Posted by: JennyRain | May 26, 2010

Don’t leave home without them…

I always take my keys with me when I leave the house.

Even if John has a set, I never leave home without my set.

This is the long-term effect of living for two years in an abusive marriage.

On my two-year anniversary with ex-him, my celebration consisted of me being abandoned at a restaurant.

No keys.
No cell phone.
No car.
No money.

I found a pay-phone in the bathroom but the phone book had been ripped from the phone stand.

I had enough quarters to make a few calls so I called home. That was one number I knew.

When I called to ask ex-him to come pick me up he said,

Find your own way home.”

“I don’t have my keys,” I said.
“Not my problem,” ex-he said.
“I don’t have my wallet either, so I can’t call a cab,” I replied.
“Again, not my problem,” ex-he said. Click. He hung up the phone.

I tried calling back. Three times. No answer.

Tried calling a neighbor. No answer.

All of my friends were on speed dial on my cell phone (that I did not have), so I did not have any of their numbers memorized.

I stood in the bathroom holding the phone glancing back and forth between the phone and the blonde who had been fixing her hair for about the same amount of time I had been fighting with ex-him.

My face was frozen in a half-smile, more out of habit than necessity.

Marriage had drilled into me the necessity of maintaining a normal facade even when everything inside of me was cracking into pieces.

Four women were in the bathroom with me. They all saw me crying.

No one did a thing.

Decision-making was not yet habitual for me, so I struggled to make sense out of the emotions that were crashing into my reasoning.

I did not know what to do next so I just stood there, waiting for someone to tell me what to do.

Embarrassment slithered up my neck to suffocate me.

My left-brained-logic was not fast enough to intercept my fingers mid-strike and the phone began to ring…

Crap! Who had I just dialed?

“Hello?” said the voice.
“Um…I…I…” I stammered. Who did I call?!?
“Yes, can I help you?” the voice said.
“I um…can I ah…I need a ride, could you um, could you give me a ride home?” I barely wheezed out the answer in between sobs.
“Jennifer? Is that you?” he said.

Oh my dang. I had called ex-him’s boss!

His BOSS. I’d love to say it was a mistake, but subconsciously, I think I knew exactly what I was doing.

Heck, maybe it wasn’t subconscious at all.

So I owned it.

“Yes, its Jenny. Um, hey [insert L-O-U-S-E’s name here] just left me at [xyz restaurant]. It’s our anniversary you know. He left me without keys, phone, money, or anyway home. I need a ride. You have lots of cars – y’all are a car dealer fergawdsake. Can someone there give me a ride home?”

If I was going down – it would be in a blaze of glory.

“Um, hold on a second,” he said and the phone began playing a remake of the Beatles I wanna hold your hand.


The boss put me on hold to call ex-him. Ex-him was angry, shocked, delightfully embarrassed and at the restaurant within ten minutes of said phone call.

We did not talk for two days, but I got a ride home that night.

Looking back, it was a rare victory in the short term…

But ten years later, I still can’t leave my house without taking the keys.

Even though I know in my heart that I don’t need to take them with me anymore.


Last night my sweetie and I went out to TGIF’s for our weekly date night.

I left my keys at home.




  1. The last line of this post made me tear up.
    So glad you feel safe with your new God-send husband.
    SO glad for you.

    And really…it angers me that no-one helped you. It’s a good reminder for me to keep my eyes open for those around me who are silently crying out for help. I truly hope I never see someone hurting like you were and do nothing. God help me.

    • you will do something… i’ve read your posts and seen your heart πŸ™‚

  2. Yay Jenny,
    Man, people are messed up. My wonderful wife has an ex him too, and guess what he does, “sells cars” it must be a car thing. The baggage we carry used to be something I was ashamed of, but it makes us who we are. If John had come along when you were 20 and been your first husband, it would be nice to think we would appreciate the same, but because you have had it SO bad, you can appreciate it when you have it SO good, ya know?
    God Bless you always

    • Yes… i appreciate so much more about my sweet John because of where I’ve been… so glad your sweet wife has found her a sweet man too πŸ™‚ you are a gem!

  3. Rejoicing in the freedom with you, Jenny!

    I wish I was one of the women in that bathroom… I would have given you a ride that night, but it would have been to my home. That part made me cry. I don’t understand why not one was even willing to see if you were ok. 😦

  4. I read this and prayed that I am never one of those women in the bathroom looking the other way. I pray I always see people who need someone to really see them.

    Love you, sweet girl.

    • Thank you friend… the thing i love best about you is that you are SO good at seeing our hearts and our lives… you take the time to pay attention. love that about you!

  5. “I left my keys at home.”




    • Thank you friend! Yay God! πŸ™‚

  6. Oh my… I am disgusted at how the women in the bathroom wouldn’t help you. Although I’m known for getting too much in other people’s business… but I like to help people.

    I am so excited that you found a new love… one that allows you to let yourself leave the keys at home. Great post! πŸ™‚

  7. Wow! I don’t know how another woman could have “ignored” what you were going through in that bathroom! Not all parents know compassion, so it’s not something they would have passed along to their children (now women in a bathroom watching, but ignoring a woman in tears). Talk about a hard heart!

    So many broken people. Just looking for a little compassion. Looking for healing. For forgiveness. For help. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help or when you ask, there is rejection, which in turn makes it sometimes hard to ask for help! A vicious circle.

    The internet has brought this wonderful world of people into my home. People I would invite over in a heartbeat! People I will probably never meet. People who help each other. With words. With wisdom. With experience. With hope. With tears. With love and compassion. What awesome gifts! Selfless gifts.

    What a complete circle you have made with your keys. I know it has been a lot of work.

  8. Last line got me too, all of it did.
    So glad I have met you (understatement πŸ˜‰ )

  9. I would have helped you in a minute.

  10. Jenny, there’s just so much I don’t know about you πŸ™‚ But, the more I get to know, the more I absolutely adore you, friend!
    What an amazing journey God has you on, and how selfless of you to share it so openly with others.
    Love you!

  11. trust is a beautiful thing. so glad you found someone you could give your heart to. love you girl

  12. Jenny – this was beautiful in a heart-breaking kind of way. I too have an ex-him and remember many times when I felt totally alone. Isn’t it just amazing to finally realize that we are NEVER alone – He is always with us. And isn’t it amazing to know that He sent us the one we finally feel safe with.

    came over from gypsy’s and can’t wait to get to know you better!

  13. Jenny, you help clarify so many things in my heart as I try to transition away from my ex-him after 6 years. But sharing children makes it harder b/c I always have to see him. I always carry my keys and won’t leave my door unlocked — ever — and don’t trust anyone but the closest with a key to my place. I, too, trust the Holy Spirit to heal me of my insecurites. Thank you for being you! πŸ™‚

  14. ohmydang! (thanks, Alece)

    have you read my love story? wait…I think you have…


    lol. let it be known: stay away from the stereotype. πŸ˜‰ so, so glad your heart is safe with your new love.

  15. Jenny,
    The way you wrote this story, you had me riveted. I could feel your pain and confusion. Thank God for the happy ending!

  16. My heart literally leapt for joy reading that you left your keys at home. Trust and hurdle you’ve over come.

    Love you friend.

  17. Jenny – I saw your posting on the (in)courage blog. Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful story! I have been guilty of being the ‘woman in the bathroom’ and it’s a good reminder to let my caring side overcome my “I don’t want to get involved in someone else’s problems”-selfish side.

    • Thanks Carina for reading… I think just realizing that at any given time any of us could be the woman in the bathroom (me too!) helps πŸ™‚ I’d love to say I’ve never been that woman, but I know that I have πŸ™‚

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