The super romantic notions that I had in my head about starting my new life as a wife and mother were crushed the moment we drove up the windy road to our new home.
It was in a terrible part of town off Jeff Davis Highway in Virginia. It was a garage apartment on a “biker” compound. Don’t get me wrong, I love bikers. My father was a biker and I grew up around guys named Lou, Big Al and Meat. But back then I was under my father’s protection, they were his friends, so they treated me and my brother like family.
I had green vinyl furniture. It was 2 bedrooms, tiny, 700 square feet maybe. It needed to be cleaned. I unpacked, the wind completely out of my sails. I set up Josh’s room first, trying to make it resemble a nursery as best I could. I didn’t know what I was missing then but when I look around now and as I grew up, I never had the experience of planning and getting excited. I didn’t register at Baby’s R Us and pick out bedding and diaper genies.
I took what I could get. I hit up garage sales and goodwill, scraping by, trying to build my life. I still didn’t have a driver’s license and we only had one car anyway. I hadn’t found a job or even started looking because I had no one to take care of Joshua. So I resolved to be a stay at home mother. I had only one friend that I barely kept in touch with. Her name was Emily, she turned out to be a life saver at times. I don’t think she knows that either, but if she’s reading this, she was.
I took to the task of setting up my home, taking care of Josh and my husband. I found out very quickly how very little I knew about my husband.
Turns out he was married before with 2 children. News to me.
Turns out he had court ordered child support to pay. News to me.
Turns out he felt the need to belong to a very strict southern baptist church. Definitely news to me.
I stopped believing in God when I was 8, when I prayed my legs would take me to the bank, to my mother, to save me. When I attempted to protest this church situation I was told we would have to divorce if we were “unequally yolked”. I had to look it up, not of the same faith or on the same level. I had nowhere to go. I didn’t want to admit a mistake and return to Florida AGAIN. So I went through the motions, being the dutiful wife and mother of a southern baptist man.
Sunday morning church eventually became Sunday evening services, Thursday night bible study, Saturday’s witnessing door to door to save the damned. I read the bible cover to cover. I asked questions of my pastor. I didn’t believe a word of it. I started dressing in the way the other ladies of the congregation dressed. Modest, long skirts, very little makeup. It was against everything I believed or wanted for myself.
My family came for a short visit from Florida and didn’t even recognize me or my behavior. Bruce lied to the church and told them I was 19. I couldn’t understand this lying from a man so close to God.
Turns out he lied about everything.