After the incident with the pregnant daughter of a friend we had another reprieve from Tom and Tina. We’d see them at church but they’d stopped coming to the bible study group. I’d heard that they were both going through this other ministry’s counseling. The other ministry sounded sort of like Scientology in that you have to confess all your deepest darkest sins, area by area each week to the counseling team and then the team would lead you in repentance, prayer and forgiveness. It kept the Smiths out of our hair for about a year with the exception of about every other month one of the Smiths would corner me and demand we all become friends again.
No chance of that. Even our kids didn’t want to be with the Smith kids very often. Both of my kids despised Tom and thought he was an enormous phony
But around this time one random day an FBI agent stops by the house. Turns out he’s doing a background check on Tom for a Top Secret Security Clearance because Tom has applied for a job working with a government contractor. Turns out I don’t even get the chance to say anything negative about Tom because the agent was asking me to confirm or deny info he already had about Tom’s DUI arrest, pump and run, drug arrests. I’m not about to lie to the damn government. Needless to say Tom doesn’t get the job or the security clearance but never figures out why the clearance doesn’t go through. But he finally starts working elsewhere after about three years being unemployed and living on credit cards and home refinances.
I did learn from the FBI agent that in his twenties Tom served a stretch in prison on possession with intent to distribute. That thing he explained as ‘youthful experimentation’ with a small amount of pot was actually something quite different it turns out. Possession of a large amount with intent to distribute. This was during Tina’s courtship with Tom and she still married him even with that large red flag overhead.
A full 18 months pass in relative calm and then the husband and I have a tragedy happen. Hubby has a kidney stone one June night and I take him to the hospital ER. The MRI reveals not only does he had a kidney stone he also has a mass the size of a kidney just off his right kidney. When I first looked at the MRI I could see what looked like two kidneys on his right side. Many medical tests later and it turns out it’s cancerous and it looks like it’s spread to the liver. This is bad new indeed because that type of cancer cannot be affected much by chemotherapy or radiation so if it’s in the liver then my husband has perhaps another year to live.
While this is going on one of our kids, our daughter, is away at camp. My son is at home because he’d attended the session for older kids the week before with the Smith boys. Hubby has his ER visit on a Monday night. Tuesday morning we’re in to see the Urology doctor, Wednesday and Thursday are eaten up by testing at the hospital. Friday morning Hubby had his kidney stone surgically removed.
The prep and aftermath of the surgery takes all day. I leave 14 year old son at home because he has no desire to give up a sunny June day he could be skateboarding at our local park for sitting around a hospital waiting room. I’m glad because it’s such a tense unknown situation that I really didn’t want to bring either of my kids into at that point. No one but us and the church elders knows it’s cancer yet.
My son leaves a message on my cell phone that afternoon that one of the Smith boys has invited him to spend the night and while he cannot stand Mr. Smith he’s going to go spend the night with the sons. I’m not wild about this but am dealing with other stuff so it might not be a bad idea. My son also says they will be stopping by to pick him up.
After Hubby was in the recovery room for a few hours I was given a long list of instructions on his aftercare. One of the big ones was bedrest for twenty four hours and they did not want him around non family members for a few days because of the chance of infection. Stay home, rest, keep away from anyone not family. My husband had already popped a fever so his rest and stay away from everyone was crucial along with monitoring his meds.
I take him home, get his meds, get him settled on the sofa with the remote in his hands so I can cook a light dinner and the doorbell rings. I open the door and in floods Tina Smith with her disabled son David. My son and the other kids are still at the skateboard park together.
Tina starts babbling that my son told her my husband had surgery and they were checking on him. Hubby is still looped stupid on the pain meds and because no one is paying any attention the Smith boy is running all around the house shrieking then starts to shred up things like only a 6 foot tall toddler can do.
Cannot recall exactly what I said but I know it was mean, hateful and filled with vile language. I may have started with “Idiot” and ended with “F***ing leave right now!” I have reached a limit and can no longer try to tolerate the Smiths in “Christian love” or unity of the body or forgive 7 times infinity. They have added stress and possible germ cooties to the situation with the Hubby. The gloves are off now.
They leave and now I also have to clear up all the crap David drug out and tore up, which just happens to be all our Christmas decorations we bought years ago in Germany. To get to them David had to go upstairs, open up the storage closet at the top of the stairs, pull the boxes down. In just a very few minutes he’s managed to destroy our treasured Christmas things because Tina makes no effort to control him on his visits home from the facility he lives at most of the time.
The next morning as I’m getting ready to pick my daughter up from camp and stop by the Smiths to collect my son we get a phone call. It’s Tom, oozing sympathy for Hubby until he hears who is Hubby’s doctor is. Hubby’s urologist is the same guy that did a vasectomy on Tom ten years ago and Tom is moaning what a shitty doctor this guy is and how his junk still hurts from time to time. This really shakes up my husband, who starts getting very panicky about his upcoming cancer removal surgery and the other tests the doctor needs to run. Takes me awhile to calm my poor stoned in pain husband down, pull the history of the urologist’s malpractice complaints and recommendations online to show him that again Tom is an idiot. Tom needs to hurt in the junk.
Leaving Hubby alone I go pick up our daughter from the camp bus and swing by the Smith house. When I get there Tina starts rapid firing questions at me about my husband’s condition as my son gets his stuff together. Tom comes in and I ask him to do me a favor and not tell my husband bad things about his doctor while he’s under the influence of pain meds and just had surgery. Tom tells me yet again, “No bitch tells me what to do!” and gets physically aggressive with me, pushing me in front of my kids. We flat out RUN for my car with Tom chasing me with an upraised fist, cursing and sputtering out revenge for my constant disrespect of his male authority. Lock the doors and peel out of his driveway like demons were chasing us. It’s a damn good thing Tom did not get in the way of my car because I would have run him down I was so frightened at that point.
Get home and barely make it into the door when my husband screams at me, wanting to know why I’d shown up at Tom’s house and physically attacked Tom. Turns out that the second I left Tom’s house Tom called my husband and told him that little old me, all of five foot four inches, had physically assaulted six foot plus him straight out of the blue with no warning, pummeling him till he was bruised and bloodied. If I don’t apologize he’s going to call the cops on me. The kids and I show him the bruises on my arm where Tom grabbed me, shaking me like a a maraca, the red mark from the pushing me into the wall and tell him about all of us running to keep from being beaten. My husband agrees it’s time to get the law involved. We call law enforcement and take out a restraining order against Tom and document my bruises.
It’s a good thing my husband is hopped up on pain meds and unable to drive because he would have gone to Tom’s at that point and kicked Tom’s ass for hurting me. Hubby apologizes about a million times for even thinking I might do such a thing as Tom was saying I did. Hubby is a very nonviolent kind of a guy, which is why he’s not slugged Tom.
Scads and scads and scads of nasty threatening emails arrive from Tom but being served with the restraining order makes Tom stay at least a 100 feet from me at all times. The church elders are forwarded the email threats and copy of the restraining order. He is less scary from a distance and we now stop even acknowledging his presence in any way. Fortunately he drops out of church and I don’t see him for the rest of the summer. He never even attempts to visit my husband during his long recovery from kidney removal. He doesn’t hear that there’s no cancer in Hubby’s liver and that my husbands odds are pretty good, at least for the next five to ten years, of not having more cancer. We settle into peace once again except for the odd FBI agent visit every so many months when Tom applies again and again for a security clearance.
And then Karma rears her ugly head. Why did he even list us as contacts to the FBI since none of us were likely to say anything positive about him?
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Calulu lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago. Her blog is Calulu – Roadkill on the Internet Superhighway
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce