A Stolen Life - A Memoir Part 6
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Looking back on that, I don't really think they spent two hundred dollars on a cat. I must have really needed to believe something good about them. I learned that by being "good" and not complaining a lot I received more freedoms along the way. It didn't usually matter what I needed. It was all about Phillip, his needs, and what he wanted. He got rid of Eclipse while he was on a "run." The "run" lasted for days, and when I was sent back "next door" Eclipse was gone. I learned never to ask questions because the answers never made me feel any better. It seemed every argument ended up with me wrong and him right. He had all the power.
I was moved back into the studio for a couple of weeks, not sure when. And then it was back "next door." I have no idea what his reasoning was for moving me back and forth. I didn't ask. I just did what I was told. I don't know what happened to Eclipse. It would be four years before I got another cat.
Learning I Was Pregnant
Easter Sunday, 1994. I have been moved back to the studio.
Phillip said that he thought he had heard someone talking about police in the neighborhood and thought I would be better protected in the semi-soundproof studio. He said I had to be extra quiet when I walked around. He removed the wall that used to separate the mixing room from the music room. Now it is one big room. I have a new pallet on the floor in the back corner. There is a part.i.tion to give me a feeling of privacy. It's Easter and we have been spending the whole day together. Nancy, Phillip, and I. Phillip and Nancy have a bed in middle of the room. It is a mattress with no box spring. We have been watching The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston and eating a ham dinner that Phillip's mother Pat made. They both tell me to close my eyes. When I open, I see an Easter basket. The basket is filled with candy and it also has two little Easter bunnies, a boy and a girl. I tell them thank you and that I love it. Phillip says there is something that he needs to talk to me about. He says he and Nancy have been watching me lately and noticed that I'd been putting on weight and waddling instead of walking. I said I know. I told them I did feel bigger and that I didn't realize I was walking funny. I told them my stomach was hurting a lot, too. They said, "We think you may be pregnant." I am stunned and scared. What was going to happen to me? What was going to happen to the baby? I knew babies were delivered in a hospital. After all, that was where my mom had delivered my little sister. I wonder how I could possibly have a baby in this place. I will probably have to give her up for adoption, how can I possibly raise a baby in this environment? I wonder if Phillip is happy about this baby. I don't feel like I can ask him in front of Nancy, though, so I think I will wait to ask him later. When Nancy gets upset about something, I don't see her or she doesn't talk to me for days.
A few days later, on the inside I am still haunted by the thought of having to give up the baby. I need to talk to Phillip about it soon. Phillip brings China, a beautiful blond c.o.c.ker spaniel, to visit me. China belongs to his mother, Pat. He told me how he found her. He said he was at a gas station a few years back with his door open while he filled the car up with gas. All of a sudden this dog jumped in. He took her home. When his mother is away from the house at work (I learned she works at a school as the head janitor), Phillip brings China to see me. He knows I really love animals. China always makes me feel so much better. She lays her head on my ever-expanding, painful tummy. All my worries just seem to melt away. Laying there with China next to me and feeling the baby move and kick my ribs, I come to realize that I can never give up my baby. Giving her away was not even an option. I would figure a way out before I ever gave her away. I don't know how I would do that, but I know I wouldn't stop until I did.
The connection I feel for this baby inside of me every time I feel it move is an incredible feeling. I talk to my belly and tell it stories. Every time I feel the baby kick, I feel less and less alone in this world. My body is growing every day, accommodating the baby inside of me. My ribs are being pushed out and it's very painful. I can feel my body changing. I'm not sure how far along I am, but I'm thinking I've been pregnant for a while and just didn't show right away. That's what Phillip says. He seems very happy that I'm having a baby and never brought up anything about giving it away.
I've been thinking back about what I've been writing and I'm not so sure things went exactly the way Phillip said they went. For example, it's a load of malarkey that some random dog just happened to jump into his car at the gas station. It doesn't ring true now that I think about it. I wonder how he actually got China. At the time I had no ability to doubt him. I remember thinking, Dogs don't just jump in strangers' cars. He would always talk about how much animals loved him. He had an Irish setter named Baby. He said that she had puppies and those puppies would come running when he would make this special call. Nancy would always say how much animals really liked him, too. I never really saw it as something special, though. Animals like their owners. Even when an animal is mistreated or abused, some animals crave love and affection so much they would do anything for that attention.
Driving to a Trailer
I have been moved back "next door." Phillip has painted this room yellow and has put up a wall to make it into two rooms. He has given me the one with no windows.
One evening before the baby was born, Phillip came next door while I was watching TV. He said that something was going on. We need to leave the house. I haven't left this place since the day he took me nearly two years ago. I asked what was going on, but he ignored me and said that he would make sure the baby and I were safe and that I needed to listen to him. He said that someone told him there was going to be a raid on the house and it wasn't safe here right now. He said he was going to put a blanket over me and lead me to the van. I was tired and didn't want to go. What choice did I have? He controlled everything. He said Nancy was waiting in the van for us and had everything ready. I asked if I can take anything with me, and he said no and if everything goes right he will be bringing me home soon. I get up and he puts the blanket over me. I am really getting scared. What if something happens to him? What would I do? I feel like I can't catch my breath. I must breathe in and out slowly and tell myself everything will be fine. He leads me out to the van, and I climb in the back and before I can ask where he wants me to sit, he says for me to crawl under the backseat and he was going to put some boxes in front of the seat. Oh my G.o.d, that's ridiculous, I think to myself! Can't I just sit over in the corner? He says that would be dangerous. Dangerous to whom? But I don't argue; I just crawl under the seat. It's kind of hard because my belly is dragging on the floor making it very difficult. I'm afraid I might hurt the baby. I wiggle around and try to find a comfortable position. I finally settle on half on my side and forward a little 'cause the seat is kind of low. Not much wiggle room. I am so uncomfortable! I want to be in my own bed! I hear the van start and back out of the driveway. I wonder where we are heading. Phillip thinks people can hear him when he talks, so he told me earlier that whenever he addressed me it would sound like he was talking to Nancy. He doesn't want anyone to think there was another person in the van.
The driving seems endless. How long have we been driving? What time is it? When we left it was just getting dark, but now it's completely dark especially under the seat. I must have fallen asleep, for when I wake the van has stopped. He helps me to get out. He has to pull me out a bit because I am so stiff from being in the same position for so long. What a relief it is to be out from under the seat. It's still dark out. We are standing in front of a house trailer. I keep my head down as we go in. The steps are really steep. There is a couch in the living room he says I can sit there. I sit and he and Nancy check out the rest of the place. He comes back and asks if I need anything. I ask where we are. And he says this trailer used to belong to a friend named Virginia. She died and left it to him. I say I really need to use the bathroom. My bladder can't hold much since I've been pregnant. I follow him to an actual bathroom! What joy! I haven't used an actually flus.h.i.+ng toilet in so long! And a sink with running water to wash my hands! I come out and he says I should go back to the couch. I want to explore! Explore an actual house-it's been so long! I can see a kitchen and there are bedrooms in the back. But I go sit on the couch. I ask for some water and Nancy gets it for me. Phillip says that we are going to stay the night here because the house isn't safe. I wonder what's going on in the house. Are there people in the back going through my stuff? I wonder what's going on. Phillip locks the front door and says I can sleep on the couch and he and Nancy will be in the back bedroom. It takes a while to fall asleep with all the questions in my head, but I must eventually because when I wake it is morning and Phillip and Nancy are talking in the kitchen. They must have been waiting for me to get up. When I do, they say they are going to leave me here for a few hours so that they can check out the house and get some food for me. He says I can get up to go to the bathroom, but it would be much better for me to just stay on the couch and sleep. He told me that everything would be okay and for me not to be scared because he would come back. I was so scared he wouldn't return for me and just leave me here forever by myself. What would I do all by myself and pregnant? I start to cry. I tell him I don't want to stay alone, that I am scared something would happen. He continued to say he had to go make sure the house was okay and he and Nancy would be back with something good to eat. So he and Nancy left and I heard the click of the lock. I tried to fall asleep but sleep would not come. I finally got up to go to the bathroom. I thought to myself, Since I'm up I might as well check out the rest of the place. I know he told me not to, but what harm could a little peek make? I tiptoe down the hall and think to myself, What if he finds out? He knows so many things. What if he knows I looked around? Curiosity has gotten the better of me. The first room all the way down the hall is a pretty good size, but all that it contains is a mattress on the floor. There's another room across from the bathroom. It looks like a screened-in porch. It would be so nice to have this as a room for me and the baby one day. Phillip says he is going to try to find a way to get this into the backyard so we can use it. We would have a bathroom and a full kitchen! Oh my G.o.d, it would be so wonderful. I hope he can find a way to do it. I walk back into the living room. All the furniture in here looks so old and dusty. The kitchen is pretty nice, though. I open the refrigerator and dream about actually being able to use this every day. Always to have food available, what a joy that would be! I finally settle back on the couch and fall asleep. When I wake it is to the sound of the door opening. I get scared for a minute. What if it's not them? But it is and I am so happy to see them. They have brought chili beans. Nancy heats them up on the stove and fixes me a bowl with a flour tortilla to go with it. Phillip says that it is now safe to go back home but not until it gets dark outside. They go in the back to take a nap and I stay on the couch and wait. I'm in my mind, thinking about what my life used to be like. Reliving memories is one of the ways I keep my past alive inside. I don't want to forget my family back home. I fear that one day I won't remember what my mom looks like. Already her image is fading from my mind. Soon night comes and Phil is ready to go but seems on edge again. He says he thinks it best if we drive around some more before we go home. I just want to go home. What's going on that he thinks we can't? Again he doesn't answer. I get back in the van and under the seat. After the first time I know what to expect down here, but that doesn't make it any easier. After a while of driving I start to feel really sick. I call out to them and tell them I feel like I'm going to throw up. Phillip pulls over, and Nancy comes to the back with a plastic bag. They tell me to hold on awhile longer. I try but the movement of the car brings my lunch of beans right up. The bag is too small to contain all the beans. I'm at a very bad angle to be throwing up and I don't have much room to maneuver. Throwing up does make me feel better, but now I have to lay in this awful disgusting mess. Finally Phillip announces that we are home. Nancy comes to the back and takes the bag and cleans up the rest of the puke from the carpet. Then I come out with a sheepish grin on my face and say, "I'm really sorry." I am thinking, Hey, it's not my fault. I don't see why we were driving in the first place. But of course I say nothing of the sort, I wouldn't talk back to him like that. I am glad we are home. I get cleaned up and change my clothes and go to bed in my own bed. Phillip says that whatever was going on has pa.s.sed and there's nothing to worry about for now.
I still don't know what to make of that day. I was just glad when it was over. I've always thought I am a go-with-the-flow kind of person. My mom says that my nickname was "the Bull" when I was little, but I don't remember that. She says I was real stubborn when it came to something I really wanted; that I would dig my heels in and be very persistent about whatever it was. I never thought of myself as stubborn, but looking back I can see some instances where that would fit me. In the beginning I asked a lot of questions about everything. I think I was always an inquisitive person. I learned when to back off with the questioning early on with Phillip. Sometimes not asking questions made things easier. Phillip's verbal abuse was very effective. Although I would have liked some direct answers to my questions, I learned to not question too much because the answer I got would be lengthy and in the end make me forget the question in the first place. The fact is, I do have many questions such as: Whose trailer were we using that night? What did he think he was hearing? What really happened to the person that lived there? I might never know the answers to these questions.
Waiting for Baby
I'm watching many baby shows to prepare myself to take care of a baby. Phillip started watching a lot of child care shows, too. He especially likes a gentleman on TLC; I can't remember his name, though. He has rented birthing videos from the library and watched them with me. It looks pretty scary, but he said he could do it and nothing would go wrong.
Every day seems to melt into the next. I don't know what is going to happen. All the preparation seems to melt away and I have no recollection of the day-to-day activities I did to prepare for an infant's arrival. Phillip moved me next door to what he calls "next door." I have a bed and dresser and my own TV. This afternoon as I was watching Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman-it's one of my favorite shows to watch-I have been having sharp pains all day, but I didn't really think anything of it this morning; I have been in pain before. But this pain seemed different and started to get so severe by afternoon I couldn't even move. Is this what it feels like to have a baby? I wish I wasn't alone. I am so scared! No one has come to check on me all day and the door was still locked, so I have to wait until someone comes.
Nancy finally comes in around five p.m. She sees me hunched over in pain. She goes to get Phillip and he asks me all kinds of questions like, how long do the contractions last and that sort of thing while Nancy goes to get all the stuff they need, like towels and hot water. Phillip reminds me about the birthing videos and rea.s.sures me that he knows what to do. Nancy is a nurse's aide. I don't have anyone else.
The contractions last into the night. I twist and turn and try to find a comfortable position, but nothing helps. It is late by the time my water finally breaks. At first I thought I had peed myself. I tell Phillip and he thinks it won't be long now. When my water broke I felt an instant of relief from the constant pressure I had been feeling for months as the baby grew inside of me. The pressure returned after that when it was time for me to push. I have never been in so much pain in my life. Phillip tells me I need to push now. It seems like it is taking forever and the baby is still not coming. He feels inside and discovers the cord is around the baby's neck and is preventing the baby from coming out. He uses his finger to pull the cord away slightly and the next push is successful! Nancy takes her and gets her cleaned up. I still had the placenta to push out. That seems to take forever, too. After that they gave her to me to hold for the first time and cleaned up all the mess and changed my sheets. I am exhausted and all I want to do is go to sleep. I nurse her for the first time, which feels very strange to me and then we both went to sleep. My baby girl came into the world at 4:35 a.m., August 18, 1994. I am fourteen years old and very, very scared.
Recounting that day, I can't believe that was me that went through this. I can't imagine ever going through something like this again by myself. Obviously, I didn't have a choice with the second pregnancy either. How did I not just go insane with worry? How do you get through things you don't want to do? You just do. I did it because that was the only thing I could do. I would do it all again. The most precious thing in the world came out of it ... my daughters.
I'm not sure why Phillip chose the name he did for my first daughter, which later in his delusional thinking began to symbolize the powerful spirit forces that controlled his mind. I have my own reason for not protesting the name she was given. To me her name symbolizes everything good in the universe. It encompa.s.ses my old beliefs and helped me hold on to those beliefs even when I was. .h.i.t the hardest with his "angel theory." I don't think of myself as a religious person. Even with all the many hours Phillip insisted we sit and listen to his interpretation of the Bible, I still don't really know if I believe in the Bible at all. When I was little, before I was taken away by Phillip, one of my favorite things to collect were these figures called "Precious Moments." They came in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and each one had a unique quote on a locket necklace. I received a Guardian Angel Precious Moment for my ninth birthday. I kept it in its stand atop my dresser.
A Stolen Life - A Memoir Part 6
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A Stolen Life - A Memoir Part 6 summary
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