Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 3: Returning to the scene of the crime

Returning to the scene of the crime:
For the lucky ones they never need to go back to the physical place where they were assaulted, for me, it was my home, I couldn't escape the memory being played over and over again each morning when I came down into the living room.

I was sitting on the couch, he was sitting to my right in a chair that squeaked this high pitched shrill, almost as a warning, each time he leaned in towards me. I had mustered up the courage to tell him I was no longer going to be a part of this relationship and hoping that since we were in my home, with my father sleeping one floor above us that it was as safe of an environment as I was ever going to get.
Apparently my reasoning of his mother's drug use and his involvement in being the purchaser of those drugs was not enough reason in his mind for a relationship to come to an end. I elaborated further by stating I was unhappy with the way I had been treated in various situations and was missing my friends and family and desperately wanted to reconnect to them. At this point in the conversation he excused himself to the kitchen which was just in eye shot of me. I heard him reach into the cupboard and pull down a glass. Then the faucet began to run for what seemed like minutes. He returned with a full glass of water, never taking a sip. I knew what was coming next...

This had happened before. We were out of the state visiting his dying father and extended family. One night we returned to the hotel after a long, stressful, emotional day, exhausted. I quickly went to bed, not even putting on my pajamas hoping to avoid the emotional tornado I felt building inside him. He begged and pleaded for me to stay awake, I couldn't I was physically wore down and emotionally tapped out. His pleads turned into demands, his demands turned into rage finally erupting into a bottle of water being poured all over me while I lay in bed.

I froze. I had never been so frightened in my life. What do I do, try to make a run for it? If so where do I go, the hotel lobby? What if he chased me, what if he beat me before I could get out the door? All of these seemed like a worse fate than just giving in to his rage. So instead I put my arms around him and said "ok, fine...what is it you need" I laid there soaking wet and shivering from the cold air all night counting the minutes on the clock until the alarm went off.

The next morning I had planned to take a shower first in hopes of being able to sneak out while he was in the shower. Didn't work. After my shower he became distracted by a phone call from his family with an update on his father. They alerted us that we needed to be there soon, and everything else could wait. My plan was in need of fast revisions! I thought about offering to get the daily paper in the lobby or getting us a glass of orange juice; anything to get me close to the front desk staff and a way out. I made it out of the room after screaming and pushing and pleading to just get a drink. I remember getting off the elevator thinking all I need is 3 minutes to explain to the front desk staff and a call to the local police. Little did I know that he was coming down the stairs as I took the elevator. he greeted me with a smile on his face and said "thought I'd help you carry the glasses back to the room babe". I knew better.

The rest of the trip was somber in the wake of his father's eventual passing and I stayed in the background as much as possible in hopes of his family not seeing what was really happening. His aunt was all to wise to not suspect something. through the emotions and chaos that was occupying most of anyone's free time she managed to corner me and ask if I was OK. from the stories I had heard about his late father I suspected she recognized the look of fear on another face. I burst, letting out all the details of the night before and pleaded for help. All I received were excuses, justifications, and denial. I was in a lose lose situation. All I could do was play nice until the plane landed safely back home.

So this night, when I was refusing to stay in anymore abuse I knew that glass was for me. He calmly sat the glass down on the table beside me and look me in the eyes and offered me another chance to change my mind. I boldly refused to give in one more time and before I knew it I and the couch were soaked in ice cold water. When the glass was empty he threw it at me, bouncing off of me it landed on the floor. Still paralyzed with fear I began to shake and knew I needed to get upstairs to safety. He had picked the glass up off the floor and returned it to the kitchen just as boldly as he had brought it out. This was my chance to run!

I mustered up what strength I had and headed for the hallway leading to the stairs. I took 4 steps before he came bolting out of the kitchen and towards me. Grabbing my arms and holding them at my side he whispered closely into my ear "you want to be a victim, I'll make you a victim". He pulled my arms behind my back and with one blow knocked me to my knees. My ears were ringing and I couldn't focus on anything. I remember pleading to stop, saying "that hurts, why are you doing this?" He picked me up and began whaling across my jaw and head. Everything went black. When I woke I was curled up on the couch with my arm over my head. Unable to lift my head all I saw were his shoes still standing there. Head pounding and my skin burning, somewhere, some how I found the strength to begin to cry for help as he began to start to beat me again. First the cries came out as what felt like whispers, then got louder and louder until finally the pounding stopped and he began to run.

I crawled my way across the living room floor into the dining room and reached for the phone to call 911. "Hello 911 is this an emergency?" a message I had heard twice before. "yes, please come quick, I have just been attacked!" My father had been awoken and had come downstairs in a daze to see me sitting there bleeding on the ground. The rest is such a blur and I floated in and out of reality. Police and EMT's coming and going, information being asked of me such as what is his name, address license plates, date of birth. As if I could think of any of that! Once the EMT's had me stabilized the police began the questioning of all the details surrounding the attack. All I could say was "he knows where I live, he knows where I go to school, he is coming back for me!" I could now feel my face beginning to burn and my speech was becoming increasingly slurred due to all the swelling.
In those moments I felt so frightened, if the police where here photographing me and questioning me who was out there finding him? Would they find him, would he be able to talk his way out of this one, would the cops believe him over me and justify his behavior like so many others did before?

So now after hours in an Emergency Room I was cleared to return to the scene of the crime. I had to go home. How was I going to feel safe in the one place I was supposed to be the safest? How was I ever going to sit on the couch in my own living room; the room where all social gatherings take place...How was I going to find peace in a war zone again...

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