It’s almost the four year mark. Four years since the beginning of what lead to be a entire new life for me. Of course I excitedly planned a fancy junior suit at a local hotel. Thinking that we didn’t really have the finances for a big trip this year but a small get away would be the perfect fit.
One evening with yearning in his eyes Marc peered over to me to start the Alabama talk. Anyone who knows Marc knows his passion for flying. Rc planes, real planes, helicopters, drones, you name it. It’s his calming place on that runway. To be honest it’s like his self care. To be at the field flying his planes horizon in the distant.
So Anyway, the buddies he fly’s with are going to Alabama. To a huge Rc flying event. A camping sleepover weekend to be exact. It’s a big deal to all the fellas in his circle. I can count at least a dozen times I’ve heard them rave about anticipating this trip. Now it falls the week after our anniversary. The one I just booked the fancy suit at.
You could tell by Marc’s expression he was anticipating my reaction. The request to move my suit and him work our anniversary was a huge feat I am sure just to murmur the words. As Marc always wants to please me and I make such a big deal of our day together.
Excitedly, I had no hesitation saying yes of course we can go there. Cancelling the room I booked right there in bed that evening. Immediately I had decided we would leave for Alabama early and find a nice cabin on the way instead of my junior suit idea. To clarify I was absolutely beaming at the idea of his adventure over mine!
Then and Now
The excitement wears quickly when Marc asked if I had been to Alabama before. It opens a floodgate of extreme emotions for me. Almost as though the dam holding those deep dark memories was crumbled in one blow. Can you imagine such a simple question hitting you like such a powerful blow? He had no idea what he had even done.
My face I am certain changed in that instant. Giving him very little facts I just said yes. The real story is at just 17 years old I was homeless in Alabama. Pregnant with my first child. Starving, a feeling I so often felt during pregnancy.
When I meet Keith I was nothing more than a lost child looking for love. I had no idea his situation or life before me. When I was pregnant bipolar and unable to understand my emotions. Keith’s mother made it clear I was a whore trying to trap her adult child. As a mother now I can somewhat understand. Fearing your son making a ignorant mistake with a child… Exactly what Keith had done.
His mother owned his home. Therefore having control and power over all he did. A step further he was entirely financially dependent on her regardless of his employment status. I had everything for Allen in that house. My aunt giving me a changing table that had been built and made for me as a baby. Thinking that was my forever home to raise my family.
My memory can be a little grey so I’m not sure if Keith sugar coated the hate his mother had for me and my unborn baby or if I was just to blinded to care. Either way it erupted and she told us we had to be out. Myself and her growing grandson in my belly. She threw out in the road all of my personal possessions. Even worse she threw out all of the nursey items.
I hid in the home for awhile. Keith would literally tuck me under a mattress in the back bedroom when his mom would come inspect the home or bring him money. When that was caught, Keith told me this big dream. To become a gold miner. At some point he acquired a membership that gained him access to camping and gold panning. Now that I couldn’t stay at the home his mother owned we could just go camp till he found enough gold to build a house.
Can you imagine I bought that? Hook, line, and sinker I truly believed I could pack up in this tiny car. Seventeen years old and 5 months pregnant and head on the road south. Gold mining would be our way of life and I would be a Mother soon with my own home no one could take.
Off We Went
We packed up very little because honestly we had very little. Maybe there was two pairs of clothing tops for myself. No food and just less then $200 in our names. Somehow I was still certain we would make it. Hopelessly I wanted to be loved and anything Keith said that lead to the idea of family I trusted entirely.
It wasn’t long before we were starving and no where to sleep. Alabama was the first place we found one of the places covered by this membership. We pulled into what looked like a huge field. A stream running down the center of it. My memory recalls just a couple of old men at the place. They had tents and tables and little sections that they made home.
One of the elderly man showed Keith the smallest nugget of gold in a jar and before I knew it he was even more hooked on that life. Problem was we didn’t even have a tent. No camping supplies. Literally nothing of use was in that car.
Spent that day there with Keith frustrated his get rich quick scheme wasn’t quick. He had no idea how to gold mine. His membership came with a how to dvd and that was the extent of his knowledge. Yet I was still almost just as much a believer as him.
To be honest. I really sincerely hope that I have taught my own girls better than this. That they can find what they need within themselves and not be so willing to hang on every word a man tells them. Each time Keith said I will never let harm come to you. I will protect you. Feed you. I will provide for my family. Believing him was natural because I needed it to be true.
Alabama was hot and the loneliness was just unlike anything you can imagine. Keith could be six inches away and want nothing to do with me. The money was gone so quick that there was now no gas station snacks to be bought. I feared dying of hunger at one point.
Can’t really remember how we left from Alabama to Georgia but that was the breaking point. Had to break down and call home for help. My mother having no part in helping me at all. My step dad would finally be convinced to send enough money for gas to get back and pizza hut. To this day it’s the one time he truly saved my life. No doubt in my mind that had we not got help that very day. Terrible things would have happened to me that night.
Keith called home too. Gaining money as well and paying for what I would later describe as the dingiest hotel I had ever laid eyes on. I couldn’t even clothes my eyes I was in fear the entire night. Hearing gun fire and loud yelling and banging well into the morning.
Changing The Mindset
To barely touch the tip of how truly awful that trip was as one day my children may read and that’s not a memory I’d like to leave them with. Now I must just change my mindset on how I look at this cross country. Letting go of what I survived and implanting new positive memories.
I worry some of the car ride down to our fabulous cabin adventure. For me I still get flashbacks of my time being homeless and raped in Decatur at every drive. In fact it’s so bad driving thru that Marc noticed and became concerned. He will now drive 20 mins out of the way to avoid driving through a town that gives me such anguish. Will driving to Alabama be the same?
Have I truly grown enough to change my mindset? Can I enjoy my trip and not be taken back? Looking through the cabin pictures I think I am being silly. How can I even dream of thinking anything but positive thoughts in such an amazing place? The battle is always in my mind and only I decide the victor right?