Chapter 4: Cried In Silence
So let’s fast forward a couple months down the road, some time around late June. Why? That’s simple, everything pretty much stayed the same during that time. No sense in repeating every disturbing detail right? We’ve come to a point where Darnell always had a reason to be pissed off, always found a reason to have a problem with everything, always had a reason to put me down and what do you know? It was always...my...fault! It didn’t take long for me to start believing that maybe I was responsible for all that was happening and how it was developing.
You’re probably wondering what my children thought about everything that was going on. Well my children were being children and it didn’t phase them much, (so I thought) but you could definitely sense that they felt what was going on. For example, one day while Darnell and I were downstairs watching television, we heard loud bumping and thumping above our heads. The bedrooms were located upstairs so we knew it was the kiddos. We get upstairs to see Carter, who was three years old at the time, jumping up and down on the bed. Now Darnell has made several attempts on multiple occasions to communicate with my children and create a bond with them, but it was almost always a failed effort. Darnell simply asked Carter, “Aye man, why are you jumping in the bed like that?” Carter responds by screaming bloody murder at the top his lungs and states, “I DON'T LIKE YOOOUUU!!” Well damn bud, **lmao**!
As I have grown, if I haven’t learned anything, I learned when it comes to children, they are innocent. Children can see evil before it rears its ugly head, even when our gut is telling us to run. When Carter yelled that day, that right there was my warning to get away and I didn't listen.
Around this same time, since new love bugs were wearing off and no longer biting and there wasn’t much bedroom action going on, Darnell and myself spent most of our nights downstairs in the living room area. Plus the television downstairs had cable (lol)! There was a sofa sleeper downstairs, but it was super uncomfortable, it was always this one rod vertically connected to the frame and it felt like you were sleeping on a steel pole. So we would take the mattress off the sofa sleeper and lay it down on the floor. We’d have snacks, drinks, smoke weed and we would just kick back and watch some of our favorite late night shows like Family Matters and George Lopez, love me some George man (lol). We would stay like that until we passed out.
The weekend of the 4th of July. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the beginning of the worst seven years of my life.
The town I lived in had a parade every year to kick off the holiday festivities. The parade was always downtown. Now when I say downtown, I don’t necessarily mean night clubs, bars and huge ass city skyscraper type of downtown. Just picture small business storefronts down one main street that is MAYBE ten blocks long.
All the children are awake and moving about, excited for the day to begin. Meanwhile, Darnell is still asleep and I’m just laying down wide awoke on the mattress we had laying on the floor. Now Darnell has been dealing with a summer cold for the last few days. So much so, that instead of going to the bathroom and hacking up his mucus, he used a cup and would keep it next to the bed. I get up and begin getting the children together, starting with breakfast. My almost one year old Jackson, my little fat baby who likes to put everything in his mouth, is crawling around on the floor. I happen to notice he is coming dangerously close to that damn cup. So naturally, my thoughts go to him grabbing that cup and doing the unthinkable (you get where I’m taking this)!
I tried to wake Darnell up and asked him numerous times to grab the cup before Jackson got to it. He repeatedly says, “I’ll get it.” Meanwhile, he’s still laying down and making no attempt to move whatsoever to pick this cup up. After so many times of Darnell saying, “I’ll get it,” and never moving, I eventually without even thinking, end up yelling, “GET THE FUCK UP AND MOVE THE CUP BEFORE JACKSON GETS TO IT.” Not even waiting for him to respond to my request, I stop what I’m doing, leave the kitchen and go to the living room where my baby is, bend over, pick him up and take him back to the kitchen table, place him in his high chair so he can have his cereal.
While the kids are having their breakfast, I go about getting dressed. I end up in the basement where the washer and dryer is located. I take the load of wet clothes that just finished its cycle and put in the dryer, put in my preferred settings and then began the chore of starting a new load in the washer. I climb the stairs to check on the children so they can start getting dressed for the parade. As I open the door exiting the basement, directly in front of me, Darnell is coming out of the bathroom at the same time. We lock eyes and the next thing I know, Darnell grabs me by my throat with one hand, swings me to a wall nearby, slams my back against it and is choking the hell out of me.
Growing up as a teen in a big city with full access to everything and all I did was run the streets all times of night, I’ve had my fair share of close calls. But I have never felt so close to death as I did in that very moment. He squeezed so tight to where I couldn’t breath. He loosened his hold just enough to slam me back into the wall with force, all while saying with so much venom in his words, “ I said I would get the fucking cup.” At this point, I have both my hands wrapped around his wrist trying to pry his hand from around my throat. With a thumb pressed in the middle of my throat, he brings his other hand to my throat, now using both hands to squeeze as tight as he could. Darnell is repeatedly slamming me into the wall, with spit flying out his mouth, constantly saying, “Bitch, don't you know I will fucking kill you! I will fucking kill you!” While slapping at his face, I really thought he was going to. Right when my vision goes dim and starts to blur. He releases my throat, stalks off and I fall to the floor. All while my children are on the other side of the wall, oblivious to what has happened and is still eating breakfast. I opened the door that leads to the basement and ran downstairs in hopes of catching my breath and that’s where I sat, alone, scared and I cried in silence.
I was terrified to the point where I felt trapped and there was no escaping him. He knew it and he would begin to use that against me every time. I never felt my family cared about me, didn’t have many friends who would’ve gotten involved. Who was I going to tell, who was I going to ask for help, who was going to save me.
I must’ve stayed downstairs for over twenty minutes trying to compose myself. I didn’t want to hint anything to the children and have them worry. I made my way back upstairs to where the kids were, cleaned up the kitchen and got back to getting the kids ready for the parade. It wasn’t fair to them if they ended up having to miss out on the parade because of my poor decisions. An hour later, we’re all dressed and ready to go, including Darnell. We load up the car and head over to where the parade will be. After some time walking and finding a place to settle. We sit on the curb and wait for the parade to begin. I have so many thoughts circulating in my head, that it’s impossible for me to even find space to enjoy the festivities. Next thing I know, I feel Darnell wrapping his arm around my waist, pulling me flush against him and says, “I’m so sorry baby, I can’t believe I did that. I love you so much, I would never intentionally hurt you. Please forgive me.”