Archives for July 2014

In the Promise of Love

I remembered him from grade school when he contacted me on Facebook. He didn't look the way that all of us did back then; awkward, toothy, and chunky. He'd grown up and had become a fine-looking man. It didn't matter. I'd had a crush on him since elementary school. Considering that I'd been divorced for over a year, I was ready to start dating again. I had three kids, and after discussing it with them, they agreed that it would probably be good for me to get out of the house.

The first few dates were fun. They were so fun, in fact, that I didn't notice how much he drank. When I really stopped to think about it at the end of the evening, I assumed that he'd had two? Maybe three? Again, it didn't matter. Between the “Good morning, beautiful” texts and the “I can't wait to see you again” texts, I was hooked. The euphoria only lasted for a while, however.

Due to an unfortunate turn of events (losing my job in the recession), I was forced to make a tough decision. I had to move in with him to avoid winding up in a homeless shelter. He was strongly encouraging it, anyways, so I figured we could try it. I mean, why not? So, I packed up what our family had, put most of it in storage, and my children and I moved in with him and his four kids. The boys shared bedrooms, and the girls shared a bedroom.

At first, things were quite harmonious. I wasn't working, so, I'd clean the house, and have dinner for him when he got home. I'd make sure that the children were cleaned up, and that they did their homework. I kissed bruises, put band-aids over scrapes, and tried to heal hurt feelings. When the kids were in school, sometimes, I'd go to my mom's. At first, this arrangement worked.

I'd noticed that the drinking was much heavier than I thought it was. The first argument came after a case of beer in one evening, when he told me I was no longer “allowed” to see my mother during the day. I told him that he couldn't tell me what to do, and it resulted in a push so hard that I landed on the floor and skidded backward until I scraped my arm on the wooden bedpost. He immediately apologized and promised it would never happen again. Foolishly, I went to sleep that night, and believed him.

Fast-forward a few months. The pushing, yelling, and demeaning comments and insults flowed regularly, at that point. Someone was always better than me, he could always have someone else if I didn't do EXACTLY what he wanted me to do. Someone was always WORTH more than I was. Any time I would say something akin to, “Well, why don't you go get HER, then?”, I was met with a push or slap across the face. When we'd go to bed, depending on his mood, he wouldn't make love to me. He'd hurt me IF he wanted to have sexual relations that evening. If not, he'd tell me how unappealing my stretch marks were, or how ugly I was. He'd tell me how no man in his right mind would want someone like me. Why did I stay? Well, I still believed that he'd change. Underneath the drunk he was at night, he was as timid as a lamb, I thought.

The positive pregnancy test was a shock. I was on birth control. I didn't want to be pregnant. I had three, and just couldn't afford to get my tubes tied. Hesitantly, I told him that I was pregnant. He was elated. He celebrated by drinking himself into a stupor, and then fighting with me and telling me my family would never be allowed to see the child. While he was at work, I started going through cabinets, when I saw a prescription bottle in the cabinet above my oatmeal. The bottle was for Clindamycin, but the capsules were missing, and all that was in the bottle was a fine white powder (presumably, the Clindamycin). I put a tiny amount on my finger and tasted it. It tasted like a bitter powder. It tasted like an antibiotic. I opened my oatmeal canister after washing out my mouth and put some of the residue from inside of the can on my tongue. It tasted the same. He had been decreasing the effects of my birth control by sneaking antibiotics in my food. I sat on the floor and began to cry. Who was I going to call? He'd alienated me from everyone, and I was utterly alone. Feeling trapped, I called my OB/GYN, and asked him if he'd terminate a pregnancy. He wouldn’t but referred me to someone who would. I was six weeks pregnant. I told my fiancé that I was going to the doctor for cramping, and he didn't give me a hard time. When I got home, I had a prescription for something that would make my cervix open, and I hid the pills between the mattress. I had to be at the clinic at 8:00 the next morning and had to take the pills an hour before I went. That morning, I snuck the pills into the bathroom, and took them with tap water. I knew that he wouldn't suspect anything, because I hated tap water. I had the procedure that day and hitched a ride home.

That evening, I was bleeding heavily. I told my fiancé that I was miscarrying and leaned over the counter. He took the back of my head (by the hair), and hit it up against the wall while saying, “You can't even get a PREGNANCY right!” He never knew about the abortion. The recovery was horrible, as I was having depression issues from hormones and my circumstances. He asked me to go to the bar with him, and I refused. He told me, “I don't care if you're DYING. If I tell you you're going to go somewhere, you're going to go!” Again, I declined. He grabbed me by the neck and pushed me back onto the bed. While holding my neck, he grabbed a roll of duct tape from the drawer next to the bed, and duct-taped my arms to the bed posts on the headboard, then duct-taped my feet to the posts on the footboard. When I yelled for help from one of the kids, he duct-taped my mouth. He smiled, then said, “Wait for me until I get home. I have to get drunk to be willing to sleep with you. Ha!”

I heard him tell the kids that anyone who helped me would be subject to the same, if not worse. Not one, out of seven kids, came to my rescue. I laid in that bed from 7:00 that night until 3:00 the following afternoon. The kids missed school. My fiancé was nowhere to be found. When he came in, he immediately jumped into the shower. When he got out, I croaked, “Please untie me. Please.” He removed the duct tape, and even brought me some water and something to eat. He apologized again. He brought lip balm for the bleeding cracks in my lips that were torn open by the duct tape that I was able to rub off during the night, using the bedding. I ate tiny bites and went to sleep. I heard him tell the children to be quiet so that I could rest. Not one child made a peep for hours. Maybe, just maybe, he'd change this time. That night, he didn't drink at all. We didn't argue at all. I felt hopeful, but not for long. His phone buzzed on the countertop. He had that nifty “text-preview” feature turned on, and I read: “Courtney: You were amazing last night. I'm glad you finally left that horrific girlfriend of yours. <3”

I was devastated. I spent the night duct-taped to a bed, just so that he could go to a bar and sleep with an old coworker. I laid in a pool of my blood so that he could get his rocks off with her. He saw me cry in the kitchen and wasn't aware that I'd seen the message. He asked what was wrong, and I quietly told him, “You've just received a text message. Maybe you should check it out.”

“You drove me to it.” As long as I live, I'll never forget those words. “Your inability to follow directions and act right made me do it.”

Even that, however, didn't finish him off for me. What did it is when my children went with my ex-husband for the weekend. I received a phone call from my ex-husband ten minutes before the children were supposed to come home that Sunday night, informing me that the children had told him what was happening at home, and he wasn't going to return them. He quietly said, “I'm sorry, hon. I can't have my children in that environment. You can come here to see them, but they won't be coming over there anymore. I have already contacted my attorney.”

I was able to contact an old roommate of mine, and cried to her, telling her what was happening. I was broke, my kids were gone, and was stuck with someone who was supposed to love and care for me – yet, he cheated on me, berated me, and beat the crap out of me. She invited me over, so, I told my fiancé that I was going to visit the kids (which always resulted in a beating, because I was accused of sleeping with my ex-husband). I collapsed in her arms and cried myself to sleep. When I woke up, I panicked, because it was dark outside. I cried and told her he'd kill me. She told me I could live with her, yet, I still declined.

When I arrived home, the whole house was dark, with an exception of the living room. His truck wasn't there. I couldn't have been more relieved. His kids were with his ex-wife, so, he must've been out at the bar. I called my old roommate/friend, and told her, “If you're still offering a place for me to go, I'll take it.” At that moment, a hand shot out from around the corner, incasing my neck. The hand was then replaced with a cord (it was a bullwhip that I had from an old Catwoman costume). I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see. He'd put enough slack in the cord right before I'd pass out, and then he'd squeeze again. “You stupid whore. I parked around the corner and waited here to see what you've been doing behind my back. You're not going to leave me. I'm going to kill you tonight, and no one will ever think I did it. My truck wasn't here. Once again, I'm smarter than you. You're just a worthless whore.” My head crashed against a counter. My head crashed through sheetrock. Once he let go of the bullwhip, I started to scream, and he took a dirty sock off his foot, and split my mouth on both sides, cramming the sock in my mouth. All I smelled was blood, feet, and the acrid scent of stale alcohol. Nobody could hear me. I was all alone. When the needle plunged into my leg, I barely noticed it, and then, my aching head ceasing to ache, the burning in my lungs stopped, and everything went black. The last thing I heard him say was, “I have a surprise for you, my love.”

When I awoke, I was duct-taped. My arms were duct-taped to my feet. I couldn't open my left eye. I was in a tub that was half-filled with cold water, and the water was pink from my blood. I was confused and in a fog. With the sock still in my mouth, I tried to mumble, but couldn't get the words out. He yanked the sock from my mouth, and asked, “Do you have something to say?” He was holding my phone and was going through the few texts that I had. I asked, “What did you inject me with?” He laughed, and said, “Ketamine Hydrochloride. Smile, beautiful. You're lucky it wasn't bleach. I have a fun evening planned for you. Say, what's your husband's phone number? I have to report you missing.”

I knew that if there was any glimmer of hope for my situation, him calling my ex-husband would be ideal. I gave him the number. Before he finished dialing, he stuffed the sock back into my mouth. I heard him address my ex: “Hey, this is *******. Listen, ************* hasn't come home this week. Is she with you? All of her stuff is here, and I don't see her just leaving without it.” My ex-husband said something to him, and my fiancé responded, “If you have all her information, would you mind filing the missing person's report? I'm about to go out of town for work.” My ex said something else, and my fiancé then said, “Hey, buddy. Thanks. I'm really worried about her.”

Once he disconnected, he looked at me, smiled brightly, and said, “Now, where was I? Oh, yes. That's right. Just a second beautiful. You're going to love this.”

Silent tears streamed down my face as I watched him produce a hair dryer, and plug it in. He turned it on and started dangling it over the tub. He was going to electrocute me. I tried to struggle to scream with the sock in my mouth, tried to fight against the duct tape, and tried to stay calm, but it was no use. I accepted the fact that I was going to die. We went through twenty minutes of this, while he told me how he was going to get rid of my body so that no one would find me. I watched this transpire from outside of my body. As I watched, I heard a knock on the door. My fiancé rolled his eyes and turned off the hair dryer. “Someone always has to ruin the fun,” he said, as he kissed my forehead. He chuckled, “Don't move, baby. If you make a noise, I'll kill you, okay?” I just nodded.

What happened next was a blur. I heard a man scream, and I saw blue and red lights flashing through the windows. I heard my ex-husband screaming my name as he ran to the bathroom. My son, who was sixteen at the time, was right on my ex's heels. I felt gentle hands lift me out of the tub and succumbed to unconsciousness. It was finally over.

After I was released from the hospital, I moved in with my former roommate. She registered me for college, so that I could get financial aid. She helped me find a part time job. She took care of me throughout numerous night terrors, meltdowns, and fears. I couldn't have done it without her. My ex – his shrewdness used to irritate me, but that night, I'm convinced that it saved my life. He came to the house because my ex-fiancé was asking him to file a missing person's report, yet was about to go out of town, meaning that he wasn't very concerned about me. He was trying to cover his tracks.

That was six years ago. I have graduated college and remarried a man I met in church. He treats me and my children wonderfully. I still go to counseling on a regular basis, and I still cringe any time that I hear ANYONE call another person, male or female, worthless.

If you are in a relationship that is moving at 90 mph, there's substance abuse, or there are constant insults being spewed, LEAVE WHILE YOU HAVE THE CHANCE. Just LEAVE. Don't wait for it to escalate, thinking it'll change, I promise you this: It won't change until you're gone, and how you go it completely up to you. LOVE DOESN'T HURT. If it does, walk away, or you could leave in a body bag.

Submitted by: Corrine