was found only in the kitchen.
“Bitch could burn water,” he was known to mutter after describing something I had made. “Like burnt-mush-goo,” he would snicker, “have you ever in your life had burnt-mush-goo?”
I never learned to cook, my mom never taught me; her mom never taught her. The bedroom was the place to keep your man happy, or at least that’s what I was told. As the old saying goes, I was ‘young and dumb.’ My husband was only twenty months younger than my father, and twenty years older than me. Some people may say I had daddy issues, who am I to argue? As much as I hate to admit it, Leonard treated me more like a daughter than a wife. Perhaps he had daddy issues too.
The tacky wood paneled walls seemed to be closing in on me. I looked down the hallway and stared at the mullet draping over the top of an over-stuffed Lazy Boy recliner, his hairy hand holding the remote control. My mind reeled backwards to when we met, how we ended up together. Him, his wife, and their dark-eyed daughter were my neighbors at the little trailer village that became my home when I took a job at Pipe Spring National Park in Arizona. Their daughter, Christy, was a sweet little thing, polite and pretty. His wife was spicy in both her looks and attitude.
One afternoon, Leonard had shown up at my door with a fifth of Captain Morgan’s rum and a couple cans of Coke. I should have noticed the alcohol to soda ratio was way off. We drank, I smoked a little weed, we drank some more. Once buzzed we ended up on the couch. MTV’s Beavis and Butthead was playing in the background for five minutes and then commercials for ten. During one ad break, he turned to me and kissed me. He jammed his hand between my legs hard and pulled them apart. “You’re wet,” he huffed.
“You’re married,” I replied. It was my only hesitation before our clothes came off.
Beavis was laughing that stupid guffaw of his as Leonard pushed inside me, grunting and groaning. All I remember thinking is his back is hairy, the rest was a rum-induced blur until he pulled out of me and grabbed me by my hair, trying to force his penis in my mouth. I clamped my lips shut as he came all over my face.
“I respect a woman that can take a good face shot,” he laughed as he put his clothes back on. As he walked out my door he took a slug from the quarter-full rum bottle. “Thanks, Dee,” he said as he disappeared through the front door.
Later that night, there was someone beating on my door. Loud and angry, like a cop knock, one that jolts a person and leaves them startled out of their skin. I could see through the cracks in the curtains that it was Leonard’s wife. Quickly, I locked the door.
“You fucking tramp!” she screamed, still pounding on the door. I moved to the far side of the window to get a better view.
Leonard strode up behind her, “I told you I was trading you in for a younger, sexier model.”
“You bastard!” she screamed, and it was then that I noticed she was wielding a wooden baseball bat. “You made me abort my baby! You said we could fix things!” Mascara was streaming down her face, making it look masked and ugly.
My eyes flickered to their trailer that was across from mine about twelve feet. I could see their daughter watching ring-side like I was.
“You said you forgave me—that we could start over,” her rage was ebbing.
“Fix things?” he hissed, “Kind of hard to fix things when IT WASN’T EVEN MY BABY! That’s beyond fixable. You’re a lying, cheating cunt! We’re done.”
“But you said you still loved me,” she sobbed.
“I lied.” Now his face had contorted to ugliness too. “Payback’s a bitch,” he spat at her feet and stormed back to his front door. Their brown-eyed daughter’s head disappeared from the window. I pictured her darting down the hallway, to hide in her room. Leonard jerked the door open, then slammed it as the bat flew end over end, landing several feet short with a dull clatter.
“I hate you!” she bellowed towards their house. She turned towards my front door, “I hate you too!” Her fists pounded on the door and I retreated to my room. Nervous energy caused me to lock that door too.
The next day, a U-Haul appeared hooked to the back of her little Honda. Even though Leonard and I were married for eighteen months, I never saw either of them again.
Despite the fact Leonard had never been violent with me in the past, I wasn’t stupid—there’s always a first time for shit like that. Just confronting him made my knees shake and my palms sweat. And as usual, he acted calm at first and then—BAM! Insta-asshole.
Scanning the living room, I realized there wasn’t anything I wanted. I honestly couldn’t imagine missing this barren place or this barren relationship. It was now or never, I knew that much. Clearing my throat, I stood in front of him, deliberately blocking his view of the huge console television. “I’m leaving you,” I said and braced myself for the blowback.
“Do what’ya gotta do,” he said and craned his neck to see the screen. He flipped the buttons on the remote control, surfing the five hundred channels of garbage. For a moment, I thought he hadn’t heard me or understood what I was saying.
“Um, okay,” I squeaked out, “good-bye?” It came out as more of a question and I felt foolish.
“Good luck, Dacia.” His tone was flat, no hint of emotion. What? Was this really happening? Just like that? My facial muscles relaxed. For a moment, I thought he agreed with me and our split would be amicable, but then he added the punch. “You’ll need all the luck you can get because you don’t have any goddam skills.” He looked up to the ceiling, reconsidering. “Well, hoeing, maybe, but you ain’t even that good at fuckin’, ain’t no one gonna want you. You’re worthless.” He took a long slug of his Coors Light, belched, loud and wet. “Fucking worthless.”
My stomach clenched into a knot. Worthless. A wave of panic crested over my whole being as his eyes met mine and he shook his head. Could he be right? Am I ruined? Again, I hated feeling like I was his kid. What was I doing? I glanced behind me at the car loaded with my things. Doubt poured over me. He ruined me.
Perhaps he could change into the man I thought I’d married. Maybe I should wait it out. Was my life really that bad? Maybe it was me. Perhaps I should try to be a better wife. If I was ruined and worthless, what would I have to do to fix myself?
An uncomfortable silence hung between us as I waited for him to say more. I looked around at the trailer I had called home for over two years. A heaviness settled over me, suffocating me. Should I stay or go? When I thought of staying, I felt nothing. No sadness, no happiness, nothing. When I thought of leaving, tears stung my eyes. A knot tied in my throat. Feeling sad was better than not feeling at all.
“Do you still love me?” I managed to ask.
“This union was never about love,” his eyes narrowed and his attention shifted back to the television. I silently counted to ten then turned and walked out, my hands shaking, my knees weak.
As I left, I didn’t slam the door, although I wanted to slam it hard enough to make our wedding picture crash to the floor and shatter into a million pieces. I wanted to scream at him—to take Jackie’s bat and smash the television. In my mind, I pictured myself swinging it at his head as he sat, rooted to the recliner, remote in hand.
My heart raced in my chest, my stomach clenched in knots as I headed for the car. He must not have thought I was being serious. This was no bluff, I had to leave or face his scorn for threatening.
As I shifted the car into reverse, he appeared on the porch. He must have looked in my nightstand and seen that the few important items in my life weren’t there. For a moment, I thought he’d profess his love. Ask, no beg, me to stay. For one fleeting second, I pictured myself bounding back into his arms and our marriage turning into something wonderful. Hope rose in my chest. The corners of my lips trembled and I waited for-
“You stupid, fucking bitch!” he screamed. “You worthless cunt! You’re nothing without me! Nothing! Leave! Go be worthless on your own time. You’re a nobody!”
His tirade continued. He threw the half-empty beer at my windshield, hitting the glass with a tinny clatter. As the can rolled off the hood into and into the overgrown weeds, I backed out.
The nervous bile boiled in my gut. My mind played his words again. Good luck, Dacia, you’re going need it. The way he’d said my name, venom-laced, it made me ill. Worthless, his hiss repeated over and over in my anxiety-driven mind. This union was never about love. Tears tumbled down my cheeks as I wished for a fairy godmother to appear, wave her magic wand, and make my bad man choices disappear.
Getting on the freeway and heading north, my mind wandered backwards through my relationship with Leonard. The roller coaster ride. When it was good it was good, but when it was bad it was horrible! I drove by a billboard advertising a local restaurant. A huge steak was displayed, cut open to display the insides cooked to a perfect medium rare. A memory of grilling steaks popped into my head. Leonard and I, drinking a beer and watching the early evening clouds roll towards us. About the time it started raining, the propane ran out on the grill. I took the meat in and turned on the boiler to finish cooking. I heard the truck pull out of the driveway and looked out to see Leonard drive off as the rain began to pelt the ground.
Thirty or so minutes later, I had the steaks in the oven, broiling. I was watching them through the lit window of the oven door. Leonard walked in, drenched.
“Where’s the beef?” I giggled remembering a commercial for a fast food chain when I was a kid.
“Right here,” I replied as I got the hot pad and pulled the plate out and set it gently on the stove top. When I looked at Leonard, I could tell there was something wrong. A shadow had slipped over his handsome features.
“I don’t eat broiled meat,” he sneered.
“Don’t be ridiculous, of course you do. Restaurants broil their steaks to get the temperature—” Before I could finish my sentence he grabbed the plate and threw it across the room.
“I don’t eat broiled meat!” he screamed. “Fuck you, I burned my fingers. I hope you’re happy,” he turned and walked down the hall to our bedroom mumbling, “Thanks for nothing you worthless bitch.”
Other recollections pinged in my head, accompanied by the heavy emotion tied to the memories. A sign announced I was a little over two hundred miles from my home town. Just seeing the words brought up memories of my mother. I glanced in the rearview mirror and her eyes stared back. They were the color of my dad’s but the shape of hers.
Another memory played in my mind’s eye, one that started as sweet. A random thought, my parents together, happy. My mom was smiling at my dad, love filling her eyes. Damien couldn’t have been older than first or second grade, making me two or three years old. Was that the last—no, the only—time I ever saw her look at my dad in that way? I scanned my childhood, my adolescence, I couldn’t recall. She was usually cross with him, in fact, during the last conversation I had with her she was furious at him over how much he drank or how little money he made. She seemed to always be stressed out when it came to him—to them.
And she never complained to him directly, only to my brother and me. It’s one of those things, those questions that has haunted me, was it him that caused her blood to boil? The pressure to rise enough to cause the hemorrhage that was her demise? It’s something I can’t dwell on or it makes me sick.
Another memory, me on the phone to her, telling her I had gotten married. Her one syllable reply, “Why?” Weirdly enough, that thought made me smile.
Despite my dysfunctional parents, I graduated with honors from high school a year ahead of schedule in Central Utah, otherwise known as Mormon country. In that neck of the woods, if a student didn’t bother taking seminary classes they could get ahead each semester and I played it to my advantage. Since my family wasn’t Mormon, I was way ahead in school by the time I turned eighteen. I thrived on the debate team, playing to my chatty strengths. If there was one thing I was good at, it was talking.
When I got my diploma, and exited the public-school scene, I thought I was on top of the world. I had dated a few guys, but only the overly hormonal ones that wanted to date me just to get laid. I don’t mean that in an arrogant, damn-I’m-hot kind of way, it was just a fact. An I-like-sex-and-it-shows kind of thing. What was wrong with a woman enjoying sex as much as guys did? Nothing as far as I could tell.
After a few years of college, I met Leonard. It was so strange, because before we got married he seemed to adore me; he showered me with expensive dinners, jewelry, lingerie, and clothes, and sent me flowers on our one-month anniversary. He left love notes on the windshield of my car when I was at work, and even swept me off to Vegas and Los Angeles for weekend getaways.