DUE TO MY STRONG PERSONAL BELIEFS, I MUST STRESS THAN IN NO WAY DOES THIS CHAPTER ENDORSE VIOLENCE TOWARDS WOMEN. IF YOU ARE STUCK IN THE CYCLE OF ABUSE, THINK OF THIS AS AN INSPIRATION FOR ESCAPING.
My little sister Rachel was so glad to be home. By now, it was almost one week since her extraction from Clark County and the abuse. In our town house, she is very clingy, but I am allowing her to be clingy. She still comes into my room at night sobbing and looking for comfort and I welcome her onto my bed every night. I will now let Rachel tell the story in her own words:
As part of the divorce decree, my brother Michael was to stay with mom while I stayed with dad. If it were up to me, I wouldn't leave my brother's side because I love him so much. Anyhow, at first dad was supportive of me and helped me get my high school career going at the then-brand new Orchards High School in Clark County, Washington. I loved Orchards High and I made many friends there, friends that I try to keep in touch with (especially Noelle, she is my best friend from Orchards).
Eventually, as I was onto my sophomore year at Orchards, dad started abusing me. At night, I would sneak onto the phone and tell my brother things bit by bit. Dad would slap me and he primarily slapped my breasts (which I still have the scar on my left breast). When I had access to a computer, I would tell Michael (my older brother) everything. Eventually, he became so enraged that he said, "I'm going to the police. You're coming home as soon as possible.” Dad found out and beat me to a bruised and bloody mess. I was crying all night long and did not try to sleep.
Fearing for my life, the next morning I left the house earlier than usual in the morning and walked down to the local Arches Burgers for breakfast (after snatching a $10 – which I doubt was mine but I didn’t care – I saw floating around), then I grabbed the #C-72 and headed to school. I was too scared to wait around for the cheesewagon, so I was more than happy to catch Quad-Met.
I entered the main office and asked to speak to Ms. Glendale, one of the assistant administrators and the only female administrator of Orchards. I entered her office and explained what happened last night including being slapped on the breast. I also explained, "I told my brother Michael, who lives in Virginia, everything. Since it was an IM, he told me that he would log the entire chat and take it to the police out there. I told him, 'Please take it to the cops. I want to come home to Virginia. I am scared and I will be speaking to my principal tomorrow.'“ I even showed Ms. Glendale the still present scar on my breast and asked her to contact Clark County Police. I insisted on female officers and Ms. Glendale fully understood.
If it meant something to me, I brought it with me when I boarded the #C-72 to school. I'm glad the cops came to the school because dad did show up and was taken into custody. I was placed into the care of the state while they tried (successfully) to make contact with mom.
The plan was to fly my brother (I wanted him to come out here since I warmed up to him as described above) to Portland and under the supervision of Clark County, my brother and I was to get things out of the apartment that I wanted. We were to spend the night at a hotel in Portland then take the train to the airport and fly home. Whatever I wanted, it was loaded onto a truck bound for Virginia.
We got to the hotel room and it was complete with two beds and one of those TVs you could buy video games with (although Michael brought his laptop which was a blessing). When we got into the hotel room, I had him sit down on the bed then I sat down at his side. I started hugging him and started crying. "What is it? Take as long as you need to tell me," he said. He gladly accepted me into his arms.
It took me a while, but I was finally able to start talking. "Let me show you what dad did to my boob as well as the rest of my stomach. Help me get my top completely off," I said. Understandably, he took a moment (I'm his sister and he's not normally supposed to see my boobs) but I showed I meant business when I started pulling my shirt off.
Michael helped me get top free and still sobbing I said, "Look to my left breast. See that scar?"
He started, "Yeah…WOW! This is…"
I sobbed, "This is where I was slapped.” I realized that bearing my boobs eased the pain now that my bra wasn't rubbing. I started realizing I liked the comfort my brother was offering me. "Share the bed with me," I requested, "Do not leave my side for any reason. I am so scared.” By now, I was crying up a storm. I wanted to be back in Virginia. I wanted to be home. My brother just took me into his arms and I wasn't going to allow him to let go of me. Like the night I was assaulted, I didn't think I was going to be able to sleep tonight. I gripped my brother tightly as we rested in bed. I honestly couldn't fall asleep. I was crying as Michael held me tightly.
Michael suggested, "Maybe a warm bath could relax your nerves. Would you like to try?"
"It's worth a shot," I said, "Please help me get my clothes off. Take yours off as well since I want you at my side at the tub. You're going to massage and wash me. This is my first bath or shower in I don't know how long." I was still sobbing and I really wanted to take a bath.
Michael got clothes-free and followed me into the bathroom. He got the water going then said, "Since it's been forever since you got in a tub or shower, go on and shower first to clean off the dirt and grime. Then, I'll get the bath water going." He started the showerhead and unplugged the drain.
He shut the curtain, but I insisted: "Please join me." He climbed into the shower and, at my request, started washing me. I was still very upset and was sobbing the whole time. I started hugging Michael so tightly in the shower then he started to wash me.
After getting the grime off of me, I had him step out so that we could get the tub going. He helped me lie down in the bath as the water started going.
The next morning, it was around 5 in the morning and I wanted breakfast. Still griping my brother tightly, I tried to wake him up. My stomach was growling madly as I finally got him going. "I'm getting hungry. I'm ready to get going. I guess we can use our all day pass to ride the buses and trains here in Portland until it's time to head to the airport. There's a Bernard's next door. Let's get dressed and go there."
I was still clothes-free and decided to get dressed without any cares to privacy. My brother also changed right there. While I was totally clothes-free, I hugged my brother real tightly, and he asked, "Does your breast still hurt? I still see the scars."
I answered, "Touch it because I can't feel anything.” My brother placed his hand on my left breast like I asked him and sure enough, "Off! It still hurts badly. I'm not going to wear a bra."
"That's fine Rachel. The most important thing is your comfort.” With that, he hugged me again and we got dressed. Michael grabbed our things as we headed to the front desk to check out and I held on to him tightly.
After checking out, we headed to the Bernard's which was right next door to the hotel. The waitress asked, "Table for two?"
I answered, "Yes."
Michael added, "I'm allergic to cigarettes, so as far away from smoking as possible."
The waitress replied, "We're non-smoking throughout the entire restaurant."
My brother replied, "Thank-you."
The waitress took us to a booth and placed menus on both sides. I sat next to my brother and moved my menu to be next to him. He gladly allowed me to snuggle into his arms as I continued to have a case of the sniffles (I was still quite upset).
A lady who looked to be my brother's age came to us and greeted, "Good morning. I am Amanda and I will be your server this morning. Would you like to start off with any drinks this morning?"
My brother said, "For now, water for both of us and no ice please."
Amanda answered, "OK, water without ice for both of you. I will be right back."
Michael then turned to me and explained, "This is how you save money. Ask for free water now, and ask for what you really want with the meal. In my case, I'm going to have chocolate milk in a large glass and I'm going to tell them to bring the chocolate milk with the meal."
Amanda returned with our drinks, so Michael and I proceeded to place our order: a helping of buttermilk pancakes topped with strawberry and banana with toast and bacon. It was plenty large so it was able to feed both of us. To drink, we both had large glasses of chocolate milk. We happily ate and, since Amanda was a good waitress, we tipped her $5.
We headed out of the Bernard's and caught a bus to the Transit Mall to transfer to the train. It was time to head to the airport and head home. Michael explained to me, "Mom bought a town house across the street from CCHR's Beach Campus. It is two bedrooms and 1 and 1/2 baths. It is set up so that you and I will have our separate rooms. If you want, you're more than welcome to sleep with me like we did at the hotel if you want. Take as much time as you need to get comfortable."
By now, it was 9 in the morning. Michael said, "I'm going to call Jessica. Tell her as much as you want. She's been dying to hear from you and is unaware of what dad did." I started crying because I was delighted to be able to speak to big sissy for the first time in ages.
I asked Michael, "Where is she now?"
He answered, "Still at the University at Seattle. Let me pull my phone out right now." With that, he dialed our older sister and handed me the phone.
"Hello," asked the voice on the other end.
I asked, "May I speak to Jessica please?"
She answered, "This is Jessica. Who is this?"
I answered as I started sobbing, "This is your sister Rachel. I'm on Michael's phone. I'm just so happy to hear you again!"
Jessica exclaimed, "Rach! It's been so long since I've heard from you! Why are you crying? What's wrong?"
I responded, "This is a long story: a story that needs to be told. You're not going to believe the Hell that dad put me through. I have the scars and a court order to prove it." By now, I was crying up a storm as we sat on the red line train heading to the airport. We were leaving the Gateway station. I continued, "Michael took some pictures of my scars and sent them to you. We're on the Quad-Met train taking us to the airport to head to Virginia."
Jess asked, "Wait a minute. Quad-Met!? Are you in Portland right now!?"
I answered, "Yes, we're in Portland. The sooner I leave the west, the happier I'll be so I can be as far away from dad as possible. Our flight leaves PDX at 1:15 using Air Love. You have Michael's address right?"
Jess answered, "Yes I do. He has mine as well. I'd talk, but I need to get going to class. Call me as soon as you two pull into Virginia. Let me say goodbye to Michael."
I gave the phone to my brother and Jess said, "I'd talk but I need to get to class. I want you two to call me when you arrive in Virginia."
Michael answered, "Alright Jess will do. Talk to you later." He hung up and put the phone back in his pocket. I wanted him to hold me tightly since I was still quite upset.
Finally, the train got to the airport station and it was time to get up. My brother helped me get our three bags going as we got off of the train.
We entered the airport and there wasn't much of a line at the counter (just three people were ahead of us and they were together). When it was finally our turn, Michael explained to the agent, "My little sister is flying for the first time. We're both going to ORF on the same flight." He handed our IDs to the agent.
She said, "Here are your tickets. Are you checking any bags?"
Michael answered, "Nope. We're keeping all three bags with us. May I get a preboard pass for both of us, please?"
We got our preboard passes and headed for the security checkpoint. Michael explained for me, "When we get to the line, they'll ask for both your ID and your ticket. They just want to make sure that we're really passengers."
I replied, "I understand. You have our things, right?"
My brother answered, "Yes. I have our IDs and our tickets. There'll be a special wheelchair line…ah there it is." He pointed me in the right direction and we continued to the checkpoint.
When we got to the detectors, a TSA agent asked, "Are you able to walk?"
Michael answered, "No, but I am able to transfer to a standard chair while you check my chair. My sister will be pushing me to the plane since we're on the same flight."
We got through the security checkpoint without any hassles and I continued to push my brother to the gate. He asked me, "Are you hungry for anything?"
I answered, "Not really. Maybe, if there's time, we’ll eat when we land in Phoenix." We finally got to the gate and I wheeled my brother to the counter.
He spoke to the agent, "We're checking in for Flight 2004 to PHX continuing on Flight 1710 to ORF. I am unable to walk, but I am able to transfer to the aisle chair since I want a row with tray tables."
After checking in, we hunted for an electrical outlet so that we could plug in my brother's laptop. We found an outlet and plugged in. The battery was fully charged and we started listening to music. We had about 30 minutes until we had to be boarded.
Finally, we landed in Phoenix. "It's lunch time. I'm hungry," I explained to my brother. We found a Billy's in the airport and gladly ate. We were quite hungry by now, so we got the Go Large Deal while we waited for our flight to Norfolk.
Soon, it was time to head to the gate to check in with our connecting flight. I pushed my brother through the airport and it wasn’t long before we got there and checked in with the attendant.