My husband and I moved back into his mother’s apartment building in October 1990. My son was nearly two years old, and I still didn’t have a job. Things looked up when my brother told me of an opening for a pharmacy technician at the hospital. He worked in the pharmacy as a technician and was good friends with the supervisor. All I had to do was apply for my technician’s license, and I would get the job.
I applied the middle of November and was able to start a couple of weeks before Christmas. I stressed a little bit since I needed a babysitter for my son and all I had was my husband’s family. I was fortunate I only had to have them babysit until the beginning of January. He turned two on January third, and the daycare center at my job accepts children over the age of two. My husband continued his disappearing acts. He would finally show up days later, reeking of booze and verbally abusing me. He left our son alone. I could ignore him since I had a job to go to and make plans to support my son and me.
I was so nervous about starting work. I never could hold a job since I had Asperger’s which caused all kinds of chaos. I wish I understood back then what I had so I could have gotten help. I always thought I couldn’t hold a job because of abuse or lack of confidence. I was employed thirty hours a week, but still qualified for health insurance. Life seemed to be looking up. I was dead wrong.
My brother gave me an early Christmas card with money in it. He warned me to keep it hidden away from my husband. I buried it deep in my dresser drawers. I got home from work, and for whatever reason, I went into the drawer to find the card. My son was in the living room watching t.v. As I pulled out the card and opened it, I knew what my gut already felt. The money was gone.
I called up my brother and told him the money was gone. He gave explicit instructions to give to my husband. He said to tell my husband that if the money isn’t there by the end of the week, my brother would be visiting him. My brother weighed over two hundred pounds and stood over six feet. My husband barely stood five feet, five inches. It was Tuesday evening, and the deadline was before Saturday.
My day off was on Wednesday, and my husband meandered back home early morning. Of course, he stunk of liquor and began his usual barrage of verbal torment. I kept calm, looked him dead in the eye and told him exactly what my brother told me to say to my husband. My husband looked dumbfounded and even a little scared. He slunk out of the room and proceeded out the back door. It was the most peaceful fight I ever had with him.
My husband delivered the money to me on Saturday evening. He got it to me just under my brother’s deadline. In some ways, I had hoped he would give the money late, so my brother could talk to my husband. I grew increasingly tired of the drunkenness and abuse from him that I wanted someone to step in and protect my son and me.
I continued working at the hospital as a pharmacy technician. My weight reached an all-time low. I barely slept, and my stress was non stop. The days wore on, and the weather got nicer which meant gang members would start hanging outside the apartment building. Fortunately, none of the gangs would bother me, seeing me carrying my son. I got off my job early enough in the day and got home off the bus before nighttime.
My nightly ritual consisted of making dinner for myself and my son, get him cleaned up ready for bed, and me scrubbing down the apartment. I would have to wash all the floors, vacuum, wipe down as many surfaces as possible and afterward, place borax throughout the apartment. It was the only way I knew to kill as many cockroaches as possible. The entire building infested with the disgusting critters, but I needed to keep it controlled in our living space. Every morning, I would find hundreds of dead roaches because of them ingesting the borax. I would vacuum it all up before my son got up. We would get ready, and leave for the bus. It was my daily routine.
Summertime rolled around, and my husband continued his barrage of verbal abuse. When he decided to waltz home from partying, he would shout at me while I tried getting ready to leave for work. He would accuse me of sleeping around, I am a slut, and all the endless lies he could think to make me feel like garbage. I wanted so badly to leave him for good, but I didn’t make enough to afford a place of my own.
I was fortunate my mom allowed my son and I to sleep over at her house on the weekends. She would watch him on the weekends I worked, so we just stayed with her. My life changed the night my husband came home from his usual night of drinking. I had not slept in days. I hoped he would sneak past as I laid on the couch, and go out the back door to his mom’s place. He came right to me drunk as can be, and started swearing at me. I tried to ignore him, but he continued and grabbed my arm. I was so tired and weak; I quietly asked him to leave. He would not stop. I got off the couch and went into my son’s room.
My husband followed me. I turned around and again, I asked gently, for him to go. I told him I didn’t want to start a fight. I fumbled in the dark, got to my son’s room, and as I turned around my husband slammed the side of my face with his hand. It was the first time he hit me. I had no words to say. All I remember, is he blamed me for him hitting me. I caused him to do it. Finally, I knew I had to speak to my family and somehow get away from my husband. I wondered if my husband is hitting me, how long before he would hit our son.
It took me a few days before getting the courage to say something to my family. They knew my husband would get drunk, but not the abusive behavior. My sister was visiting, and as I talked to her on the phone, I opened to her all that happened with my husband over the course of a year and a half. I hung up the phone, and less than five minutes it rang, and it was my brother. He was irate, not with me but with my husband. My husband came home as I was talking to my brother. My brother demanded to put my husband on the phone. I believe my brother told him something along the lines that if my husband lays a hand on me ever again, he will come over and beat his ass.
My husband said nothing, handed the phone back, and left the apartment. Within two weeks of the conversation with my brother, my son and I moved out of the apartment. We stayed with my mom temporarily, while my brother moved his stuff downstairs at my dad’s house. My son and I were moving to my dad’s home at the end of July. My brother thought it best if my son and I lived with my dad. My brother felt it was time to move out on his own and he could afford it.
My dad was reluctant to take in my son and myself, he and I had a strained relationship since my parent’s divorce. My dad made it clear that under no circumstances would he babysit my son. I promised my dad I would never ask him. I cried the day I talked to my dad asking to live there. My brother made me ask our dad even though he agreed to move out. It was my dad’s home, and I needed permission.
My husband tried convincing me not to file for divorce. I made up my mind and knew I would never go back to him. I moved into my dad’s home at the end of July and got divorced before the end of September. I still worked at my job and signed up for a college class. My staunch German father who insisted he didn’t want anything to do with my son really, the two became the best of buddies. For the first time, in a long while, my life was blessed and very peaceful.