When I was 21 a short, muscular Black man 15 years my senior started noticing me and I him when I would drive past a road construction site on my way to school. Then one day he saw me driving while he was in his car and followed me/chased me down to get my number. I was very flattered. I was/am not the kind of woman that men chase. I was also in the throes of depression and what I now understand to be Complex PTSD. I was attracted to narcissists like my mom and replaying the trauma of not-being-chosen again and again. He chose me and that was enough.
When we started seeing each other he had a job and was trying to do right by his first child, though he was no longer with her mother. He was a wonderful occassional lover who always put my pleasure first. But within a couple months he was unemployed and a different man emerged. It turns out he’d been a violent criminal since his teens on the streets of Detroit and saw someone beheaded before he was 18. He’d already done two stints in California prison for violent crimes. And when he couldn’t find regular work he became a middle man for drug dealers.
He started doing drugs as well and that’s when things got dangerous. He became possessive even though he only came around once or twice a week and we didn’t have anything like a real relationship. He threatened to burn down my apartment building down if he found me with another man. He held a knife to my belly, lifted it, and stabbed it through the mattress just an inch from my skin when he heard I’d been seen with someone. I tried to defy him and “break up” with him, but he wouldn’t let me go. He also became obsessed with me having his child.
There are other sordid details I could share, but what matters is the night that led both to the end and a new beginning for me. I made him angry and he held me against the wall with his arm in my throat so I couldn’t breathe. Then he held me down on the bed and put a gun to my head. We were drinking heavily and I can scarcely remember what we fought about, but I made myself remember the gun, and the fear for my life and for my 4 year old son in the room next door. Later that morning things calmed and he coerced me into sex while the gun lay under my pillow. I consider that rape since I believed my life was at stake. It was also the last time we had sex and the moment my daughter was conceived. Afterward, while I was trying to figure out how to get away from him with help from my mom and the police, he committed a carjacking at knifepoint and was sent back to jail for years.
The images are of the 34 letters he sent me over years from prison despite my not responding and some of his entitled messages (as well as his wackadoo belief he brought light to my darkness when really he was my bottom and it was all up into the light there from there). It says alot about the kind of man he is, a man who has no respect for a woman and her boundaries.
Someone else told him I was pregnant with his child (I never planned to tell him) and he assumed he would be part of our lives. I held the belief that he had no parental right to a child conceived in violence. Fortunately I didn’t have to worry what the court thought because he was in prison for 10ish years and didn’t try to find us upon release. I saw him a couple times around town after he got out and realized he was just an old man whose life was a mess and no longer a threat. When he met my daughter for the first time it was by surprise on the sidewalk outside my office when she was 15. The one joy that came from their meeting was her getting to know her half sister and nephew. Now he’s in prison again.