It’s October of 1990, and I had been back with my first husband for a few months. I regretted my decision to go back to him after my mom wanted my son and me to leave. My dad couldn’t take us in because my brother lived in his house and there wouldn’t have been enough room. No other family could take us. I hit a low point and decided to secretly get in contact with my husband to see if I could come back to him.
My husband helped me pack up my stuff while my mom was at work. I left her a note telling her I was going. Life for my son and I was hell with my husband. He was the same way as when I left him after our son was born. He took off days at a time and left us with no money. Thankfully, I had a little money in a bank account in my name, but it was depleting quickly. We moved from place to place because of not paying rent. My husband would work enough so we could get another apartment and food. He would have sober moments, but it never lasted.
He would get drunk, come home and get verbally abusive towards me. I took it, knowing I had nowhere to go. One day, after our fourth place of living at, my husband disappeared for days. He was supposed to be working at a roofing job but didn’t come home. My bank account near empty to where there were about five dollars in it. There was no food in the house, so I had no choice but to take out the money and close the account. I had plenty of diapers still left for my son, but he needed to eat. I went to the store and bought hot dogs and milk. I figured he could at least get his dairy and some meat.
As the hot dogs ran low, and my husband still didn’t come home, I made a hard decision. I swallowed my pride and decided to give my mom a call. It was the most difficult call to make since I hadn’t spoken to her since I left which was nearly five months ago. I cried each time I dialed her number. After several attempts, I finally let it ring, and she answered. I couldn’t say anything, but she heard me crying and said my name.
I told my mom everything that had happened. I said I didn’t want to go live with her; I only needed a little money to pay rent and get food. We talked on the phone for almost an hour. She wanted to know if I needed the money that evening, but it was late and told her it could wait until the following day. We discussed how much money I needed for rent and groceries. We agreed on a time for her to come over. I thanked her profusely and apologized for not communicating. I started to cry again.
I lay in bed feeling a sense of relief. Months of worrying, wondering if my son and I could survive without funds was lifted off my shoulders. It was about five days since my husband was home, and I felt there was no other choice but to make that call. I knew our relationship wouldn’t be great, but it was the right decision to contact my mom.
My mom arrived at my apartment early in the morning. She brought groceries along with the rent money. I told her all the events that happened during our noncommunication. She was not the least bit surprised. She played with my son in the living room as I put groceries away and went to pay the landlord. We were about two weeks behind in rent, so I was happy to pay it. I came back into the apartment and was surprised to see another visitor. It was my husband’s older sister.
I got along well with my sister in law. She never condoned my husband’s behavior unlike his mom and younger sister. She asked me if her brother ever showed up last night. I laughed out loud, telling her I hadn’t seen him in nearly a week. She began to swear in her native language. She says my husband begged her and the mom for money to buy diapers. She and the mom gave him money. I told her that was a mistake, and she nodded in agreement. She declared it would be the last time she would ever give him any funds.
She and my mom discussed my situation. My sister in law said it might be best to move into her mother’s apartment. I cringed, thinking about the last time I lived there right after I got married to my husband. The place filled with roaches, rats, and gang members roaming the streets, was an unsafe environment. My mother reluctantly agreed it might be best if I moved there. My sister in law said she would make my mother in law fix up one of the apartments so it wouldn’t be so disgusting.
I felt trapped by the decision but knew I had no choice but to secure a place for my son and me until I could figure out what to do. My husband finally showed up home a couple of days after my mom and sister in law’s visit. He came home sober and did not start a fight. He said his sister had a talk with him and he promised to fix up the apartment. He apologized yet again for his abusive behavior and for leaving our son and me without provision. I mechanically accepted his apology and knew he was lying.
We left our old apartment and moved into his mom’s apartment building about three weeks after the last incident. He fixed it somewhat, but it didn’t stop the fact there were cockroaches hidden throughout the building, along with gang members that hung outside the front of the building. Everything in my inner being felt I stepped out of the frying pan and into the fire. The next nine months would cause me to fight with all that I had to get out of my marriage once and for all.
This story will continue in another blog post. One of my previous blogs, I wrote about my suicide attempt, which was during the last months of being with my first husband. I put myself and my son through hell and thank God we made it out alive.