Once Upon A Time In The State Of New Jersey...
Beauty and her brother went to live with different aunts and uncles and were passed around on a regular basis. They didn't get to see each other as much as they should have been allowed to but that's the best that could be done in those days. Even though she always had a roof over her head she felt like she was a burden to whoever she was staying with. She learned early to chase that feeling away by working hard. Whether it was cooking, cleaning, or laundry she pulled her weight and then some. She learned at 10 what most of the rest of the world doesn't learn until 20 and she could do the household chores, a day's schooling, and a part time shift & be ready to start again the next morning.
During her early teen years she developed several athletic talents. She could beat most grown men at golf and pool thanks to the summers she spent with an aunt and uncle who ran a golf course. She kept the grounds then played golf and shot pool in the clubhouse between mowing the greens. About this time her gym teacher told her she would either go out for basketball or she would flunk gym (gotta' love our educational sytem!) She said "go ahead" and promptly left school at 15 and started working full time. By now she was living with a married cousin. She learned how to fight off the unwanted advances of the husband and spent as little time there as possible. She bought a car with the money she earned and learned to fix it herself when it needed a new starter or a tune-up.
At 17 she met someone who made her believe that he wanted to build a life with her. A day or so after their wedding she saw him fly his true colors. He talked to her worse than a plow animal. She asked "why are you treating me this way? I thought you loved me." he said "your mine now. I can be myself . I don't have to act anymore" as he gave her a back hand across the nose. This began 7 years of hell.
She took it because she figured that's probably the way it was supposed to be. Didn't all husbands hit their wives daily? Didn't all wives have to deal with broken noses, black eyes, and fractured skulls? Didn't she deserve this? One day about 3 years later he hit her and knocked her into one of their sons causing him to stumble against a wall and hit his head. A tiny ember erupted into a volcano and she grabbed the husband by his head and introduced it to the same wall several times and told him "if you ever hurt one of my babies again I will get one of the knives from the kitchen and [make you a gelding]"
He responded like most men of that type and didn't lay a hand on her afterwards, although he ratcheted up the verbal abuse to take up the slack telling her how worthless she was. Never mind the fact that she supported them because he never could seem to get along with anyone long enough to last more than a month at a job. Then it would take him another 3 months to get another job. After another year he decided he was moving to Texas...the land of opportunity where he could make his fortune. She had never been more than 100 miles from home her entire life. What was he thinking? "If you don't want to come stay here. I'm going anyway" he said.
"If we go, that's it. The last go around. Last chance. You have GOT to learn to keep a job and help support the family. I can't support all of us any more" she said. They made the move and for about a year things were ok. No more fists but the verbal abuse was still there. Meanwhile she fell in love with this strange new place called Texas. She was amazed that there weren't cacti and hitching posts on every corner...there were trees...and grass! No desert in site! After 18 months the husband decided he didn't like it in "the armpit of the nation" so he announced he was "going back to New Jersey".
She said she wasn't going back and reminded him this was the last try and he hadn't held down a job more than 6 months total since they came. He didn't care. He was going home. If she didn't like it, tough. She could stay in Texas. She said "If you go that's it. It's over. You give up all claims to me or either of the boys." He left taking the car and leaving her and his sons in an apartment with rent paid through the end of the month...with money she earned working for the Family Business.
He came back about 1 1/2 years later and found, to his shock, she had managed to survive without him and prosper. She had moved on with life. When he tried to re-insert himself into her life he was informed by someone who cared deeply for Beauty that his services were no longer required nor wanted and he should leave...under his own power or under power assist, the choice was his. He called Beauty to inform her that he was reporting the threat from the friend to the police. She told him it was 'gelding time' and he'd better report 2 threats while he was at it. Nothing more was heard from him for a long, long time to come.
That day Beauty was set free. She was a new person with a re-born spirit who would never be under the control of someone like that again. Life would have it's share of ups and downs but mainly she had set her course on an upward path that day. I'm just thankful she let me come along for the ride.
To follow up: the husband eventually realized the poison he was spreading and changed his life.
Labels: Though Lovers Be Lost