Meet Ms. Virginia Gurley! ;) Ms. Virginia is a sweet spirited golden girl, whom I have the pleasure of working with. She and I work for different cosmetic lines, but in the same department store, and one afternoon in our downtime, she and I embarked on a soul bearing conversation. In this conversation, I discovered that she had a very unique story to tell. Being the modernized woman that I am, her story of complete submission to her husband (despite his unfair treatment) was very captivating to me. I found myself going into journalist mode, and started to ask her follow up questions. An hour later, I had accumulated the ingredients to a beautiful recipe. The story of a woman who had to rediscover who she was as a person. A story about a lady who had to rebuild every single aspect of her life, without any advance notice. The story of a Warrior, whom in the end was the victor of her long time battle. Some may find such a task to be daunting, but Virginia soon saw that it was her time to discover what she was made of. This is the introduction to her story. Instead of profiling this story in a traditional Q&A interview, I decided to make it a series of short stories. In coming editions of Life. Culture. People. you will have the opportunity to immerse yourselves into the plight of the 1960’s woman. #Enjoy!
A Craving for Life
I am roused from a lonely night’s sleep by the early morning kiss of the sunrise. Unfortunately, my husband is not here to wake me with a kiss, hug or a smile on today, as it is our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Thirty years of holy matrimony, chivalry, and protection. Protection from what…I don’t know. Fidelity….certainly on my end, but with all the emotional disconnection and all his business trips, I can no longer say for sure, that I have his whole heart. Come to think of it, I haven’t been certain of that fact, for quite some time now… I wonder if he’ll even remember what today is.. If he’ll call, if he’ll come home early from his trip, if he’s made any plans for us this weekend, or anything at all. A Happy Anniversary fax at work would even be a nice surprise. But for some reason, I doubt even that much. I wish I had the liberty of making plans for us, or myself for that matter. Most women can plan a romantic evening for she and her husband, and it’d be appreciated…but not me. Every time I’ve stepped outside my boundary box of female and wifely duties, Charlie shuts me down and chastises me. Tells me to worry about the things a woman is supposed to worry about, and to let him handle the rest.
The “rest” must be mine and my daughters’ entire lives, because he rules us, and everything in it. Well…ruled. Past tense in the case of my daughters’ life because she walked out of ours, on a Friday night over 10 years ago, after a disastrous dinner we had to meet her boyfriend. Abdul was here from Pakistan, studying to be a doctor at UAB School of Medicine. UAB campus is where they met, and she begged Charlie to have dinner with them for months, before he finally agreed. I kind of wish he never had. Maybe then, my daughter would still be present in my life today.
It’s been 10 painful years since the last time I’ve seen or had contact with my daughter…my only child. I wouldn't know whether she was dead or alive if she didn’t call my mother in law on sporadic occasion. And even then, she doesn’t give her any vital information, and she never leaves a number at the end of their calls. In between those occasions, I shed a lot of tears in wonderment and longing of my only child. Not a day goes by that I don’t pray to the Lord above that she is safe and sound. I do not know whether she has married her boyfriend Abdul, had children, or if she is even still with him. I’m not certain of much these days… and haven’t been for a very long time. 30 years to be exact. I’ve been a legal secretary for a small law firm for the past 20 years. When our daughter turned 10, he allowed me to get a job, but only if he got the job for me. That job ended up being a secretary’s position at the law firm of a long time family friend. Charlie usually takes me to work and picks me up every day unless he is away on business. And on those days, I am to take a lunch, as he will not be able to pick me up and take me to grab a bite to eat. He never allows me to drive. I haven’t driven a car in 30 years. When he is away, I taxi to and from work. Which is silly, because Sally lives just two blocks over, and would love it if I car pooled to work with her. In fact, she’s offered several times. I am never allowed to go to lunch with the other girls. He never allows me to have any time separate from him. No cocktails after work, shopping with the girls, lunch dates, girls trips, nothing. Not unless, it is with the wife of a like-minded friend of his. His possessiveness might be sort of flattering if he acted sweet to me, like he just wanted me all to himself…which is how it used to be. But now, that is not the case, because he practically ignores my existence while we are at home. Unless…you know, he needs to blow off some steam through sexual intercourse. We married long ago, when women weren’t quite as liberal and opinionated as they are now. I was the impressionable age of 20 years young, with no real perspective on life, love or marriage. The only example of marriage I had was my parents, and they operated like everyone else seemed to. The man wore the pants and made all the big decisions, and the woman tended to the household and needs of their children. My mother however, had the freedom to be friends with whom she wanted, and go have lunch or shopping with the girlfriends of her choice. My father wasn’t as controlling as Charlie. Sure, he had his opinion on things, but he respected my mother’s opinion as well. I am never even asked for my opinion, and whenever I try to volunteer it, I am told it is not needed. My mother caught onto Charlie’s controlling ways and encouraged me to stand up for myself. The more I did that, the more distance Charlie put between my mother and me... God I miss my mom.
Most people have moved on with the times, but not Charlie. He is still as old fashioned as he was in 1966 when we first wed. Today is July 5th 1996, my wedding anniversary, and I will begin this day no differently than the rest. Lonely on the inside, choking on life, and gasping for air. The sunrise is no longer on the horizon. It has fully lifted and illuminated the sky. The birds are chirping lively, outside my bedroom window…watching them, I see the beauty and freedom in their wings. They have independence…privilege… They have.. life… Which I seem to have an intense craving for…
To be continued….
Did you like the introduction of Ms. Virginia’s story?
Are you excited to read the next part?
Feel Free to comment below!