May 28th 2000, the night my life took a turn for the better, the
night I gazed upon my sons angelic face for the first time, Bishop. John was there, completely sober, holding my hand through
the entire birth. He was obviously enthralled with his newborn son. I was too exhausted to think clearly, so when he went
down to get the carseat from the giftshop (yes I had a car) I thought nothing of it. Hours passed, the entire day passed,
he had not returned. When someone came with the birth certificate for me to fill out, he still had not returned, so only my
name was entered. I was pissed about this at first, but it would turn out to be a saving grace, he had no legal claim to Bishop.
I was his one and only parent, legally as well as emotionally. Finally sometime early the next morning he came dragging
into my room, drunk. He fell and began to pass out right where he'd landed, I pulled him into the bathroom and shut the door,
embarassed at possibly having a nurse or doctor see him in that condition. He claimed he'd been celebrating, and never once
apologized for having left me alone, and in pain to take care of this brand new baby boy. Ofcourse I had assistance from the
staff, but I resloved to do as much as I could on my own. I fell head over heels in love with this wonderful new citizen of
I was essentially trapped in our apartment. We had
no phone, John would take my car for days at a time going on drug binges. He was now assured that I'd much rather just give
him what he wanted in order to avoid chaos around bishop, to him Bishop was leverage. On the days he was missing in action
I spent my time wisely, devising a plan, gathering important papers. I'd always carried a backpack as a purse, so I knew he'd
think nothing of seeing it sitting propped against the wall, only I knew it had been prepared for a quick exit, it was a secret
I relished. When he kicked me in the face, when he choked me, when he broke dishes, my secret allowed me to rise above it.
Every day I'd whisper my secret to Bishop, promising that I would get him out of this mess, and that whatever we went through
after we left could never be as bad as what we were going through there. A blessing in disguise would allow me to keep that
promise when Bishop was six months old. We were evicted for non payment of rent. We moved into a motel room, I now had a phone,
a phone to a battered woman is a lifeline. I grabbed that lifeline and held on.
Our last night together was quite possibly our worst,
at least from my point of view. John had'nt worked in a week, and we had no money for another weeks stay at the motel. I suggested
he allow me and Bishop to go into an emergency shelter for a few days until he could scrape up enough money for some type
of housing, oddly enough he agreed. The final battle began over five dollars I had in my pocket, he wanted it, but I knew
I was leaving for good and needed it, five bucks isn't much, but when it's all you have it seems like a million. After dumping
a bag of chips over my head, threatening me with a screwdriver, and raving like a lunatic, he decided on a better course
of action. He propped the door open by sitting in a chair in front of it, it was december and only about twenty degrees outside.
don't ever underestimate the lengths an addict will go to to get high. He was literally freezing his own son for one last
hit, but the sun was coming up and I knew if I endured for a few more hours Bishop and I would be free. I fell asleep at some
point and awoke to the sound of his uncle blowing the horn outside ( my car had been destroyed by this point) time to go!
I held my poker face tight. As we drove, as he walked
us into the shelter, as he said goodbye and promised to pick us up on friday. I had already made arrangements for a one
week stay with the shelter, and gave them the same story I'd given over the phone as long as he stood there beside me. He
asked if he could visit, I pretended to be happy when they told him he could. I knew if he had the slightest hint that
he would never see me or his son again, he'd kill me, he'd told me this many times, and I had no doubt he keep that promise.
I watched him walk out for what I knew would be the
last time. The social worker directed me into her office to fill out paperwork, there I told all my secrets to her for the
first time. When I finished, with tears in her eyes, she picked up the phone and called a local domestic violence shelter.
I was terrified, I had nothing but the clothes on my back, and a tiny baby boy, how ever was I going to make something from
nothing. The answer was lying peacefully in my arms. I had to do it, I had no choice, somehow, someway, I would do whatever
I had to in order for my son to have a normal life, a life free from violence, and chaos, as his mother it was and is my responsibilty
to provide him with that life. I set out that day to do just that, and today I have accomplished that goal.