I Stayed Quiet

After I graduated from high school, the person who would become my ex husband both worked.  However, the money was not enough to make ends meet at all.  We came up with the idea of him going to the Air Force.  After all he said, “I want to marry you, but I don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.”  After meeting with the recruiter, we were completely sold on the idea.  The Air Force would pay for college, it would be a paying job, we could get housing, free health care.  There were so many benefits that I was not even thinking about the real reason people join the military: to defend this country.  How quickly I forgot about what happened on 9/11.  But what the hell, I was so interested that I decided to walk away from the scholarship that I had earned for a two year college and decided to join the Air Force as well.  Upon hearing this idea, my mother nearly cried herself into dehydration.  She did not think that Tony was the one for me.  Though she never spoke ill of him, her underlying mood was that my relationship with him was not going to turn out well.  Then, the famous last words, “Mom, you’re just trying to stop my fun” spewed forth like diarrhea from my mouth.  Dumb young girl.

Well, maybe more like a ‘dick-matized’ young girl.  The lovin’ was so good.  Now, I was not angel before I met Tony.  I believe my count was up to 13 before I even met him.  I lost my virginity at 15 to some older guy that my friend was dating (at her request).  I didn’t even know his name and thought nothing of it.  All I remember was how much it hurt and thinking why in the hell did everybody think it was so much fun.  As I got my practice, taking guys’ virginities, group sex, sneaking guys in while my mom worked, I finally got to know why.  But with Tony, it was different.  He was in tune with my body.  As small as I was, he was just rough enough to make me want to submit to his every command.  In fact, the first time I told him I loved him, I was on my back on my mother’s couch; him on top of me making my eyes roll in the back of my head.  I wanted to have his babies right then and there as he said he loved me, too.  But the Air Force was calling.

Unfortunately, I went first ‘into the wild blue yonder’.  Air Force basic training in Texas was THE most exhilarating time of my life.  It was my first time being away from home all by myself.  Six weeks of pushing yourself to the limit.  I gained 17 pounds in muscle!  All the while, Tony stayed back at home, for a time, even living with my mother because he had nowhere else to stay.  His mother was definitely not a contender for ‘Mother of the Decade’.  We wrote each other and I called him when I could.  Just then, in March of 2003, President Bush declared war on the Middle East.  I remember hearing story after story about the boat and plane loads of young people going off to war.  I freaked.  It was too late for me, I was already in.  But Tony was not.  And with him being male, I just ‘knew’ they were going to ship him off to war.  I didn’t quite know how the military worked back then as I do now.  I just knew I didn’t want him to come to basic training.  My idea: he could just be my dependent, I would get pregnant so that I would not have to go off to war and after the four years were up, I would simply get out.  Genius!  However, as a young woman having never really grown up with a man and not knowing how they ‘work’, the plan was not as lockset as I thought it was.  He had his own plans.  He was not afraid of war.  He wanted to join so that he could take care of me.  So that he could marry me.  The thought of him going off to war, however, made me feel some kind of way.  I felt scared, mad that he was not heeding concern and worry and doubt.  What if this isn’t it?  What if I’ve made a grave mistake?  I’m too young to be this involved? (‘God’ whispering).

After I left basic training, it was off to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX for another six weeks of learning what my technical specialty would be.  18 years old, first time away from home by myself, on a military base with tons of guys from different military branches in uniform makes for a hell of a situation when you have a boyfriend back home.  The ‘devil’ must have sent that 6’ 4”, black/German mixed guy my way at the food truck that day.  The way that man took over me in that dorm room… I wasn’t thinking about any relationship.  But the next day I did.  I also was thinking about my base assignment: Japan.  Again, I was terrified.  I just knew I was going to get stationed somewhere base side.  Why in the hell did they want to send me way the hell over to Japan?  I would never get to see my mom.  I don’t speak Japanese!  No, that was just too far.  I guess the ‘devil’ send Ezekiel Robinson my way too.  He was so short, but he carried a BIG stick.  He was getting stationed near St. Louis.  Bam! Another ‘genius’ plan was hatched: I would marry him, we would get stationed in St. Louis and that way, I would not be too far from home.  When I got to St. Louis, I would just divorce him.  Total business transaction.  But one thing happened that I did not count on.  That big stick that he carried was loaded.  Before I knew it, I was pregnant.

Life was spinning out of control for me.  This being a grown up thing was a bit more complex than I thought.  Ezekiel and I were married in May of 2003.  Tony was still in basic training.  Then I got the letter; he was coming to Sheppard for the same job that I had.  Oh shit.  Great.  I had never officially broken things off with him.  Now I’m married to and pregnant by some other guy all within a span of the first three weeks out of basic training.  The day Tony arrived on base was one of the scariest days of my life.  I had never broken up with anyone before, let alone this way and in this situation.  I was beside myself.  When I told him, he was stone faced.  He didn’t get mad, he didn’t even wince.   He just said, “So how far along are you?”.  I said, “Two weeks.”  This man had just joined the military for me, so that he could marry and take care of me and I fucked EVERYTHING up.  Looking in his eyes, I knew what I had to do.

The next week, I requested to be dismissed from the Air Force.  My request was granted and I was on my way back home.  Back in Detroit, I got an abortion… and a divorce.  Ezekiel, also being discharged from the Air Force for behavioral issues, agreed that the weight of the situation that we were in was too great.  Tony called me everyday to make sure that I was ok.  He kept me updated to how his progress in Technical School was going.  When he received his orders, he too found out that he was going to be stationed in Japan.  I felt as though I was never going to see him again.  The time came when it was time for him to come back to Detroit before heading off to Japan.  A kind of farewell to family and friends.  We spent a lot of time together and talks of being an item again were plentiful.  We made plans that when he got to Japan, he would send for me.  We would be married.  We would start a family.  Within the next two months, I was on my way to Japan… ANYWAY!  After all of the fear, all of the ‘genius plans’ to not have to go to Japan; I was on the way there for love anyway.

The first month of being in Japan was beautiful.  The sights, the people, the food.  We were married in the Okinawan city hall.  I found out that I was pregnant with Tony’s child.  This was all that I ever wanted.  Everything was wonderful.  My relationship with Tony was getting stronger by the day and arguments were few.  However, towards the middle of the second month, Tony’s mood took an ugly turn.  He constantly brought up how he could not understand how I did what I did in Texas.  I explained to him my fear, my feelings of ‘new found freedom’ and my immaturity at handling it.  These were things that he just could not understand nor would he accept.  I simply stated that if he could not get past what happened in Texas, then we should be mature enough to decide to not be together any longer.  A relationship built on resentment would never last and we had so done so much to each other that we would have to start fresh; accepting what happened in the past but moving forward nonetheless.   That bold statement found my neck in the grasp of his large, muscular hands gasping for breath.  I woke up what must have been only a few minutes later, in the bathroom of our dorm suite, lurched over the tub, him standing there at the sink looking into the mirror.  I had no idea what had happened.  I realized later that he had choked me until I passed out.  That was the first time in a long string of physically violent events to plague our marriage.  Violence that I internally accepted and felt as though I deserved because of what I had done.  I thought that I deserved it because I did not properly break things off with Tony before being with Ezekiel.  I definitely believed that God was punishing me because I had an abortion.  So I stayed quiet and hoped that things would get better.

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