Merry meet Friends!
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!
"Bad things happen. How I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - Life itself." - Walter Anderson
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." - Helen Keller
One Saturday in July of 1973, my first husband, Milton, received a call to come to Boston and try out as the trumpet player for Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes. The call came from a friend of his who played the saxophone and had recently started with Harold. If the audition was to everyone's liking, then Milton would become the new trumpet player for the group: if not he would be back later that night or the next day. Milton flew out and although I was glad to see him leave, I was anxious. As night approached I became more anxious and I wasn't sure why. I called my grandmother to see if I could spend the night. She was on a day trip to the beach with her church and hadn't returned. My grandfather didn't want to say yes without her. When she arrived home, she called and said it was ok. I didn't drive at the time and tried relentlessly to hire a cab. After a certain time of night cabs didn't want to travel to Churchill, which was where my grandmother lived. Where was Uber then? I couldn't get a taxi and so I stayed home.
Later that night, I woke up and felt something on my back. I was on my stomach, which I didn't think that I slept that way. After repeated attempts of trying to raise my head and failing, a male voice spoke. He said, "If you scream I will kill you." I begged him not to because I had a son. He asked where was my son and I told him that Donnie was in New York for the summer. He placed a pillowcase over my head and tied it. Then he turned me over and tied my hands to the headboard. He left the room and went into my son's room. When he returned, he cut off my night gown and raped me. When he was done, he asked if he had hurt me in any way. "What an odd question, of course you have.", I thought to myself. I answered no though, out of fear of reprisal. He untied my hands from the headboard and asked me to count to 100 before I did anything. All I could think was that it was a cruel joke and he was going to kill me. I thought of my grandmother calling me in the morning and receiving no answer, coming to my apartment and finding me nude, covered in blood and dead.
I fearfully counted to 100. I never heard him leave so I didn't know what to expect. When I untied the rope from around my neck and took off the pillowcase, he was gone. I put on a dress from my closet and ran out of the apartment to a friend's apartment in the building next door. I asked to use her phone and explained what happened. She said her phone was off but that a policeman lived upstairs. She then slammed her door shut! Maybe she was afraid, I don't know. I ran upstairs and knocked on the door to no avail. As I ran down the stairs, the policeman was entering the building with his dog. He said, "Whoa, what's the matter?" I told him what had happened. He said that his wife was deaf and couldn't hear the bell. He took me to his apartment, asked my address and left to check out the crime scene. When he returned he called the police. The rapist had cut my phone cord but I didn't know it, I was too afraid to stay there.
A male detective and some officers came and escorted me back to the my apartment. The rapist had entered through the sliding glass door. The lock was loose and had been reported to maintenance but never repaired. The detective saw the cut rope on the headboard, my torn night gown and blood on the pillowcase. I didn't know that I had cuts on my neck from the knife that had been pressed against my neck. The detective asked me if the nightgown on the bed was the one I had been wearing. When I answered yes, he asked if I had walked in front of my windows, because maybe that's why the man had broken into the apartment. The detective went on to ask if I were sure that this wasn't a boyfriend. Had I thought I heard my husband returning and cried rape? (Where was the compassion, where was Olivia Benson from SVU?) Finally I was taken to the hospital and then driven to my grandmother's house.
The next day a detective who handles rape came by the house. I told him about the detective. He explained that the detective from the previous night was not a rape detective and didn't know how to handle sexual violence. You think? We went back to the apartment in order for me to explain what happened at the scene. I talked to Milton (remember him, the first husband?) and he wanted me to come to Boston. I took the bus there and he met me. Milton was staying with an aunt and uncle and not in the hotel with the group. When we arrived at his aunt's house, he questioned me about the rape. He then hit me. He said that the detective from the night of the rape called him to be sure that he was still in Boston. He wanted to be sure that Milton hadn't come home because he (the detective) thought that it was a boyfriend. Milton was an abuser and the slightest thing would set him off. I was in the car with him once and waved to a male friend walking down North Ave. Milton started punching while driving. Should that be a law? Don't punch and drive? A policeman stopped the car because he apparently could see that something was wrong. Out of fear, I said everything was fine. The rapist was never caught and I never saw his face anyway. Before the pillowcase was placed over my head, I saw hair swinging so my assumption is that he was Caucasian.
We need to pay more attention to our intuition. There is a knower inside of us that lets us know when something is off. I could have tried to get a cab to my grandmother's house before nightfall. I could have not listened to my grandfather's voice and listened to my own. How many times have we said, "something told me this or that"? How many times have we paid attention to our own voice no matter how foolish we may look? It took years for me to be able to sleep in a house alone and without a knife under my bed or pillow. Fear is crippling. I could have stayed in that place of fear forever. As it was, I stayed too long, giving someone else power over me. It has also taken years for me to find my voice and speak my truth. Ralph Marston said, "There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don't allow yourself to become one of them." I had to get out of my own way so that I could live fully and freely. People say as we age that we become more ourselves and don't take any gruff from anyone. I think that can be true but I also think that adversity and finding one's voice plays a large part as well.
I'm not content to sit on the sidelines and watch the game of life, I want to play as well. I know that there are rules in the world. I know that there are standards to uphold and all that entails. In order for me to be me, I must continuously listen to that still, small voice inside for direction for my life. Sometimes we need to listen to other's intuition as well. Had I listened to my mother, I would not have married Milton. When she met him she said, "There's something with that boy's eyes. I don't like him," A mother knows, at least mine did. However, marrying him and living with the abuse has played a part in my becoming. Of course, it's not over. "I've been motivated by overcoming challenge and overcoming the hurdles and obstacles that face me. There still is plenty out there to get motivated by." - Andre Agassi. In the early 90's I attended a Charismatic church. We went to a conference in Fredericksburg to hear a Prophetess, Jan Painter. She prophesied over me and said this, " Let them ring, let them ring, let the bells ring. It's celebration time, saith the LORD. 'You're going to see a miracle take place that they said couldn't happen', saith the LORD. You're going to see it, you're going to walk in it and you're going to give testimony of it. And then daughter, you're going to preach; overcoming, the overcomer. Do it and do it well."
I haven't seen the "miracle that they said couldn't happen", yet. I have seen, walked in and given testimony of various trials, tribulations and adversities. So have numerous people. If the prophetess is to be believed, I don't know what this will be. But there is one thing I Do know: I WILL overcome this and anything that comes my way. Why, because God/Goddess/All That Is said it, and, I am strong in the LORD (law) and the power of its might!
P.S. My sister reminded me that when I went to Boston to see Milton and explained what happened, before hitting me he said, and I quote, "So he really fucked you, huh?" Enough said about his character.
Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Gypsi Mama Michelle