12 June 2007

Down the Hall...

Down the hall live a young couple, 2 kids, not married. This may be a blessing in the end.

I came home from work yesterday to find my daughter, one of her friends, and the neighbor girl from down the hall chatting in the living room. We were introduced. Funnily enough, she shares the same first name as I. We chit-chat for a few moments; I notice she looks tired. Not kept up as she usually tries to be about her appearance. *little whispers*

After she leaves, my daughter tells me this girl was beaten up by her boyfriend a couple weeks ago. *flashback - two weeks ago, angry voices in the hall, wake from a deep sleep; groggy listening to doors slamming, shouting* It makes sense. The lack of presence in public lately; the averted eyes when meeting; the distinct lack of her boyfriend's presence (which is unusual.) She has kicked him out; told him her father didn't hit her, no one else has ever hit her, and who did he think he was? Good for her.

This brings to mind an incident about a million years ago... ok, about 16 years ago. Almost exactly, to be exact. My oldest was about 2. My second child was about 4-5 months. I was with her father at the time. We were all in the car, having returned from a long trip for the weekend down to West Virginia to meet my biological father. It had been a long weekend indeed. Between hot weather, family dynamics, travelling with two small kids, and the boyfriend/control freak/assclown who thought he was better than everyone else, it was draining.

We were fighting. But we did a lot of that at that time. Young kids, with young babies, and not a lot of life behind us. I forget what it was we were even arguing about. I just remember I was driving up I-75 around exit 135 (about 5 miles from the exit I needed) and he got pissed off and started beating me about the head, shoulders, and arms, slapping and punching.

While I was driving.

Trying not to wreck the car with my babies in it.

Trying not to become a target for any of the other drivers out there.

Screaming at him to stop it, trying to control the car with one hand while shielding myself with the other.

Trying to pull over without getting run over by the people coming onto the highway because we were coming past a long get-on ramp.

Out of nowhere (and I still don't know how she got out of her car seat) my oldest girl (not his) was suddenly between the seats, beating him on the back of the head and slapping his hands, screaming at him to stop hitting her mommy.

He was floored.
This gave me enough reprieve to get the car over to the side of the road and out of harm's way.

Hearing this young girl's story reminded me of this and one other incident...

One of my good friend's wedding. I was maid of honor. For whatever stupid reason, I was still seeing this guy a couple months after the car incident. Young kids and hormones will fuck up your mind. He refused to go to the wedding with me. It wasn't something he wanted to do, so it was unimportant. I went by myself. Duh. Maid of honor kinda needs to be there. He got pissed. I was really beginning to not care what he thought anymore.

Ceremony went well, we were well into the reception and a group of us girls decided we were going to the local hangout afterwards to just blow off some more steam. We went downstairs to get some air, and assclown shows up. Wants me to leave the reception early. I told him no, I was the moh, I was staying. He was welcome to come in, or go with the wedding party afterwards, but he didn't want to. He yelled at me; I went back inside.

Later, the wedding party girls went to the hangout; had some drinks, laughed, danced, went to breakfast, had a good time. It was the first time I'd been out in a very long time. I think I rolled into my place about 5am.

Apparently, he started calling the house about 730 am. I never heard the phone ring. Round about 930-945, I heard this pounding on the door and yelling, and it finally wakes me up. And the neighbors.

I answer the door.

He forces the door off the hinge on the way in and knocks me down.

Goes over and rips the phone out of the wall because "You don't answer it, so you don't fucking need it."

Starts beating me again, with the door open. I'm screaming at him to stop hitting me.

I look up, and catch the eye of the neighbor couple who is leaving their apartment, who avert their eyes, and run quickly down the stairs.

At that point I knew I would never trust another soul to help me or depend on anyone else to take care of me. And I never have.

How sad is it that my 2 year old daughter tried to rescue me but couldn't and people who could, who were able, didn't even try? Didn't call the cops, nothing. Just left me there, still getting hit as they were walking out the door.
I feel bad that I wasn't awake enough to find out what was going on, that I wasn't able to call the cops, or offer assistance. I never want to be those people down the hall.


Wien. said...

You can't beat yourself up for not doing something for your young neighbor in the past, but you can do it differently now. As you know, it feels mightly lonely to be in that situation with children. If she were to know you understand her situation and are down the hall for her, she might not have to go through the rest of her life not trusting anyone to come to her aid. You are a good neighbor! She is very lucky!

Tater said...

Buy her a pistol.


Miss B said...

Funny you should say that Tater...

Shortly after that I got married to someone else. He waited until I was pregnant to start. I remember we were staying at my mom's (the ex-cop) and I was oh about... 4, 4 1/2 months pregnant. We were arguing (guess I argued a lot back then - not so much anymore) and he came after me.

I was pinned on the bed and he was smacking me, and I heard the click of the hammer being cocked back. I will never forget this moment, that's a frightening sound.

In the calmest voice I have ever heard, my mother told him that if he didn't get off me and her grandchild, she would kill him.

He didn't argue with her.

It took one more beating when I was 8 1/2 months along... I filed for divorce. He told me a few years ago that through all that had happened, he now respected me because I stood up for myself. How twisted is that?

Wein: my mom always said, learn to take care of yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. turns out she's been right. even if i found someone who would, i don't know that i could trust them enough to believe it. yannow what i mean?

Tater said...

LOL, I betcha dollars to donuts momma would have pulled that trigger too! Good for her, I'd of cheered her on

I’ve never understood the whole wife beating thing; why hurt someone you love?? And if you don’t love her, leave; it just that simple (well at least to a slow talking southern boy like me). My wife is a very hot tempered New York Yankee, so we’ve had more than our share of disputes, but physical violence is strictly taboo, somewhere I won’t go (outside an F-16 of course ;-) Plus its just plain hard to get me riled up, just not in me. The wife is more than capable of doing so, but she has to work at it for a while.

Personally, I’d never give a man a second chance if I were a woman (struck by a man). One time and you’re done. I consider it a far worse offense than even infidelity. Glad you canned your ex, shoulda done it sooner. Make sure your daughter learns from your mistake!

Miss B said...

*smile* momma would still pull that trigger today... lol

i share the same southern sensibilities, tater. really. there's not much lower than that, with the exception of molestation (whole other rant!) it's all about control. i only stayed around because he had me convinced i couldn't file for divorce while pregnant. a trip to an attorney solved that right quick! i've not had a man strike me since, but i tend to duck if someone turns around too quick. better safe than sorry. :)