As his hands tightened around my neck I struggled but he was much stronger than I. I felt my body go limp as everything went black. My last thought was, “He is going to feel so bad when he realizes what he’s done.”
Then I was gasping for air. I was disoriented and realized I was on the floor of the truck and scrambled to get back on the seat. I expected him to be as shocked and horrified as I was over what just happened but he put the truck in gear and stared straight ahead not saying a word.
I was numb with disbelief, I wanted him to hold me, I wanted it to not have happened because now I knew I had to make a choice. I had always sworn if any man hit me I would be gone so fast his head would spin but now faced with the situation it wasn’t that easy. When we pulled in the driveway 5 minutes later he said, “That’s it. I want you out, its over.”
I don’t recall what I said, I know I was shocked at the fact that we were both so calm. I felt I should be angry, or crying or indignant but all I wanted was for him to hold me. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t as horrified as me. I don’t recall what I said but I’ll never forget the look on his face or the tone of his voice when he said, “You ungrateful fucking bitch I shouldn’t have stopped when I did”
I was numb, confused, this was NOT JC, he was the most nonviolent man I had ever known. Sure we’d been having problems but he never even swore when he hurt himself working on the truck. He was unflapable JC never lost control. I didn’t know this cold, distant man that just told me he should have killed me. I was sure he must feel awful, I wanted to put my head on his shoulder and have him hold me, to look in his eyes and see love and not hate. So after a few hours I went out to the shop, he was cold and pulled away from me when I went to touch him. He refused to talk to me so I went back in the house. The next morning he took the house phone with him to work and I was home alone with my thoughts.
Stress, my God, we had so many things happen in the first few months we were together and he’d always stayed so calm, distant yes but not angry and hateful. I was sure with time we could talk like we always did and work it out.
In the first 6 months we had lived together we had made the deal on the house, he had been unjustly fired from his job at the resort (I didn’t know that JC gets “unjustly” fired from every job he has and never lasts more than a few months); I was his staunch supporter and assured him we’d get through it together. He proposed.
My brother confessed to the family something I am not at liberty to discuss here but it had been extremely traumatic for my whole family especially my mom who couldn’t handle it and washed her hands of the whole situation. So it had fallen on my shoulder to be support my brother and mother. My son had gotten involved in drugs and gangs and my family told me I had loved him too much when he was a child, I had spoiled and ruined him. My mom told me to forget I ever had him. JC held me and said there was no way I could turn my back on him now.
He was on the streets some where and I was frantic to find him. My mom kept calling crying about my brother and one day I said, “You know mom I am worried about my brother too but I also have a son out on the streets some where that I am worried sick about.” and her reply was,”but your brother has so much more to lose.” I asked, “So you are saying my son’s life is not as valuable as my brother’s?” JC held me when I cried.
With everything JC’s support was unwavering.
I lost my job 3 months after we moved in and then we got news that JC’S dad had cancer throughout his body and had been given only months to live. JC got a job and his dad died 2 weeks later, he had flown out for 2 days, worked for 2 weeks and flown back for the funeral. He had been extremely close to his dad and I knew he must be hurting but he had hardly cried or talked about it. I wasn’t sure how to handle it. He became obsessed about how much money I was spending and insisted I owed him thousands of dollars and that is what the fight was about when he strangled me. He was wrong about the money but I was sure it wasn’t the money anyway; he was hurting and I was going to figure out how to help him.
And that’s why I stayed at first.
I was making as much on unemployment benefits as I would have working and I didn’t mind playing the role of homemaker. I didn’t know it at the time JC was disabling my vehicle; as far as I knew it had mechanical problems and when JC said I couldn’t drive it I didn’t question it. There were no buses out to where we lived and there was never any printer ink to print off resumes so I worked fixing up the house. He seemed to like having me home and would often have me ride with him in the dump truck while he worked. We always had a great day when I did and I would feel so close to him again. He brought home a dump truck load of landscaping rock then soil so I put in rock gardens and a pond, he brought home a load of sand and I shovel and raked it making a lovely sandy beach in front of our house. He came home from work and supper was ready, the house was spotless, there was always fresh baking. I would try to set the mood and have candles lit when he got home hoping he would stay inside with me and not go out to his shop. Every night it was the same, he’d come home, go out to his shop, I’d call him in for dinner, some times I would end up taking his dinner out to the shop for him, if he did come in he would go straight back out after dinner. I would put on something sexy and try to entice him to come to bed and he would pull away saying he was dirty and I would make some comment about liking dirty men. His sense of humor was gone, he would say, “I’ll be right there” I would go to bed and end up falling asleep. Some times he would crawl in to bed about 4 or 5 am and we would make love but often times I would wake up in the morning and realize he hadn’t been to bed at all and I would cry.
I come to dread times we were close and loving because it seemed after an especially loving time he would be doubly cold and cruel to counter act it. I prayed alot, I didn’t know how to reach him, he seemed like he hated me most of the time.
I talked to a girlfriend who also lived at the resort and told her I thought he hated me. She was shocked, she told me that all he ever did was speak highly of me, he bragged about my cooking and all the work I was doing on the place, she said she had seen him bringing me home flowers and I felt bad for doubting his love and decided to try a little harder not pressure him.
We would discuss money, I would think we had sorted it out but within a few days he was on me again. He stayed up all night calculating how much he spent on me and presented me with an invoice of everything I owed him right down to the 25¢ he had given me when I was short of money for a slushy.
The next time he got physical was on my birthday. He forgot my birthday and called half way through the day. I had been snarky with him and then immediately felt bad. It was a day the car was working and he had called me and told me to pick up his cheque, cash it and bring the money to the track. I apologized for being snarky and he just brushed it off. When I got to the track racing was cancelled due to rain so I called to tell him and he said to meet him at work. I got there and he seemed fine, he hugged me and was joking about forgetting my birthday and how he was going to make it up to me by taking me for dinner.
When we left the office I asked him if I should leave my car there and ride with him and we could pick it up later or should I follow him.
JC – What the hell are you talking about?
Me-Dinner, should I leave the car here and we can pick it up later.
JC – I don’t know what you are doing but I’m going to the track.
Me – racing is cancelled, I thought we were going for dinner.
JC – are you buying? I don’t have money for dinner.
Me – I’ll will go with you to the track, I got my EI today I can buy supper.
JC – Just go home I’ll see you there.
I was not going to let him ruin my birthday so I went to the liquor store and bought a nice bottle of wine and a pack of tobacco. (I rolled my own cigarettes JC always bought taylor mades). The rain had let up so I went home, poured myself a glass of wine and went out to putz in my garden. I was not going to react, I was not going to ruin my day. He walked through the door about 10 with a carton of his smokes, a 26er of rye, a cases of his favorite coolers and a look on his face that said he was itching for a fight.
JC – I see once again you took care of yourself and didn’t buy me smokes or booze.
Me – please don’t start, I don’t want to fight.
JC – You don’t want to go there because you know I’m right.
Me – just last week you told me to just buy my own smokes and you’d buy your own so that’s what I did. Please don’t do this. Not tonight.