To my everlasting shock and surprise, my mother let me know that I was not going to get several days; in fact, I was not going to get even one. It transpired that as soon as PK got home that evening and saw that I had gone, he called my mother. They spent the entire time on the phone, the entire time that I was luxuriating in my new freedom, and happily planning what I was going to do with my life, on the phone, planning how to keep this farce of a marriage together. She gave him permission to come up here to see me.
To say that I was dumbfounded would be an understatement. All the fear came rushing back again, so fast it stopped my breath. I couldn’t breathe. All I could do was stare at her, this woman, this stranger, so calmly telling me that she had just ruined my life. Beyond that, I was betrayed. My mother, my mother that gave birth to me and was supposed to support me and defend me against everyone and anything, had sold me out. She believed him and not me.
There was nothing to say. Nothing I could say. She tried to tell me that it would be OK, that she wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me, that she would mediate between us and make everything all right. I just stared at her dully, and didn’t say a word. I was numb.
The next day, PK arrived. He was friendly and smiling, and oh-so-glad to see me. He missed me so much. I was sick inside. I knew that I would get it. I knew that the nicer he was now, the more he would take out his anger on me later. My mother beamed at us and tried to fill up the silence with small talk, as if I wasn’t just sitting on the couch staring at nothing, as if I wasn’t seeing all my hope crumble into little bitty pieces. I knew then that it wasn’t over, it would never be over, that he would never let me go, ever.
He suggested going to see a movie. I didn’t answer. My mother, however, thought that was a wonderful idea, and gave him directions to a nearby theater. He said that he would take me somewhere we could talk, and then we would go to see a movie. I just stared at him in disbelief. I could not believe this was happening.
We drove to Shilshole Marina, and talked. Or rather, PK talked, a nonstop monologue about why I should come back with him. I couldn’t have gotten a word in edgewise, not even to agree, even had I wanted to. I just kept shaking my head, mumbling “No,” over and over again. That was all I wanted to say to him…”No.” As it continued, he got more and more frantic. He started making extravagant promises – that he would buy me anything I wanted, that I could buy myself new clothes, anything I wanted, if I would just come back with him. All I could do was shake my head and say “No.”
Finally he wound down and we got back in the car. I wondered what he would do next – I couldn’t believe that it would be this easy. Sure enough, when he started driving towards the freeway, I said the first thing other than “No” that I had said all evening: “Where the hell are you going?”
“To the movies.” His voice was grim. It was frightening.
“That is not the way to the theater.” I shouted at him, struggled with the door handle, as I saw the sign for I-5 South looming up ahead. I had to get out of the car. I couldn’t breathe.
Suddenly he exploded.
He was taking me home! He was driving back to ShitFuckTown tonight! He had spent enough time trying to explain to me that this was how it had to be, that this was what was going to happen, so now he was just going to do it!
I screamed. I screamed at the top of my lungs and I couldn’t stop. Let me go! Let me go! Just let me go! I was sobbing as I tried to open the door, at 45 miles an hour, I was going to jump out. He leaned over and grabbed my arm and yanked it away from the door, gripping it so hard I could hear the bones grating against each other. I was positive I was going to die. The cab of the truck was a miasma of screaming and shouting and anger and fear. I don’t think I formed a coherent thought for several minutes. He was shaking me back and forth and shouting and all I could do was scream.
Suddenly I just gave up. I could feel all the fight go out of me. What was I doing? What, did I think that I could actually make it on my own? Did I really think that I was smart enough, brave enough, responsible enough to actually be out on my own? What was I thinking?
We rode in silence for 45 minutes.
Finally we got off the freeway in Tacoma. Since I had calmed down, PK was willing to get a motel for the night in Tacoma, then tomorrow we would go back to Seattle so I could get my stuff and say goodbye to my family. I thought, but didn’t say, that saying goodbye to my family was the last thing I wanted to do. At that point I hated my mother, deep and strong and poisonously. Suddenly, it all was her fault. Everything I had gone through, everything I had done to get away, just to have it all be for nothing because of her.
When we got to the motel, PK went to go use the bathroom and I picked up the phone.
“Hello?” It was my mother.
“Mom.” That was all I could get out.
“Where are you? We thought you would be back by now.” Still not much concern.
“Where am I?? Where AM I?” I screamed at her. Louder than I have ever screamed at her before. “I’m in fucking TACOMA, THAT’S where I AM! Why? Why am I in Tacoma? Because of YOU, Mother! He fucking brought me here instead of the fucking movies, and I almost jumped out of the fucking car on the fucking freeway because he was going to take me HOME! THAT’S where the fuck I am!”
Breathing heavily, I stopped. My mother was silent. Finally I said, “We’ll be back tomorrow. He wants me to get my stuff and then he says we’re going back to Oregon.”
“Bye, mom. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” I hung up.
PK and I talked for a long time that night. I went back to saying that I wasn’t going to go with him, that it was over. He went through all the emotions at me: begging, anger, desperation, screaming, anything he could think of that would work. Amazingly, I stuck to it. I refused to agree to go back with him. Eventually he retreated to asking if we could be friends, divorced friends that still “slept together”. I have no idea what he thought that would accomplish. Finally, wearily, I agreed just to shut him the hell up so I could go to sleep.
The next morning I returned home, still thinking that I was in control of the situation, still thinking that PK would be returning to ShitFuckTown alone. We sat on my mom’s couch, me staring out the window, PK pretending to care, me tolerating his arm around my shoulder, him pretending that I wanted it. And my mom, beaming at us and pretending that it was all real, that it was all going to be okay.
Just one big pretense.
Next: chapter ten.