one hundred miles: chapter six

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This went on for some time, getting steadily worse. Soon he wasn’t coming home until morning on a regular basis. I got a job at a little Chinese restaurant up the street. Surprise surprise, soon SC had a job there too. Now it was my turn to be monitored twenty-four hours a day. He had his mother watching me at work, and his brother’s girlfriend watching me at home (PoorBastard (PK’s brother) and HelloKitty (PoorBastard’s girlfriend) lived right across the hall from us). I worked hard. It seemed that if I could at least work hard, earn some money, maybe just a little could be held back. I had this vague thought that some day I might be able to save enough to get my own bus ticket out of there.

That was harder than I realized. I was barely able to save five or six dollars each time I worked. SC would tell PK how much she made in tips that night, and if I didn’t bring as much home as she did, he would get suspicious and accuse me of not giving him all my tips. I asked for help from the owner of the Chinese restaurant – she had seen PK and I together and did NOT approve – and she agreed to hold on to some of my money. I would give her five or ten dollars a night, not enough to be missed, and she agreed to keep it until I asked for it.

Once, just before the wedding, PK announced that he and his cousin, JerkOff, were going to go to Eugene for the weekend.

Just because.

Eugene, if you recall, is where BiggerBitchAss lived. I knew what was going on, an idiot would have seen it. It’s hard to explain how ineffectual I felt, and therefore was. All my objections were laughed off, all my concerns were sneered at and I was made to feel, again, like a sulky baby worrying over nothing. He ridiculed my feelings, telling me I was being stupid, insecure, jealous. I offered to go with him; of course, he declined.

This was one week before we were supposed to get married.

I couldn’t believe this was happening. Now, I can’t believe that I was so weak as to allow it. I wrote a super angry letter to her while they were gone. Later, he told me how he and his dad found it and read it, and laughed.

Unbelievably, he went on his trip, came back, and I still went through with the wedding. Why? It’s hard to explain, because I don’t really understand it myself. I was embarrassed to admit to my family, who were all coming down for the wedding, that I had made a mistake, that everything was not perfect, that I had gotten myself into a situation that was getting out of control. I was convinced that no one would ever love me, that this was the best I was going to get, that this is the way it was. He had me convinced that without him, I was nothing. I was lucky that he even put up with me and my childishness. And like a child, I believed what he told me.

We were married on February 11, 1995. I wore a confection of a white gown that my mother made for me, and my grandpa had sewn millions of beads onto. It was gorgeous, just like Cinderella. I felt like a fairy tale princess when I wore it. I had my blonde hair piled on top of my head, and looked like a little girl playing dress up. PK didn’t dance with me at our reception.

After the wedding, we moved to a house in the north end of town. It was a tiny little house, but it was my first one and I was convinced somehow that now that we were married, things would be different. Again. Now that we were married and living in a little house, how could he go on going out all the time? Wouldn’t he now want to be with me?

Unfortunately, no. Nothing changed, except for the worse. It was in our new little house that I was so excited to live in that PK hit me for the first time. It was in our new little house on Nevada street that he told me, one at a time, about the other women. About BBA, whom he had slept with a week before our wedding. About another girl, back in Job Corps, he had slept with just before we left. About some nameless girl at a party, and he didn’t even know her name. I made him get an AIDS test after that one. Surprisingly, I held my ground and he did it.

Things started getting weirder and weirder. He started telling me that if I ever left him, he would get a gun and shoot me, then shoot himself. This would be right after we had finished making love. He started saying that all the time – “Don’t forget: if you ever leave me, I will kill you. Love you, bye.” How do you deal with that? I didn’t know. I just withdrew more and more into myself and argued with him less and less. I was half convinced I would die in our new little house, on Nevada street.

In March of 1995, I applied for a job at Safeway, down the street from the Chinese restaurant where I still worked. I was offered almost two dollars an hour more than I was making at the restaurant, and told them I would start right away. Later than night, PK and I got in one of the biggest arguments we had had to that point. He was enraged that I would do this without asking his permission. I think what it was, is that he was surprised that I had the guts to do it without his permission. I was a little surprised by that myself.

When he told me he would divorce me if I took the job, like a dumbass, I called the manager and told him I appreciated the offer, but that I could not accept, thank you anyway. He called back 15 minutes later with a 50 cent more an hour offer. I told PK what he said, and he told me I was an idiot, I just should have taken the job. OK, whatever.

I started at Safeway within the week, as a checker. I loved it, where I had hated being a waitress. I loved that I was good at it. I loved that I was meeting new people. Two of the new people I met were Spitfire, and Tricksy. Tricksy was the second man to change my life.

Next: chapter seven.

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