I’ve often thought of the months that followed our exodus to my brother’s house in terms of a year. It was really a little over 3 months but I had so much inner turmoil and mental thrashing about going on that it seemed longer before I ended up getting my shit together. My brother was mad at his girlfriend and they were locked in a constant struggle and I invariably ended up in the middle of it. He came home much sooner than anticipated so we were all there in his house and I know he didn’t particularly enjoy the intrusion so I did my best to feed them well since Helena didn’t really cook and do my part to clean house, etc.
I spent my birthday there with them and despite all that was going on they tried to be there for me, to make me feel better. I continued to get phone calls and letters from Tucker. He begged. I cried. I tried to figure out what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. I was still getting phone calls from randoms telling me that I’d better watch out because Rangers or Feds had been asking around about this and that. I tried to push it all to the back of my brain and just figure out a way to exist.
I started feeling like myself a little bit more every day but constant contact with him in the form of visits and phone calls left me feeling as if nothing had really changed. I was biding my time and trying to figure out how to get divorced and what they would do with him, where he’d go once they’d charged and released him. Luckily for me all his bonds were revoked everywhere. Once he cleared his mess up in that county he began a county to county trek from jail to jail to answer for his transgressions. This meant I didn’t have to deal with him face to face any time soon and that was good news for me. I wasn’t strong enough to tell him no to his face. His con was too good and I knew I’d give in still.
I alternately ignored his phone calls and took them. After they transferred him to another county, I quit going to see him and I took my wedding rings off though occasionally I would look down and find myself wearing them and not know how they got back on my finger.
Helena one day pointed to my finger and said, “I thought you weren’t wearing those anymore.”
I lifted my hand and gave a half smile, “I’m not. I have no clue why they’re there.”
I slipped them off and into my pocket and shook my head at myself. By the end of the day when I was getting undressed, I noticed had them back on again. I took them and put them in a ring box and put them in the bottom of my jewelry box so that they weren’t readily available to slip back on. I sat on the edge of the bed and stared at the jewelry box willing the sneaky little suckers to stay put.
I finally found a place to live close to my work and dished out the cash to get moved. Staying with my brother had helped but I knew it was going to be tough trying to cover every bill on the $11.86 an hour I was making. I was still getting through to finish school and without a degree, it just wasn’t getting any better. Harlow and I had a place of our own nevertheless and with my mom’s help we got moved into a tiny 2 bedroom 1 bath cabin looking little house with a backyard for the dogs and a view of the trailers in the trailer park.
I felt accomplished and sane if only for a short while. Bills piled up immediately and I thought about what I’d have to do to get through them to get by and started feeling that overcome, chokey, drowny feeling again. Just like the day of the move though, I told myself one thing at a time, one day at a time. I don’t remember who told me first but I’ve always remembered when I start feeling like my head is going to explode...How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.