"“I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody...They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.”"
My parents have been together for nearly 40 years. One of the reasons why I left home at an early age and then later left the state was because I couldn't stand living there or around them any longer. The yelling and fighting was constant. When my mother wasn't attacking us kids, she was busy screaming and fighting with my father. We were exposed to this on a daily basis. It became routine, a part of me. A chain was built inside of me, deep down in a place I could never reach in order to break it. This is why I stayed with “Tara” for three long, miserable years. This was normal to me. No matter how anyone else perceived it. This was a perfectly normal life.
When I awoke in the ER nearly 48 hours after the cops came bursting into our studio apartment, I found myself surrounded. There were three police officers, four nurses, one doctor and “Tara's” parents. Out of all of them, seeing “Tara's” parents troubled me the most. When I tried to talk, they moved “Tara's” parents out to the hallway. The doctor approached me first and asked all the typical questions. I tried to answer as many as I could, but for some reason it all seemed fuzzy to me. I was still rather out of it. The doctor then asked if it was alright if the officers asked me a few questions. I agreed and the nurses and Doctor retreated to the hallway where I could see “Tara's” parents standing there waiting for lord only knew what. The officers closed the blinds and the larger one took a seat next to me. He asked if I was feeling well. I said I thought so. He then went on trying to piece together what happened at our apartment. Why did “Tara” lose it? Did I hit her? Was I sure I didn’t hit her? Was I sure she didn't attack me with a broken plate in order to protect herself? I said no to everything. They were not convinced. They wanted to hear me say that I hit her. That she was in the right. I deserved what happened. Surely this little thing couldn't, nor wouldn't attack me for no reason whatsoever. They told me the truth would come out soon enough. They were going to get to the bottom of it and when they did, they would come back and put me in cuffs. I was at a loss for words. However the more they talked, the more I thought I was to blame. Maybe I did do something wrong to deserve this. Maybe it was all my fault. I could have done it all differently and if I was given another chance I would do just that. They asked if I was willing to give them a written statement. I tried but my arm was all wrapped up and I couldn't make a fist. They tried my left hand and I just couldn’t write a clear word. They finally gave up and left me.
The doctor then came in and asked me if I could remember what happened. I went over the events as they happened, just like I told the police. He just stood there and nodded, I could see it in his face. He thought it was all a bunch of bullshit too. After I finished my tale, he told me what happened while I was passed out. The plate cut my brachial artery and I lost a lot of blood. I could have easily of bled out if an ambulance wasn't already on the way. Apparently my neighbor across the hall heard someone shouting about bleeding all over the place and had the good sense to call for an ambulance. The cops were just an afterthought. Even though he was basically telling me that I could have died in the back of that cop car, all I could think of was seeing “Tara” again. Telling her I was fine, that we could make it through this and that I would just try harder to make her happy. I would swear never to piss her off again. That it wasn't her fault. After the doctor stopped talking, he asked me if I was up to seeing some people. I only said yes because I thought he was talking about “Tara”. When her father came shuffling in, I was more than disappointed.
I never said more than five words to her father the entire time we were together. They were a very quiet family, hardly saying a word to each other...ever. So all I could think was “What in the hell does this bastard have to say?” He looked at my arm and would not turn away. He must have stood there for at least ten minutes. I didn't say anything. I just laid there and started at his eyes trying to get a read on what he was thinking. He turned towards the door and then stopped. He whispered something almost too low to hear. “I want you to stay the fu#@ away from my daughter. You hear me?” I said “No, I won't. Not unless she wants me to.” He turned and looked at me and said “I'm doing it for your own damn good. Do you want her to kill you? Do you want her to end up in jail?” I said no with tears in my eyes. “Then stay the fu$# away from her for god's fu$#ing sakes!”
My parents never came to get me. They never even knew I was there. I had to call Shawn after the doctors told me that I couldn't stay in my room any longer. He didn't say a word to me all the way back to my apartment. Once inside he broke down. He cried and screamed at me. He wanted me to explain why I could allow this to happen. He screamed that she could have killed me. That I could have died. What the hell was wrong with me? All I could say was that “I didn't know?” Shawn lived with his mother at the time, but he decided to move in with me to make sure I wouldn't fall back into my ways and take “Tara” back. It worked for a while. When she called, Shawn would answer for me and tell her I didn't want to talk or see her again. When she came around, Shawn would tell her to get lost, or that there was a restraining order against her. Shawn was doing more for me than anyone else had ever done in my whole life. He was a great friend and his plan would have worked if I wasn't sabotaging it.
When I went to work, I would call “Tara” on my lunch break. She would beg me to let her move back in. I would tell her to be patient, that I just needed some time to get my head straight. She would tell me to open my eyes and see what was happening. Everyone was out to destroy us, we were meant to be together and we were happy. That's what made so many people upset. Not because she was violent, but that they were jealous of our love. I believed her and all I had to do now was get rid of Shawn.
I went home one day and told him I was going to move out. I told him that he needed to move back in with his mother because I was moving back home with my folks. He believed me and in a weeks’ time “Tara” was back in my home and back in my life.
It only took a few days for Shawn to see through my vale of bullshit. He went to my parent’s house to see if I wanted to hang out. My parents told him the truth; they hadn't seen me in months. He then drove back to the apartment just in time to catch me and “Tara” leaving. He lost it and started yelling at us both. He grabbed a hold of me. He hugged me and wouldn't let go. He kept telling me to wake up. To stop this shit! “Tara” told him to to f$#k off! Even went as far as calling him gay. Saying that he was jealous because he wished it was him that I was fu%$ing. I told Shawn to just let me figure this out on my own. He begged me to just get in the car with him. I said no, and “Tara” and I tried to walk back inside. Shawn yelled from the side walk as we walked up the stairs back to the apartment:
“Jason you fu#@ing idiot!!! Get in the car!!! Please just get in the car!”
“Tara” yelled back: ”Oh shut the fu#*k up you faggot!!”
I should have seen it then more than ever. “Tara” was the ugliest person I have ever known, inside and out. I just was too blind to see it. I was also too stupid to realize that history has a way to repeating itself, sometimes in the most violent of ways possible.
To be continued...