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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bewildered – The Monster Erupts (Part 4)

While this may be hard to read for some, it's cathartic in many ways for me having lived it. It is finally time to put it down in writing and share what I went through so many years ago. Thank you for reading and commenting. If you haven't read them already here is Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

There comes a point where something happens that is so terrible, it smacks you hard into reality causing you to finally see clearly and precisely what direction you must go. This is the story of the last night, the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

The end of a semester is a great relief of stress for most all students. We were no exception. The last final over for both of us, I still had to go into work. I was scheduled to close which meant I’d be home around 10 or so. He called me at work around 7 pm to tell me that he was going over to a party at a friend’s house. He also mentioned the girls we knew downstairs were also having a party. I didn’t particularly enjoy hanging out with the guys he was going to party with so I said that when I got off from work I was just going to change and go to the party downstairs. He said that was cool and hung up.

When I got home around 10:30 the party downstairs was in full swing. I could hear the beat of the music in the apartment. I changed and freshened up my hair and makeup then stopped as the phone rang. He was on the other end, his voice slurred but happy telling me that I didn’t need to wait up on him. He was staying at the friend’s house, that they wouldn’t give him his keys. He had already tried to leave once and backed into someone’s car. No real damage but enough of an indication that he didn’t need to be driving. I told him that I’d chain the door once I got back. He hung up and I went down to the party.

I’m pretty much a lightweight when it comes to drinking. After several rounds of quarters and one too many trashcan punch glassfuls, I headed back up to the apartment to get to bed. I was going to be paying for this in the morning when I had to get up for work but I’d had a pretty good semester which was now over. I felt I deserved to blow off a little steam. I locked and chained the door behind me. We’d always discussed how that probably wouldn’t even hold if someone really wanted in with the flimsy doors but at least it offered the hint that the door was secured.

I took out my contacts and yanked clothes off and fell into bed. The clock read quarter to 1 am. I passed out immediately only to be awakened what felt like seconds later. The clock read 3:30 am and someone was yelling and banging on the front door. I could hear it trying to be opened. I realized he must have come home after all. I pulled on a t-shirt so I would be covered and went to the door, yelling at him to shut it and back up so I could unchain it. I got it unchained and went right back to the bedroom intending to go back to sleep.

I collapsed on the bed face up waiting for him and the next 5 minutes is a blur. I vaguely remember the fists that I didn’t feel. Lucky for me I was so drunk I couldn’t feel any pain. Fists grazed my face, cheek, lip and ear so quickly I almost thought I was dreaming. This must be a nightmare. He was on top of me, knees on either side of my torso pounding me into the bed. I truly do not remember screaming. What stopped him was the blood. My ears were newly pierced with a second hole. One of the hoops had caught and been yanked out causing blood to ooze down the side of my face. It brought him back and made him stop hitting. His face, still menacing showed the anger that was still there as he drug me by the roots of my hair to the bathroom.

I was shoved up against the shower wall in the bathtub. The water was on and he was in there with me, holding me against the wall. Almost flattening me as the water ran over me. He was muttering incoherently with slurred words and cursing. I never really did understand what he was saying. I could smell the alcohol though. Ever present whenever the monster reared it’s ugly head was the alcohol.

Now the door sounds like it’s about to be broken down. My screaming had brought the guys up from the party downstairs. He left me in the shower, threatening me not to move while he went to the door. I could hear them at the door arguing with him. They wanted to see me, and they weren’t leaving until they did.

Something in me snapped. The fear, the certainty that if I stayed he would kill me drove me out of the bathroom despite his threats. He had almost killed me. He was so strong and was drunk and angry beyond reason. The guys pounding on the door saved my life.

I knew right then if I didn’t take this chance to leave, I wasn’t going to survive. I didn’t even turn the water off. Crying almost hysterically, I grabbed a towel, my contacts and dried off as I ran to the bedroom and into the closet. I grabbed jeans and a t-shirt and stuffed underwear and bra into my purse. Shoving my glasses on, I grabbed my keys and purse and walked to the door behind him. As he moved aside so they could see me, I walked out. I didn’t stop. Almost running down the stairs now, I was single minded. Make it to the car, my mind was telling me, you will be ok. Three of the guys stayed behind to hold him there so he couldn’t follow. Two of them walked me to my car.

I was crying uncontrollably. I had no idea what I looked like as I had not looked in the mirror. I just went into auto mode to dry off and grab important stuff to get out of there as fast as I could. The guys that walked me to the car told me they would keep him busy so I could get out of there. I remember thanking them. In the car, I drove off and just drove around town for a while. I didn’t know where to go. I had no real friends anymore. I alternated between crying and shaking with teeth chattering to laughing hysterically. I’m very lucky a police officer didn’t stop me. Although that probably would have meant I’d of gotten to press charges. Something I never even thought to do and was well within my rights.

I ended up at a friend from work’s apartment. I had attended a party at his place. So here I am at 4:30 in the morning knocking on the door. I know now that I looked ghoulish. His roommate first said he was asleep then took a good look at me and ushered me in and onto the couch. P came out of his room and stared at me for a minute then gave me a big hug. I kept apologizing for waking him up and he told me to shush. He made me go get in his bed to sleep. P knew I had to be at work in about 3 hours.

My boyfriend shows up about an hour later, pounding on the door. He had seen my car and knew where P lived. They wouldn’t let him in. It was so nice to feel protected and almost safe. However, I knew he wasn’t going to let any of us sleep until he talked to me so I got up and told them that I’d talk to him. They sat across the room glaring at him the entire time. He apologized, told me he would never hurt me again. He seemed genuinely upset this time. The last times he had still had some sarcasm and never really admitted he needed help. I was exhausted so I agreed to go back to the apartment with him with conditions. These were that as soon as I got home from work we would be discussing ground rules. One of which was that he was going to be sleeping on the couch until I moved out. I was done. He was actually crying this time.

We went back to our apartment. He took the couch and was true to his word, staying there to let me have the bed. I slept for a few hours then got into the shower to get ready for work. I hurt all over from the physicalness of the attack. He had been on top of me literally punching me down into the bed. I finally faced the mirror for the first time. What I saw made me realize how very lucky I was. One black eye, one swollen lip and dark purple bruise marks all over my neck and torso were gruesome reminders of what had occurred just a few hours prior.

I have never been so embarrassed at work ever in my life. Co-workers stared then recovered and tried to act normal. I felt like everyone was whispering behind my back. P came up to work and took me to lunch to see how I was. Several of the guys came up to me a few times offering to lynch him if I needed it. I felt ashamed. I wanted to be an ‘adult’ and handle everything on my own. Well that was turning out just peachy keen now wasn’t it?

Kathie Hitt

 This blog series is from my personal experience recounting my side of an abusive situation. It is my hope that it will raise awareness and educate others about what this side of the relationship looks and feels like. It is a situation that I never thought I’d be in as a smart girl turning into a woman. I was salutatorian of my high school class. This type of thing can happen to anyone. It can blindside you and make you feel like you are literally nothing. Some people never recover fully from the events. I was lucky and can share my story in the hope that it will help others.