A Story of Survival

by: Julianna 1999


     My story is just that, my story. I don't write to shock anyone
   or want sympathy, but if I can help one person have hope that you
   can survive that it can get better that is worth more than anything
   else under this sun.

     Fading back in time, oh I was so young, 18 years old and I had 
   just graduated from high school. I had lived all my life in a very 
   small town, where everyone knew each other and life was pretty 
   simple. One month after graduating, thinking that life was just 
   mine for the taking I moved to a large city with my sister thinking
   that I was truly embarking on a brand new life - oh if only I had
   known. 

     I met my ex-husband just a short time after moving there, I was 
   out with friends and he just happened to be in the group we had
   gotten together with that night. I was flattered right away by the
   attention this older man paid to me, (he being 5 years older than 
   I). He was soft spoken and seemed to be liked by everyone there and
   at the end of the night after visiting with him a few hours when he
   asked me for my phone number I was more than happy to take the pen 
   he offered me and write my number down happily. 

     The very next morning he called me asking if I'd like to go on a
   pic-nic in the mountains with friends and this began a whirlwind
   courtship. During this whole time, never once did I see him show 
   any signs of anger towards me or anyone I knew...it was only later
   that I would see the rage. The only misgivings I ever felt was when
   he wanted to get married so soon, but I was young and thought I had
   found the one who hung and set the moon so in a matter of only 6 
   months time we were married and beginning a life as husband and 
   wife.

     The first few months were picture perfect, we lived in a tiny one
   bedroom apartment and took great joy in fixing it up here and 
   there, both of us working at jobs we loved. We were married 4 
   months before it began...I suppose I should be able to remember in
   great detail that first time he turned his anger on me, over the
   frustrations he had started feeling at work, but maybe blissfully
   I do not recall that first strike in anger.

     At first it was merely being shoved away, into a wall or maybe 
   one slap, by the time he actually doubled up a fist and hit me with
   total fury (which I do remember exactly even now) he had managed to
   pretty much distance me from all of my dear friends and my sister 
   had moved. I was in this large city watching my dreams fall apart
   a little more every day feeling so very alone.

     Oh at first he would act so shamed by what he had done, crying to
   me and holding me close stroking my bruised and battered body 
   telling me how he loved me, that it would never happen again, if 
   only things would turn around for him at work then all of our 
   problems would be solved.

     At first it happened only once in a blue moon that he would be in
   a rage, and after it was over, he was once again that nice, 
   wonderful man I had first met that starry summer night. But as time
   went on it became a guessing game as to how to behave, how to not
   anger him in any way. 

     I became an expert at allowing it to continue, after being told
   repeatedly how worthless I was, how horrible a wife, a person and
   being called many names I just won't even use I of course started
   believing that to be true. I learned every trick in the book to 
   hide the signs, became a make up expert, always had a reason for 
   long sleeves and pants, I became clumsy - oh yes, I fell, oh yes
   silly me didn't turn on the light and walked into the door and on
   and on, they at times became almost true they were so much easier 
   to tell than admit the shame that was my only friend.

     Things really started becoming erratic and it seemed no matter 
   how hard I tried to be "good", it was never enough. I remember the 
   day I turned 20 and feeling more like 80 - I had nothing in common
   any longer with the carefree happy people I knew, I just wanted to
   escape. He came to pick me up from work that day, he was going to 
   take me out to celebrate - after all I was no longer a child, the 
   teen years were gone. I never did recieve that night out, for I had
   committed an unpardonable sin, my co-workers had sent me a dozen
   roses in a beautiful arrangement you see and I can just remember 
   the fire in his eyes when I walked out to the car with them that 
   day. If I could have become invisible, then was the time to do it.
   See I had been bad, because those flowers they sent me outshown the
   ones he had brought me. Later that night I knew I wouldn't remeber
   the roses, only that beautiful vase...I still hear that shattering 
   sound as it hit the wall as we entered our home, and I remember 
   large piece, I won't ever forget it...it still echoes in my head as
   it was being sliced into my flesh over and over, his horribly ugly
   voice saying he'd make sure that they knew I didn't deserve such a
   gift, the horrible ugly names he called me...and the first time I
   was raped. So too began the many times I had to call in "sick", 
   just another way to protect the one who tormented me so.

     It was shortly after this that I made my break for freedom, why
   now you may ask? Did that beating and that rape make me open my 
   eyes? Sadly no, it was the night we had a "get together" with his
   friends and I walked into the room in time to watch him hit on the 
   only friend I had left and laughingly tell his good buddies about
   my birthday night. 

     The shame consumed me as all eyes turned to look at me, and of 
   course I was in trouble for catching him saying these things. I 
   remembering running out in that cold rain, no thoughts of where to
   go, just run forever if I could. I never heard him behind me that 
   night but I do know that blessfully his friends finally didn't take
   it anymore. It took three of them to pull him off of me and by that
   time I didn't care what they did with him. My last remaining friend
   took me home with her that night and one of the friends who had 
   come to my rescue went and worked my shifts for me the next few 
   days while they nursed me back to some semblance of a normal
   appearance.

     I swore never to return and held firm, finally turning the phone
   off as after 100 rings I'd be screaming in anger of my own. And I
   did stay strong...for a while. You see, he began writing to me, 
   long letters begging me to forgive him, admitting he had a problem,
   telling me he needed help, doing all the right things. We entered
   counseling, he admitted to everything and began to turn his life
   around, well after a few weeks I had begun to feel so guilty living
   with my friend and he begged and he pleaded and swore he was 
   getting help, that we would live the fairy tale again, and stupidly
   I gave in.

                         This is where the terror continued
                           but also my survival began...

                                   (continued)








Against All Odds