As a single mom with three daughters, money was tight. So we played a lot of games. One they seemed to enjoy and played repeatedly was “Truth or Dare”. When it was your turn to be “it”, a question would be asked and the answer had to be the truth. If the one who was “it” chose not to tell what they knew to be truth, then they were given a “dare”. It was expected that these dares would be carried out.
When it was my turn to be “it”, I much preferred to tell the truth, but sometimes I had to take a dare. How they loved giving their mom a stupid assignment to perform.
We played this game a lot as we traveled in the car. Many times the person who was “it” would be given a dare just about the same time the car needed gas. It was usually Rene’ who would be given the dare of talking to the gas pump the entire time I put gas in the car.
Other customers would stare at the child carrying on a conversation with the gasoline pump. I kept my eyes averted and pretended to have no clue as to who that young lady might be. Dawn and Lyn would be cracking up in the back seat of the car.
That was a delightful childhood game to play.
But in the previous years, I had been forced to play a much more dangerous type of “truth or dare”. It was my first husband, Ray, who chose to play it with me.
We had never had a “normal” marriage…having an arranged marriage in our teen years. But over the years, his behavior had become more and more erratic and bizarre. One night I reached up to turn off the light before climbing into bed. He began to throw things at me, so I turned the light back on.
“Don’t you ever turn that light off again,” he screamed. “Do you hear me?”
We went to bed with the lights on.
Soon he needed every light in the house on at bedtime. He finally agreed to let me sleep in one bedroom with the three girls, where we were allowed to turn off the light.
But then we would be awakened in the middle of the night with the police barging in, shining lights in our faces. Ray had called them, because someone was trying to break in.
Apparently the bizarre behavior was reported to a counselor of some type. Ray and I were requested to show up at the counselor’s office. We were interviewed together, and then I was taken to another office. At the end of the meeting, I was returned to the front office where Ray was sitting.
Ray and I sat across the desk from the counselor. The counselor looked me straight in the eyes and said, “We believe Ray is schizophrenic/paranoid and needs to be institutionalized until he is stabilized. All we need you to do is sign right here,” and he pointed to a line on a form.
Ray asked if he could speak with me for just a minute. Walking to the side of the room, smiling graciously, he hissed into my ear, “If you sign that paper, I will kill you.”
I believed him. The paper was not signed.
Even though the counselor was upset, there was really nothing he could do. He did request that we return for more counseling. Ray told him there was really no need.
But unaware to Ray, I had told the counselor some things I had never told anyone before. I felt lighter, knowing someone else knew. Things like…when Ray would tell me to do something that seemed weird to me and I would hesitate, he would tell me that if I didn’t do what he said, he would kill himself.
Ray would tell me exactly how he would do it. Slice his neck, hold it open and let the blood spurt on the wall.
I always did what he said.
The counselor told me the next time Ray said that to me to tell him to go ahead.
Terrified that I would be responsible for the death of Ray, I hoped that time would never come.
But it did.
Absolutely frozen with fear, I responded, “My counselor told me that if you tried this again, to tell you to go ahead.” Ray allowed me to walk from the room.
He never threatened that again.
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