Woodshop.

me n woodshop 2012

Me and Woodshop Thanksgiving Day, 2012

I want to share a story with anyone who cares to read it; it is one of the most vivid and lasting memories that I carry from my former life as a “battered woman”; and it’s point in case has NEVER left me; not since I was able to escape with my life and get away to eventually reflect on everything that happened back then. It is a story that drives home the emphasis placed on the psychological aspects of being a domestic hostage to an abusive mate; and for me, it sends chills down my spine to touch upon in memory for that very reason…it basically epitomizes the way that someone can become TOO FUCKING HOPELESS AND AFRAID TO SURVIVE OUTSIDE OF THE ABUSE.
Before I met my ex-husband, I had another boyfriend, whom I loved fiercely and fostered deep a spiritual connection with from the gate; they call him ‘Woodshop’. He and I spent almost a year living together prior to my meeting the Ripper. I was actually still sharing a house with Woodshop when I first was introduced to my ex-husband. Things happened, as they always do – and Woodshop was removed abruptly from my life by being arrested and sentenced to 28 months in jail for (unrelated to me) criminal activities. And just like that – he was GONE. During his time in jail, I got married to, and had my daughter with the Ripper. Due to the circumstances surrounding the unhealthy jealousy and dominance that I quickly learned about the man I had settled down with, I eventually stopped writing to Woodshop altogether and we lost touch. Time passed in its cruel way.
I remember it was Christmas Eve day when I opened my front door with double raccoon eyes and a smeared nose to see Woodshop on my porch, mouth hanging open as wide as possible – speechless, and he was obviously disappointed by how he found me. I was home alone and I remember saying,

“What are you doing here? You’re gonna get me killed!”

After all that time and the heavy bonds between us, that was ALL I HAD TO SAY TO HIM and the hurt stung in his face. He got me to sit down on the stoop with him and talk a while; I somewhat caught him up on the Living Hell I was existing within; and he said,

“Go inside and pack some things, get ready to leave…I’ll take care of the rest…I’ll take care of him when he finds out…don’t worry; just get some clothes and let’s go.”

I recall thinking about his words and blurting out,

“What about my baby? He has my daughter, I can’t leave without her!”

Boo was a new element to Woodshop; one that he had not considered into the equation yet; and he thought for a while before saying something like,

“We will come back for her, I swear…I’ll come back for her tonight after we get you to my mom’s house, somewhere safe…”

It was an absurd suggestion in my mind, and I discounted the notion immediately. Woodshop wouldn’t leave though; he refused to leave without me…and, as the time passed, I became more uneasy about his being there when my husband got home. Eventually, that was exactly what happened…my psychopathic and abusive husband came home and found us sitting together (me with a broken face, mind you) on the front porch. I knew it was bad; and it was only going to escalate quickly. In short, they ended up exchanging venomous words and the pissing contest began. After I got hold of Boo (who was under about 6 months old), I went inside the house for some reason. I wasn’t packing clothes like I should have been doing, I wasn’t sneaking around out the back door to Woodshop’s car to escape with him while I had the chance…I was just stuck stupidly in the front window – watching the fight of a lifetime. It was absolutely dreadful, in spite of the valiant intention attached to the trigger that shot everything to Hell in the blink of an eye – I recall thinking to myself how either way it ended – I was in for some dark times ahead; because if Woodshop lost then he’d likely be badly wounded or even killed by my ex-husband – and if Woodshop didn’t lose, my ex-husband would be on the war-path for his revenge – I knew.
They must’ve gone twelve long and drawn-out rounds out there; an all-out, drop-kick, spit-out teeth, and slung blood; I watched in anxious, petrifying fear from the window – the most terrifying and slow-motioned fist stand-off between my horribly violent and physically monstrous ex-husband and THE ONLY PERSON WHO EVER TRIED TO SAVE ME FROM HIM. Woodshop inarguably “won” the fight, too; though it is not in his nature to gloat. He left my ex-husband on his back, semi-conscious, gurgling up pieces of lung and choking on mouthfuls of his own blood; he stumbled back up the stoop and through the threshold to find me standing there in sheer shocked stupidity – unable to move my feet or fully comprehend what had just happened.

“Let’s go…NOW!”

He was bleeding and sweating, adrenaline spun-up to the skies, his eyes constantly darting in to the direction of my ex-husband’s figure, rolling around and muttering incomprehensibly by the gate to the street and sidewalk. I didn’t budge, I didn’t look at his face when he came right up in mine and stood very still and said:

“We need to get going now, right now. Get the stuff the baby needs and let me get you away from here, please…”

I remember feeling so terrified of the aftermath in that moment; I remember thinking again of the “lose-lose” situation I was facing: if I left with Woodshop, I would on the run and so then, would he become too…and if I stayed…well, we all know what I had to look forward to if I stayed. I didn’t leave with Woodshop that day – the day that he moved mountains to guide me (and my baby daughter) out of a very dangerous and unsafe situation. I spent that evening nursing my ex-husband’s wounds and preparing myself for the wrath I would receive for the fight and Woodshop’s actions in trying to protect me from him.
To end this story on a lighter note, Woodshop and I are still very close somehow, and this story comes up as a result of our spending the day together yesterday. After everything was said and done, he didn’t seem to think twice in finding some understanding and forgiveness for me when I was recovering in the hospital; he doesn’t like to talk about that day, even now – all this time later; he doesn’t like to talk about anything that is associated with my ex-husband (outside of Boo, of course – he has always had a soft spot for Boo) – and he never lets me give him the credit and acknowledgement I feel he should have for that act of heroism; for that one, single day out of my history when he stuck up for me against “the untouchable” (in my former self’s mind, at least) – and won. In that moment however, I was so deeply impaired by domestic violence and terrorism in my marriage that I denied him the “prize” he was fighting for to begin with; and as a result of the fight, he opened a can of worms for himself with my ex that lasted until the Ripper went on the run, after trying to kill me. Anyway, I have NEVER forgotten or discounted that incident on that day; nor the heart that shone through like a beacon when it came time for Woodshop to either look the other way (like EVERYONE else did), or bust a grape on the principles and standards that he’d always claimed to harbor – the love that he carried for me from before he and I parted ways and I got married – the moment of pure radiant shine that he gave to me, handed to me in my own living Hell of perpetual darkness. This one’s for you, Woodshop – one of my truest and most kindred friends on this Earth.

You are a hero.

The Trigger.

In some ways, the triggering event was as horrifying as it might have been if she had discovered the lifeless body of one of her own children in that garage – HIS garage – during the earliest hours of the morning on the day of her near-death.

In other ways, it was somehow worse.

Sarah

Sarah

The day before had been a bad one – a nasty beating and the brain fog that always accompanied them; there had been a lot of ugliness spat in her direction several times before dinner, and during the meal that she had begrudgingly cooked for him (her appetite had become non-existent and he made sure that she was perpetually dope-sick), she had sat across the table from him with her eyes on the floor, in a vain attempt to avoid the inevitable explosion that she had come to sense brewing and building beneath her husband’s skin.

By this stage of her “captivity”, the woman was allowed individual companionship with five living souls: The Ripper, Boo, and the woman’s three dogs – Sarah, Ozzy, and Vegas. This night, as the tension grew thicker by the bite of food stuffed into her husband’s mouth, it was Sarah, a chow-pit-bull mix that had come into this tragic situation alongside of a once-braver, stronger and more capable version of her caretaker: as an innocent – who lied loyally at the feet the woman’s defeated body, beneath the table on high alert. The dogs were each honed well to the man’s moods also; acting as canine tools that had undoubtedly helped the woman survive in the past.

Directly following his meal, her giant husband went outside momentarily; and during this brief period, the woman got down on the floor to scratch some neck and belly – a luxury that, outside of him, the monster of a man she had married allowed her to share ONLY with these furry, ever-loving creatures.

It had been then that her husband came back in through the back door, and she could tell from the sound of his steps that he was coming for her; she never knew why. Everything had happened so quickly: his boot to her belly, then head – repeatedly; any sense of true consciousness became likened to a strange swirling sensation that drifted drunkenly up and down with the motion of smoke trying to suspend itself in air…she notably forced herself to stay with the pain – to stay awake in defiance, to NOT let him knock her out unconscious again (the gamble of the outcome of a circumstance in which she lost consciousness was not one that typically landed the odds in her favor).

Yelling and clicking and cusswords.

Growling and snapping and cracking.

It wasn’t until a much later time (years later) that the woman would recall the image of her husband booting Sarah as well for trying to protect her. Sarah was a beautiful creature who died for her protective loyalty to the woman.

THAT EVENT HAD BEEN YESTERDAY…

It was after she finished cleaning up the bloodied back of her head under the tap in HIS garage, and turned to leave, that she saw Sarah’s body on the dirt floor – semi-covered by a canvas tarp – beaten to death. THIS had been the event that changed everything very quickly, as the guilt and sheer self-loathing that followed this discovery consumed the woman within a nano-second; she went insane from all of it: the beatings, the betrayal and violation, the death that she wished would be granted more swiftly, the death that he gave Sarah…and the reason why. She bolted from the garage and screamed at the top of her innermost warrior’s lungs for him to come outside and face her: a challenge she knew he would undoubtedly accept as pure entertainment (a thought that fueled her disgust and anger, self-hatred and guilt to the point of no return).

She had felt no fear when she saw him come to the window the next time; his composed face looking warped by shock and disbelief at her sudden demand for a duel with a man nearly three times her weight. She did not experience the “usual” fear when he started to pound on the glass from the inside and holler things she could not hear, but still knew would be the most venomous death threats he’d ever made to her. She did not see much of anything besides blackness and void of light; her thoughts unprocessed in a corner somewhere being protected by her own mind like a child’s. Her battle crying continued until he did finally come to the front door; the same time a police cruiser pulled up two driveways down and she began to run towards the chain-link fence in that direction.

She wasn’t running to her own freedom – she was running to tell the police that he was a murderer, to show them what he had done to Sarah – to make them understand why she’d lost her mind this way. She was beyond any point of caring about her own safety or freedom by that time. He bee-lined for her in the yard as she shuffled her battered frame in haste towards his position in the front door, her mouth sputtering blood, her lungs afire from yelling for so long and loud. Her busted and long-disrepaired jaw barely opened as it was, and she was beaten badly again the day before – hence, the lack of any notice of Sarah’s absence to begin with. She fell over her own numbed feet, and, feeling certain she had met her end, looked directly towards the gathered crowd on the other side of her front yard’s chain-link fence as her huge, loping husband closed in on her. She verbally managed to convey the message to the nearest police officer that she “was finally about to be killed, too…” before his final envelopment of her weakened, sinewy figure against the Thule Fog backdrop. The police and paramedics on stand-by acted without hesitation upon his quickly executed attack, focusing every molecule of energy present in the environment on her simple continuity of LIFE. PHYSICAL INJURIES SUSTAINED:

  • Severe vascular injury/ies (with particular attention to the internal carotid and jugular) from forcibly displaced mandible fracture and blunt lacerations.
  • Multiple Maxillofacial traumas requiring numerous surgeries necessary for her jaw to work properly again.

For months, the woman would remain too incoherent to be aware of any of the events that took place that day, or the fact that her husband had escaped the scene, despite so many people being physical there, right nearby, saving her life from his deathly grips at last. She would spend the next year with the burn unit patients in a hospital to physically work right again; and then they would start to try and reconstruct her face. It would be over a decade until any detail of that day (and the days leading up to it) would return to her mind with any true vividness; like any other memory she keeps; the entire element of Sarah having somehow been washed away with her painful, daily skin debriding in those early days – until only about six months ago, while she was writing a section for this blog.

And so, it had been finding Sarah’s battered and bloody body in HIS garage that turned me seemingly insane with guilt and self-loathing…I essentially begged him to come outside and kill me…and he did in some ways.

But, not in the ways that matter most.

Ozzy and Sarah    Circa 2000

Ozzy and Sarah
Circa 2000

NOTE: Thankfully, Oz and Vegas were unharmed during this incident.