Tag Archives: romeo and juliet

Life Story – It Was Decision Day And A Chapter Of My Life Was Ending..

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Life Story

 

After a few hours of restless sleep I awoke at 5:00 a.m., quickly got dressed, packed my suitcase and drove to Becky’s house for our early morning rendezvous.

The sun was barely cresting over the mountains, the hills were covered with new snow from the night before, but I couldn’t enjoy the beautiful sight because all I wanted was to get Becky in the car and speed away with her as quick as possible and start our life story together.

I couldn’t wait to get Becky away from her parents and back home to San Diego with me, where we would finally begin our life together.

A good job, a small house, nice car and a solid life waiting for us when we got back but most of all I was prepared to take up the responsibilities in front of me and be a husband and a real man.

By 6:00 a.m I arrived at her house, parked the car up the street, and waited for her to come out just as we had planned.

After waiting ten minutes she didn’t come out to the car and I began to worry.

6:30 a.m: I noticed the lights come on in her parent’s bedroom and I knew that they were getting up to shower, and prepare for work. By 6:45 a.m. as I sat in my car I watched through the kitchen window as her father walked into the kitchen and sat down at the kitchen table to eat his morning breakfast.

As soon as I saw her father come into the kitchen I ducked down in the seat of the car because her father would flip out if he saw me and call the police.

7:00 a.m: I was growing more depressed by the minute as I realized that Becky wasn’t coming so I started the car and prepared to drive away, never to see her again when the side door to her garage opened and Becky quickly came outside, carrying a large, green carry on bag. She quickly walked up the street with grace, got inside and we left.

Success! I was thrilled as we sped away from her house, and away from the prison of her parent’s home. Becky and I traded kisses and held each other as we speeded down the country roads. She looked at the odometer and said, “You better slow down because there’s cops out everywhere along these roads.”

“I know,” I said, laughing.

The further away Becky and I got from her parents, the more we relaxed and began to talk about the events of the last few months and everything we had been through.

We discussed how we wanted to make the relationship work and were going to do everything we could to stay together.

“I love you and I’m so sorry for everything,” Becky kept saying.

 “There was nothing to be sorry for. Everything that we’ve been through over the last two months is history and the most important thing is that we’re finally together!” I said

Now that we were finally together I felt like we could finally move on with our lives. Or would this be the end of our life story?

Emotionally, I was still on edge and wondered if we would get back to the airport together and end up back in San Diego together. So many things had gone wrong over the previous few months despite my efforts to make our relationship work.

As we got closer to the airport in Washington, Becky and I stopped looking over our shoulders for any sign of her parents coming after us and started to relax. We eventually arrived at the airport a few hours later, turned in the rental car, and promptly got in line to wait to board the plane.

Everything was working out perfect and, while we waited, I decided to call my parents and tell them the good news. They were elated. They couldn’t believe that everything had worked out exactly like I had planned and hoped it would.


My parents told me that they told all of our friends and family about my journey and that everyone was praying for Becky and me, anxiously awaiting our arrival home and eager for us to begin our life story together in the warm Southern California sunshine. 

At about 1 p.m. we boarded the plane that would take us back to Portland, Oregon, where we would wait until 3:30 p.m. and board a commercial airliner that would take us back home to San Diego. As we boarded the small plane Becky began to shake and started to cry.

I asked her what was wrong, but she wouldn’t say a word to me. In actuality I knew why she was crying and I that I could get her on the plane and home to San Diego before she could change her mind again and ruin our plans.

Once everyone was on the plane, it departed without delay soon flying over snow-covered fields and mountains on our way back to Portland. Oregon really was a beautiful state, covered with miles of countryside that would make any artist like me go crazy with the desire to paint it. I didn’t have time to stop and enjoy it, though, because the last phase of my plan awaited us.

We arrived in Portland by 3:00 p.m., entered the airport terminal and went looking for our final flight. When we found the commercial jet plane I handed over our tickets and we boarded. I breathed easy and sat down with Becky, dreaming of what it would finally be like when we could be alone together, that night, as husband and wife.

As we sat on the plane, waiting for it to take off, I told Becky of the home I had made for us, and everything I had done to prepare for her arrival but it was evident that she wasn’t hearing a word I was saying. I looked into her eyes and knew that emotionally, she was still home in Lostine, worrying about what her parents were saying about her and doing at that very moment.

Sadly, Becky was still a scared little girl, afraid to venture out on her own without her parent’s approval.

Even though she was 21 years old and legally considered an adult, she was still a child on the inside and I couldn’t reach her…

As we approached 3:30 pm, the flight attendants on the plane readied the passengers for takeoff by putting away their bags and serving peanuts. That’s when Becky told me that she was going to the restroom, abruptly got up and rushed towards the exit. I unbuckled my belt and went after her. She wasn’t heading for the restroom, the door of the plane still ajar, and she was running for it.

“Becky! Where are you going? The plane is about to take off!” I shouted.

She kept running and made it through the door as it was closing and I squeezed through and continued running after her as she raced up the tunnel back to the airport terminal. Once we were back in the airport terminal she stopped running and when I caught up with her she was shaking and crying.

“Becky? What is it?” I asked

“I shouldn’t be doing this!” She said.

“We broke my parent’s rules and demands, God’s laws and will got to Hell for it!” She sobbed, not realizing that this wasn’t supposed to be the end of our life story, but the beginning….

The plane took off without us, there was no way we were going to make that flight and my plans were stopped again, by her. She didn’t want to be on that plane and had bailed on me at the very last second. What else could I do? Give up? Go home and leave her there?

After fighting so hard to make our relationship work since we had been together only to have our plans fall flat time and again by circumstances out of our control or by other people and this time she was the one keeping us apart.

I grabbed Becky’s hand and walked over to the airline counter to exchange our tickets for a flight later in the afternoon and once our next flight was confirmed I was determined to spend the next few hours trying to talk her out of giving up on our relationship once again. I tried every tactic I could think to convince her to stay with me but she didn’t want my love or comfort, and only desired to rejoin her family.

Over the previous months since her father had broken us up and exercised his controlling ways on her I quickly realized that Becky was deeply mentally and emotionally abused by her father and didn’t have and strength of her own to defy him.

Once we were together in Oregon and finally on the plane back to San Diego that I imagined that her father’s emotional grip would be broken and she would willing leave with me but her fathers grip could not be broken and she was running back to him once again.


We found a secluded bench in the airport terminal and for the next two hours I did everything in my power to try and build her up again emotionally so she would board the plane with me again to go to San Diego but in spite of my pleadings it was like there was an emotional “brick wall,” between us and she wasn’t accepting anything that I said. I didn’t understand how she left with me so willingly that morning only to leave me on the plane and walk out on me again, that afternoon.

Finally out of frustration I said, “Becky, you’re killing me, don’t you know that you’re driving me insane?”

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” she pleaded with me.

“Why did you lead me along over the last two months and make me think that you wanted me to come and get you?” I asked.

The longer I sat there on that bench with her, trying to break into her “emotional Hell,” and convince her to come with me, and begin our life story together, I felt like I was slipping into her abyss of confused thoughts and knew that if we weren’t on that next plane to San Diego I would stay with her in Oregon rather than leave her again.

Becky knew that if she didn’t leave with me her only option was to go home to her parents and face her punishment for defying them for the second time in her life, but in spite of the punishment that lay in store for her she desired to rejoin them once again.

“Becky, you don’t have to go back! Your parent’s don’t own you!” I said to her.

“I shouldn’t have defied them, we never should have gotten married and did what we did today,” she said.

Her mind was made up, and she was going to walk out on me again. I was blown away by what she was doing to me and just sat there feeling dead inside.

Finally, by 5:00 p.m. the next plane was ready for departure, so I got up and headed over to the gate to board the plane that would take me, and only me, home. Becky walked behind me silently knowing the fate that awaited her and also knowing that she would never see me again. When I got to the ramp I turned around, grabbed her arm, and pleaded with her to come with me.

 “Becky don’t do this!” Doesn’t our love mean anything to you?” I desperately asked.

“Your parents don’t love you and will only make your life a living Hell when they get you back.” I said.

“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” She sobbed.

I continued to pull her with me to the ramp but she kept sobbing and shaking her head, “No” as travelers around us watched the scene we were creating.

Becky was like a prisoner who wanted to go back to the “hole” and serve more punishment. I was offering her freedom and the chance for a normal life and she didn’t want it.

Before I boarded the plane, I turned to her one last time and held her tightly, knowing that I would never see her again.

This was the last time I could hold her in my arms, caress her beautiful face, smell her long dark hair and look into those bottomless brown eyes.

“You’re breaking my heart,” I cried.

“I’m so sorry!” Becky said sobbing.

“I thought you loved me, I thought you wanted us to be together! That’s why I’m here Becky; it’s my love for you that brought me here! Don’t you get that?” I asked.

“I can’t go with you.” She said.

“Becky, if it takes my entire life I’ll never understand you and I’ll never stop loving you.” I said.

Just before the boarding door closed I grabbed her again, passionately kissed her, and let her go.

“I’ll never forget you,” I said as I walked through the door.

We were so close to being together but in reality, we never had been so far apart. Our life story began and ended in that hotel room on our wedding day.

My journey was a failure, she walked out on me again and I was going home a broken man. I felt more tired and more beaten up than ever before. And at 24 years old, I felt like a tired, old man.

Our short relationship brought nothing but heartache and pain. And now I wanted to lie down and die because I didn’t know if I would ever get over her, and I couldn’t understand the depth of mental and emotional abuse by her father that drove her to leave me for the last time and go back to her family.

Over the next few months I would mourn her absence and deal with the deadness that she had left inside of me.

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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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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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Confrontation

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The next day was Sunday, and the day where I went to Fred’s house and attended his “church”.

I went over to his house like I normally did but this time, things were going to be different, I was still angry at Fred, and wasn’t going to leave his house until I spoke with him.

As soon as I got there Becky was waiting for me outside and tried to divert me again, but I wasn’t going to give in this time.

We were outside, talking about my plan to speak with her father when suddenly, Fred and his wife burst out of their house like police officers ready to make arrests.

They walked straight over to us and Fred said, “I know something is going on. Becky has been upset and crying ever since yesterday, I’ve never seen her like this before.”

I stood there, looking at him, dumbfounded.

I couldn’t believe that he was trying to act like everything was normal. Did he really think that I wouldn’t find out what he said?

“Fred, I know what you said to Becky about my parents.”

Suddenly the wind stopped blowing, the birds stopped singing and I felt like I was in the presence of evil.

Fred’s face turned a fiery red and his entire demeanor changed.

“You told her that if she has a relationship with my parents after we are married, that she would be dead to your family.”

“That’s right, Jeremy, I did say that.” Fred said in a very sadistic, serene tone.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because your parents are evil and will burn in Hell for what they’ve done.”

“They denied God’s prophet and will ultimately receive punishment for their sins.

“Are you saying that you’re God’s prophet?” I asked.

Fred looked at me, reeking arrogance and said, “yes”.

“Fred, I love my parents and we are not going to cut them out of our lives once we are married. Besides doesn’t the bible say honor thy father and thy mother?” I asked.

Fred looked at me, enraged, and exclaimed, “How dare you! You’ve stayed in my house, communed with my family, spent time with my daughter, and now you’re turning against me?”

“Fred, I’m not turning against you, I’m standing up for what I believe is right and I’m not going to follow you blindly, doing something that’s wrong.”

“That’s it, Jeremy, you’re not going to marry my daughter,” Fred said.

I stood in front of Fred for a second unable to comprehend what he had just said. I felt like I had just been beat down by somebody who I thought was my friend.

“Calm down Fred, lets talk this over.” I said.

“No! You deceived me! I’m not going to let my daughter marry an evil man like you!” Fred screamed.

“I’m not evil! All I’ve ever done was good for your family and loved your daughter, why are you doing this to me?” I pleaded.

“No! There will be no more conversation with you!” Fred exclaimed.

Becky stood there sobbing, realizing that her dream of love, marriage and her own life was crashing down around her.

“Becky get in the house!” Fred screamed.

Becky didn’t move and continued to sob uncontrollably and then Fred grabbed her arm and pushed her in the direction of the front door to the house.

My fighting instincts were coming back and I wanted to grab Fred by the throat and strangle him but I tried to reason with him.

“Fred, what about your Christian values? What about all of the things that you stand for?” I exclaimed.

Fred got up into my face and said, “Damn you, you get off my property before I hurt you!”

“Why? Because I don’t ‘believe’ like you and I disagree with you?” I asked.

“Damn you! I will kill you!” Fred shouted at me as he kept coming closer to me, with his fists clenched.

Suddenly, I heard a commotion in the house and saw Becky run out of the front door, past the arms of her brothers who were trying to keep her inside.

“Jeremy!“ She screamed.

“Get in the house!” Fred roared at Becky as he intercepted her.

I attempted to run to her when her two eldest brothers ran outside and knocked me to the ground. They held me down while Fred dragged Becky back into the house, like a dog.

Once Fred was inside with Becky, her brothers went back inside the house and left me on the ground, battered and bruised.

“This isn’t over!” I cried.

“Becky! I still love you and I won’t give up!”

I ran to the windows and pounded on them with all of my strength and I could hear her screaming for me inside.

“Fred, come out and talk to me, you coward!”

There was no response.

They had closed the curtains on all the windows making the house look like a crypt. I kept pounding on the doors and windows for minutes until I finally gave up, got into my car and went home.

Driving home, everything hit me and I began to shake and cry from loosing Becky and the confrontation with her father. I wanted to go back there and rescue her. I wanted to free her from the prison her parents had created.

How could he do this to me?

How could he do this to his own daughter?

Everything seemed perfect a few days ago and now it was all upside down.

After the shock and tears, I finally made it home, somehow, and sat on the couch as my shocked parents listened to the details of my confrontation with Fred.

They were surprised to see me and sat there in awe as I replayed the shocking events.

“I’m so sorry, son, I knew Fred was a controlling psychopath but I never thought he would sink that low and ruin his own daughter’s happiness.” Dad said.

My mom sat on the couch and put her arm around me, suddenly everything started to hit me like a ton of bricks and I let all of my emotions out and cried once again.

My parents comforted me and then my dad said “You know what? You’re the lucky one.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You can go back to your life. Becky can’t.” Dad said.

“Fred will keep his thumb on Becky and his other children for the rest of their lives and his brainwashing will continue to haunt them even after he’s dead.

“You got out Jeremy. I’m proud of you because you stood up to that bastard and didn’t back down. You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes people have to fight for what they believe in and stand up for what they know is right.” Dad said.

 I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything, and all I wanted to do was lie down and be alone….

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The good times and the bad

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Falling in love for the first time with a young, passionate woman who loved me back was a wonderful, new phase of my life.

Before falling in love, I constantly witnessed the closeness of couples around me on a regular basis but I never understood what they had.

But when it finally happened, I at last understood what it was all about. And I gave myself to it completely.

During the first few months of our relationship, we were white hot lovers who couldn’t bear to spend one moment apart; the yearning for each other was just too much to bear.

She was my North Star and every night after work, I followed her warm light home.

We even wrote letters to one another on days we couldn’t see each other, and our relationship blossomed more than ever.

Then came another big change.

My parents decided that they were ready to move from our home of 13 years in Spring Valley to a smaller, cozier home in nearby Chula Vista. It was closer to my dad’s job and was conclusive to taking care of my Grandma Hyatt, who was in her early 80’s and ready to leave the responsibility of her old home and move in with them.

I loved living in our house in Spring Valley because I had grown up there and it was the only home I had ever known.

That house was where I developed my love for gardening from our large flower garden, developed my passion for art from the wonderful sunsets I watched from our patio and fed my desire for knowledge in my room, my safe haven, I had known and loved since childhood.

It was extremely hard to leave for another home, in a different area, away from everything I knew and loved.

On my final night there, as we packed the final box and drove away from the cold dark shell that was our old house, my Mom and I cried because it was almost as if, symbolically one phase of life was closing, and another was opening.

But it didn’t take long to move beyond the sadness of moving from my old house and old life, to a new house and a new life because of my engagement to Becky and future wedding.

By this time I had already told my parents that I loved Becky and that we wanted to get married. They supported me in anything I did and told me that they were eager to welcome her into the family.

Our wedding plans sped up quickly as Becky and her mother were making wedding plans, trying on wedding dresses, contacting caterers, sending out invitations, making travel plans with relatives while all I had to do was buy the rings, rent a tux and show up for the ceremony.

Every day, the first things I was asked from Becky and her mother when I went over to her house was what I thought about this cake and that cake, how many people I wanted to invite and did I rent a tux?

I quickly realized that Becky, like most young women, had planned for her wedding all of her life and she wanted every detail like the flowers, brides maids gowns, wedding dress and cake to be very special.

I was ready for marriage but at the same time began to feel rushed by her parents who were pushing for an early wedding, even though I originally wanted for us to be engaged for one year.

Her parent’s philosophy was, “If two people really love each other, why should they wait to get married when God wants them to be together?”

When we got engaged I wanted our engagement to be for one year because I wanted to really wanted to fell confident about my job, find an apartment and save money for our future so that I could have a life ready for her once we were together.

Her parents told us that they were married after only dating for a few short months and even though they had little to no money throughout their lives and been on the verge of homelessness at times they always had their love to keep them together.

I felt differently than her parents and wanted to make sure I was ready financially for marriage and feeling rushed into marriage became very unsettling to me.

My relationship with Becky and her family was good, but their relationship with my parents and other people in the church quickly fell apart within a few months after Fred took over as pastor of the church.

Fred, was a pastor with a very “old fashioned” world view and demanded that all aspects of life should follow the Bible. This included how women dressed, wore their hair, did their makeup, performed jobs, treated their children, and handled their family life etc. This was something that the church elders claimed they didn’t know about him before he started as pastor.

His beliefs caused everyone in the church to get upset because Fred wanted to change every aspect of the congregation’s life to follow his world view.

Fred was turning into a cult leader before my very eyes but I couldn’t see it because I was in love with his daughter. And being an idealist, I though all of the problems Fred was causing wouldn’t affect Becky and I once we were married.

How wrong I was.

I quickly realized that Becky would follow her father with blind devotion and never question him on anything. No matter how hard I tried to convince her that she could make up her own mind and do what she wanted with her life she never agreed with me.

Becky’s beliefs included sex without birth control, having many children like her mother, residing in a rural area and shunning modern society.

“That’s not what I want in life,” I told her one night when we were talking, outside, alone.

“I’m from California, my family is here and our life is going to be here. I want to live here, build a life and raise a family.” I said.

Fred was contemplating what would happen if he was forced to leave the church because of his radical beliefs and Becky wanted us to follow her parents like sheep once we were married.

She didn’t agree with my goals and ambitions and we started to fight about what each of us wanted and we explored our core values to see if they matched the vision we had for our life together.

We both had the same faith, love of God, devotion to family but she wanted the traditions her father raised her on while I craved modernity.

I almost ended our relationship a few times but she always drew me back. Then after making up with her we felt like we could conquer any barrier in our relationship if we were together.

We were in our own little world and oblivious to what Fred was doing to destroy the church and ruin people’s lives.

My parents were not happy with what Fred was doing to destroy the church and they became increasingly concerned as I spent more time with Becky at her house. They wondered if I was getting brainwashed by Fred’s way of thinking while I was deeply in love with his daughter.

I assured my parents and everyone who cared to listen that, “I’m my own man! And nobody is going to brainwash me!” Even though I said this I didn’t realize that the power of love that I had for Becky and the desire I had to be with her would make me turn my back on everything I had known and loved.

As things got worse in the church Fred and his family began to “shun” or turn their backs on members of the congregation that he was supposed to be the spiritual leader of. My parents were also “shunned” by Fred and his family because my mom and dad didn’t want to adhere to Fred’s backward way of thinking. They told me what was Fred was doing in the church, and how they were being treated by him and his family and I didn’t want to believe it.

After a few months as pastor, the elders asked Fred to leave the church because the congregation was preparing to split up and the elders didn’t want that to happen.

One night after I had dinner with his family, I was talking with Becky about our marriage plans, in her living room, when Fred came in and told us the news that he would no longer be pastor of the church.

He made it sound like he was fired from his job and left with nothing to live on, when in reality, the elders had agreed to pay him his salary for the remainder of the year, and continue to let him live in the home that they had bought for his family only a few months before, while Fred looked for work and decided what he wanted to do next.

Fred had no desire to look for work and get a real world job while he was living off the salary the church was paying him. His desire was to start his own “church” right from the comfort of his own home and hopefully attract people who believed like him.

What I didn’t realize was, now that Fred would have his own “church” and didn’t have to answer to elders or have anyone question his authority he essentially became a full blown cult leader.

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Jim Jones

 

Of course I didn’t see him as a cult leader at the time because I was in love with his daughter and my rationality was clouded so I decided to leave the only church I had ever known and follow Fred’s leadership.

This disappointed my parents because I had always followed in their footsteps and for the first time, I went in a different direction then them.

My parents, friends and relatives tried to get me to see that I was following a blatant cult leader and that I was slowly being brainwashed by him but I didn’t see it that way.

This was a scary decision for me. But it was also a very liberating one because I was making a real “grownup” decision and hoped that it was the right one to make.

Despite the tribulation surrounding us, my relationship with Becky only got more intense. I experienced first hand how trying times bring couples together. So naturally our hunger for each other became hotter than ever and we made love whenever we could be alone from her parents prying eyes.

As I fell for her more and more and became part of her family, I slowly gave up on my own dreams and artistic endeavors because I didn’t have any time for art or writing because I was always with her and I didn’t see how my artistic goals would fit in to our plans once we were married.

Becky wanted to get pregnant and have children right after we were married and I couldn’t see how I could pursue my creative goals when I would have a wife and family of my own to support.

Although our relationship was heating up our marriage plans were slowing down.

Fred’s “church” wasn’t getting any interest or support from anyone in San Diego and as his salary from his brief stint as pastor was coming to an end he and his wife began to search for homes in cheaper parts of the country. Their plans took precedence over our marriage plans and we were left in “limbo” as they decided what they wanted to do next.

The question they asked me one night was, “would Becky and I go with them if they moved to another state to start a new life?”

I didn’t want to say no to them if going with them was their only condition to letting me marry Becky so I told them that once we were married we would move with them wherever they went.

This excited Becky’s parents and drew Fred closer to me as a friend and confidant than ever before because after he lost his job as pastor at the church he had no friends in California he trusted.

As Fred’s salary from his job at the church began to dwindle and his home church drew no interest from the community he became increasingly withdrawn and manic depressive around his family.

Fred blamed my parents and everyone who was still worshiping at the church that had kicked him out for his problems and imminent financial troubles. On a nightly basis he lashed out at the world around him and called anyone evil, who didn’t agree with his way of seeing the world or teaching from the Bible.

I became increasingly alarmed with Fred’s psychotic behavior and cult leader view points and began to question the choice I was making to follow him and marry his daughter.

My inner turmoil was horrible because, every day, as I fought with my own inbred desire to be independent and free of Fred’s dominating behavior I was still deeply in love with Becky and my love for her stopped any actions to exercise my independent personality.

I wanted to stand up to Fred and tell him how I really felt about him but I also feared that if I did stand up to him he would end my relationship with Becky and forbid us from seeing each other ever again.

Even though Becky was 21 years old and I was 24, legal adults and able to make our own decisions, she was essentially “owned” by Fred and if I wanted a life with her I had to be his, “yes man” and “whipping boy” until we were married.

I thought that once Becky and I were married I would speak up for myself and not let Fred dominate me or control what Becky and I did with our lives.

My parents were deeply concerned about me and made their feelings known whenever I was around them at home. I told them that once Becky and I were married I would assert myself and we would live our own lives, separate from Fred and his family.

I wanted to be optimistic with my parents and project my usual aura of confidence around them but inwardly I didn’t believe my confidence or think that Fred would let Becky and I go, once we were married.

I knew that if I wanted to be true to myself, to be my own person and have a life with Becky, away from Fred and his dominating ways, I would have to fight for what I wanted……….

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