The drive away from my home and my life was quiet. I was doing my best to stay calm. I had my kids to worry about, and I didn’t want them to sense anything was more wrong then what was blatantly obvious…
Daddy had just beat up Mommy, and had packed up our things and kicked us out of our own house. For honest to goodness, no apparent reason. When I first told this story to people, whether family or close friends, I could feel the hesitation on their part to believe me. “Common C, you want me to believe that he just randomly walked in and started swinging without any provoking on your part? MMM k… she must be hiding something”
It got to the point where I stopped discussing it. I didn’t feel like I should have to explain the actions of a mentally disabled individual. Or feel like I was hiding part of the story where I did something completely horrible and therefore somehow his actions were justified. I know what happened. I was the one there. I lived it. I don’t give one fuck if you believe me or not. Your faith in my recounting my own story correctly doesn’t change what happened. So once I felt like the people who absolutely needed to know, knew, that was enough. I wasn’t explaining it anymore. If you believe it or not, it happened. I chose to no longer waste my time trying to justify it to people whose opinion I really didn’t even care about. And quite frankly, you shouldn’t get an opinion on something like this.
My friend M who had come to pick me up that day, came with her husband D, and 2 of her teen aged boys. She had previously met E once and wasn’t quite sure what to expect when she got to our place, but thankfully the reinforcement wasn’t needed as E had already left. The boys were quite during the ride, helpfully playing with little E and just respecting my space and giving me time to think.
Although space for what I’m not quite sure. I didn’t know what to think or feel. So I felt nothing. Well apart from mass amounts of physical pain, but beyond that I was numb. My mind was on pause. I couldn’t process any of what had happened. I kept thinking through the whole event of the morning, trying to figure out what I might’ve said or done that could’ve possibly set him off. Trying to imagine what in the world might’ve gone on at his parents house that could’ve changed his mood so immensely. But no matter what path my mind went down it came back empty.
Literally absolutely nothing that had occurred during the whole course of the morning set off any red flags that might be an indicator of E’s behavior. Not even any orange or yellow flags. This was all on him, and whatever was going on in his twisted mind. This was a result of whatever his paranoid voices and hallucinations had lead him to believe and therefore act upon. Either way, not okay.
We finally got to M’s house in town and the boys spent a few minutes rearranging mattresses and bedding so my kids and I would have a room to ourselves to share. The boys hauled our few suitcases in and then they left us to settle for a bit.
M’s boys dug out an old box of hot wheels cars for little E to play with and I attempted to nurse Z and put her for a nap. I tried to sleep but my mind was racing. Also my phone didn’t stop ringing. First it was E. Then his dad, brother, and sisters, calling repeatedly. I couldn’t answer. Finally after about 3-4 hours I shut the phone off. I didn’t care that he didn’t know where I was. I preferred it that way. I needed to feel safe for a little while. I was given some cold compresses in an attempt to stop some swelling but it just seemed like the swelling was everywhere. So instead I went for a shower once Z fell asleep. I remember looking in the mirror for the first time all day and seeing how bad I looked.
I will never forget that image. It was blurred through 2 swollen eyes. My lips were busted and covered in dried blood. I was wearing a strapless sun dress (the first one I could grab after E ripped off my other one) so my bra straps were showing and what showed was also speckled in blood. I wasn’t wearing underwear as there had been no time to put on any more since mine had been torn off. On the back of my head was a large goose egg from where I had been slammed into the concrete and I could feel the bump growing as a reminder. Bruises and scratches had already appeared on my arms and legs where I had tried to protect myself from him. But there were no tears in my eyes. Now was not the time for crying. The time wouldn’t come for years.
I quickly showered and M invited us for late afternoon tea. Her and her family made it as comfortable as possible for us while still trying to give us our privacy. After tea, we let the kids play and M and I talked. Kinda. I explained as best as I could what had happened and just tried to get a grasp of what was going on now, plus what my next step was going to be, but to be honest, I had no idea. And it would still take me a couple weeks to figure it out for real.
I stayed with the kids at M’s house for 2 nights, but then I started feeling like I was in the way. I also knew that I would have to deal with life eventually and that this wasn’t just something that would go away if I ignored it long enough (my go to coping mechanism). I also couldn’t just live with M and act like this was our new normal. I had to decide what was going to happen, and so finally, on the second day, I answered one of E’s calls.
He was so so so sorry. Of course he was. But it sounded so sincere. And I was exhausted. I just wanted to have a proper sleep in my own bed. I just wanted to eat my own food. I just wanted Little E to be back at school on the proper schedule. Besides, I knew E and I would have to talk about it eventually, and that he would be leaving back to work in Canada soon. So on the third day, I caved. I told E where we were, and asked him to come get us.
Yeah, I know what your thinking, but unfortunately this isn’t a made up story. I can’t change facts about what happened in the past. So it is what it is.
E came to M’s house and her husband D had a little discussion with him outside. We can all imagine the words that were said and how little was actually heard and absorbed by E. Then he rode with our bags on one piki piki and the kids and I went on another. I went back with him, but the whole ride to our house I didn’t think about it, I couldn’t. So I just rode. I just felt the wind in my hair and tried to remember to breathe.
E apologized over and over again once we arrived home. But I didn’t want to hear it. I was exhausted. It had been a very long 3 days and Z and Little E were both beyond cranky.
I just wanted to be. Just be. I wasn’t up for long conversations and discussions or sorry’s that would help ease his guilt. I just wanted to be. Preferably alone. But E had other plans. His parents arrived shortly after we got there and had a big conversation about how what E had done was bad, but how I should forgive him… I don’t remember most of the details, I was past exhaustion. Mainly the just of it was them trying to save face. Keep things quiet. Keep our personal life personal. He made a mistake, and I should forgive him and move on.
I walked out on the conversation. Of course I thought it was rude of me to walk out on my in-laws like that, but I couldn’t take it any more.
I had come home, but that did not mean E and I were all good. We never were good. And we wouldn’t be close to half decent again.