I remember very clearly when Rick came home and shared with me one of his good friends, Carlos, was working at a company in San Fernando Valley more specifically, Van Nuys. If you have never been to Van Nuys or in the neighborhood of San Fernando Valley trust me when I share with you, your not missing anything. Not a dang thing!!
I had been living in Long Beach, California for so many years and loved each and every day of it because I was three blocks from the beach, my parents were only thirty minutes away, my friends were here, my life was here.
Rick told me he wanted to uproot everything and move. Carlos's company was hiring and it paid much more than what he was currently making. Rick finally realized that he would never make that job promotion as a Sous Chef within the hotel. So many others were being promoted within the kitchen and yet he still remained in the same slot as a prep cook working the same shift the same hours each and every week.
One of the kitchen managers shared with me in secrecy, "well this is just between me and you but he has the worst attitude, he is demanding, he belittles so many here, and to be quite honest, he doesn't deserve to be advanced."
I was now five months pregnant and just becoming a big as a house. Once starting out at one hundred and twenty pounds I was now tipping the scale at one hundred and ninety five pounds. My doctor was telling me in his directness, "your gaining to much weight to fast. You can actually cause so many problems with your pregnancy. You need to really watch what you eat."
My parents still refused to have any part of my life cross theirs and depression was now setting in so deeply. Rick was drinking more and more and soon he just stopped coming home for often days at a time leaving me with no transportation or money to do anything with. When Rick was home he often filled the fridge with more beer than food. He was now beginning to drink the hard stuff more frequently and becoming more abusive not physically but mentally and verbally.
Rick told me, "moving to Van Nuys can be a new beginning for us, it will give us more money and we can start a life of our own there. I think we should move and being that I make all the money now, I want to move." I was under strict care from my doctor telling me that I have had to many pregnancy scares advising me to halt all work and just rest now.
I felt not only myself but my life dwindling to just nothing and often just went with the flow just to keep the peace and hopefully stop him from verbally abusing me. To be honest, if a train came up and hit me dragging me for miles I would never feel it. I was just absolutely numb to any thoughts, feelings or care in the world now.
The Move to Van Nuys
Prior to moving Rick and I had taken a drive up to see his friend Carlos. Carlos was someone that seemed to have a kind face almost gentle like. While we were there Rick bolted out to the car to get something and that was when I was shocked at what happened. Carlos came to me and told me how he knows Rick better than anyone. He told me if I ever need help because of Rick all I had to do was come over and get him and he would put Rick in check and stop him from doing what he does.
"Look, I know what he did to Joanne, I too knew Joanne and what he did to her was horrible." When I turned to see Carlos's face I could almost see a gentle kind man standing before me, his face sincere, his words so calming to hear possibly trying to be my Knight in Shining Armour.
"I'm just telling you I also know Rick and what he is capable of doing and if you need help, just knock on the door and I would do what I can to help. You seem to be a very nice person and just between you and me and the fence post and only you and me, he doesn't deserve you." His kindness of course didn't last and soon those reassuring words would soon disappear once again leaving me feeling alone.
I was flooded with humiliation, was I that obvious, was it that noticeable? I remember shaking my head slowly wishing to God I would just die, disappear from the face of the earth. What happened to me, where was that strong woman I once was, where did she go?
On the day of the move it was proving to be the hottest summer ever. Rick was becoming more frustrated with the move scolding me over and over how my fat ass couldn't help. The promised help from many never showed up. That left Rick to move everything by himself.
One of my most loved and treasured pieces of furniture was my grandmother's beautiful antique bedroom set that was given to me after her death. I had cared for it religiously and always valued what it meant to me. Rick of course had a different agenda with it. Once he pulled it out of the U-Haul he actually dragged it not caring what happened to it causing it scratch and become damaged.
I was angry at him and yelled at him to be more careful and that was when in broad daylight he just lunged at me and slapped me right across my face demanding that I shut the hell up. Blaming me for my fat ass and not being to help at all. Once the now damaged piece of furniture was in the apartment I looked over it and saw it went from beautiful to now ugly.
Rick was greeted by a man named Joe and he quickly offered his strength to help. Before long between Joe and Rick, all our things were inside the new tiny ugly one bedroom apartment. I quickly began to unpack just going with the motions of moving in. I was not excited, I was not happy but happiness was non-existent in my life. Depression and anger had now lived inside of me and I had become accustomed to living and feeling that way.
And in one breath, my life would forever change.