So I was finally on my own. At 19, I had my own apartment, I could come and go as I pleased.
I missed my family but never wanted to admit it. I wanted to show everyone that I was happy with my decision. But something inside always felt off. I never got my father’s blessing and now I was married to a man who no one in my family liked. But I focused on the fact that I was now independent and that I was able to have sex whenever I wanted.
We argued. A lot. We yelled and screamed and threw things. He climbed out of the window and down the fire escape from our 6th floor apartment one time because I had blocked the door and wouldn’t let him leave during an argument. I remember going to sleep angry on so many nights in that apartment. I try to remember what we argued about. Money? He wasn’t making as much money as I was and I was always trying to get him to find a different job. I didn’t want to struggle. I wanted to get out of that damn Bronx apartment with its roaches and mice. Was it his drinking? He always liked his beer but he never knew when enough was enough. He would drink until he was stumbling and then he’d pass out. He’s also been known to wake up in a drunken trance and piss just about anywhere–the corner of the bedroom, in a dresser drawer, on my laptop. Oh and on our daughter once too when she was about 3 or 4 years old. I always joke that the phrase “piss drunk” was created just for him.
But after every argument came make-up sex. And I would be reminded how good it was and that was enough for me to stay.
By the end of the year, the arguments weren’t getting any better but what could I do? Go back to my parents’ house and admit I’d made a mistake? My pride wouldn’t allow it. So I stuck it out.
I got pregnant that October. Although I started to do everything that an expectant mother would do–going to regular doctor’s appointments, taking prenatal vitamins, etc.–I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t want a child with him. Especially since it seemed like the marriage wasn’t going to last much longer. I had already thought about getting an annulment but the fear of embarrassment that would come after admitting to my family that I had made a mistake was holding me back. All I knew was bringing a child into the mess we were in would complicate things further and I was too young to be a single mom.
So I got an abortion three months into the pregnancy. I hated myself. We argued even more now. He felt like I did it to spite him and treated me like I was worthless. My life was miserable and I couldn’t find a way out. My mother kept telling me to come home and that everything could go back to the way it was. So I packed my things and moved back into my parents’ house.
He wouldn’t stop calling. He’d come to my job or speak to my coworkers to find out when I was working so he could pick me up from work. He cried and apologized and said he loved me. He promised he would stop drinking. He got my name tattooed on his back. He would try to kiss me whenever he could. Perhaps he knew my weakness?
I eventually gave in. We had given up our apartment and he was staying with his sister in Brooklyn. Since no one knew we were seeing one another again, we started going back to motels to have sex.
I got pregnant a second time that spring.