Category Archives: Wedding

The Journey

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Christmas arrived quickly for me and on what was supposed to be one of the most wonderful times of the year; I was worried sick about the journey that awaited me. The planning and all of the little details involved took weeks to finalize, and as my relatives and friends learned about my plan I gained wide spread support especially after everyone learned the true about who Becky’s father really was and how he treated her.

On Christmas morning my parents drove me to the airport, gave me hugs and kisses, and watched me board the plane. And as I traversed the terminal I mentally went through every last detail of my trip and prepared myself emotionally for what it would be like once Becky and I would finally be together as husband and wife.

It had now weeks since we had spent real time together and yet I could still remember what it felt like to hold her hand in mine, to smell the scent of her hair as she sat next to me, to look into her eyes and have her know my desire for her without saying it. It was those things about her that kept me going during the long weeks that had passed since we were last separated. and it was every other thing about her that made me hunger to return to her once again.

The plane ride to Portland, Oregon only, lasted a couple of hours and before I knew it, I was searching for the next gate where I would sit and wait once again before boarding another small airplane that would take me to a small county airport in La Grande, Oregon, which was very close to Becky’s home.

I felt like a spy on a secret mission to retrieve a priceless jewel from my enemy.

I was on a long journey to an unfamiliar city where I had to navigate my way in the dead of winter through snow and ice to rescue my wife from her vengeful father. By 3 p.m. the next plane was ready for me and the other passengers. We boarded the plane and sat there for a few minutes before the pilots voice announced on the intercom that our plane would be delayed for one hour because of snow and ice. We would stay on the plane and wait it out, hoping that the plane wouldn’t be grounded for the night. I began to grow nervous.

We waited on the plane until 4 p.m. when the pilot announced that the weather had cleared and he’d been given go ahead to fly. I began to relax and wondered about what I would have for dinner that night.

The plane took off. It felt like it was flying smoothly for a few minutes when it began to shake and the pilot advised us to buckle up due to turbulence.

“Shit!” One of the passengers next to me said.

I started to freak out and pictured the plane crashing into a small field, with my parents learning about it the next morning from an early phone call from the F.A.A.

“This can’t be happening!” I thought as the plane was tossed back and forth like a flimsy trashcan.

The other passengers on the plane were also visibly shaken and holding hands. Some were even saying prayers when the pilot’s voice came on the intercom again.

“Folks, as you can see, we’ve hit some bad weather this afternoon and will have to divert to Washington for the night.”

“No shit!” Said the passenger sitting next to me.

“Please keep your seat belts buckled because we will be landing in a few minutes.”

Washington?

After more shaking and rolling, the plane finally touched down in Washington. We exited the plane and were greeted by a heavy snowstorm that blanketed the area with snow and ice. I walked inside the terminal with the other passengers and stopped to look out of the windows facing the runway. There were dozens of other planes that were grounded by the heavy winter storm. When the pilots and flight attendants walked into the terminal I went over to ask them if they thought we would be able to fly to Oregon the next day.

“I don’t think so, sir. The weather report is saying that this is the worst winter storm up here in 20 years.”

“We might be grounded tomorrow,” The pilot said.

My plans were falling apart, again.


Feeling depressed, I went to look for my bags unsure of my next move. Airports were typically happy places for me, full of people eagerly coming and going to different destinations and cities but on that afternoon, the airport in Washington was full of displaced people who all had a glazed-over look in their eyes as they sat around waiting for welcomed news of departures. After searching and grabbing for my bags I found a corner of the airport and decided to lie down and rest. It was going to be a long night. So I accepted my fate and fell asleep.

I slept for a few minutes when someone started to shake me awake. “Son, you better get up.”

I opened my eyes and was greeted by an elderly looking cowboy who was holding his hand out to help me up.

“The airlines chartered a bus to take everyone to the hotel up the street where we can stay for the night,” He said.

I got up, rubbed my eyes and remembered that it wasn’t a dream, and that I was really one 1,000 away from home in the middle of nowhere.

“You look like a man on a mission,” The man said.

“You’re right.” I said.

“I can always judge a man by the look in his eyes,” he said.

“My name’s Angel Johnson,” he said as he positioned his hand for a handshake.

“My mother named me Angel in the hopes that I would stay out of trouble as a kid, he said, laughing.

Angel looked like the classic 1970’s T.V. character, “McCloud”. He was dressed in faded blue jeans, rough-looking boots, a long winter jacket, and a cowboy hat.

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“Let me help you with your bags,” Angel said.

“Thank you,” I said, feeling at ease.

“Where you heading?” Angel asked.

“Lostine, Oregon. My plane was supposed to land in an airport in La Grande, Oregon, but it was diverted here because of this winter storm,” I said.

“You have family in Lostine?” Angel asked.

“Yes,” I said.

What I didn’t tell him was that I was on a secret mission to save my wife from the hands of her psycho parents who forced her to accompany them.

“So you’re far away from home?” Angel asked.

“Yes. I’m from California.” I said.

“How about you?” I asked.

“I’m from La Grande, Oregon.”

“I’m heading back from a yearly fishing trip that I go on with old friends,” Angel said.

We walked over to the bus that was waiting for us and were driven to the hotel that was conveniently right up the street from the airport. Once we arrived at the hotel I was feeling more exhausted than ever, and walked over to the front desk and paid for a room for the night. As I walked to my room, Angel came up behind me pulling his luggage and said, “Son, the hotel manager just informed everyone that the airline is going to make another attempt to fly to Bend tomorrow, so everyone is supposed to meet at the front desk by 7 a.m. for our 8 a.m. flight.”

“That’s great news!” I said.

“Just thought I’d let you know,” Angel said as he opened his door.

“See you tomorrow!” He said.

I found my room and once inside, called my parents to brief them on where I was and what had happened that day.

“What’s the weather like at home?” I asked as I looked out the window at the heavily falling snow landing outside.

“Santa Ana, It was 80 degrees in the shade today,” my dad said.

“Save some warm weather for me, okay?” I asked.

“You got it. See you soon, son,” my dad said.

I hung up the phone and wanted to go home that night, but instead, I stuck to my plan and kept assuring myself that it was going to work.

The next morning, I woke up early, showered, and ate breakfast in the hotel lobby. I went over the remaining details of the trip in my head.

Step 1 – Arrive in La Grande, Oregon.

Step 2 – Drive to Lostine, Oregon.

Step 3 – Arrange a meeting point with Becky.

Step 4 – Get Becky and drive like a madman back to the airport to wait for the flight back to San Diego.

“It’s going to work, it’s going to work,” I kept telling myself.

After I finished breakfast, I went over to the hotel lobby, checked out, and was greeted by my new friend, Angel.

“Mornin, I thought you might need this,” Angel said as he handed me a large cup of coffee to go from the hotels restaurant.

“You read my mind,” I said, smiling.

As we sat there talking, the other passengers from the night before began to walk up to the check out counter. Everyone waited anxiously for the bus to arrive and take us back to the airport. Angel and I chatted with ease like two old friends about everything, from bass fishing and country music, to politics and religion, when the bus arrived and we boarded it with the other passengers and to head back to the airport.

“Looks like were on our way now.” Angel said.

“Thank God,” I said in relief.

The bus quickly drove us through the deserted streets and made it back to the airport in minutes. I looked out at the town, wondering where everyone was.

“It’s Christmas day. Nobody will be out today especially in this weather.” Angel said.

“It sure is cold,” I said.

“Bet it’s not like this in San Diego,” he then said.

“How’d you know I’m from San Diego?” I asked, feeling like Angel knew everything about me.

Angel smiled and said, “We better get goin.”

We walked into the airport and were greeted by dozens of angry passengers who were shouting and screaming at airline officials.

“Damn! I’ve got a business meeting today at 3 p.m.,” a businessman said.

“I have to get home to feed my dog,” and elderly woman declared.

“You bastards are always screwing us around,” claimed a young snowboarder.

“Yeah, man, typical bullshit from the Man!” said another snowboarder.

“Screw it bro, let’s go find a bar and get drunk!” another  snowboarder said.

“Must have beer!” They all said in unison as they went looking for the airport lounge.

“I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen, but the airline has informed us that there won’t be any planes coming or going for the next few hours because of ice on the runway,” the airline official said. “For those of you who can’t wait, we have car rental facilities inside the airport that can rent you a car for anywhere you need to go. For those of you who are going to stay and wait you will find our facilities comfortable. We have a Starbucks and McDonald’s in the terminal.”

“When is the earliest that we can get in the air?” I asked the airline rep.

“Probably not until 3 p.m. today,” he said.

That would screw up my plans and I wouldn’t be able to get to Becky’s in time.

“But that’s hours from now!” I exclaimed.

“I’m sorry, sir,” he said as he squirmed out of my way.

“I’m never going to get to Oregon,” I said.

Suddenly, Angel appeared out of nowhere and said, “Looks like everyone is in the same boat.”

“No kidding,” I said.

“I got an idea. Why don’t you and me rent ourselves a car and you can drop me off in La Grande on your way to Lostine, Oregon. I’ve got plenty of cash and can pay for half of it,” He said.

I thought about it for a minute and once again, my overactive imagination pictured Angel murdering me and dumping me on the side of a country road.

I was prepared to say no, but realized that he was probably a lot older than my dad was and couldn’t possibly pull a fast one on me. Besides, I was out in the middle of nowhere, with no friends or family, and decided that having Angel, as my travel companion and guide on this trip was probably the best decision I could make.

“That sounds like a great idea to me,” gleefully.

“Good, because I sure don’t feel like hitch-hiking my way home today,” Angel said.

We walked over to the rental counter, rented a brand-new Ford Focus and quickly got on the road. During the first few minutes in the car, Angel instructed me on how to drive in the winter weather and navigate through the completely foreign weather conditions I had never driven through. Angel really was my guide that day and made me feel completely at ease behind the wheel, even though it was snowing again outside and we continued to pass cars that had gone off the road every few miles, reminding me how dangerous the driving conditions were.

After driving for a while, I started to relax.

“What kind of hobbies do you have, Son?” Angel asked.

“I’m an artist,” I said.

Even though I said it, I didn’t really feel like one because I hadn’t painted or made anything new in over a year because of my relationship with Becky and everything that came with it.

I just didn’t have the heart to touch my art supplies or create anything new.

“An artist, huh?” Angel grinned.

“What kind of work do you do?” He asked.

I told him about my love of modern, abstract art and artists like Picasso, Matisse and Braque and how some day, I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

“Sounds like you have a lot of talent, Son.” Angel said. “Have you produced anything lately?”

I sighed and said, “no”.

“Why not?” He asked.

This gave me a natural opening to talk about my story. I talked for over an hour with my new friend and told him everything about my relationship with Becky and why I was really in Oregon.

Angel sat quietly for a minute and finally said, “son, I got one question for you. Why the hell are you going after this girl after everything she’s done to you? Especially with all your of talents and gifts, it sounds like you can have any girl you want.

I thought it over and said, “I have to try and make it work one last time. All of my life I’ve given up on things when the going got rough and I don’t want to give up on my relationship with Becky, especially if there is any hope left,” I said.

“Well, I don’t envy you with the path you’re walking because you sound like you face a great deal of opposition from her parents and that’s not easy to deal with, especially now that you two are married. You know that what you want to do might not work out right?” He asked.

“I know,” I said.

“It might not work out,” had been one of the main topics of conversation in my family lately. Nobody wanted to see me fail and witness my hopes and dreams fall flat, even though at that particular time my dream seemed like just that: a dream.

“Can I give you a word of advice, Son?” Angel asked.

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what to expect.

“Don’t give up on your other hopes and dreams after your journey is over. Even if your plans with her don’t work out, don’t give up on your art when you get back home. God gave you those artistic gifts for a reason, and I don’t think he’d want you to waste them. Take it from a guy who’s walked in your shoes and seen it all, okay?” Angel said.

“I appreciate the advice, but I’ve got to see this journey through and give it my best shot.” I said.

“I know you do, I just don’t want you to come home a broken man if your plans here don’t work out,” he remarked.

“You sound like you’re speaking from experience,” I said.

“Son, it would take me a few days and lots of beer to tell you all of my stories. Unfortunately I can’t drink anymore and we don’t have a lot of time left together.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Look,” Angel said, pointing out the window to a sign that read, “Welcome to La Grande Oregon.”

I looked at the clock and realized that we had been on the road for hours. It was already 1 p.m. and time seemed to fly by quickly while we drove on the empty, icy roads.

“Why don’t you drop me off at the town hall? Then I can get you a map and show you how to get to Lostine,” Angel promised.

“That sounds great.”

“I can’t believe that we’ve been on the road for this long!” I said.

“Well, the Good Lord has been looking out for us,” Angel said.

Grande_Ronde_theater

La Grande Oregon

 

La Grande, Oregon, looked like Mayberry and with the prevalent snow-capped rooftops it looked inviting to a tired homesick traveler like me. Once we found the town hall, Angel and I got out of the car and entered the warm town hall building and were greeted by friendly, cordial faces.

“Welcome to La Grande!” A girl behind a nearby desk said to me.

“Ma’am, this young man needs a map of Oregon so he can route out his trip to Lostine to see his family.”

“Well, you’re in luck! I just happen to have one right here!” The girl said.

She opened her desk drawer and pulled out a well-worn map of Oregon. She then proceeded to highlight the easiest route into Lostine. Things were now going exceptionally well and I was developing confidence in my plans once again. While she highlighted, Angel stood calmly next to me and when she was done, we thanked her and walked back outside.

 

We outside looking at the snowy day for several minutes when Angel said, “Son I better get home because I’m dogged tired and, besides you got a long drive ahead of you.”

“You want to go get some lunch or something?” I asked.

“No. I appreciate the offer, but I think it’s time we get going,” Angel said.

Once again, the kind old cowboy and I shook hands like old friends.

“Son, it was great meeting you. Don’t forget what I said about not giving up on your goals or dreams if your plan doesn’t work out okay?”

“I promise,” I said.

“And if I’m ever back here, I promise that I will look you up and take you out for a steak,” I said.

Angel chuckled and said; “I’d take you up on your offer if my doctor would let me eat red meat. Those hippie doctors won’t let old folks like me touch that stuff anymore.”

We laughed and stood there for a few more seconds before Angel said, “You better get goin.”

I thanked him again and we parted ways. I walked back to the car while Angel started up the street towards the direction of an old hotel in town. I got into the car, rolled down the window, and looked up the street for him, but he was gone. “Thanks again Angel,” I said into the wind and continued on my way.

The drive into Oregon could have been a lot worse if I didn’t have an experienced traveler like Angel to guide me on the roads, and give comfort to me after I told him my story.

I was in La Grande, Oregon, only a few hours away from my wife, a few miles away from seeing her again. I was getting excited, so I raced along the snowy roads anticipating our reunion.

En route to Lostine I drove through the remaining little towns with ease until I finally reached Becky’s new home. The town wasn’t much to look at. With no major stores, buildings, developments, stoplights, or civilization around for miles, I could see why this town appealed to her father’s nature. He didn’t move his family up here because of the great weather and atmosphere. Fred moved his family to Lostine because he wanted to hide them from the real world, keeping them locked up in his own little world until the day he died.

Nobody knew who he was, people would easily fall for his deception, and neighbors would welcome him into their lives, appointing him their new religious leader. I pitied the people in this town and couldn’t wait to get Becky and leave immediately. I was already sick of the constant snow, cold, and steel grey skies. I wanted to see sunshine again; I wanted to get back to the blue skies and warm weather of San Diego with my wife by my side.

Once I pulled into town, I drove around for a few minutes and surveyed the scene to make sure that I knew all the towns’ roads and was familiar with the major intersections. I knew that if Becky’s family saw me outside their house, they would call the police to arrest me. Or even chase after Becky and I in the rental car. I didn’t want either scenario to happen and prepared myself emotionally for whatever was in store for me.

I found the old, beat-up house where Becky’s family now lived and slowly drove past her kitchen window, catching a glimpse of her inside doing the dishes. It was around 3 p.m. and I knew that her parents had asked Becky and her other sister to get things ready for dinner at 5 p.m. As I drove past her window, I waved, turned a corner, parked the car up the street from her house and waited. After a few minutes, she slowly came out of her house, walked up to my car, and got inside. She wasn’t excited to see me.

There wasn’t a passionate embrace or speedy exit like in the movies. Becky was indecisive again and giving me the cold shoulder. I grabbed her and kissed her, but she was like kissing a cold fish.

“Are you ready to go?” I asked, sensing what she was thinking.

“Becky? Hello?” I said, waving my hand in front of her face.

She just sat there, thinking over what to say.

“Jeremy, I don’t know if this was the right idea,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“We broke my parent’s laws and God’s laws.” She said.

“Becky, I’ve just come 1,000 miles to get you because you asked me to. We’ve had this conversation again and again about what the right decision is, but the question isn’t what your parents want, it’s what you want. What do you want, Becky? The dream we had is now a reality and we can make it happen if you leave with me right now.” I said.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Becky kept saying, acting like she was doped up.

“Becky, what’s wrong with you?” You begged me to come and rescue you, and now that I’m here, you don’t want to go?” I said.

“I’m sorry, Jeremy,” she said.

“I’m sorry to,” I said.

“Can you give me until tomorrow?” She asked.

I laughed and said, “What’s a few more hours going to do? If your mind is already made up, I can’t change it for you in a few hours,” I said.

She looked at me clearly and said, “I don’t have a bag ready and will need one more day to get prepared,” she said.

“Alright, if I come and get you tomorrow morning, do you promise that you will leave with me?” I asked.

“I promise,” she said.

Suddenly, Becky’s parents pulled into their driveway in their old beat up station wagon.

“Oh no!” She screamed.

We slid down into the rental car seats and waited until they went inside.

“Alright, I’ll come back for you in the morning at 6 a.m. and you better be ready!” I said.

Becky agreed and we kissed quickly, and she exited the car and ran back inside her house. The plan wasn’t working out like it was supposed to, but plans often changed. And since I was here in her town, I didn’t plan on leaving without her. Once I was certain all of her family members were inside their house, having dinner I started up the car and quickly drove away in search of a motel.

Because Lostine had no major developments and no hotels, I was forced to drive to the next town a few miles away, where I found a nasty rat trap hotel that I could stay in for the night. The room smelled like cat piss and cigarette smoke, but it was a roof over my head, and once inside, I slumped down in an old chair and immediately fell asleep for the next few hours. I awoke around 11 p.m. that night hungry because I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. I decided to get in the car and go looking for the nearest restaurant. I couldn’t find any restaurants, fast food joints, all-night gas stations or any place to buy food late at night. Evidently, Oregon shutdown early, every night at and everyone was tucked away safely in their comfy beds. I was tired, hungry and homesick.

Lostine Oregon

Lostine Oregon

 

I didn’t know what else to do that night but drive so I stepped on the gas to see how fast the rental car would go.

Since the streets were deserted and there were no stoplights or other traffic for miles I went faster and faster until the car reached 100 miles per hour. After a few miles of driving at race car speeds I slowed down and was doing about 55 miles per hour along the country roads when a police officer pulled out from nowhere with it’s lights flashing.

“Shit!” I said laughing at the situation.

Here I was racing the car at 100 miles per hour a few minutes ago, through the deserted roads of Oregon and now this cop was going to give me a speeding ticket for driving at a measly 55 miles per hour? I hated getting a ticket but laughed at the irony and rolled down my windows as the cop walked up.

“You’re out here kind of late, aren’t you?” He asked.

“Yes, sir,” I replied.

“You know how fast you were going?” He asked.

“No, I’m from out of town,” I said, ready to laugh in his face.

“Don’t get smart with me, Son, you were doing 55 in a 35 zone.”

“Officer, it’s midnight. Unless there are cows out walking the streets at night, I don’t think anyone was in danger,” I said.

“Give me your license and registration, Smart Ass,” he said.

I handed it to him and he walked back to his car, never failing to keep his spotlight flashed through my back window while he checked my license.

Finally, he returned and handed me his notepad for me to sign his ticket.

“You’ll get your ticket mailed to you in 30 days,” He smiled.

“Excuse me, Officer Johnson; is there a McDonalds in this area? Because I’m starved,” I said.

“My name is Officer Smith,” He grunted.

“I advise you to go back to wherever your hotel is and stay there before you get into more trouble,” He said.

I mock saluted him, rolled up my window and drove away, leaving him standing out in the cold. When I got back to the crappy hotel I looked at my watch and it was 1 a.m. In a few hours, I knew there would be a final resolution: she would either come with me to the airport and we would go home together, or I would leave her in Oregon and never see her again. I didn’t want to think about what would happen if she changed her mind on me again, so I tried to keep such thoughts out of my head as I drifted off to sleep.

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The chess match

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Monday came quickly like any other Monday except on this one, my friends at work were shocked to see me back so soon when I was still supposed to be on my honeymoon with my wife. They were even more shocked when I began to tell my tale of what happened over the weekend and the disaster my wedding day brought.

Everyone comforted me that day, and once I told them the complete story, nobody brought up what happened to me again because they to repeat it again and again would be like driving a knife into an open bloody wound. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the day and considered going home sick when my phone rang. I answered it with robotic precision and the voice on the other end made my blood begin to boil.

It was Becky’s mother, the only woman in the world that I didn’t want to talk with at that moment.

“Is this Jeremy?” She asked in her gruff, manly voice.

“Yes,” I said, holding back my temper.

“Jeremy, Becky and I are at the courthouse right now and you have two choices. One, you can take the easy way out and annul the marriage or take the hard way and get a divorce. What’s it going to be? The clerk is waiting.” Her Mother asked.

“Where the hell do you get off calling me after what you and your husband did to Becky and me?” I exclaimed.

“I thought that you would say that. I knew that Fred was right about you,” she said in a sinister tone.

“You listen to me, you evil bitch. There isn’t going be an easy or hard way because I’m going to do things when I’m good and ready. You got that?” I yelled into the phone.

Becky’s mother continued to breathe hard into the phone like she was out of breath, I knew that she was pissed off and trying to think of what to say next.

“Is Becky there?” I asked.

“She doesn’t want to speak with you,” She said sadistically.

“Put her on the phone now!” I demanded.

I wasn’t mad at Becky. In my heart, I still loved her and if she was really there, all I wanted was to talk with her again to try and make some sense of the situation. I was madder than hell at her parents and had spent the last few days thinking of ways I could get back at them within lawful limitations. I heard her mother pass the phone to Becky.

“Hello??” she said.

“Becky, its Jeremy. I’m not going to pretend that in a million years, I will ever understand you or why we are in this situation. I don’t know what’s going on inside your head or what your parents did to you growing up to make you turn out like this. All I know Becky is that I love you and part of me will never stop loving you. I want you, not your mother, to tell me it’s over. Tell me what option to take and I’ll take it. Tell me to go away and you will never see me again.” I said.

There was strict silence for a few seconds, then she said; “We have to do what they want.”

“Becky, we don’t have to do anything they want!”

“You and I are adults and if you want me to fight for you, I’ll be at your house tonight with the police to get you out of that house. Or do you want me to go away?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

“Do you want me to fight for you?” I asked.

“We have to do what they want,” she said again and again, like someone had drugged her.

“Do you want me to fight for you? Yes or no?” I asked.

“Yes,” She replied.

Just after she said yes, her mother grabbed the phone from her and said; “Alright, Jeremy, what’s it going to be?”

“You listen to me, you evil bitch. Until Becky tells me to my face that our marriage is over, nobody is going to force us to do anything!”

“You better be damn well-prepared because there’s going to be Hell to pay for what you and your husband are doing!” I yelled.

“You son of a bitch!” She demonically exclaimed right before she hung up the phone.

After she hung up, I spent the next few minutes shaking. When I finally calmed down, I called my mom and told her what happened. Once again my mom was blown away that anyone like Fred and his wife could masquerade as God-fearing Christians while underneath the façade, they were wicked.

As we talked, she thought of her friend, DJ whose husband Steve, a local attorney and had given our family free legal advice in the past.

“You should call Steve. He’s helped us out a lot in the past few years and I’m sure he can give you a lot of advice about your situation,” she said.

She gave me his number and after we wrapped up our call, I phoned Steve and replayed with him all of the details from what happened on the wedding day to my phone conversation with Becky and her mother.

 After I finished my story, Steve rolled out an arsenal of ideas for me.

“You should call the police and ask them to do a welfare check because she’s your wife and they are holding her against her will so you can tell the police that you’re concerned she’s been kidnapped by her parents.”

After his suggestion and a few others, I called the police and told a dispatcher that I believed my wife’s parents kidnapped her and were holding her against her will.

They asked me what kind of proof I had for this and they transferred me from department to department until they finally found the right dispatcher that told me I was talking to the wrong police department and that I should call the police in Becky’s area.

After taking some more time to cool down emotionally, I called the East County police department. Eventually I reached a dispatcher, Wanda who asked me about the situation and I launched into my story and told her all of the details.

“Damn, Child, she sure screwed you over didn’t she??” Wanda said.

“Why does a nice, young man like you want to go back to a woman like that?” She asked.

“Because I still love her and feel that her parents are holding her against her will at their home,” I said.

“Honey, you should just give up and realize that you got lucky by this happening when it did. You could have been married for one year before she run back to her parents with your child. Then you would have been really screwed.”

“I have to save her; I have to try,” I said.

“Okay but you realize that if she don’t want to see you again, then it’s over right?” Wanda asked.

“I do,” I said.

“Alright then, I will schedule a welfare check tonight. One of our officers will call you this afternoon and want you to meet him somewhere close by before you go to their house.” She said.

She took down all of my information and told me that everything was set up for the police to visit Becky’s home tonight.

“Will this work?” I wondered to myself.


 

“Will the police get her out of the house, away from her parents, to talk to her about what’s going on?”

I didn’t know what to expect. Once again I was treading into unfamiliar territory, but this time, I had the advantage. If Becky could get away from her parents long enough to speak with the police officers, she could tell them how she really felt and they would free her from her, “prison”. I felt like I was playing a championship game of chess and was nervous as I pondered how the next move would play out.

In a few hours, I would try to bring Becky and me together once again, and I had no idea what would come of my efforts.

If my plan worked I was prepared to do anything to keep her, even drive hundreds of miles away to my Aunt Susie’s house to run away from her parents and keep Becky safe until her family was out of California for good.

By 4 p.m. I received a phone call from an Officer Ryan, who instructed me to meet him over at the 7-11 near Becky’s house by 6 p.m. to prepare before departed for the welfare check. After I got the call, I raced over to the 7-11, leaving my parents behind wondering if I lost my mind once again and was getting into more trouble.

Once I arrived at the 7-11 I waited there for what seemed like forever until a black and white police car finally pulled up next to my car and I got out to greet the police officers.

“Jeremy?” A huge police officer called out.

“That’s me,” I answered.

“I’m Officer Ryan. This is my partner, Officer Bolton.” He said pointing to his partner who nodded in my direction.

Out of habit, I looked at officer Bolton’s name tag and noticed that it said M. Bolton.

“Michael Bolton?” I asked, looking at the officer.

Officer Bolton looked pissed off.

“I wouldn’t go there if I were you.”

“He gets teased all the time about his name back at the station,” Officer Ryan said.

After the humorous moment, the conversation turned serious when Officer Ryan asked me why I thought my wife was in danger. And then he briefed me on what they planned to do when the got to Becky’s house. After we agreed on the plan, they made me promise that I would stay by my car so that her parents wouldn’t know that I was on the street watching the situation go down.

“It’s for your own safety,” they said.

I agreed then we all got into our cars and they followed me over to Becky’s house. I parked the car behind a looming oak tree two houses down from her parent’s house and got out of my car to watch the officers approach pull into the driveway in front of her house, after calmly exiting the vehicle the proceeded to walk over to the front door. Officer Bolton knocked for a minute on the door when Fred came out to speak with the officers.

Becky’s house had a small porch that was secured by bars and a metal gate. Fred stepped outside his door and made no effort to come close to the gate or even open it.

The police officers talked to Fred for minutes until finally he went back inside and Becky came out to speak with the officers. I wanted to run to Becky and tell her that I was there but decided to do what the police officers said and stay away. The officers talked with Becky for a few minutes, occasionally motioning for her to come out from behind Fred’s security gate but she wouldn’t do it.

They didn’t even bother to get her away from Fred’s house and I knew that Fred was standing behind the front door, like a menacing jailor, listening to her every word.

Their conversation was over before it even began.

After only two minutes Becky smiled at the police officers like she was okay, went back inside her house, closed the door and as soon as she had come was gone. I stood there dumbfounded.

They were supposed to conduct a welfare check but they didn’t even get close enough to her or get her away from her parents to see if she was really safe. Once the conversation was over, the police officers got back into their car, pulled up the street in front of my car and we walked back to the large oak tree to discuss everything that she had said.

“What did she say?” I asked.

“She told us that she was fine, wanted to be there, wasn’t in any harm, and asked us to please leave,” Officer Ryan said.

“Why didn’t you ask her to step off her porch, away from her house?” I asked.

“Because she didn’t want to and preferred to stay where she was,” Officer Ryan repeated.

“Her father on the other hand, couldn’t stop complaining about you,” Bolton said.

“What’d he say?” I asked, acting like I didn’t know what was coming next.

“He said that you kidnapped his daughter and forced her to marry you over the weekend and that you threatened his family because they tried to stop you,” Bolton said.

I was blown away. I didn’t even think Fred could stoop that low in his lies but he finally did.

“He also said that if you ever step foot on their property again, they are going to press charges,” officer Ryan repeated.

I felt like a vindictive hoodlum kicked me in the ribs and I couldn’t catch my breath. I didn’t have any enemies, yet Fred hated my guts and for what? Because I loved his daughter and didn’t want him to treat me like a slave for the rest of my life? That bastard.

“Listen, Buddy I met the father and from talking to him for that short period of time, I can see what kind of person he really is, so I understand what you’re going through and I’m going to give you only two pieces of advice. One, stay away from that house, because if you go back there, it’s only going to mean trouble for you and two, give up on her because as you saw tonight, she doesn’t want to return to you and that should be enough to tell you that chapter in your life is closes,” officer Bolton said.

I stood there staring at Becky’s house, trying to comprehend it all.

“Got it?” Bolton asked looking at me with a stern look on his face.

“Got it,” I said, feeling defeated once again.

“Come on partner let’s get out of here and go arrest some hookers on El Cajon Boulevard,” Officer Ryan said, looking over at Bolton with a grin on his face.

I thanked them and walked over to my car, feeling like the story was over. I didn’t feel depressed or crazy like I did on my wedding day. I only felt sad that I had taken it this far and yet we still were not together. I had to play it out to see what might happen. Over just a few weeks, I endured the emotional fight of my life and having done so, naturally I felt like a wasted man.

I slumped down to the ground, wanting to lie there, next to my car all night, without caring if I got hit by another car or not.

Where was Ernest Hemmingway when I really needed him? I needed someone like him to unload all of my sorrows to after a few stiff drinks and then be told that I would recover from this loss. I needed a Kung Fu master to come out from the shadows and convey some philosophical solution, comforting me with promises of clarity.

I sat there feeling sorry for myself for a few more minutes when I finally had enough energy to get back into my car and go home. Tomorrow was another day. I’d wake up and start breathing again, trying to forget her. I’d never forgive her parents for what they did to us or quit loving her at least not for a long time. But I knew that with each day we were apart it’d get easier and I’d begin to live a little more each day.

 Later that night, after I got home and told the latest part of my story to my parents, they comforted me once again and asked me to give up and move on with my life.

“You gave it your best shot, Son. That’s something that any man would do,” dad said.

“I hate what this is doing to you, Honey, so please give up and let her go,” mom respectfully requested.

I promised that our relationship was over and that they could rest easy in knowing that I wouldn’t try to go after her again.

“Good, because there’s always plenty of fish in the sea,” My dad said.

What did that mean though?

Do we get multiple opportunities in life to find the right person to spend our lives with, or is it a one-shot deal and everyone we meet after that is a pile of crumbs left over from the cake?

Before I went to bed I wrote this poem.

It’s over

My heart is sad.

I fee like I’ve drowned in a flood and don’t know that I’m dead.

With all the love I have to give and gave her how come she didn’t let me into her life one more time to save her?

I’m tired of fighting this battle!

When will it end?

For to long now I’ve fought this unseen battle against a man that I thought was once my friend.

Good, evil, hell, disaster why can’t a simple word like love be the answer?

I didn’t ask or want to get caught up in this fight.

I didn’t want to get caught up in this strife.

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The wedding day

Standard

Wedding Bells

The next morning, I woke up, energized.

I catapulted out of bed, put on my clothes, ran out the door to my car, and drove to Becky’s house. It was 4 a.m. and daylight was just starting to peak as I raced past cars on the freeway to pick up Becky. My body felt like it was on autopilot as I drove over there.

“Pick up Becky by five AM. Get back to the house by five thirty A.M. Shower, shave and get into suit by six thirty AM and back on the road to the San Marcos justice of the peace by seven AM.” I kept telling myself over and over again.

As I went over the details in my mind I realized that I was pulling up to her street, I pulled into the driveway of the house next door and got out of my car and waited for her to come out.

She quietly opened the side door to her garage and with her bags in hand she raced over to me. We kissed and embraced for a few seconds and then I asked, “are you sure that this is what you want?”

“Yes,” she said.

I saw a light go on in her parents bedroom and I sensed that they were getting up to start the day and very soon they would know that Becky was missing.

“Let’s go,” I said.

Driving

I grabbed her bags and led her over to my car. We got inside and looked at each other for a minute and then she reached over and started the car. I put the car into gear and we were off.

On the way back to my parent’s house we talked about all of the little details for our wedding day and I repeatedly assured her that everything would be alright.

 This was never how I imagined my wedding day to be. Like Becky, I had always wanted the traditional wedding in a church surrounded by friends and family.

I had often envisioned waiting with my groomsmen by the alter as my wife’s happy father led her down the isle, ready to give her away.

But just like everything else in my life, things change and on November 3rd, 2000 I found myself racing back home with my wife-to-be were we would get ready to head to the justice of the peace finally get married.

When we got home my parents embraced her like a long-lost daughter, then they pushed us off to my room for us to get ready for the wedding.

6:30 a.m. Fred and his wife would be having breakfast with Becky’s siblings wondering why she didn’t come to Breakfast.

Becky told me that she left a letter for her parents on her nightstand before she left. In her letter she told tell that she was with me and we were going to get married.

I knew that after Fred and his wife read the letter they would be furious that Becky defied them but even more furious that she had gone back to me. I knew that the first thing they would do would be to get in their beat up station wagon and drive over to my parents house for a confrontation. I didn’t want to be there when that happened and I rushed to get out of the house and get on the road with Becky to the justice of the peace.

7:00 a.m. getting ready was taking longer than expected because my grandma, sister and her 6 month old son Caleb were all going along for the ceremony and everyone had to get situated in my parent’s car

7:15 a.m. my parents, grandma, sister and nephew were safely in their car, ready to go and Becky and I nervously got into my car not saying a word to each other. The tension was so think I felt we were both going to break any second.

Regardless of the circumstances, we were getting married. I was determined to make this a special day, so I did everything to ease the building tension by encouraging her that our plans were working and in a few hours we would officially be husband and wife.

As we drove up to the justice of the peace followed by my parent’s car I started to breathe easier.

“We did it! We’re going to be together!” I kept thinking to myself.

I kept looking over my shoulder, half expecting to see dozens of CHP police cars speeding up the freeway after us but it was just a normal Friday morning with normal traffic.

I looked over at Becky and noticed that she was crying.

”What’s wrong, Honey?” I asked.

 “I’m betraying my family,” Becky said.

“I’ve always been the older, responsible sister that my parents could trust and now I’m breaking that trust to run away and get married! She said.

“Becky, you’re not betraying your family!” I said.

“This is the only way we can be together. Your father betrayed you by taking away your happiness and trying to ruin your life by keeping us apart like he did, all because of what? Because I didn’t want to turn my back on my parents and do what he commanded? You deserve to be happy not subjected to a life of misery and hardship under your father’s thumb.” I said.

“My father must be furious with me right now.” She said.

“Becky, if you want me to call your parents after the marriage ceremony is over, I will, just so that they know that you’re okay and that our marriage is official,” I said.

“Okay,” she said with hesitation.

I was tired of constantly trying to build her up emotionally, so we kept to ourselves until we finally arrived at the justice of the peace.

We finally made it! I kept thinking to myself.

I looked down the street after we arrived and all I saw were my family pulling up in the car smiling.

Fred wasn’t is sight, nor were any of her angry brothers no were the CHP, ready to arrest me or split us up. This was really going to happen.

Just behind the doors to the justice of the peace was my whole new future.

My goals and ambitions of just a couple of years ago seemed a thing of the past as I walked with my wife-to-be through those doors to face that new future together.

We went inside and spent the next 30 minutes filling out all of the required paperwork. Then we waited to be called in a side room where a justice of the peace for the State of California would marry us.

I looked at my watch and wondered what Fred and his family were doing at that instant. Even if they found out where, we were by the time they arrived it would be too late, Becky would officially be my wife.

What did the future hold for us?

Would she be able to stand up to her father and build a life with me, or did more hardships lie in store for us? I didn’t care about the future because my future was sitting next to me and with her, we could conquer anything.

“Jeremy and Becky? The justice of the peace is ready for you…”

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