I panicked. I scraped at his arm with my fingers but it was like trying to move a block of stone with a feather. Finally I tucked my chin down, and bit, as hard as I could. Next thing I knew, my head was flung against the wall and I just crumpled. I was gasping for breath and my head hurt so bad, and I was sure it was over. PK stood over me, breathing hard. I heard him say he was going out. I heard the door slam and then his truck screeched out of the driveway.
I waited. Was this a trick? Did he really leave me here or was he waiting to see what I would do? Five minutes. Ten minutes. Nothing. I picked up the phone and called Tricksy.
He answered on the third ring, and was in a meeting. I asked him to call me back through sniffles and with a voice that I barely recognized as my own, and hung up. Five minutes later, the phone rang and I picked it up.
“What’s wrong, baby?” He asked me in a soft voice.
I couldn’t help it. I lost control.
“I have to go! I have to get out of here! He is killing me and I have to go! Do you understand? Do you understand that I have to go?!” I screamed. I screamed at the top of my lungs. All my fear, all my anger, everything I had kept bottled up inside of me came pouring out in loud, ragged, hyperventilating screams. I don’t remember if I said much else, I remember trying to explain what had happened, but it all came out disjointed and I’m sure he didn’t understand a word.
“Have you called your family? You have to call them, you have to tell them. It’s gone on long enough. Call them, now.” He was so calm, so quiet.
I called my dad and went through the same story again. It spilled out in a rush, all the fear, everything that I had never told my family because I was afraid they would be disappointed, or ashamed. I was beyond caring at that point.
Wonder of wonders, my father, who had never been there for me, ever, was there for me then.
“Sit tight, sweetheart. Your grandfather and I will be right there.” His calm voice came across the telephone and somehow, I knew he was telling me the truth. They would. They would drop everything and come rescue me, because they loved me. Do you know what that meant to feel that? Do you know, after months and months of feeling unloved and neglected and unlovable, how that felt to hear that? I couldn’t speak.
Somehow we managed to work out a time when I would be home, that PK would be at work, and we had our plan. May 10, 1995, three months after my disaster of a decision to go ahead with the wedding, my father and my grandfather arrived in ShitFuckTown, Oregon, after a fourteen-hour drive, to rescue me and take me home.
It’s beyond me why it took me that long.
I thought that was the end. I thought it was over, it was a nightmare, but it was done. I was wrong.
I had worked out with my dad that he would explain things to my mother, and I would come home to stay with her until I figured out what to do. The ride back was quiet. I didn’t speak, I didn’t cry, I didn’t do much of anything. I just sat and looked out the window at the countryside streaming by, looking, but not seeing much of anything. Just reveling in the quiet. It was so quiet. After months of arguing and shouting and constant, never ending fear, it was almost impossibly quiet. My dad spoke softly to me every once in a while, but mostly he left me alone with my thoughts.
I can’t even explain what I was thinking. I was still scared. I think that by then, fear was a permanent part of my personality. I couldn’t believe it was over, that in less than a day, I would be home. I started letting myself think about life without PK. What would I do? Would I go to school? Get my drivers license? Buy a car? Where would I live? Where would I work? What would I do with myself? Would I ever meet anyone else? You would think that by this time, I would be completely turned off of the idea, but somewhere on that ride, from southeast Oregon to the Pacific Northwest – to home – I found a grain of unexpected optimism. I was sure that I had faced the worst life had to offer, and that I was safe, and it was over, and that there was something better out there for me.
When I got home to my mother’s, we unloaded all my furniture and belongings that we had miraculously managed to pack up in 30 minutes of frantic action. My mother stood to one side, wringing her hands and chewing her bottom lip and asking me if I was alright, and what I planned to do. I didn’t know! I told her I wanted a few days to recoup, to not think about anything. To take my book down to the park and watch the birds and sit in the sun and just be glad. Just to be glad to be away.
Not to be! Later that night, my mother hesitantly asked me what my plans were in regards to talking to PK. I informed her in no uncertain terms that I did not intend anything in that regard, that I hadn’t decided yet, and that I was planning to wait several days before even thinking about thinking about it. My insistence on my own way surprised me, but I recognized that with my mother, I was on surer ground. Ever since I was twelve years old, I had failed to be impressed by my mother. I was finally the one in control, and dammit, I was not letting it go.
Next: chapter nine.