I’m 17 when I meet my first husband. He’s three years older with a job, a car and a means to run away. Our first overnight together is wrought with confusion and pain.
He picks me up and drives me to a motel in another town. We arrive and he runs into the office, returning with a key to our room. We leave again and go out to dinner. My legs start the old phantom throb. I’m not going to be able to stop them from progressing deeper.
My mind races in shame and confusion.
We stop at a local convenience store and he buys a bottle of champagne and some bubble bath. By the time he returns to the car, the pain in my legs has become crippling.
I am paralyzed.
When we reach the motel, I can’t stand up. This is the first time I’ve been back to a motel room since the murder and without my father. The threat of discovery jolts my body into panic.
I look at my suitor and say, “I can’t move. You’ll have to carry me.” And, he does.
This phantom pain I have now learned to honor. In my 20s, I didn’t stop to find its meaning. I just wanted to fucking live, so I drank the champagne and had him draw a bath as hot as the water would run. I did not want to bring my parents’ disgusting choices with me.
Leaving my parents’ house, did nothing to stop my pain. They just couldn’t hurt me anymore – well, kind of. The shackles remained. I had become a prisoner by crimes I didn’t commit.