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.
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.