Tag Archives: life

Living on the edge

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During my first month at Cashwave I worked hard and was hopeful that my job at Cashwave would last for more than a year and slowly became optimistic that I would be able to get financially stable enough to have a social life and invest money into my art and start selling the artwork I had made over the previous years.

My job at Cashwave was very easy, all I was required to do every day was call businesses in the area where Cashwave ATM’s were located and sell them low cost advertising that appeared on the ATM screen when the customer transaction was being processed and on the ATM receipt after the customer finished their transaction. It was an easy sell and I quickly caught on and became very successful at it.

I enjoyed making easy money at Cashwave and looked forward to going to work every day when one day the easy money stopped and the company future didn’t look very bright. 

I arrived for work one morning to find all of the employees up in the conference room for an emergency meeting that Andy had called. Everyone was over anxious because Andy hadn’t heard from or seen Andy in weeks and we weren’t sure why he called the meeting and what his important news was going to be.

Andy arrived to the meeting looking tired and more worn out than usual and all of the employees became silent with dread as we sensed that he had bad news to tell us.

“How’s everyone doing?” Andy said casually.

“Doing a lot better than you, are you sick or something?” Mike asked.

“It’s nothing that a bottle of Scotch can’t cure,” Andy said with a wry grin.

Everyone in the room laughed.

“Anyway, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I’m here to tell everyone today that Cashwave is going out of business,” Andy said.

The room fell deadly silent as the employees around the room began to contemplate Andy’s announcement and what it meant to their financial futures.

“As everyone knows after 911 Cashwave lost a lot of business due to several of our big customers going out of business and the domination of the ATM market by companies like E-Trade Financial. I’ve also lost millions in costly lawsuits and protracted litigation and my finances are severely drained.” Andy said.

“You’ve been living on the financial edge for to long now Andy. You can’t afford to keep it up much longer.” Howard, the accountant said.

“What are you saying Andy?” Mike asked.

“I’m saying that all employees of Cashwave are going to be laid off immediately until further notice,” Andy said.

“What about the ATMS that we still own? Who is going to service those machines?” Mike asked.

“I’m in the process of selling off those contracts to E-Trade so I can save what assets I have left like this office building.” Andy replied.

“What am I going to do? My husband is laid off and I can’t loose this job,” The secretary said.

“I’m so sorry. If I don’t reorganize my business now I won’t have any opportunity left to rise from the ashes in the future,” Andy said.

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Andy liked to think of himself as a mythical Phoenix that rose from the ashes after it burst into flames. This wasn’t the first time one of his business ventures had gone down in flames and it wouldn’t be the last.

The meeting continued for several more minutes as Andy answered questions from the employees until everyone was allowed to leave to clean out their desks and go home.

As I left the room Andy called Mike and Steve, the outside sales manager back into the conference room and he closed the door.

I didn’t think anything of their private meeting because I was depressed like everyone else at the prospect of losing another job and I walked back to the sales office to clean out my desk of one month and go home. I quickly cleaned out my desk and talked with Herb and Lupe about what they were going to do for work next when Mike walked back in the office looking grim and more stressed out than usual.

“Did Frank already go home?” Mike asked.

“Yeah he’s gone, it’s not like there’s anything for us to do here,” Lupe said.

“I’m sorry guys, I didn’t see this coming,” Mike said with sadness.

“What are you going to do now?” Herb asked.

“I don’t know, probably cash out all of my credit cards, sell my Corvette and spend the next 20 years on an island somewhere,” Mike said.

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“Sounds nice, can you take me with you?” Herb asked.

“I’ll send you a postcard,” Mike said.

“I can’t believe I have to find another stupid job again! I hoped that this job would at least last me for one year and it’s barely lasted me for a month,” I said.

“Well everyone, Andy asked me to close up the sales office so I got to lock things up,” Mike said.

“So you’re kicking us out too?” Lupe asked in mock surprise.

“No Lupe, it’s not like that. I love you guys.” Mike said.

“Come on guys, let’s get out of here and let Mike close up the office,” Lupe said.

As I prepared to leave the office with everyone Mike stopped me from leaving the office, closed the door and locked it.

“What’s going on Mike?” I asked, surprised.

“Jeremy, how do you feel about staying with the company for a little longer?” Mike asked.

“Doing what? We can’t sell ATM advertising anymore because Andy has sold all of the ATM’s,” I replied.

“The reason why Andy had that private meeting with Steve and I upstairs is because he’s going to start a website company and wants us to stay on and help him run it,” Mike said,

“What does that mean for me?” I asked.

“You have the most experience in the sales office with computers and the Internet, you pick up new concepts easily and I don’t think you will have any problem selling Andy’s website product,” Mike said.

“How much will the position pay?” I asked.

“Same as now except you will have the opportunity to earn more commission after the new company has been afloat for more than 90 days,” Mike said.

“Did Andy say he wanted me to be a part of the new company?” I asked.

“I’m the sales manager and can hire anyone I want.” Mike replied.

“What about Herb, Frank and Lupe? Don’t you want to keep one of them aboard because they’ve been with the company longer?” I asked.

“Jeremy, I want you because you have the youth and energy that they don’t have and most important of all you have the computer and Internet skills to help us launch the new company,” Mike said.

I sat down in my chair acting like I was seriously thinking about Mike’s offer when in reality I would jump at the chance to help start a new company.

“What do you say?” Mike inquired.

“I’ll do it if he gives me a raise to $13.00 per hour plus commission,” I said.

“You’ve only been with the company for over a month, you can’t ask for a raise already,” Mike said.

“It’s a new company and it’s going to require a lot of time and commitment,” I replied, smugly.

“Alright, alright I’ll talk to Andy and make sure he gives you a pay raise to $13.00 per hour plus commission,” Mike said.

I got up and shook Mike’s hand with a big smile on my face.

“If you use half the skills that you used to work me over for a pay raise you’re going to be very successful selling websites,” Mike said with a laugh.

“When do we get started?” I asked.

“Tomorrow morning, 8 a.m. We’re going to have a meeting in the conference room so don’t be late,” Mike said

“I won’t be late!” I said.

I put my things back in my desk and left the office unsure of what the next day would bring and was optimistic and excited at the thought of being a part of the new company and a bright future.

 Click here to read the next chapter!

 

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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.

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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 phone call

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A few days after everything happened and with no word from Becky or her psycho parents I started to feel at ease once again.

A police officer served the divorce papers that her dictator mother had made her sign one afternoon and I knew that it was time to officially end this catastrophe, sign the papers, and move on.

I started to look at all the baggage in my life and realized that since Becky, I had given up on all my art, goals, talents, friends, and dreams for the sake of our relationship.

I was mad at letting a big part of myself slip away, all for her, and prepared to start chasing old dreams once again.

The week went by and I was approaching a sense of internal peace about myself when that Saturday, I heard the phone ringing early in the morning and wondered who would be calling so early on a Saturday? My mom answered the phone and after a few seconds, opened the door to tell me that I had a phone call.

“Hello?” I answered as I looked at the clock and realized that it was a mere 5 a.m.

“Jeremy? Jeremy? It’s Becky.”

“Oh nooooooo,” I thought to myself.

“I can’t talk long,” she said.

“You will never believe where I am.”

“Where?” I asked, interested.

“Utah,” she said.

I immediately awoke.

“What? Did you say Utah?”

“I thought you guys were moving to Oregon next week?” I asked.

“We were, but our plans changed the night that the police came to our house.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“After the police left, Poppa flew into a rage, accused me of shaming the family, threw me on the bed, beat me, and locked me in the closet for the entire night,” She said.

“Oh my God,” I said flabbergasted.

“The next morning, when he finally let me out of my temporary cell, my bags with the other bags, sitting on the front porch, ready to go. My father thought you were going to continue to come after me so he decided to send my mother, sisters, and I away early to avoid any further incident if you asked the police to come back again.” She said.

I couldn’t say anything because I was shocked and outraged, once again.

“Poppa was angry with me so he had my brother escort me to the car, saying that it was for my own good. He also said that I had better behave or he’d make it even worse for me” She said.

I was appalled. I wanted to go over to Fred’s house with a baseball bat and give him a Louisville Tan.

“Becky, what do you want me to do about it?” I asked.

“You served me with divorce papers a few days ago and told the police officers that night that you didn’t want to leave your house.”

“I wanted to leave, but I was afraid for my life!” She pleaded with me.

“My father was on the other side of the door, muttering threats to get me to get rid of the Police.” She said.

“What about the divorce papers?” I asked.

“My mother forced me to sign them. She had my brother there to report back to my father in case I didn’t follow through and I was afraid.” She said.

“Becky, I don’t know. You really hurt me and I don’t know if I can go after you again.” I said.

“Please, Jeremy, I still love you, I’ve been held against my will, and now that I’m a thousand miles away, the pain is just to much for me to bear,” she said.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Please, Jeremy, don’t leave me with them! If we can’t be together, I’ll kill myself,” she said.

“Becky, don’t say that!” I pleaded with her.

“I’ll do it, I’ll swallow a bunch of pills or drive our car off a mountain and it will be all over with,” she said.

“Becky, please stop!” I said.

“Jeremy, I still love you and promise to fight to make our relationship work, just like you’ve been fighting all along,” she said.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

“When do you guys get to Oregon?” I asked.

 “In two days. We plan on getting the new house set up just in time for Poppa and the boys to arrive.”

Call me stupid, dumb, or ignorant, but I couldn’t give up on our relationship until the last page had been turned and with her call I sensed that there was still hope.

“Becky, if I come to Oregon to get you, do you promise to leave with me??” I asked.

“I promise,” she said.


 

“And do you promise that once you’re back home with me, you will talk to a counselor about your problems?” I asked.

“I promise,” she said.

“Alright, Becky, I will come after you, but you better live up to your promises and your vows as my wife. Or our relationship is over, and I will give up for good,” I said.

“Jeremy, I promise to spend the rest of my life making up for what I’ve done to you. And I promise to love you as my husband. I’ve got to go because I hear my Mother coming back to our room.”

“I’ll write you with all the details and let you know our new address once we get to Oregon.” She said.

“I love you, Jeremy.”

“I love you to,” I said and then hung up the phone, realizing that I had thrown myself back into the fire once again.

Then my door opened and my mom and dad walked in, looking worried.

“Want to talk?” my dad asked.

Both of my parents were still dressed in their pajamas and looked like they hadn’t slept at all through the night.

They sat down and I, once again, told them another part of my story, starring Becky’s unstable family. They were left visibly shocked when I told them what Fred had done to his daughter.

“You should call child protective services and have him arrested,” My dad said.

“I should, except it would be his word against mine and Becky is 1,000 miles away. And she wouldn’t be able to back up her side of the story.”

Sigh.

My parents and I sat in my room for a few more minutes when finally, my mom asked.

“What are you going to do honey?”

“I have to go after her,” I said in disbelief.

“Where are they going to live?” My dad asked.

“They’re moving to a house in Oregon in a few days.”

“When do you think you will go up after her?” My dad asked.

“I think Christmas time might be my best option because Thanksgiving is too soon. By Christmas, they will be completely moved in and any action from me will be completely unexpected,” I said.

“Well, God help you, Son.”

“Fred has broken God’s laws, man’s laws, and will pay for what he’s done,” dad said.

He then looked at the clock, then at my mom, and said, “Let’s have breakfast.”

“Now? It’s only a little after Five a.m.” She said.

“I know, but won’t be able to get back to sleep now so let’s have breakfast,” he said again, smiling.

We all got up and headed to the kitchen, all the while talking about Becky’s phone call and the big journey that awaited me. In just a few weeks, I would get on a plane for Oregon and drive to her new home in the early morning hours to rescue her and bring her back to California. I didn’t know if my plans would work or if they would fail again. All I knew was that if she was still making the effort to reach out to me, then I had to give our relationship one more try. I just couldn’t bear the thought of living my life without her or leaving her under Fred’s roof.

The next few weeks, I received letters from Becky and learned more about her family’s goings on in Oregon and their struggle due to her father’s poor decisions. By Christmas day, the day of my journey, I was ready to depart on my first long-journey, alone, after the woman I love, uncertain of what awaited me.

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I almost lose my mind

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It was time.

I looked over at Becky, she smiled as I grabbed her hand, and we walked over to the room where the wedding ceremony would be performed.

My parents, sister her son and my grandma followed with their cameras ready to witness the moment.

As we stood in the room, I looked over at my family and was blown away by their love and support, I wouldn’t have been able to follow through and stand firm on my commitment to marry Becky without the support of my family.

I looked over at Becky and melted in her beautiful brown eyes and imagined what it would be like later that night when we could finally share our passion a husband and wife.

“Are you ready?” The justice of the peace inquired.

“Yes,” we said in unison.

As we faced each other delivering our vows and promises to each other, life seemed perfect.

I felt harmoniously content at that moment. I had found the woman I loved and was going to face the future with my soul-mate by my side.

Before I knew it, the ceremony was over and the justice of the peace said, “You may kiss the bride.”

Becky and I smiled right before we shared the longest kiss that we had ever had with each other.

No more looking over our shoulders.

No more hiding our relationship in fear that her father would find out and break us up.

It was real. We were married and it finally seemed like our relationship was meant to be. My parents were thrilled and took a whole lot of pictures. Becky and I hugged everyone in my family and we went out to celebrate. My parents didn’t want us to leave us right away and decided that they wanted to take us out to breakfast at the nearest Denny’s that was right up the street.

We got in my car and followed my parents to Denny’s for breakfast.

I kept replaying the wedding ceremony in my mind and I felt like shouting gleefully from the top of a mountain top because it was the best day of my life. I was so excited that I wanted the honeymoon to start immediately but didn’t get the same impression from Becky. She looked like she had just attended her parent’s funeral. She wasn’t saying a word.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” I asked.

She looked at me and burst into tears.

“What is it?” I asked.

She wouldn’t tell me what was going on.

“Aren’t you happy?” I asked.

“Yes,” She replied.

“Then what’s wrong?” I asked.

“My parents. I was just thinking about them again.”

“This is not how I imagined my wedding day to be, I always thought that they would be there by my side.:

“Becky, I love you. And I swear that I will do whatever it takes to fix my relationship with your father and get him to accept our relationship.” I vowed.

“Once I fix my relationship with your parents they will have to accept us as husband and wife. Then we can get married again in a church ceremony like you always wanted.”

“Isn’t that what you want? Because I swear that I will do everything in my power to make that happen.”

“Yes that’s what I really want,” She said.

“Then once our honeymoon is over, I will work hard to make that happen. But today let’s just focus on what just happened ok?”

I grabbed her hand and held both of out hands up to let the sun reflect off of our wedding bands.

“Becky, were married!” I said with excitement.

“Something that we thought would never happen a few weeks ago did happen, and there’s nothing anyone can do to take that away from us!”

She smiled, leaned over, grabbed me, and started to kiss me like we did before her father had broken us up.

“Are you lovebirds coming?” My Dad asked as he walked passed my car with the family as they walked into the restaurant.

“Be right there, Dad,” I said smiling, as everyone walked passed us, talking excitedly about the ceremony and what we had just gone through.

Being able to hold Becky felt wonderful after having been away from her for so long. We finally went inside and had a big breakfast with the family, talking excitedly with my parents, sister and Grandma about the future, what our plans were and of course, the honeymoon.

Breakfast was over before I knew it and as walked out of the restaurant; my dad pulled me aside, looked me in the eyes, and said. “I’m proud of you son. You stood up like a man, kept your word and now you two are finally married. Congratulations!” He said as he bear-hugged me.

I told my dad that I loved him and couldn’t thank him or my Mom enough for their love and support during the last year.

As I walked away, my dad handed me an envelope and said, “Here, you’re going to need this.”

I looked inside and saw hundred dollar bills.

“It’s for the honeymoon,” he stated.

After Becky and I hugged and kissed everyone again, we waved goodbye to everyone and they got into my parent’s car and drove away.

I looked over at Becky and said, “Are you ready?”

She smiled, and we ran for my car to hit the road for our honeymoon which was only 15 miles up the highway in a little town called Cardiff by the Sea.

Driving up the highway to our hotel, we talked actively about the night-to-come when we could consummate our relationship. She told me that she had bought something special for the big night, which only increased my sexual expectations.

I knew that before her father broke us up, she had been avidly reading sex books that she picked up from the public library, so that she would be prepared for our wedding night. Her parents never knew what she was reading, and every time they passed her room all they saw was her knitting a new blanket for one of her siblings or writing a letter when she was secretly preparing herself for our night we had looked forward to for so many months.

We finally got to the hotel and checked into our room.

Once we were inside, I closed the door and led her over the bed.

I didn’t want to wait for nightfall and I playfully pushed her on the bed and began to take off her clothes when she started saying, “wait, wait, wait.”

“What is it?” I asked.

“We need to call my parents,” she said.

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“Why now?” I asked.

“Because it’s the right thing to do and I just want to get it over with,” she said.

With hesitation, I agreed and told her to hand me the phone.

I should have ripped the phone line out of the wall, threw the phone in the trashcan and made love with her right there but I wanted to do the right thing, the honorable thing and try to settle the problem with her parents.

She dialed the number, it rang, and then the unmistakable gruff voice of her mother answered.

“Hello?” Said the gruff voice on the other end of the line.

“It’s Jeremy, can I speak with Fred?”

“Where’s Becky? What have you done with her?” She asked this like I had kidnapped and murdered her daughter.

“Becky and I just got married,” I said.

“You what?” She screamed.

The phone slammed down and Fred picked up the line.

“Hi Fred, it’s Jeremy. We need to talk.” I said.

“I will only talk to Becky,” He replied.

“Fred, talk to me, it’s time that we work out our differences and talk about what happened, because Becky and I are married now.” I said.

“Listen to me you punk. Get my daughter on the line right now.” He said.

I looked over at Becky, rolled my eyes and said, “He wants to talk to you.”

Becky grabbed the phone from my hand and with a childish voice said, “Daddy?”

For the next few minutes, she sat there listening to her father shouting from the other end of the line. I tried to grab the phone out of her hand, but she turned away.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Becky kept saying as the looming voice continued verbally attacking her.

I kept hearing the words, “evil,” “wicked,” “abomination” and I knew that Fred was only talking about me. All my life I tried to do good to my fellow man and be a good person and Fred was putting me in the same category of criminals and murders.

I motioned to Becky to hang up the phone, but she wouldn’t do it, it seemed like she was shell shocked as she sat there and continued to take the verbal abuse until I finally grabbed the phone from her hand and hung it up for her. She started sobbing harder than I had ever seen her cry before. I held her close and tried to comfort her.

“Becky, it’s going to be okay. We have to give them time and eventually they will accept us together.” I said.

Becky kept shaking her head no and she finally said, “I have to go back.”

“What??” I exclaimed.

“We shouldn’t have gotten married. We made a mistake and should have never continued our relationship. They were right and we were wrong.” She said.

I felt like I had gotten hit by a semi truck, the familiar feelings of pain, that I has known to well after Fred first broke us up suddenly came rushing back. This was supposed to be a happy day!

We were finally married and she was ready to back out after a few hours? After everything we had gone through to finally come together, she was backing out now? The ink wasn’t even dry on our marriage certificate and it was already over?

For the next few minutes, I tried everything I could, pleading with her and stating my case as to why we should stay together. But what I was saying wasn’t working.

She kept shaking her head saying, “No, no, no.”

I got up and paced the room, looking for a mini-bar because I really needed a drink but I found nothing.

“Becky, I kept my word, followed through on my promise to marry you and went the extra mile to bring us together, and now you’re getting cold feet?”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” She kept pleading.

I should have thrown her on the bed like in the movies, ripped her clothes off her and said, “Well, it’s too late to back out now!” But instead, I kept trying to get through to her. She wasn’t listening.

 “I need some time to think,” She said.

“What’s to think about?” I replied.

“I need some time to think, alone.” She said.

I got up from the chair, grabbed my coat, and said, “I don’t know what to say,

“I’m going for a walk and when I get back, your mind better be made up, because I can’t take this any longer,” I said.

I slammed the door shut on my way out, leaving her inside.

I didn’t get in my car and drive away. Instead, I started to walk to the beach, hoping that by the time I got back, she would be all-right. And we could be happy again.

I felt weak; like I was walking around in a bad dream, unable to wake up. Why was she doing this to me?

“Fred has brainwashed Becky and her entire family. Are you sure that you really want to marry her? Because you wont know how messed up mentally she is until you’re living with her.” My dad’s words kept replaying in my mind.

I didn’t want to admit it to myself that she was brainwashed, until that moment, I didn’t realize how brain washed she was.

I couldn’t get her to listen, I desperately tried to get her to see things rationally and realize that she didn’t have to go back to her father and take the mental and verbal abuse that awaited her, but she didn’t see it.

I kept walking, trying to think of things to say that would make her see the truth and stop thinking that she had to go back to her father but I was overwhelmed, exhausted and my mind needed a break.

Once I finally got to the beach, I sat next to a lifeguard tower and tried to come up with a plan for how I would handle the situation if she did try to leave me.

I didn’t know what to do, this wasn’t how it was supposed to be, we weren’t supposed to be going through this on our wedding day, and we were supposed to be happy.

I looked at my watch, realized that almost an hour had passed by, and decided to walk back to the hotel. I started my walk back, stopping at a flower shop to buy her a bouquet of roses, thinking it might cheer her up. Once I got back to the hotel, I realized that something was wrong when I saw her putting her bags into a yellow cab parked in front of our room. I ran over to the cab and tried to pull her back into the room.

“Becky, don’t go!”

“I love you. Doesn’t that mean anything?” I desperately asked.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she kept saying behind her tears.

“Poppa said that if I come back now, they would act the marriage, never happened.”

I was flabbergasted.

“But what about us? What about our marriage? Don’t you care about that?” I exclaimed.

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The cab driver sat in the front seat of his car, reading his newspaper, acting like he couldn’t hear a word.

“Please, Becky, don’t do this! Don’t ruin our marriage. Don’t let your father ruin our happiness!” I pleaded.

“You don’t understand, if we leave and try to start a life together he will find us, it’s never going to work. I’m so sorry, Jeremy,” she said.

I didn’t know what to do, or say, other than cry.

“I’m so sorry,” She sobbed.

“Why did you lead me along like this?” I asked.

“Has Daddy prevented you from having relationships with other guys? Becky, I don’t understand the power that your father has over you!” I said.

“Don’t say that!” She burst.

At long last I realized that even the best psychologist couldn’t get through to her. Our relationship, and marriage, was over before it even began.

I let her hand go and said, “Go”.

“I’ll always love you,” she said as she got into the car.

“Becky, you don’t know what love is, I never want to see you again.” I said.

I returned to the hotel room and slammed the door.

I heard the cab drive off with Becky in it and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I looked around the room and saw our wedding bouquet of flowers on the nightstand and threw it to the floor. What was I going to do?

My family had gone for a drive to the mountains after the marriage ceremony, so I couldn’t call them. I was miles away from home. I didn’t know anyone in the area. For the first time in my life I felt like killing myself. I was sad, depressed and angry. I was tired of the struggle, tired of the pain, upset that she dragged me through the gutter and I just wanted it to end. I grabbed my suitcase and headed out to my car.

I looked down the street for the nearest bar and couldn’t see anything for miles but shabby little motels, dinners, shops and sandy white beach.

So I got into my car and headed for the freeway and thought, “I can drive my car into oncoming traffic or off a bridge and nobody would care.”

“My marriage is over,” I kept saying over and over again in my head.

She ripped my heart out and I wanted the pain to stop.”

As I stepped on the gas pedal I thought of my family and the life I had before I met Becky and knew I needed to get home.

I continued to drive, reliving the day’s events and the depression kept pounding back into my head, “It’s over; I can’t believe that it’s really over.”

If I hadn’t had a home to go back to or a family that day, I would be dead today. I would have driven my car off of a bridge because she wholly destroyed me, leaving wounds that would take years to heal. Going home saved my life.

I didn’t know how I got there that day or how fast I drove on the freeway because the pain was too heavy to bear. Once I made it home, I staggered up to my house. I felt like I had just drunk 12 beers. The world seemed incomprehensively upside down to me. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. I had just married the woman I loved a few hours ago and before we had time to consummate the relationship we were already separated. She was at her home getting interrogated by her parents while I was at my home wallowing in my misery.

I called my old friend Robin, and after I told him the entire story, he sympathized with me and said that he tried to tell me from the beginning that my relationship wouldn’t work out. But I wouldn’t listen to him.

I apologized and as we said our goodbyes to my friend and when my family finally got home they were shocked to see me sitting on the couch, still in the suit I was wearing a few hours before.

“What happened? Where’s Becky?” They asked.

I spent the next few minutes retelling my story as they sat there, with shocked looks on their faces.

“Fred must have some evil kind of control on his daughter,” dad said.

“I never thought he would still have that kind of control over her once you two were married, that S.O.B doesn’t have a heart.” mom said.

“I hope he gets what’s coming to him,” grandma said.

“Even though it hurts right now, honey, don’t give up on love. You weren’t meant to be with Becky, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find someone again more apt to share your life with,” mom said.

I couldn’t think or talk. I just sat there, stunned, shocked, and sad. I wanted to cry but couldn’t let the emotions out yet when finally they came and my family comforted me.

That night after a few beers and some phone calls from friend’s who had heard what happened, I eagerly headed to bed, to try and forget.

In bed I thought about what would happen on Monday, “Work 8 a.m. and later I would go to the courthouse 11 a.m. to get an annulment. It’s finished She’s gone and it’s time to move on.” I said

In a few days, her family would move to Oregon, and I would never see her again. Or so I thought.

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The plan comes together

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Friday morning came sooner than I anticipated and once again, I found myself driving to her house in the early morning hours. Except this time I was really going to see her again.

I made it to her neighborhood and parked far up the street, out of sight from traffic. I prayed that nobody in her family knew that we were meeting. I waited for what seemed like hours, but of course, it had only been minutes when a knock on my car door jolted me awake. I realized that she was here.

I opened the door and she got in.

We wrapped our arms around each other, and kissed intensely for minutes, then started to talk.

“My parents are ready to move,” She said.

“When?” I asked.

“In a few weeks, they are planning on moving the entire family just before Christmas. My father can’t wait to get out of California. All he talks about every day is how you betrayed him and how the church turned its back on him.” She said.

I was sick of hearing about Fred. I had tried to contact him for over two weeks via e-mail, letter, fax and telephone but he had completely shut me out, refusing to talk to me.

“What about you, Becky? What do you want?” I asked.

“I want to be with you. But I don’t want to disappoint my parents or leave my little sister.” She said.

“Becky, there comes a time in life when you have to fight for what you believe in, do you love me?” I asked.

“Yes, with all of my heart,” She replied.

“Then let’s not waste any time; let’s get married,” I said.

“You mean elope?” She asked.

“Why not?” I said.

“My family will be so disappointed when they eventually find out,” she said.

I laughed and said, “Becky, they don’t give a damn about you. All you are is free labor and childcare to them! Just look at what your fathers done to you! To us,” I said.

“She looked down, and said, “I know, I know.”


 

“It’s just that this isn’t how it was supposed to be,” She regretfully noted.

“I was supposed to get married by my father in the church, in my wedding dress, with my family standing by, and now we have to sneak away to do it,” She said mournfully.

“Becky, at least we will be together!”  If we don’t elope soon, you’re family will be gone in a few weeks and I will never see you again and our relationship will really be over.” I said.

“Do you want that?” I asked.

“No,” she replied.

“Then let’s get married. If your family is leaving soon, then lets get married next week.” I said.

We looked at each other for a few seconds, registering what I had just said. We were actually solidifying plans.

“Okay,” she said.

“Are you really sure this is what you want?” I asked.

“Yes, I love you with all of my heart and want to be your wife.” she said.

We settled on the November 3rd 2000 as the wedding day because it would be a Friday and we would have the entire weekend to spend on our honeymoon.

“I’ll meet you in front of your house at five in the morning, be prepared, you will need to have your bags packed and ready because after we’re married, you’re not coming back here.” I said.

“Jeremy, we should get married at a justice of the peace, far away because I guarantee that once they realize that I’m gone they will call every courthouse and justice of the peace in the city looking for me.”

 “Becky, don’t worry. I’ll find a justice of the peace so far away that they will never be able to find us,” I said.

We looked at each other hungrily, knowing what we both wanted, unable to satisfy our hunger for each other because our time was precious and someone from her family could come looking for her, any second.

We kissed for a few seconds, and then she pushed me away and said, “I better go.”

“I’ll see you on November 3rd at 5 a.m. in front of your house,” I said.

“If any of your plans change, write me a letter and I’ll get it from our secret spot,” I said.

She caressed my face for a second and said, “Don’t worry, I will be there.”

We kissed again and she vanished out of my car, and was gone.

It was going to happen. Our marriage wasn’t a far off event anymore. We were going to marry in the next two weeks, and be together as husband and wife. Would our plans work out? I would soon find out.

Over the next two weeks, I lived in a dreamlike state because we continued our letter exchange routine in the early morning hours, in front of her house. In writing each other, we planned out the wedding details, like the justice of the peace, time of the ceremony, honeymoon destination and, most dauntingly, the call to her parents after we were officially married.

My parents told me that until I could get my own apartment, we could live with them in their house. So they spent the next two weeks buying every kind of furnishing and supply a married couple would need to start out. My parents, sister and my Grandma Hyatt were excited about my impending marriage and wanted to be there, at the justice of the peace to witness the ceremony.

I still couldn’t believe that it was going to happen. As November 3rd approached, I was so excited, that I couldn’t sleep, eat, work, or think. After all of the struggle with her family over the previous month, we were getting married and there was nothing that they could do about it.

The night before my wedding day, I sat alone in my room, staring at myself in the mirror, questioning my decision.

“Am I ready to become a husband? Am I rushing into something that isn’t going to work?” I asked.

I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered where the 18 year old kid had gone and who this 24-year-old man was staring back. Why was my life always full of ups and downs like this? Why did I always have to struggle?

I felt overwhelmed, looked at the clock, realized that it was late and went to bed.

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It wasn’t over

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The next day, I woke up, and knew that I had to pull myself together and go to work.

I felt like a semi truck had just run me over and I didn’t think I could go back to my normal, daily life after what just happened.

For the next week, I alternated between hope, grief, sadness, anger, and back to hope again.

My old friends came around and comforted me trying to pull me out of my depression but nothing worked.

The following Saturday morning, my mom opened my bedroom door and woke me up to say that Becky was on the phone and that she wanted to talk.

I ran to the phone and said, “Hello,” without quite believing that it was her.

I had tried to call her every day over the past week only to have her mother yell at me and tell me to stop calling their house.

They eventually changed their number.

“Becky?” I said.

“It’s me, they finally let me out of the house to go shopping and I drove to the first pay phone I could find. Becky said.

“Becky, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen!” I exclaimed.

“I know. That’s why I didn’t want you to talk with my father, because I knew what he would do,” She said.

 “That night, after everything happened, we had a family meeting to discuss what had happened and my father said that you’re evil; a deceiver who only wanted to marry me with the ulterior motive of taking me away from them.”

“That’s not true! I told you many times what my plans were and I promised your parents that I had honorable intentions. I said.

“They have my brothers on the lookout for you, and told them to beat you up, if you get to close to the house,” she said.

I couldn’t believe it.

Two weeks previous, her parents and siblings were my close friends and now, they were my arch enemies ready to hurt me if I tried to rescue Becky from them.

“Whom do you believe, Becky? Them or me?”

“Tell me to go away and I will leave you alone, and never speak to you again. You know I never wanted to hurt you.” I said.

“Of course I believe you,” She replied.

“Do you still love me?” she asked

“Yes,” I said.

Even though I knew that her family was seriously screwed up and that her father was an absolute psycho, I still loved her and was prepared to fight for her.

“So, what do we do now?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said with a sigh.

“Becky, we have to talk face to face.” I said.

“I know,” She replied.

“I can’t call you, and you can’t call me from your house, so how can we communicate?” I asked.

“Letters,” She said.

“You know the bird of paradise plant under the garage door window?” she asked.

“I remember,” I said.

“Every morning, I get up before everyone else and do chores around the house.”

“I will leave you a letter buried under the rock next to that plant.”

“When can I get it?” I asked.

“At night because it’s too dangerous for you now that they are on the lookout for you,” she said.

“You better not come until at least 1 a.m. when everyone is asleep.”

“In my letter, I will let you know when we can meet and talk.”

“I will leave the first letter for you tomorrow and you can pick it up by 1 a.m. Monday morning. I better get back home before they send someone after me.” She said.

“Becky why don’t you just run away?” I asked.

“Because, my little brother and sister need me and if I run away, my parents will find me.’ She said.

“Becky, I still love you and I’ll fight for you,” I said.

“I still love you too,” she said right before she said goodbye and hung up the phone.

After our conversation, I felt renewed.

I could get her back; our relationship still stood a chance even though I would have to fight for her.

I was ready for the fight and suddenly, I felt like I was preparing myself for battle.

I told my parents what happened and they tried to talk me out of pursuing her, but seeing that I wasn’t going to back down they told me that they supported me.

The next day, Sunday, I was filled with nervous energy as I planned out my moves to retrieve her letter by 1 a.m. Monday morning.

I couldn’t do anything but think about what awaited me in the early morning hours of Monday, I pictured her father running out of the house with a gun, or her brothers holding me down while her father beat the “evil spirits” out of me.

The hours flew by until it was finally the clock struck midnight and I drove to her house to pick up her letter by 1 a.m.

Once I got there, I parked far up the street and ran to her house, dressed in black.

I made it to her darkened house and ran up to her garage and dug next to the bird of paradise plant, and found her letter buried right where she said it was.

Success!

Suddenly somebody coughed inside the house and the garage lights came on, lighting up the area where I was hiding as if her father, the warden knew what I was doing and was coming out to stop me.

I didn’t wait around to say hello and ran like hell.

I felt like I was a jewel thief, running from museum security.

I got into my car, stepped on the gas, and floored it until I was out of the area. Once I calmed down, I pulled over to a gas station and began to read what her letter had to say.

It was chaos in her house.

After my blowout with her father, everyone there was on edge and her father didn’t trust anyone on the outside anymore. Her letter also said that they had to drug her and tie her down after I left because she couldn’t stop crying and trying to run away from them. She wanted to see me and suggested that we meet Friday morning to talk about what to do.

She said that she could meet me in my car a few blocks away by a school at 6 a.m. as she was going on her morning walk.

If I agreed to the plan, she asked me to write her back and leave my letter in the same spot the following morning.

When I got home, I immediately sat down and wrote my letter to her, agreeing to meet her early Friday morning to talk about what to do.

 My parents thought I was crazy to pursue her after what her father did to me, but they could see that I was still in love and knew they couldn’t stop me, so they continued their support.

Early the next morning, I took my reply letter to her house and buried it in the same spot.

In a few days, we would meet again.

It had been almost three weeks since we last held each other.

Before that we had never been apart for more than a few days. I couldn’t wait to see her again, hold her in my arms, comfort her, and plan for the future.

What were we going to do?

I knew that I still wanted to marry her, but since her parents now hated me, that couldn’t happen like we planned.

I also knew that her parents had found a home in Oregon and planed to move in a few weeks and they would take Becky with them and any opportunities for us to be together.

Was I making the right decisions?

Was it really worth it?

Why couldn’t I just walk away?

What would her parents do to her if they found out?

These questions raced around in my mind as I thought about what I was going to say to her on Friday, and what I would recommend that we do.

I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, but I was prepared to do everything I could do to make it work. Because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with anyone else but her.

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