The true account of my becoming a homeless women. I kept this fact a secret from my friends and co-workers. The manager of a five star property in Manhattan without a home to call her own.
I did not have a shopping cart, my cart was a brand new car. A women full of hate and bitterness, blinded by the desire of being loved, but not knowing how to achieve it.
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From A Coccoon To A ButterflyShame that kept me captive
By Rebecca Pizarro-Smith
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Rebecca Pizarro-Smith
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe sad reality ... the moment had arrived
My heart was pumping. I was trembling inside as I placed my foot on the landing of the stairs to see the door of my apartment ... there it was. The day had arrived. The notice was on the door. "By the order of the Marshall (Marshall's name)", I could not enter my apartment. I was out on the street. I was homeless.
I was ashamed as I walked slowly down the stairs. It seemed unreal. Was this really happening to me?
I went back downstairs to see the super (thank God they were good Christian people). He opened the apartment for me. As I walked into the apartment, I felt saddened to know this would never be home again.
I placed his things in the hallway closet and realized as I did it, I was being decent to someone who did not deserve my kindness. While removing my things, I thought of all the memories I had of this place. Five years of my children's and my life had been lived to the fullest in this place. We lived on the fifth floor, the top floor. I used to take the steps two at a time to Apartment 5-C.
"Where am I going to go now?" I asked myself, unable to answer.
As I took my things and placed them outside in the hallway, along with things to give away, I realized I had no one to turn to. I went floor by floor giving everyone I knew some of my things. Things I could not take with me in my small Celica. Everyone was happy to receive what I was giving. No one asked, "Where are you going ... do you have a place to stay?"
I filled my car with my essentials and drove away from the block that was so familiar and the only home I had in the city. The older people of the building watched me as I loaded my car. They were all elderly, nice people who gathered in the early evenings discussing events and politics..
I bid them goodbye, and I knew, as I drove aimlessly away, that I was the subject of their evening conversation.
I drove and drove. I was trembling, and tears were coming down my cheeks without restraint. I was not angry, I was not sad; I was scared. I was so scared because ... I could not think of anything to change my circumstances. I was HOMELESS! I pulled into a quiet area (Lehman College) and parked. My mind started to wonder ... "How did I get here? Where did it all begin?" Then, I remembered.
Chapter TwoThe Dream
I was pushing against the door. He was blocking me. Obviously he did not want me to enter this room.
I finally managed to get in the room. It was an unfamiliar room, very dark and dirty. I have never been in a crack house, but this room looked like one. He lay on a dirty mattress, on the floor, without sheets. He looked dirty (Kerry had never been a dirty guy). There were rodents all over the floor, behind the bed, and against the wall. There were worms, alive and crawling on the wall. There was an animal in an old wooden closet.
I was in shock. "What are you hiding in such filth," I asked, to which he answered me by spreading his arms as if saying, "I don't know".
I woke up from the horrible dream and immediately understood. Kerry was lying to me. I understood the dream in my spirit even before my mind could catch the meaning of it. I knew he was lying to me about something, but what? Kerry was my fiancé. He was the man who had stood by me and had given me love and support when I had needed it the most. I counted on and believed in Kerry with my eyes closed. I trusted him and thought of him very respectfully. We had met in Florida during hurricane Andrew in 1992. We had both lost our jobs and became best friends.
He was funny and reliable. He was strong, and I when I was with him, no one could harm me. He had brought me to Michigan, his home town. He introduced me to his family who accepted me very warmly. I had been hired by the University of Michigan Business School during the summer of 1995. I was supposed to have gotten my children back from their father after summer vacation, but their father decided against it. He took unfair legal measures against me, and when it was time to choose between my kids and my career, I chose my kids. I left for NYC and left Kerry in Michigan working to be hired at Cedar Point, where we would meet again.
Kerry got the job in Cedar Point. After three months, I convinced him to move to NYC. He always dreamed of living in NYC, so he took the offer. My ex-husband was now living with a new girlfriend and agreed for me to pay $3,000 to the real estate agency that managed his apartment complex, and change the names on the lease. Kerry and I became the new occupants of apartment 5-C. We now had a place of our own. That, as I look back now, was my first mistake. He found a job as a Bell Man at a Hotel in Manhattan. He began to work the second shift. He preferred the second shift because, "That's where you make money." It all started very slowly, as everything catastrophic does.
Chapter ThreeThe Phone Call
I started working at a hotel, two blocks away from where he worked, as a Front Desk Agent. Sometimes our schedules kept us from seeing each other, but he would always manage to stop by my hotel or send someone else to bring me something to eat when he could not come. He was so detailed and caring. I knew nothing bad would ever happen to me while I was with him.
The first suspicion ... Deep in my sleep, the house phone rang. I picked up the phone, "Ask Kerry where he's been", the voice on the other end said, then, "click." A second later, I heard the key in the door, and Kerry walks in. "What are you doing awake", he asked me. I was still groggy. "I was asleep utill a second ago. The phone rang and the female on the phone said for me to ask you where you have been", I told him. He looked startled for a split second. Although he recovered from his shock quickly, my brain and my senses picked up the fear in him. I convinced myself that Kerry would never betray me. We used to sit down for hours and pick the songs that we wanted to play at our wedding. He would look at bridal magazines with me and show me what dresses he wanted to see me wear on our wedding day. He would introduce me to his friends and co-workers as his "wife".
Anything I needed, my kids needed, Kerry would provide for us.
I began to feel very uneasy about my relationship with Kerry. One day he was getting ready, and I realized that he was wearing his dress socks with his tennis shoes. I don't know why that rang a bell of alarm in me.
I asked him, "Are you sure you are going to work?" "Yes", he answered with a very indignant. "Righteous anger", I used to call it. I kept observing him without saying a word. He put on his sneakers and did not put on his white socks as he always did. There had been a change in the program, and I had not been notified. As he kissed me to leave, I asked again, "Are you sure you are going to work today?" He answered very softly and kindly, "Yes babe. I hate being away from you. If I did not have to work, I would be right here with you." "That sounds good," I said to myself. I like those words. However, the other part of me said, "You know he is lying!" I then looked deep into his eyes and said, "If I call your hotel, and they tell me that you are not there or can't come to the phone, you better stay wherever you are. I don't want you back." He smiled sweetly at me, and kissed my forehead. He left. I got dressed very quickly and followed him into the subway. I watched him as he got on the train. I got in the car right behind him where, I could watch him through the window that connects them. I followed him, and instead of getting off at 59th Street, he continued going downtown into the village (he and I both worked in Mid-Town). He went into a store, and I took the opportunity to call the pager company. I gave them this message "This does not look like Mid-Town. I thought you said you're going to work." I waited a few minutes and he came out of the store. He was looking from side to side. I called the paging company back with another message, "Meet me at the square. I am looking at you." He did.
When we met at the square, he started to explain. The lies were inexcusable, but I believed him(I wanted to believe him, so I did) We spent the rest of the day together.
He did not have to work that day. He had lied.
A few weeks later, it was a warm summer day, a Sunday. We had made plans to meet in Manhattan. My daughter was coming along. He used to call her "Princess Pin Pin". At the last minute, she decided she did not want to get on the train and go to Manhattan. I called Kerry at work to inform him. I explained the circumstances, he sounded undisturbed by the change of plan. We said good bye, and I stayed on the line as I always did, to hear him click away first. Somehow, the phone did not hang up. I heard him speaking to the front desk lady.
"Is that your wife," She asked. "No! I don't have a wife. I am never going to get married again. I did that mistake once; I am not going to repeat it." Actually, he continued, "That was one of my girlfriends." "Oh really," she exclaimed, very interested in his confession. "Yeah, I have about three of them. That one is the one I live with. I've been with her the longest." Someone came in and needed his help. The conversation got interrupted. After a few minutes he returned. "Yeah, as I was saying, I have this sweet one, she is sooo nice. I see her whenever she comes into town." He said something else about the third one that I could not make out, because it got noisy in the lobby. I continued to listen, a few minutes later the phone rang, the girl at the desk answered. "This call is for you", she told him. "Who is it," he asked. "I don't know, and I did not ask, but it's not the one that just called, she responded. "Let me take it right here" he said. I heard him speaking with whoever was on the phone. He started, "Hello ... hey beautiful, how are you? Let me call you right back. I got to do something. I'll call you right back." He hung up with her. A few minutes passed by. I don't know where he went, but then I heard him again, the switchboard phone rang again. The girl at the front desk answered the phone and informed him that it was for him. "Is it a girl", he asked "Yes", she informed him. "Transfer it here" he ordered. He then came to the phone, the one I've been listening in on. He picks up the phone, hears that it has no dial tone, and this time, he makes sure he hangs up. I was shaking. If I had not heard it with my own ears, I would not have believed it. I was not the only woman in his life. I was one of many. I felt so betrayed, hurt, and incredibly stupid! How could I have missed his deception? I remember then, the many times he had not come home because, "he had not been relieved", "He had to do a special run for his boss, Jerry". Those were always assured with the promise of more money for his upcoming visit to his children in Michigan. Although thoughts of doubt came into my mind
I always thought "how could I get in the way of him making more money to make sure his boys would have a wonderful time with him?
There had been many, many lies. They all came to face me. As I started thinking and remembering different incidents and events that did not add up then, now I could tell that they were obvious lies, I saw just part of the deception he had me believing for the past 7 and half years. I summoned my courage. I was angry now. I dialed the number to the hotel. The girl answered. "Who is calling please" (this time she wanted to make sure to tell him a name). My answer: "Tell him this is the one he lives with, the one that's wearing his diamond ring." She sounded nervous, "Please hold Madam." Next, I hear his voice. The voice that had been a source of strength and comfort, now mocked me. Oozing with flirtation, (as he always did and which I thought was so amazing after all those years together) now I knew it was the same voice he used with all of us. "You have played me for a fool all these years," I stated as he said his captivating "Hello". "What are you talking about," he sounded so genuine. How many times I had been appeased by that same "sincerity". "Demore"(that was his pet name for me), "What are you talking about?" "Did someone do something to you? Why are you so upset", he continued. He sounded as he always did when I sounded unsettled. He was ready to kill whoever brought me grief. This time, he was the source of my pain. I had venom in my blood. I was ready to kill him. I went on the only way I knew how to go on, straight to the point. "You thought you hung up the phone when we spoke last, but I stayed on the line. I paused to make sure he understood what I was saying. I heard everything you said to that girl including both telephone calls you received." CLICK! He hung up.
The phone went dead. I called back. The girl answered. "He has gone home for the day," she said very flatly. I thought, "he feels he's been caught, so he ran home so he can explain".
He did not come home that night. He did not come home until the next day. I could not sleep all night. I believed in God, but God was not someone who answered fast enough for me in those days. His will and my will always collided. I felt like a failure. I had no strength. The next morning, I called out sick. He got home thinking I was not going to be there. When I heard his key in the door, my heart pumped so fast. As he walked in the house, he had a bouquet of long stem red roses with him. He said he felt ashamed. He said, "Nothing you heard was true. I was just bragging to the front desk girl". I knew what he was saying at the moment was not true, but I had not decided what to do next., I felt reckless.
As I looked at Kerry, I understood that life, as I knew it, had ended yesterday. That night I had a terrible dream. I was in the middle of a raging river. It was so violent that for a moment it felt as if I was in the middle of a storm in the sea. I was standing in the middle of the river where it divided itself. I was standing on a rock in the middle of the raging water. The mist of the water around me had me soaked, but I remained standing on the rock which I was sure in the dream was not going to move. Once my eyes opened, I understood that things were about to get worse. I did not understand that it was a spiritual dream as well. The Lord was speaking to me, letting me know that although things were going to get worse, He was with me. He is my rock. I would be safe, because although I did not deserve it, He had chosen me for Himself and salvation was about to come to me (six years later).
Chapter FourThe Receipt
"You won't believe what happened to me," he said angrily. "What happened," I asked with genuine concern. He looked so upset, I was afraid to ask, but I had to know. "These people did not pay me!" (these people meaning his job, the hotel, Jerry). "How could they not pay you when you've worked all week long," I inquired. It was un-believable, but it was not the first time it had happened. "Yep, they claim that the funds are not going to be there 'till next week. I am leaving tomorrow, and I only have these three hundred dollars I made in tips today. You imagine? We have things to pay! We were all talking (meaning the rest of the staff of the hotel) and everyone is looking for a job so we can all leave at the same time and leave them stranded." "We have rent to pay," I responded in a worried voice. The deal between us was that he paid the rent, and I paid the electric bill, phone bill, and cable bill. All these came to the same as or a little more than the rent. We then bought food together.
It was a fine arrangement and one that we took seriously. I called the real estate agency and told them we were going to be late. He continued trying to ease my worries. "I'll have to wait 'till next week to pay it," he stated, knowing that I was a stickler for paying rent on time. "I can pay it, if you want, and you just pay the bills when they come," I insisted. He replied, "No, that's ok, they know I'll be late and the arrangement is made."
It was a hot summer day. Kerry was taking his pants off by the washer as he spoke to me. Leaving the pants on the floor, he left the kitchen to take a shower. I was disturbed. "Why the issues with his pay," I thought. "These people have a company that requires people to be at work and on time, but they don't have the decency to pay them for their work." As my mind raged with disbelief, I reached to pick up the pants off the floor. As I picked them up, a receipt fell out of his pocket. It danced in the air as if it were teasing me to catch it. It landed on the floor. I picked it up and looked at it. I knew it was a receipt from the check cashing place down the block. It read the amount of the check, the percentage fee that was taken. This receipt was not alien to me, every week I would see the same exact receipt, as Kerry did not have a bank account.
Excerpted from From A Coccoon To A Butterfly by Rebecca Pizarro-Smith Copyright © 2011 by Rebecca Pizarro-Smith. 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
ContentsChapter 1: The sad reality ... the moment had arrived....................13
Chapter 2: The Dream....................15
Chapter 3: The Phone Call....................17
Chapter 4: The Receipt....................21
Chapter 5: Valentine's Day....................23
Chapter 6: Tic Toc Tic Toc....................27
Chapter 7: The Mail Key....................31
Chapter 8: Judgement Day....................33
Chapter 9: Living Without A Home....................37
Chapter 10: 9/11 2001....................39
Chapter 11: Emotional Junky....................45
Chapter 12: Retribution Of Sins....................53
Chapter 13: I Can Lee....................57
Chapter 14: The Earlier Years Parenthesis....................62
Chapter 15: Suicide, not an option....................79
Chapter 16: So I Thought I Was Done....................87
Chapter 17: Daniel and Marc....................95
Chapter 18: Under James' Care....................99
Chapter 19: The Pharisses Are Still Trying To Kill Jesus....................101
Chapter 20: My Date With My Husband....................111
Chapter 21: Butterfly....................115
The Unforgettable Me....................119
Look me up....................123
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In this book, Pizarro-Smith has woven a narrative of her life together with the threads of the very highs to the very lows. She captivates her audience with a story of endurance and perserverance built upon a foundation of God-given purpose. Throughout all of her trials and tribulations, she continually fights for her life as God gives her glimpses of His grace and mercy for her to hold onto. She gives hopes to others that though faced with tragedy, life doesn't have to stop. There is a way to continue on and fight through to your destiny!
I Love this book and would Recommend it to anyone and eveyone!!!!!! It truly touched my heart and soul! What a strong Women!!!