Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pre 9/11, Sit down and I'll tell you a story...Part 1 rather long

You may have heard my story before, of how I came to live in the city where the neon lights grow out of the dirty desert, aka Las Vegas, twice. Yes, twice. Some of you might relate, even share a similar story, some may feel sorry for me (don't). What you will read today and subsequently the next few days (unless I break it up with more pictures of summer vacation 2006) is a part of my life that sometimes if I think about it too much will send me into a tailspin of depression. However, one day, I'd like to write a book, fiction of course, but based on my life. I'll start this story at the age of 25... and end it at the age of 27.

At 25 I had been in AA for 3 years and met a girl who was new to AA and living on the streets. I allowed her to come stay on my couch. We got along well enough and I liked her. One day she called me at work and said that her brother had just came to town and needed a place to stay, could he stay a few days... I said yes.

When I arrived home, the house was empty. So I got busy doing what I usually did after work, cleaned up from the night before, did the dishes, picked up the older boys (he is now 23) toys. Shortly after that, they arrived.

It was love at first sight. For me and I believe for him too. That night he was in my bed and remained in my bed for months. I learned a few days after he arrived that he was 21 and had just been released from Vacaville (a prison north of where we lived in the San Fernando Valley). That should have been a red flag and I missed it, or rather pushed it aside. What's that? Why was he in prison? Well... attempted murder reduced to assault and battery. That should have been a red flag and well, again I pushed it aside. I was in love.

Things went well for a long time, nearly a year. Then my best friend of 15 years slept with him.. or he slept with her and she claimed she loved him. (this man is very good at manipulating and charming his way into ones life, not to mention he was gorgeous, had six pack abs and large muscles). She came to me and told me this had happened. What she nor he knew... I had just found out I was pregnant with the girl. Yeah, I know, another red flag, sleeping with my best friend. Love really is blind.

Eventually it worked out, she found another man and he stayed with me (sort of). I wasn't drinking or drugging, he was and needed to find his drugs the best way he could... manipulating and charming other women.

Shortly into my second trimester the beatings began. Also at the same time, he began hanging out with another woman. He would stay away for days, doing meth with her, then come back to me begging to let him come home and I would let him. A week or so of everything going wonderfully, he would be gone again, usually after a beating - an excuse for him to leave and find that other girl with the drugs.

In the beginning of this other relationship she didn't know where I lived, but eventually she found out. Into my 3rd trimester, is how I found out about her. She knocked on my door asking for him. He went outside for a moment and came back in telling me that she just told him she was pregnant. I told him to leave, but he claimed he didn't want to be with her, he wanted to be with me. I asked him what he planned on doing about this other baby and he told her to get an abortion. She was still outside and he asked if she could come in and if I would talk to her.

She came in and he told her again... you need to get rid of the baby, cause I am staying here with her and our child that is due in a few months. I told her that I would take her and wait and take her home. I also told her if she ever knocked on my door again, I'd beat the living shit out of her.

She ended up having an abortion on her own somehow. My due date was coming up and so was Christmas. All was well at home, quiet really, at least so I thought. One evening we were up in the bedroom and I heard a whistle. A person whistling. A few times. I was finally suspicious and asked him what that was... it was her calling for him, something she'd been doing on a regular basis and I never knew about it. I finally told him to chose. He left.

I wouldn't let him back right away, unlike all the other times. It was Christmas Eve. The girl was dropped in position ready to come into the world head first, even though I still had about 8 weeks to go. He asked me to come outside and talk to him, since my oldest boy was in the house. There I got the beating of my life (or so I thought at the time) He threw me against the brick wall, flattened all my tires on my car (I had plans in the morning to drive to Big Bear, spend Christmas with my family. that didn't happen) That beating lasted for what seemed to be a lifetime. Christmas was spent eating McDonalds on the living room floor and one present for the older boy. No Christmas tree, nothing.

After that beating I decided I'd had enough, not only that, the girl flipped herself up and over so she was now breach.

For the next 8 weeks, he came and went, I was too scared to say anything, so I just let him in the house, never asked where he was or where he was going. His anger and rage was still prevalent and he had me fearing for my life. I rarely spoke to him and nearly always found an excuse to leave the house until I knew that someone else was in the house with us.

On Feb 7th, the girl came, c-section. I thought he should know, so I called his sister, who in turn called him. 4 hours later, he was there holding his daughter, begging me to let him come home, he'd changed and wanted to be a family. In the back of my mind and my gut both told me, Dude, he's not going to change, my heart said... look at him holding his daughter, he's changed completely and the past nightmare was finally over, it would be him and me and the girl, one happy family, my heart over ruled my gut and brain.

Things went well for a while. He came straight home from work, he helped with the baby, he helped me while I was recovering from the c-section. For a few weeks, life as I had always wanted, was mine.

And then, like a rerun, he was off and running again... with her. Back and forth, me to her, her to me, a viscous cycle to be sure. Then there was one week when he straightened up again and told her he was done with her... then there she was AGAIN at my door knocking. This time I brought her in the house, with clenched fists ready to kick her ass, had he not come out of the bathroom right then, I'd have probably fulfilled my promise of kicking the living shit out of her, he put me in a bear hug, reminding me the baby was right there and I still wasn't fully recovered from the c-section.. and that since she was there, we should hear what she has to say.. AGAIN this bitch tells us she was pregnant. He told her (without my saying a word) that he had the only child he wanted and that she should leave and never come back again.

Fast forward to when the girl was 8 weeks old. He had returned to his old habits, the other one was still around, though no longer pregnant. (I'm not even positive she was pregnant either times, but in her whacked out thinking, perhaps if he thought she was pregnant, he would leave us and go to her for good.)

By now, I was done. The beatings had stopped for a few months and I had my strength back after the c-section, my self esteem was coming back and no matter how much I loved him and I loved him with my entire being (to this day I believe he is my soulmate, though I haven't seen him or spoken to him in 17 years).. regardless how much I loved him, I could no longer live this way, so one day after he had been gone a few days, I simply locked him out of the house.

That last night, he broke the door down. He pummeled my face and body, black and blue. My roommate grabbed the girl and put her on the bed, trying to keep her out of harms way. He had ripped out all the phones, but for the one in my roommates room. The beating lasted about a half hour, roommates boyfriend wouldn't stop him from doing it, though he did tell him that the cops had been called. I'd never pressed charges before, but that time I was going to.

The police came, I gave my report, they wanted me to go to the hospital but I wasn't leaving my baby. They looked around the complex and couldn't find him, so they left...

10 minutes later, he had come back, had me by the throat trying to push me down the stairs. The girl was still on the roommates bed and I somehow got out of his grip and ran in there. He followed me and pushed me towards the bed, I fell about an inch away from her head. The cops were on their way again and something in me snapped.

He went out the front door, I grabbed a broom and held the handle over my head to beat him with it, when I walked out the door there were 8 cops, all with guns out and he was on his knees being handcuffed. Unfortunately, I created a distraction and only one hand was cuffed and he got away. They searched for him for 45 minutes until they found him. I was outside as he was being escorted to the police car and the last words I ever heard out of his mouth was:

"Kiss my daughter for me, I'll be back to do it myself"

I knew I had about 2 weeks to get out of the apt (we couldn't stay there anyways, he'd broken in the door). So, roommate, me and the girl went to live in a "welfare" hotel. It was a horrible experience, with whores and drug dealers knocking on our door all the time.

A friend of my fathers owned a condo, here in Vegas that was empty. He agreed to let us stay there rent free for a year. Dad had come to the hotel where we were staying and immediately got us a room in a much nicer, cleaner and less scary hotel, where we stayed until we got a UHaul packed up and ready to come to Vegas.

So, if you've made it this far, I'd be surprised. BTW, the girls father, had 2 more girls from that one girl, plus last I heard he had another child on the way. (This was about 6 years ago, when I was still keeping in touch with one of his sisters)I've gotten one child support check, which the government garnished his wages. How much was the check you ask? Are you sitting down?? You have to be sitting down for this one... the check I received (8 years ago) was for...

32 cents. Umm.. yeah, that's not a typo. I actually have it somewhere in the house so I can frame it. Maybe once I finish going through boxes that haven't been unpacked (we've lived here 5 years and I still have unpacked boxes!) maybe I'll find it and scan it.

That is the story about how we ended up in Vegas. I suppose it could be written better, but I'm sure you get the jist of the whole thing... (I'd left San Fernando Valley a few times before that, moving to various states here and there, but always returned to SFV, until this last time. Might be that I'll share some of those moves and why they happened.)

More pre 9/11 to come. And the picture, she's the real reason I finally left that situation. She doesn't know it (she knows about her father and the things he did to me), what she doesn't know is that she saved my life and I am eternally grateful to her for that. Perhaps, one day I will tell her.

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