have you ever had to run away from someone or something at some hard time in your life? many times a day, all over the planet, someone has to get out of where they are, has to make a quick decision based on circumstances beyond their control. if they can’t get out, they will die and this is what they know for sure. this is a story about a girl and her baby and how she got out before it was too late.
she knew she had to go, this time there was no getting around it. she had to make a plan, set it up, get some help. the last time he had gone ape shit on her, as she valiantly and stupidly tried to defend herself against someone twice her size and triple her insanity, she yelled out, are you ever going to stop beating me up? to her shock, this had made him stop what he was doing, look straight into her terrified eyes and say, ‘not until you start to smarten up, bitch’.
as soon as he said that, she knew she had no choice. she knew she was far too stubborn and that there was no way she was going to smarten up enough to suit him. she knew it the minute he said it and just like that, the seed of the plan was born. the geographical solution would have to be used again. it was either run or die and this wasn’t the first or even the tenth time she had to run for her life. the first time she successfully ran from her own abusive parents at sixteen, never looked back, never went back, never called. they never came after her. she wasn’t worth the effort.
this time it wasn’t just her but the baby too. he will kill the both of us, she thought, rather than let us go willingly. he had already hurt their baby once. she knew she had to flee when that happened a couple of weeks earlier. The baby wasn’t physically hurt just scared, but witnessing the extent of his anger toward a helpless child was too much to bear.
that night, she had gone to the bar for a drink after her waitressing shift. for this 27 year old mother going out after work was the exception rather than the rule so she didn’t think it out when she decided to go with her friends, she blindly went about doing what she wanted just as people will oftentimes do. stupid girl.
it was about 1130pm when he stormed into the bar holding their frightened 13 month old child, walking straight towards her unknowing, unsuspecting head. he grabs her arm and she turns and is instantly petrified looking at her child, she says give me the baby. he thrusts the now whimpering baby into her arms leans in close and snarls, home now.
she instantly complies thinking ok maybe I can talk my way out of this, after all I’m known for my smart mouth maybe I can put it to some good use like not getting us killed right now. she starts for the door feeling very much like a character in a dream. she knew what was coming she shoulda never left that bar, shoulda called the cops, the swat team, the fucking fbi, anyone at that point. shoulda woulda coulda.
as she was being crazily driven toward her destiny, she thought about the violence that started in earnest after the baby was born. she had endured a couple of episodes of yelling prior to the birth of their daughter but she thought she could help him to not be so angry. after all he wasn’t always mad, there were many times in the beginning that he was quite charming, and handsome and strong. she remembered later that once she had told him, early on in the relationship that it was like she could tell him anything he was so understanding. …..little did she know. he had raped her when the baby was about four months old, felt like he had waited long enough for sex and dammit wasn’t gonna wait any more. she knew then but felt trapped by the situation. how did this get so bad, she wondered?
abused women unknowingly walk towards the next beat down every minute of their lives, from the very first time that special someone kicked the crap out of them, sometime early in their existence. maybe it was dear old dad or mom or the boyfriend or husband, these women are conditioned and imprinted upon and violated from the very minute the very first punch landed on her unsuspecting face. the abuser grooms and manipulates and eventually controls his victim. it’s the same with childhood sexual assault also. but I digress. back to her.
home now after a violent car ride of screaming, baby screaming, him screaming, her trying to calm everyone down and epically failing. on the way in he grabs the baby from her arms and strides through the door, walks through the room into the bedroom and he throws the hysterical baby into her crib but is a bit too far away from the crib so baby hits the wall and falls into crib. right there this very moment she knows that not only was she endangering her own stupid useless life, she was also placing her beloved child in grave danger.
this guy has already shown out some of his moves but if he’s capable of this what would stop him from literally killing either one or both at any minute. she had an aha moment as she watched in slow motion him throwing the baby, a lightbulb went on in her head and said finally. this is going to stop. and I will stop it. him. in That moment there she started to make a plan. she knew she had no choice.
she came into work the next day at the restaurant bruised, beaten and disheveled. it had been a long night. she spent the remainder of the night in the playpen with the baby after he was done with his evil ranting and delusional ravings. she lay there soothing the child and prayed to god, and said’ god if your out there, I could sure use a hand’. she knew that no-one was going to help her, even as she uttered this futile prayer.
in the employee bathroom she looked in the mirror and started to apply makeup to the black eye. she had a harder time covering the throttle marks around her neck but eventually she covered them with an entire bottle of Covergirl. she realized she was going to have a hard time explaining these injuries to people so she comes up with a lie- the only believable way to explain her injuries was that a dog attacked her. no other options seemed to come and she thinks ‘well it was almost the truth’. she is lost in the memory of the previous night, him sitting on her and punching her face and choking her neck as the baby howled in her crib…
at that moment her friend, another waitress, walks in. says hey whatcha doin? oh my god she says, what happened to you? so she replies, I was attacked by a dog and proceeds to spin a story to support her
claim. halfway through hearing the lie the friend says ‘oh my friend won’t you say what really happened’? and that’s all it took. one honest question, given at the exact right moment, in the exact right way. from someone who wanted nothing from her.
the girl breaks down. she tells her friend everything. they go into the large service closet so they can talk privately. the whole ugly story spills out of her mouth and she is crying and she is panicking and she says I have to get away but I have no where to go because he will come after us and that won’t be good for anybody. I have to make a plan. I can’t go to his family for help, they don’t like me, I have no family of my own to go to except my sister but that would be the first place he will tear down looking for us.
right away this friend says, you can go and stay with my family, they won’t mind, they live far away and no one will ever know where you are. so they hatch the plan. in the bathroom closet. which is where eventually, unbeknownst to either of them, this closet would be the launch pad for the escape. she starts to see this may work. the friends family are completely onboard, offering the use of their home as long as she and the child would need it. turns out this family had a long history of helping complete strangers all of the time.
a few weeks in she realizes indeed this was turning out to be large undertaking. filled with doubt and fear, completely on her own with no assistance from anyone other than this friend. while attempting to retain her sanity during all this planning and scheming she made and kept three different appointments with family counselors looking for some advice. she was concerned if she was doing the right thing removing the child from its’ family. should she stay and seek protection and try to work it out with him to at least retain some order for her child. she was delusional some of the time.
these three counsellors heard her out, told her she was quite justified in light of all the information she shared and she did not hold back. she told them everything, she told about the first rape, about him beating her and strangling her and hurting the baby and his huffing addiction, which she found out about by continually noticing that her paper towels were missing. she would say to him where are the paper towels and he would say ‘I don’t know, I think you’re going crazy’.
she followed him one night, out of the house and into the garage then out through the back door, she kept a safe distance so he didn’t see her. she watched as he unearthed her paper towels from a pile of stuff in the disorganized garage. she watched as he took a wad of paper and walked out into the yard, to the banana tree, then reached down under some brush and pulled out a bottle and opened it and shook in on the wad. he quickly replaced the bottle back undercover and walked off across the street into woods holding the paper towel wad to his face. she had no idea what he was doing, she had never seen this behavior. she had no idea he was “huffing” until one of the therapists told her what it was. she sneaks up looks at the bottle and see’s it is Toluene, a wood finishing solvent. she sniffs it and says, that’s the damn smell I smell all the time, thinking about how he would say ‘its just from working, from doing my job’.. ohhhh… she realizes how long she’s been smelling this smell. about a year, right after the birth of their daughter.. another clue for the clueless.
she quite literally had no one to turn to because if this was going to work, no one could know anything whatsoever. and they never did. not while it was happening or now as she plans her escape. no one ever
saw it coming, not one person had any clue what happened to her and her daughter, they quite simply vanished.
she embarks on acquiring a new car, after all she is going to drive away and she needs dependable wheels. she accomplishes this through much frantic on the inside, calm on the outside bartering, haggling and trading. then she calls her sister who lives several states away and confesses the abuse, tells her everything that’s happening, her sister says what is preventing you from leaving right now today and she replies money, I don’t have enough. eventually her sister sends her a thousand dollars.
she suddenly realizes, I have a place to go, I have a good car to do it in and I have enough money. she has been stashing diapers and baby clothes and things he might not notice missing from the house in the service closet at work. she and her friend used the closet as a contact point, leaving one another messages and directions and phone numbers and maps. every work night she places half her tip money in an envelope which the friend would later collect and stash away for her because at that point he controlled all the money in the house, demanding what is in her pocket the minute she gets home from work. every afternoon she had to leave her baby in his care as she went off to work, crying all the way there, knowing that they had to wait for this plan to work.
finally, she chooses a date. December 4 1989. it was a Monday. she senses that this plan will work and all she has to do is wait it out. she endures several more rapes and beatings before she will go away for good, all of it serving as a painful reminder to why she must run again, hopefully for the last time. she manages to completely trick him- she planned and threw the baby’s second birthday party two weeks prior to the getaway, she showed up for family pictures and events with his family, she showed up for her job and even put herself on the schedule for work the week that she would be first gone. no one except the girl, her friend and the girls sister knew anything was even remotely going on.
tomorrows the day. she feels as though she is walking through a nightmare and she is watching from above outside her body. this night he is pissed about something, they fight, he slaps and chokes her and as she lays down after the beating she says to herself, well at least he stayed true to himself up ’til the end. she feels completely deranged at this point. she has made up a story sometime last week that she is going off island to the mall with a friend and their kids, she says she won’t be back until 5 pm. he believes her.
December 4 1989, it’s 12 noon and it is go time. she still has the out of body sensation as she straps the baby in the car seat. she has been careful to not bring anything of her own with her, she leaves no clue that anything is amiss, she leaves with only the clothes on her back. with her heart in her throat, she pulls the car up to the restaurant, runs in and retrieves all belongings, money, formula, diapers, maps, baby toys, nothing for her. all held in that precious storage closet. she opens the trunk tosses all of it in and working off full adrenaline she blasts that old Lincoln she wrangled from his father and guns it down A1A straight out of the Keys and heads off to Cape Cod.
Massachusetts, that is. she had no clue where she was going, she thought Martha’s Vineyard was in California, this innocent girl running for her and her baby girls life. she barely made it out of Florida the first night, feeling like she had the devil himself on her ass. she knew he would come looking for her the second he realized he’d been duped but she also knew he would never believe she had gone this far. she
had spent much agonizing time helping him to believe that it was true, that she, this bitch had finally smartened up. she made him believe that all was well because she knew if her plan wasn’t flawless he would catch and then kill them.
it took her seven long days in the car, making the 1,500 mile journey with a projectile vomiting two year old in the carseat next to her, before she finally made it to her unknown destination, the safe house, the good people that she had never even met. this was long before cell phones or GPS, so she used one finger following the hand drawn line on the map her friend had supplied her, the other hand guiding the steering wheel of the giant Lincoln Continental. she got pulled over for speeding in Georgia and was able to convince the trooper that he shouldn’t give her a ticket. she didn’t sleep for weeks before running and would not be able to rest or sleep for weeks afterwards.
back in crazy land, oh the shit hit the fan. he found the goodbye letter she had taped to the underside of the kitchen table while he was wrecking the house and everything in it, upon realizing her betrayal. that man went through every trick in the book trying to find them. fortunately the one thing she had going for her, was that she never married the lunatic. he had no legal right to pursue her, she had even made sure his name was not on the baby’s birth certificate. days, weeks, months passed by. he threatened every single person she knew with bodily harm if they didn’t produce them right fucking now, but she had made sure to tell virtually no one anything. she knew that only their honest statement, that they knew nothing, was the only way for him to eventually back down. they were just gone, and he had no choice but to accept it.
after some time, finally feeling somewhat safe, she went into domestic abuse survivor counselling, followed by incest survivor therapy that happened right alongside 3 day a week personal intensive psychotherapy. this was all supplied, free of charge by a local organization that specialized in helping abused women.
she got two, sometimes three jobs at a time. she found a woman to watch the baby, she started to put everything behind her. during one of her early meetings with a domestic abuse therapist, she was told that one day this would all seem like a bad dream and that she may even someday get over it. she did not believe it at all. she began to unravel why she kept ending up in dangerous, violent relationships. it all stemmed from her childhood, the mother who did not like her and beat her up and told her she was worthless. the father who molested her for over a decade.
in closing, this girl want’s people to know that no situation is really hopeless. where there is a desire to survive, no matter what is happening, survival will take place. when she first ran away from her terrible family she thought she was okay. but feeling useless, unloved and unlovable only caused her to seek out the same abuse she endured growing up. she just simply didn’t know how to fix herself or that she even needed fixing. it would take this girl many, many years to finally stand up for herself and eventually find her voice. and her voice is telling this story just in case someone needs to hear it, maybe at the right time, in the right way and from someone who doesn’t want anything from anyone. oh, and that god really does answer prayers uttered in desperation, even if you don’t believe in him.