My kids left that morning and the strength I had maintained through the evening came crashing down, the reality of the situation hit me hard, hard enough to take the breath out of my lungs. I remember laying on the couch and crying until I could cry no more. What was I going to do now?
I packed my small sedan with as much of my personal belongings as I could fit. A few boxes of clothes, my favorite photos of my family, my jewelry box, etc. and I drove across the bridge to the island. I sat in my packed car, staring out over the ocean, still crying, unable to function. embarrassingly enough, it was the end of April and the warmer weather was bringing out the tourists, a tourist walked past my car and was concerned enough about my condition to not stop and ask if I was ok, but to call the police instead. I can only imagine what that scene must have looked like to the two young officers that pulled in beside my car. Here I am, belongings piled to the roof, barely enough room for me to sit in the driver’s seat is remaining, my hair all over my head, not having had a shower in 36 hours and my eyes swollen almost shut. The officer gently knocked on my window, a look of sympathy all over his face, I explained my situation, he told me I did not have to go home, but I did have to leave the public parking area as I was “scaring” people. He pulled out, I phoned my best friend in desperation of what to do. She knew about R., this was one of the friendships that I had resurrected over the last few years, and gratefully so. She was horrified at the news but was able to offer a listening sympathetic shoulder and some stability to my unstable mind. I drove back across the bridge, to a sound front parking lot that was private and we talked for almost an hour. She is a magistrate in a neighboring county and she told me to go back to the town house and not leave, her concern was his legal rights on obtaining the home by stating I abandoned him. I drove back to our home, he was not there yet, pulled the blinds and laid on the couch and slept for hours. I awoke to his keys in the door, by this time it was around 3 in the afternoon. I sat up on the couch, th events of the last 24 hours still an overwhelming blur and the anger on his face when he looked at me was enough to let me know I could not stay there and be safe. In just a matter seconds I was up, keys in hand, and back out in my car. My husband never said a word to me nor did he attempt to stop me. I again, called my friend and let her know what I was doing. She encouraged me to find a hotel room, isolated somewhere, and get some rest. I didn’t have much money in my account but interestingly enough, for no valid reason, I had applied for a credit card a few months earlier and had been granted one with a 5,000 credit limit. I found a hotel on the island, at a descent rate, checked in, lugged all my personal belongings into the room, called my friend, then drug myself across the street to the local ABC store. I phoned my children to make sure they were ok and to let them know I was ok, attempted on several more occasions to call R. and finally passed out in a drunken heart-broken stupor.
I awoke the next morning to a text from my husband. He was worried about the kids and I and told me I could come home. I texted him back and told him we would return on Sunday, I had paid for two nights at the hotel, the kids were not due back until Sunday anyway, and I, did not see a reason for us to be alone together Saturday night. I knew R. was due to be on call for the weekend, so I texted his work phone with the address of the hotel and the room number followed by 911. I sat for hours waiting for his call, none came. Unable to sit inside the hotel room anymore, I went down to the beach and begin to walk and walk and walk, before I realized it, I had walked over 3 miles lost in thought. I turned and headed back to the hotel, was disappointed to find no news from R. or my husband. Realizing I had not eaten in two days, I headed to my car to find something digestible. As I was driving down the road, heading to the local golden arches, what to my wondering eyes does seem but R.’s landscaping truck. I see him and his employee’s silhouette in the windows and I begin to follow him. He sees me, signals me to follow him and we drive towards his friends shop. His trailer is attached and I can tell it has a heavy item in it. We pull behind his friend’s garage, he comes and sits in my car with me. He tells me after my husband phoned him, he became frightened for his own safety, so he packed an overnight bag, and drove the two hours to where his wife was located with her family. He said she was upset he showed unexpectedly, but that weekend was his step sons birthday, so he used that as an excuse and they had stayed Friday night as well , to throw him a party. He explained he could not call, due to her family being around him constantly, and once he received my text on Saturday and had returned to our area, he had driven non stop through the parking lot of the hotel. He was in the process of delivering his truck to his friend’s garage, he said he used the excuse it needed repairs but he knew it was a matter of time before my husband called his wife and he wanted as much off her property as possible before that happened. He was in a hurry to get back home before red flags were raised, so we stepped out of my car and talked while he was unloading the truck from the trailer. Just beside his friends shop was a small brick home, the resident of the home pulled into the parking lot and was unable to get to her drive due to my car being in the way. I went to my car, moved it out of her way, and was completely horrified when I returned to R. to find him deep in a flirtatious conversation with the young woman of the house. I stood in awe as she flipped her hair, asked questions about his truck, stuck out her chest and batted her eyelashes: R.’s response was to jump into the truck, start it, offer her a ride, and partake in flirty banter. I know the tension and anger was blowing off of my chest because R.s employee glanced my way, then made a quick retreat back to the passenger side of the truck and the conversation was ended when Ms. Busty Boobs glanced my way and read my body language. Interestingly enough, R. never seemed to notice. I should have known that weekend, by his tucking his tail between his legs and running, as well as his need to carry on that particular conversation in my time of devastation, that R. was not going to stand by my side, but unfortunately, I didn’t. R. left with a promise to call me the next morning, as he was going to open his wifes store for her, so she could spend time with her family. Ummmm…thanks!
That evening, I phoned my husband, we had a short but mature conversation, and he told me I could come home, with my kids, and we would talk about what was going to happen from there. I crawled into the hotel bed, hopeful for a positive outcome from all of this. Early Sunday morning, my hotel phone rang, and I jumped from my bed, knowing it would be R. He was at their store, had worried about me all evening and was glad to hear I was ok. I told him about my conversation with my husband and he became angry. He did not feel it was a safe environment for me to return to and selfishly, he did not want me to go back. I explained, at that point, I had no other option. My son was due to leave for the USAF in one short week, my daughter had a few weeks left in her junior year of high school and I had no money to be able to get any housing at that point. Customers began to come into his store around that time and he explained he could not talk but would call me back. After I hung up the phone, my cell phone had died the previous evening, I plugged it into the charger, and was horrified to find a message from my husband telling me I was not allowed back into the home, he did not feel it would be a good idea. I phoned him that morning and was horrified for him to tell me my kids and I were not welcomed. I asked what brought about this change of heart and he refused to tell me. I asked where he had been the night before and he informed me he had been at his friend’s home, a highway patrolman house, a friend that never liked me and never treated me well. I knew, at that moment, he was allowing others to make his decisions for him and I told him so. He became irate, began his usual tirade of informing me of my low life status, all this was my fault and the insults flew over the phone. He stated he would be out of the home all day, if I needed to stop in and pick up anything, but he did not want to be anywhere near me….and that was it.
It was 10 a.m., housekeeping was beating on my door, checkout had been at 9. I had phoned the kids the night before and told them to come home. Other than my credit card, I had no money, and I was due back at work the next day at 8 a.m. R. had offered NO support, I was lost, destitute and had no idea how to begin to do anything, even function. I checked out of the hotel, was crossing the parking lot, and I see R.’s car pulling in. He pulls up with a smile, rolls down his window, and senses my mood. I explain my conversation with my husband and tell him of my circumstances. He offers no help, has no advice, only tells me he has to go and he will call me later. I look on the passenger side seat and there sits two hot to go plates from the diner down the street. I knew then, that his wife had arrived at her work and he had only came out to get her breakfast. He follows my gaze, looks guilt ridden and offers me one of the breakfasts! (really) I decline, tell him not to worry, though I have not eaten in three days, I need no one to take care of me, I begin to walk to my car, he slowly rolls up his window, and drives back to his wife.
I packed my car with my belongings, drove to the local coffee shop, purchased a small coffee and slowly sipped it while borrowing two hours of free internet. I searched every real estate site in the area, being we lived in a beach community, there were plenty of weekly or monthly rentals available on their web sites. The issues became obvious, this was April 22, peak season began May 1, if a place was available for rent, it was an extreme amount of money for simply one week and the monthly rentals were set to end on May 1 and become weekly rentals. The available long-term rentals I was able to find were all the same. They needed a completed credit application, rental application and background check before they even gave you the option to rent. I was in no place to even consider the option of a long-term rental. I was dismayed with every phone call, at the denial and rejection I felt. The rain moved in outside, the temps began to drop, and my mood was worsening every minute. Tired of me mooching their internet and only purchasing a 1.50 glass of coffee, the owners of the coffee shop began eyeing me down. I packed up my computer, threw away what was left of my undrank cup of coffee, and somehow returned to my car. I drove to the base of the high-rise bridge that enters the island and considered suicide. I looked around me, my belongings piled high, nowhere to go, no one to talk to and knew that I had one of two choices, end it all now or battle it through and not let this break me. I began to think of my kids, of my sons strength and desires to serve in our military, of my daughters last year of high school, and i knew I had to fight.
While I was at the coffee shop, I had phoned a real estate company in reference to a monthly rental, the woman on the opposite end of the phone was sympathetic and compassionate. I had explained my situation to her and she was saddened to tell me she could only offer me the one week until May 1. I was touched by the compassion in her voice and felt compelled to call her again. I phoned again, asked if she could contact the land lords and see if they would be sympathetic to my place and allow me to rent their condo until May 22. She obliged, phoned back within five minutes and happily told me they had agreed. I was parked directly across the street from the real estate company and made no hesitation at rushing in their office and paid for the next month. I drove to the condo and was excited to find a two bedroom, fully furnished, beach front home, in a resort who’s amenities included two pools, one indoor/one outdoor, a basketball court, miniature gold course, and a security gate with a guard present . I was so elated, this would be perfect for my sons last week at home, I could present it more as a vacation and that would distract his mind from what was really happening. As for my daughter, school would be out June 6, we had a month to stay at the said condo, that should give me enough time to secure a long-term rental and have a little stability before the summer arrived.
I ventured to the condo, unpacked my belongings from the car, took a nice hot shower, phoned my kids with the details and address and headed to the grocery store to stock the kitchen. I was strolling through the deli section when that familiar feeling of electricity coursed through my veins. I rounded the corner and there he was, R., with his little shopping cart, purchasing supper to cook for his wife. I half heartedly attempted to avoid him, but he saw me before I could make my break away. I let him know about the condo, where it was located and the status of my marriage. He seemed relived that I had found a place, even for a short time, but had to rush home, before his wife wondered why he was taking so long.
I cried in the parking lot of Foodlion, on the drive to the condo, and while waiting for the kids to arrive. What had just happened? Was this really my life now? How was I going to even venture another breath?