June 13, 1969 was a memorable unlucky friday.
One of my failings, even now, is procrastination. Whenever anything happens I put off dealing with it until it is way to late to take care of it and it has is impossible to to get around it. When I missed my period the first week of april I dithered and hoped I was just being irregular, (never happens. 29 days apart like clockwork they had been since fifth grade) and I knew I had a problem by the first week of May. But I put off talking to my mom about it. Not that she could do much, but just maybe...
I just came home after a wonderful afternoon's outing with Sandy. He would be going to college in the fall. I still had two years of school. I Hadn't bothered to tell him either. He would marry me immediately. For some reason, I didn't want that.
So when I got home and I saw some luggage in the front room I had a very big problem . My father doesn't procrastinate. He told me I would be going across county on the first available flight, and Sandy would be getting his draft notice in today's mail. My father had connections. Sandy would be going to Viet Nam. And there was nothing I could do about it. He picked up my luggage and took it the car.
Mt father didn't procrastinate. On the trip to the airport he explained what he was going to do, and what he had already done. There was a small mobile home purchased for me close to the hospital where I was going. All the utilities were all set up. For three years the utilities would paid for, to a certain amount. After that, I would have to pay. There was a small checking account set up for me. I would have a totally new name. He had a story tell what had happened to his daughter.
A story that would be worse because he might be the father. And he knew that is the story I would tell.
I didn't believe him to be the father. He tried to keep away from my fertile times. Sandy didn't know about that. And I didn't tell him. Sandy was fun. But I told father that Sandy always wore a condom, even though he didn't, when he taxed me with the pregnancy. I wanted my father to think he was the father even though I was pretty sure he wasn't.
Father drove off. leaving me, my mom, and our luggage at the the air terminal. My mom sent me after a luggage cart that was standing next to the doors. When I came back, she began putting the luggage on the cart. There was an amazing amount ot it. Finally everything was on the cart, and we stood there waiting for father. She peered around looking for him. Not seeing him, she whispered in my ear "I know what he was doing dear. I am sorry I could not stop him. I have received enough bruses. But... if you are worried that you child will be a monster because of incest, don't be. I am just glad you didn't take up with the Perkins boys..... Seeing father coming back from parking the car" I stood there with my mouth agape when my father came up to us. He asked "Why are you looking at me like that?"
I looked at her with disgust "She told he that she knows who the real father is as I pointed to my belly."
Mom smiled at him and said "I know secrets that aren't so secret too. You can give me the car keys."
Father gave her a look and said "We can discuss this later."
"After you get back. The keys."
Father looked at the crowd around us, full of constituants. He gave her the keys. He gave her a pregnant look. "We will talk this over when I get back." He then went into the terminal. She gave her husband a sardonic smile gave me a hug and walked off. I sighed and walked after my father.
He was grumpily silent on our way to the the ticket counter. He had a yet not told me where were going. Not that I was objecting. Being away from him was adventure enough. It was a surprise to him as well how complicated the trip was going to be. First a flight to Chicago, then a flight to Seattle, then a flight to Portland. It would take seventeen hours. He still didn't talk to me.
He got first class tickets for himself. For me, there were coach sets. They were next to the windows. So that was nice. There was a nice boy who flew with me to Seattle. He was headed off to Ft. Lewis.
We arrived in Portland at 9:30 at night, So we got a rental car and a room at a hotel close to the airport. He did me quickly and then slept for ten hours. And he did me quickly again. Then we drove for a silent two hours to Corvallis, a small town with a big college. We finally achieved our destination, a double wide trailer across from the colleges farm operations, close to the hospital. The double wide had city water and lights. It had a single bed, a single chair, a single table, a small refrigerator, and venetian blinds on the windows.
He had me carry in my suitcase to my bedroom. The remaining suitcases he put in the far bedroom. He wouldn't let me touch.
Then we went to a hardware store where we bought a crib and a lock for a door, general store where we bought some sheets, dishes and pans and finally we went to the grocery store where we bought the barest minimum of food.
Back we went to the double wide. He had me put away the crib, the pans and the groceries while he put the deadbolt lock on the bedroom with the suitcases. He did everything silently. It was extremely uncomfortable.
Finally he tiook me out of the chair and sat down. "I am extremely upset with you."
I stood there, seething.
He put a package of large manilla envelopes, a pile of pre addressed labels and a roll of 20 ¢ stamps on the table and six five dollar bills.. "You are now Mrs Black. You are the putative owner of this property. You will receive $25 a month by mail. You will send me, weekly, all the bills that arrive at this address. " He gestured at the address labels. "You will go to the doctor no more than once a month. All your utility and other bills will be paid. If you fail to comply, your mortgage will be in default and the bank will evict you. If you let a word of this leak out, and I will make it very hot for you."
I was wondering about a particular. "What happened to me, your daughter? Won't the newspaper people ask questions about where I have gone?"
He growled "Already taken care of. Before you came home I sent out a press release. You have gone as a volunteer with the USO to Viet Nam. In august another press release will go out that you stepped on a land mine and died."
I had to admire him for his preparations."Today wasn't a surprise for you. You have done a lot ot work."
He nodded. "I have known for three weeks. " He looked at his watch and sighed. "All the things I have had to do today.... I have to go now. I have a plane to catch. " He stood up and marched out the door. "One last thing. I will be back before thanksgiving. Be waiting."
I went into the bedroom and looked for the sheets. I went into the kitchen and the bedroom and looked for some towels and some soap. I would have to some of each. My mother had always done the shopping and it was obvious he had no clue what was needed. I put on my coat and headed to the mercantile, which was on 4th and Madison, and I was way up on 30th. I was going to get plenty of exercise.
While there I purchased a back pack. I also bought some light bulbs. And a small broom and a dustpan. Up on Jackson there was a used bookstore. I asked the bookseller for some classics that were thick. There was no TV, and I have to amuse myself. I couldn't get a job if I had wanted to, I would be showing soon.
Over time I explored the city. I got a library card. I discovered the college library which was open longer and had a better selection. I sat and read in the college library most afternoons because there were hot boys there too.
Buying Groceries was a trial. The nearest grocery was on 14th and Lincoln. During July it was best to do my shopping early. It got very hot in the afternoon. But it was a pleasant walk. But as august came and went I grew bigger and in september I began getting very big.
In june the crib was in its box in my closet, unassembled. I enjoyed walking around town. One dreary september afternoon I took the box the crib came in, and opened it up. And I immediately put it away again. The instructions weren't in Japanese, but they weren't in any recognizable form of english. I would have to get help from someone. I soon wouldn't be able to bend over to assemble parts anymore. And I couldn't fathom the instructions.
The next Saturday I got a reprieve. The chuch nearby was having a jumble sale, and in the middle of it was a crib. Of course getting it back to my doublewide would be a problem too. I asked the nice lady selling the crib if she knew someone who would take it home for me, which is how I met her grandson, Martin.
Martin got my attention, 7 months pregnant that I was. He was 6'2" with huge arms and a flat stomach. I was week in the knees seeing him. I knew I couldn't get him, and I imagined every woman would want him. He wasn't vain, he was polite and every which way. intensely desirable. And he was going to take my crib and the rest of his grandma's baby stuff in his pick up when she heard I was a widow who didn't drive. All for $3.
Martin took in my sparse furnishings as he brought in the baby things. The single chair, the small table, and the stack of thick books and no TV or stereo. He began asking questions. I told him the story my father had told me to tell. I was a widow of a young man who had died in Viet Nam. That my parents hadn't liked the boy. This was true. I didn't know what happened to Sandy, so.... That my parents were too poor to bring me back home, (This was a lie. I was used to telling it) so they sent me $25 a month to keep me. After he got everything inside, and arranged to my satisfaction, he told me to come. He was gorgeous He could tell me anything.
We went to goodwill and I got a decent table which came with four chairs. And a bookcase. I said "no!" to anything else. I was saving up. And then he took me to dinner.
It was a wonderful dinner. He began talking about himself. That he was a cadet half time police officer. He was also a student at the college. That his father worked at a nearby lumber mill. It was delicious to listen to him. I could have listened all night long. But all good things come to an end, and it was was getting late on Saturday, which ment he had to patrol the greek houses to make sure they didn't get to extreme in their celebrations. He took me home, brought in the furniture, and walked out of my life forever.
Until the next morning, when he invited me to his church. He must have known I didn't go to one. I had my fill of father's loud church going and quiet rapes. So I had a intense dislike for the unctuous church going. I knew what my father's cronies did six days a week in city hall and the county courthouse, and the fact they didn't tithe what they stole,. I really didn't want to go to church. But I did want to hang around Martin. I didn't have any church clothing. I was in a quandary. But I went to Church. With him. Again and again. The singing was nice. The sermons were longer, however. After the second time I stopped by goodwill and bought a go to meeting dress
I was thankful now that father didn't buy me a tv. And that I had to read those long novels. He had to read the same novels for class. It gave us something to talk about. His teachers wanted to talk about the deep meanings, I just enjoyed listening to him talk. I didn't want to talk about obstetrics and gynecology. I was thankful for Martin. He would show up around 11:30 most days, we would go to one of the cheap places to eat and he would buy me lunch and we would discuss his reading. He would take me to the grocery store some days, and I would get what I needed. Somedays he would take me to the laundromat. As I said, he was a lifesaver. he would let go around 3:30 when he had to do his shift monitering traffic. I didn't know why he wanted to hang around me. By October I was looking like a balloon. The end of October was also the time to get her X-rays, which revealed that I was carrying twins. In preparation for them I bought a lot of diapers. The nurse told me that washing them in the sink and hanging on the line will have to do. Laundromats didn't appreciate smelly diapers, still less, the other customers. Martin bought me a baby carriage. He claimed he got it cheap at Goodwill. I knew he bought it new. I didn't want what Goodwill had in baby carriages. But I would have to break down and get one. I pretended to believe him. He was too nice. He was thinking of marriage, and I was afraid he was going to go for it. I badly didn't that. I wanted him, but not as a husband. But given his sense of duty it was the only way to have him.
I had a more pleasant time with Martin. But I remembered that my father was due to come back in November. There were always little things that brought him to mind. There were the mailings of the bills to the PO box several times a month.There were the visits to the doctor my father had set up for me. He was a drunk and I was relived when he suddenly retired and a nice lady took over his practice. I had changeded the locks. There was the constant watch I had to keep over my spending. I shopped very carefully and I disovered I could save a great deal of cash. By the end of October I had enough savings to purchase a gun. With ammunition. There was a steep slope on the property where I could practice with the revolver. Every day when Martin dropped me off I would take twelve rounds and practice. I got better every day. I wondered if I would be strong enough when it came time.
We were at the laundromat on the twelfth of November discussing Anna Karenina and Levin's proposal to Kitty while we waited for the wash cycles on our laundry to finish when I felt a horrible squeeze and suddenly I felt a large amount of water come out of me. I had been feeling small sharp squeezes for three weeks now. My doctor had prepared for my water breaking, so I took a small towel out of my large purse and asked him to clean it up. He looked at me funny and I told "The baby is coming. I need to check in at the hospital this afternoon."
He looked nervous. I told him "No need to panic. I have at least twelve hours. Do you know what Kitty said? I for the life of me can't figure out what those letters mean!"
He gulped and said "I don't know either"
I kept the conversation light. There was another huge contraction after we put the clothes in the dryers. (We were keeping our clothes separate. Even though it was more expensive that way. Neither of us felt comfortable mixing our underwear) I told him not to worry. "I don't need to go to the hospital until they are closer together than eight minutes apart. Jane should have played the role of mistress. Mrs Rochester wasn't a fit wife. Jane would have been a lot better for him. She couldn't have got a better place for herself."
I kept the conversation light. Remembering to keep him calm helped to keep me calm. We folded our laundry and got in the car, took my laundry to the house, got my baby supplies and we drove to the hospital. Contractions were still ten minutes apart. Considering the mountain of baby things, I was doubly grateful. But I told him that I would be fine, and that he should take his shift. I didn't want him anywhere near me when my father showed up. For both my father's plans, and mine
About the next fifteen hours, the less said, the better. I cursed Sandy's name. I went through the pains of hell, and at the end of it, I had a son and a daughter that were so very marvelous. I could see Sandy in a dozen different ways. Martin came after classes were over and I told him all about the kids. After a short while, he fled. But he promised to come the next day to take me home.
The next day he came for me. Despite the pouring rain We loaded up the pickup with all the baby things, then I carried them to the front seat and relaxed in that I didn't have to carry all this back to the doublewide myself in the rain. I watched the side of the road where there was a ditch instead of a sidewalk. I shook my head and told him "Your coming is such an answer to prayer!"
When we had them settled down Martin said that I had to get another crib. I went into my bedroom and came out with the crib in the box. I told him that I had this, but I couldn't put it together. So he got out the instruction sheet and whistled. "I think I can have an adventure putting this together, or not. I can probably find another crib at Goodwill." After two hours of muted swearing, he had it all built.
While he was building the crib, I fed them. It was a glorious feeling, but also mildly uncomfortable.I didn't have the money for formula. And I kind of preferred feeding them myself.
We put both cribs in another room. I put a sleeping bag in that room. The cribs were too large to fit with my bed. I knew I wouldn't be sleeping very well for a while. Then we ate sandwichs and relaxed. We looked at each other speculatively. I could almost hear his internal debate, that I was going through. In the end he came to the decision I hated and knew was the right one, and he stood up and shook my hand (How I wanted instead for him to kiss me passionately with tongue and do me with me on top... )and left. I stood at the window and watched him drive away. How I hated the fact that was a gentleman. I bet he did too. Then I took out the biggest book I had (La Miserables ) and began to read.
It got dark around 5:30. At 6:30 I had the all lights on and was preparing to feed my daughter. My son was still asleep. Suddenly there was a rattle at the door. An angry rattle. I looked out the window. The reason I had a gun had arrived. My daughter would have to fuss. I took a deep breath and walked to where my revolver was stored, checked the gun was loaded and the safety was on, put the gun in the belt in the back of my pants behind me and let him him come in. He was wet, disheveled and angry. "You have another fancy man? "
I sat back down and gave my other breast to my daughter. "He is just a policeman helping out a pregnant lady. It would have been impossible to get home today without him. It was only a mile, but I had so much to carry."
My daughter finished up, and I sat and patted her on the back. He brought in another suitcase and carried it to the back room that he put a new lock on. I put her in the crib and stood by the fron door. I checked that my shirt covered my revolver. and I waited. I hoped he would just go away and leave me alone. But I knew his appetites. There was no chance of that.
He came out of the room with the much lighter suitcases. He glared at me. "What are you waiting there for? Go to the bedroom."
I opened the door. "No. You go sleep somewhere else with someone else."
He dropped the suitcases and strode over to me and slapped me, hard. "You listen to me! You are to make yourself available any time I want!"
I gulped. I was waiting for the punch. I was scarred, but I needed him to punch me first. "Not any more you disgusting pervert!"I shouted.
He punched me in the stomach following up with a pair of punches to the jaw I retreated toward the bedroom and watched him. He took off his shoes. I reached behind me. He took off his pants as I watched. He bent over to take his pants off his foot. He stood up and tossed his pants away. I grabbed the revolver and in one easy movement I pointed it at him. He saw it and began racing toward me. And I shot him. He kept coming, and I shot him again. He stopped and swayed and fell down. I carefully walked around him and picked up his pants. I picked up his keys and his wallet. I took out a pair of fives and four ones. and I put them back in his pocket. I dropped his pants and carried his wallet to the secure place I had stored the gun. Then I took the keys and went through them till I found one that opened up the spare room. I tossed the suitcases in there and locked it up again.
I looked at father. He was still alive and he was crawling to where I had dropped the gun. I kicked the gun away. And I waited. It took about an hour. My son woke up with a wet diaper and an appetite. I changed him and fed him while I waited for father to die. I checked the driveway. There was no car. I waled out the back and walked to the small barn. he had driven the car in there and had locked the door. I put father's keys in my secure place, then I walked back and I began to talk to him. "You know why I did this. I had enough of your treating me as your private prostitute. I think the kids are Sandy's. Sandy made a girl feel like a woman. A woman who could enjoy him, and herself. The problem with Sandy is he could make her feel good over and over. I could never get enough of Sandy. I never wanted you...ever." I went on and on telling him how much better Sandy was, and how much of a looser he was.
Then I told him what mom had told me at the airport, that if the kids were his that there was no problem with incest. I even told hoim who mon had told me who my real father was. He was fading fast, but he still was moving around, wanting to hit me.
Finally he stopped breathing. I checked him. Then I dressed the babies up in the warmest clothes they had, put a bunch of diapers in the baby carriage and put the babies in after them and began the mile long hike to the hospital, to tell them that some awful man had attacked me. I would let the police take care of father.
It was extremely dark, and the rain came down intensely. I had to be very careful for the first half mile to not pour the children into the ditch. When we reached the sidewalk the rain began to abate, until I reached the hospital.
I had no idea what to say to the woman at reception. She looked at me wet and cold and silent. She came around and said "What's the matter ? You look like you saw a ghost!"
I kept my voice level like I was confused. "There is a dead man in my house. I shot him. He is dead. " Then I decided to faint.
I lay on the floor while the woman at reception calmly made several phone calls. Almost immediately doctors and orderlies came around to help. I was put on a gurney, and wheeled away. I heard the baby carriage following behind me. I was put in a room and the baby carriage went further down the hallway. A couple of nurses came in and began to undress me. I decided now would be a good time to wake up. I looked at the nurse in charge and said "I forgot to lock the door. I almost never lock the door. This man came on. He told me he was going to fuck me. He hit me. He hit me. I got my gun and I shot him. He is dead now. He is dead now, He is dead. "
The nurse nodded her head. "It is right now. You are safe now. " The nurses got all my clothes off and put me into a gown. The charge nurse stood there comforting me until the doctor showed up.
The Doctor said "How many times did he hit you."
I replied the that same monotone "Three times. Once in the stomach and twice in the face. He is dead now."
The doctor said "I need to look at your stomach. I need to move your gown. I am not going to do this except to see the extent of your injuries. Ok?"
I nodded. He moved my gown out of the way and showed the extent of the brusing to the nurse. He let the gown down again and he took hold of my head and moved it around. He said. "The good news is, none of your injuries should keep you in the hospital. We will get you some dry clothes, and some for your kids. The bad news is you can't go back to your home. We have a place where you can talk to the police. They are here and they need to talk to you. Do you feel up to that right now? Your daughter is fussing. You can feed her before you talk to the police.
I thought for a moment. I decided that nursing the baby would look better, and provide me a bit of protection. I said "I think I can talk to them now. Nothing worse will happen today."
A nurse gave me my daughter while I waited for the change of clothing. I fed her while I waited. Pretty soon my son woke up and began to fuss. He had to wait while she continued to dine. After she finished, a nurse burped her while I fed my son. I was burping him when the clothes showed up. I finished with him and put on the clothes. So much for my plans. The nurse took my son away and then took me to a small office where three policemen were waiting for me.
The oldest policeman, who was seated behind the desk, introduced them "I am sergeant Watson. That is officer Graham, and this" pointing at Martin "is cadet Albert. Cadet Albert says he knows you and he took you from the hospital and to your home today."
"Cadet Albert further states that he remained at your house until 3:30, when he left to change into his uniform and begin his regular shift. Is that correct?"
I Said "Yes, he stayed and put together the other crib. I bought one crib from his grandma back in September. I had this other one in my closet but the instructions were very confusing. It took a while for him to put together. We had lunch.."
Sergeant Watson nodded his head. "And after that...."
"I read for a bit. I fed my daughter around 5:30 when suddenly this horrible man burst through the door. I must have forgotten to lock it after Marin left. I had watched him drive off through the window....."
The three of them looked at each other. Sergeant Watson asked "Why do you think he chose your place?"
"I have a large window but no curtains. He could look through the window and see that I am alone. And it was raining. He was probably looking for some place to get dry."
"Your place is pretty far from anyplace to stay dry. We are wondering what he was doing out there in the rain."
I shook my head.
"So You have no idea?"
"Ok, you say he burst in. Then what happened. "
I paused for a few moments. "He said 'Well well, we have a tasty morsel'!' I told him to get out. He told me what he planned to do to me. It was awful. I told him to get out and he hit me. I saw that there was no one who could stop him. So I said I would go the bedroom. I had a gun on the shelf in the closet. I left him taking off his pants. He was tossing his pants away when I came out carrying the gun. He saw the gun and moved toward me. So I shot him. He didn't stop. So I shot him again. "
Graham asked "When was this?"
I Took deep breath. "Between 6:00 and 6:30 "
Graham asked further "When did you get to the hospital?"
I said "Somewhere around 9:30"
Sergeant Watson asked "Why didn't you call?"
I shook my head. "I don't have a phone, and I am new here. I didn't know any of the neighbors."
Graham pressed on. "Between your place and the hospital should only have take 20 minutes. What took so long?"
I looked at Graham. "I just sat on the bed and just shook. I had been through a horrible experience."
Sargent Watson said "Officer Graham and I have come from the scene. There are things there that don't add up correctly. It had been raining steadily since four, but his clothes are almost dry. He has a two day beard, and he is dressed in new but workman's clothes. And he has a neat haircut and a manicure. He is not a bum. So, who is he? "
I looked at Sergeant Watson. "All I know is he is a bum." I mentally added "He a stranger I have been aquatinted with for seventeen years and he and always has been a bum."
They looked at my face where the bruise was getting worse.