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A Cry in the Night
By T. Lewis
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 T. Lewis
All right reserved.
My name is not what is important but my story is. I have had the life of two people wrapped into one. My life started out as conservative and legalistic as they come. My parents were strict, and I thank God for that now. I don't remember my dad telling me that he loved me, although I know he did. I always felt I needed to prove myself to him, struggling to be what he wanted me to be. I never felt I measured up. My parents got divorced in my senior year of college.. I never believed in divorce myself. I got married fresh out of college to a man I thought was a Christian. Before our one week wedding anniversary, he had already hit me. I thought this was just a random act and that he would not do it again; surely he loved me more than that. He decided that we would go out of state; he had contacted a man who had promised him a job. We arrived to find that the man did not want to hire him because of his color. We were then homeless and stranded. We had our first son six months later. My father came to rescue us. We came back to start again. My husband started getting rough again when we got back. I always thought that I was at fault or that if I could just be more cooperative, maybe he would not hit me. My family did not want to come over; I felt alone, and I was afraid to say anything. So I made up stories for the bruises. I know some of my relatives must have thought that I was really clumsy. Now I have had our second son.
Things only got worse. After four years of marriage he hit me in the head with a skillet knocking me out. I remember I was cooking when he came in and asked what we were having. I showed him that I had finished frying the chicken, the greens were simmering in the back, and I was stirring the noodles for the spaghetti with a fork. He replied that I was doing it wrong, not the way his mother did it. I stated, "This is the way I was taught to keep the noodles separated." I suddenly heard a loud ringing noise and everything started going in slow motion. I looked to the right and saw the hot grease, now running down the wall. The noise became unbearable, and everything went black. I woke up about five hours later, my head was throbbing. I reached up to find a baseball size knot on the back of my head. This is when I realized that my robe was undone and he had climbed on and done his job while I was knocked out. I felt used and disgusted that he did not care if I enjoyed it or not. I got off the floor holding my head, noticing he had finished cooking for me and had fed the boys and himself. I was now concerned if the boys had seen me. Were they okay? I tied up my robe and went to the living room, where I found him sitting and watching TV. He asked me where I had been, and I said that I was in the kitchen finishing up supper. I reached for the phone but he snatched it from the wall and said that I did not need to call anyone. I went upstairs to check on the boys. They were all fast asleep, so I washed up and went to bed. I waited until he was calm, and I suggested counseling, but of course I was the one with the problem. The kids thought that hide and seek was when I told them to hide because their dad looked angry. A lot of times I just had a feeling that things were not going to be smooth and easy. I would see him coming up the walk towards the door, seeing his frustrated look on his face. I just knew it was going to be another bad evening. I would tell the boys that it was time for hide and seek, and as they had done so many times before, they would go hide. My middle son would take a bottle and the youngest upstairs and hide him, too. When the beating and the yelling was done, my ex would take a long walk and I would say "ollie, ollie ottson free," and my middle son would come see if the coast was clear. He usually found me trying to pick myself up, and he would get a towel, get it wet, and wipe my face. I would assure him that everything was fine, but I knew that it really was not.
I got an order of protection and he had to leave. I was nervous. I explained to the boys that daddy did not leave them but that he left me. My ex showed up one day after I had just gotten the locks changed. He started pounding on the door and yelling, "I just want to talk to you." I knew that tone, and it was not his talking voice. I had been talking on the phone with my mom, and I told her that I needed to go so I could call the police, but she was afraid to hang up. I heard a noise outside. My ex was taking the door apart. Suddenly I heard lots of men yelling "stop right there." I looked out and the police were there. I told my mom and laid the phone down. One of the officers knocked on the door, and I answered it. Six men filed in holding my ex back. They asked me about the order and the date of service. I gave them a copy. My ex tried to launch toward me but the officers put him up against the wall and cuffed him, explaining again the paperwork, and took him six blocks away and dropped him off. I was still afraid. I just wanted a more normal life for my boys. But what was normal?
I filed for divorce. I was tired of being told what I could wear or say to anyone. So now I was a single mother of three boys (two were ours, one was his). I wanted to keep the boys together. My ex did not seem to understand the terms "restraining order." I tried to move on with my life but felt I had something to prove to myself. You know, whether or not I was lovable or even if I could turn someone's head again. I got planted back in church on a more consistent basis.
I met a smooth young man at church who kept complimenting me. I felt happy and good about myself. I got a job and started looking for a house for my boys and myself. The young man, J1, moved in with us to protect me from my ex, who threatened me all the time. J1 invited his friend J2 to move in with us. We moved out south to a quiet neighborhood. My house was nice. I was still working trying to buy a car. Three weeks after picking up my new car, it was stolen from my driveway. They found it two months later. It had been stripped, used in a robbery in Chicago, brought back and stolen again and torched; all before I made my first payment. I had problems with babysitters. Finally, J2 said he would watch the boys while I went to work. One night, it became very apparent that J1 was stealing things from me. He went as far as borrowing my car from the lot at work, having a wreck, and putting my car back and acting as if nothing had happened. The police came to my job and said they wanted to question me. We went to their office, and there they arrested me stating that I knew who was driving my car. I had proof that I was at work the whole time. My mom bailed me out, and we went to my house and J1 was laughing at me for being arrested. My mom was outraged and left.
J1 was drinking and listening to music. He decided that I was paying too much attention to J2 and told me to go upstairs; he followed. When I got up there, he started accusing and calling me loose. I thought it had to be the alcohol. J1 started shoving and ripping my clothes and sat on my while punching me. J2 ran upstairs to stop J1, and then they started fighting. Words were exchanged, and J1, in his stupor, said, "Here, you want to call the police? I'll help." He picked up the phone, dialed, and hung up. The police showed up fifteen minutes later. J1 answered the door and said things were fine. They asked for the owner. I came down and said I was she. They were shining their flashlights on me; my nose and mouth were bleeding. They kept asking if I was okay. I expressed things were fine. They left.
J1 missed court on the car wreck. I was responsible to make sure he was there. I called the bondsmen and told them to meet me at my house. I called J2 and told him to make sure J1 stayed at the house. I called for pizza and put it in J1's name. When I got home, there was a knock at the door. They asked for J1, and he acknowledged them and asked, "Where is my pizza?" Well, it was the bondsmen, and they took him away. Two minutes later the pizza man showed up. The boys, J2, and I had a party.
About six months later things really got scary. I came home from work early thinking that the day just could not get any better. I could spend time with my kids and just relax. Well, I arrived at my house, and the door was locked and the key did not work. I knocked on the door, and a young man I did not know answered. He immediately shut the door and asked, "Who's that white broad in the suit?" I heard a commotion inside and then the door flew open, there stood J2. I came in cautiously and asked, "Where's my boys?" He stated that they were in their room playing. I looked around the living room. Here sat ten or so young guys with guns and attitudes. They were yelling comments that struck fear in my heart. J2 announced that he would explain to me what was going on. They took me upstairs, disregarding my pleas to see the boys. I was immediately placed in a chair. J2 started by saying that if I cooperated with those guys, I'd be alright. They tied me to a chair and gave me a choice whether to snort, smoke, shoot up, or receive the bullet that was now being pointed at my temple. I was scared but I thought God would protect me. Surely, He would not let this substance affect me. As I faded out, I heard J2 say, "I knew I could convince her." I came alert three days later. I found myself lying on the floor in my room. My boys were playing games in the living room and on the porch. They were fed and clean and appeared to be happy. My middle son ran to me and said, "Are you feeling better?" Confused I said yes. J2 sat there watching TV and told me what had happened during the last three days. He had told the boys that I was sick in bed.
Things were going just fine, I thought, until one day part of my past showed itself again. I had a seizure at work and I was not talking rationally. The next few weeks were confusing. I was in the hospital, asked to resign my job, having seizure after seizure. The doctor explained that when my ex hit me in the head, it caused a lesion on the brain. This caused epilepsy. I came home and became a weekend warrior. J2 and I partied on the weekends with his friends. Times started getting rough; no income from me. So J2, without my knowledge, would play open house (dealing and serving) at night after I went to bed. I did not want this in my life. Looking back, I understand that this was Satan deceiving me. I just wanted for someone to love me and hold me. Even in my sin, I heard God say, "Come to Me and I will give you the rest that you seek." I will not lie; sin is fun at the time, but it continues to bring you further down. All I wanted was to numb myself, so I would not feel anymore. When reality hit, the pain and grief was still there. Well, things went from bad to worst. DEA kicked in my house but nothing was found. Praise the Lord.
I received a letter from the mortgage company notifying me of my Final Notice. So I used this to my advantage. I did not tell anyone and planned for our escape. One day, my father came to take me to the store, and the police stopped us. They told my dad that he had just been at the largest drug house in south KC. I do not say that bragging; I am embarrassed that this was the path that I was traveling. I took this opportunity to tell them of the upcoming foreclosure, and that I was not the one in charge of the house's activities. I got myself and the boys out to a shelter. I learned that the police waited for the house to foreclose, right at 12:01. They went into the house and caught fifteen people. Thank you Jesus, we got out.
I still had my boys but we were now homeless. Sometimes you have to get knocked down to look up. I was in NA classes and denying I had a problem. I remember I was placed there in the shelter under a different name to protect me. That did not help. Someone was sent by J2's people to find me. A lady approached me and gave me a warning. I was afraid.
Everything seemed to be going fine. I got permission to go to a Bible study. The shelter made arrangements for a ride. I had to use a code word, so I would know who was picking me up. Well, after Bible study a man came and picked me and two of my boys up. He used the right word, and we were on our way back to the shelter when he made an unscheduled stop and asked us to get out and come in because he had a few calls to make (if I could have changed this part of history, I would not have gotten out of the car). We went in, and they left the boys in the living room and rushed me to the back room, where there were no windows or lights. The man told me to strip as he walked towards me, waving his fist. I could not see nothing but that he was really big and had gold in his mouth. I never felt so abandoned in my life. One guy came in at a time, took their turn, and said "next" at the door. Five or six guys later, I was hurt, bruised, cut, and bleeding, but I could hear my boys in the next room playing; this gave me hope. I needed to stay alive. When they were done, I laid there half out of it. They threw me in the shower, put my clothes on me, wrapped me up, and drove me and the boys down and dumped me out in an alley a half a block from the shelter. I waited for them to leave, picked myself up, and told the boys, "let's go." I was afraid that they would come back. I dragged myself thinking, "I can do this," trying not to scare the boys, trying to act normal. We walked in the door to the shelter to be confronted by the lady in charge. She began by telling me that I was late. I blew up, and as I walked over to her in the light, she changed her expression and appeared shocked at my appearance. I yelled, "I've been raped," and collapsed. They rushed me to a hospital, and a police officer came in; she frightened me. I swung at her, and she jumped back. She said that was normal for what I had just gone through. They took pictures of my back and took evidence. There was no question as to what happened, but who and why? Much later I found out that this was set up by J2. He often made reference to what happened without me even telling him what had happened.
My next challenge was when the boys and I were moving way out to Grandview under an assumed name. My family helped us move into a nice duplex. We got everything moved in, and they left me so I could start unpacking. I heard a noise in the back room, and suddenly J2 came crawling out of the attic. He acted as if nothing had transpired. He gave me a hug and started helping me to straighten things up. You have got to understand, I had an order against him, but as strange as it sounds, I loved him. I did not like some of the things he did but he acted as if he wanted to be with me. He gave me false security. I began my thing again. I was in and out of the hospital with seizures and trying to get the meds right. Things seemed to escalate in our relationship. I ignored it. Times got hard. Sometimes I did not know what I did wrong to deserve being hit or yelled at. Fear gripped my heart. He thought that moving back in town would help. He wanted to be close to his family. So we moved to a nice little slab house, about which I have nightmares to this day, remembering all the horrors that transpired there. I was still praying and hearing God, asking for a way out. People and family often said, "Why did you not just walk away?" Easier said than done. Everything we had was mine, and I did not like starting over and over, uprooting the boys again; it was hard.
We had family therapy once a week. I was instructed as to what we could talk about, and if there were any questions of abuse or activity in the house, I had to immediately deny. Then after they left, I was drilled as to why they would ask such things, often ending in me being punished. As you can imagine, I felt like a nobody, that I did not matter. I started getting hit two or three times a week always while the boys were napping or in bed for the night. Sometimes when he got done beating me, he would throw me into the boys' room, broken and bleeding. To look back, that must have scared them to death. Here's a broken, bleeding person flying into the room, now lying on the floor. After he calmed down, J2 thought the best way of saying that he was sorry was by having relations with me, whether I was conscious or not.
Excerpted from A Cry in the Night by T. Lewis Copyright © 2010 by T. Lewis . Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Beginnings....................1
Chapter 2: J1....................5
Chapter 3: J2....................7
Chapter 4: L....................19
Chapter 5: G....................23
Chapter 6: Why stay so long?....................27
Chapter 7: I don't want to talk....................29
Chapter 8: Why me and where was God?....................31
Chapter 9: What marriage supposed to be like?....................33
Chapter 10: Coming out and safety....................35
From the author....................37
About the Author....................39