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~Chapter 17~ My Beauty Shop

Fall had set in, all summer long between school and going back and forth to the lawyers office. I had managed to get Harry to start working on putting me a beauty shop in the basement. I was scheduled to graduate in august, but because I took the time off to go to the funeral and when Ted was sick all that put me behind so now my scheduled graduation date was October 17th.
By now Harry had start acting silly, and I again had to go through the trouble of getting him to leave. I thought I must be crazy to think this marriage could ever possibly work. I finally came upon graduation day, and everyone was there except Harry, Mommy, and of course Laine. But still it was nice. Nookie Tina, Pooh, and Tyquan had got together and put me a graduation celebration together. They even had some of the students at school pitching it. When I got to school that day, all I wanted was to receive my Degree. Everybody was congratulating me, and I was crying here and there. This was the first time in my life that I had actually finished something with regards to school, and I was on cloud nine.
Ms. Gill finally came out of the office and gave me a flower and she handed me the official school hat and scarf along, with my degree. The class started clapping and cheering. And all I could do was cry. After the celebration Ms. Gill told me that I would have to come to school for at least half a day tomorrow. That night I looked at my degree over and over and I even found myself wanting to hide it in case Harry somehow came in, and Lord knows I didn’t want a repeat of what had happened to my GED Diploma before I could even get it framed.
I sat quietly for awhile that night, and just thought back over all my life, and all I had gone through, at times I was happy, and at times I was sad, but for the most part I was actually rather proud of all that in spite of the many many setbacks I had in my life, I was able to have three beautiful children, and finally had a diploma I could frame.
Well with school behind me winter fast approaching. I was pleased when I got the notice from my lawyer saying my court date had been scheduled. When that day came I was pleased to see Amanda there ready to testify, what I wasn’t expecting was for Deltrich to be there ready to testify for the defendants, especially after all the mess she had told me that she had gone through. Well Red Lobster’s attorney decided they would settle, and so the hearing was dismissed, and a settlement date was set. I left there feeling as if something good was finally gonna come of all this mess. But when I got the call from my attorney later that day, he told me that he believed they were just stalling for some more time. BUT he said, ” I also want to let you know that we have filed a discrimination lawsuit against them as well” I said HUH? He told me that after all the information they had, they felt this was a good time to go for that, and today was the day that they officially filed the suit.
Needless to say the news got around fast, infact it was on the 6:00 o’clock news on every station that evening as well as in the newspaper. My phone was ringing off the hook, and it wasn’t long before Harry called as well. After knowing that I probably would not be getting any settlement before Christmas and Lord knows I was already falling behind on my bankruptcy payment as well as house payment. I decided this would be a good time to let him come home. I was scheduled to go take my cosmetology exam, and I had asked Harry if he would take me down there, being that I didn’t go any place, the thought of getting lost was very frightening. He said he would lead me down there, and so the following morning we were on our way We were just about near flint when suddenly the tire blew out on the Grand Am. Harry told me to just keep following 75 which I did. I ended up almost in Fort Wayne Indiana before, I decided I was lost. I was also late for taking my examination, so I turned around and headed back home. I called the place and explained what happened but as if it made no difference to them, I was told that I would need to pay another $42.00 and reschedule my examination. Well forget that I thought. I will take the examination in the spring.
Well Christmas was upon us and for the first time that I could ever remember Christmas was very nice. In fact we even had a Christmas party of sorts, Debbie and her family had came down from Ohio, and Shirley was here with her children as well as Laine and her family. We had a good time drinking, talking, and singing. Harry pulled out the camcorder and caught me in action. That was the absolute first time I had tried to sing since I had gotten married, and other than the fact that I really didn’t know the song well I sounded pretty good.
We had a really good time and that was rare! Then came the event that took me back to the very beginning of all the years of hell I had gone thru with Harry, we had had some words earlier in the day, and this being New Years eve he had to work. Since I normally didn’t go out or anything like that I decided to make some extra money for myself as well. Francine had called and she told me that her daughter and her niece wanted to know if I could braid their hair and if so how much would I charge. I told them that I had appointments set for the rest of the week, but that I was free tonight if they wanted to get their hair done. I went around to Francine’s they were drinking and having a good time. I stood there and started to braid the kids hair thinking I should be done before Harry gets off work. The time was going by fast and I was no where near getting done, but I wanted to finish so I continued to work. It was around 2:30am when all of a sudden there was this loud bamming on the door. Albert went to the door shouting ” Hey Hey Happy New Year whoever it is but quit banging on mah Goddamn door” when he opened it Harry came storming over to me and demanded to know if I was gone be his ” Goddamn wife in 95 or not” I asked him what was his problem, while Albert and Francine tried to calm him down. I was very afraid, and I couldn’t help but to think back to the very first year I married him.
He went on ignoring them and screaming at me for a few more minutes, then he said ” Fuck You” to me and left. I looked around at everyone looking at me, and I continued to work on the kids hair. I finished about an hour later, and Francine wanted to know if I was gone be OK. I told her I didn’t know what the hell Harry’s problem was; but I assured her I would be fine.
When I got home Harry was in the bed pretending like he was sleep. I went in the room and asked if what the hell was he trying to prove when he came around to Francine house acting like that, he jumped up out the bed and told me that he was my husband and he did not appreciate calling home all evening and not knowing where his family was, he told me that I had no right to leave the house without his knowing and that he did not appreciate the way I talked to him when he came around to Francine’s, then the fight was on. He snatched me down onto the bed and began to slap me. I tried to fight him back and even push him off me but that was too no avail.
He slapped me and slapped me and continued to yell even after the kids had came in the room. I told Tami to go call the police, just then he jumped up and ran out of the room. When he came back I was off the bed, and again he pulled me onto the bed, this time he sat on my chest and was trying to choke me. I reached up and grabbed at his chain, and was scratching his face, all of a sudden he spit in my face and said ” I hate you; you fucking B*TCH” when he got off me. I grabbed the phone and I called the police. He got his clothes on and tried to leave but they were outside the house when he stepped out.
The officer came in and talked to me, then went back outside and talked to the other officer. Harry was out there telling them that he was in bed and I came in the house after having been out all night and began to cuss and attack him, and that he was defending himself when he struck me. The officer that had been talking with him told the officer that had been talking to me, that Harry did have some marks on him. Ultimately they decided that he was going to jail, and so off he went and as for me well I went on planning what my next move was gonna be.
Again Harry was gone just before income tax time, and again I was sitting back waiting to see what he was gonna do, being he was still up to his same ole claiming 10 children for half the year. Harry managed to stay gone for about 2 months, and as usual I was not getting any support money, and doing all I could just to keep my head above water. He finally called and asked if he could come home, and again I said yes know you can. We filed the income taxes, and this time used the money along with other monies he got from his personal savings plan and we got central air put in and had a deck put on the back of the house. Harry seemed rather pleased with what he had done, being he finished my shop finally, got the central air, and had the deck built the way I wanted it.
I was building my clientele, and even though I wasn’t making a lot of money. I was enjoying just having a lot of fun talk while I made a few dollars. Everything was going well with the lawsuit except the fact that all the people I thought would be testifying still had not got in touch with my attorney’s. And now after having had my hearing on the workman comp case and having that decision on hold. I start to wonder what would come of all this stress that I had been dealing with. I was still seeing Dr. Syed but now I decided that I really didn’t trust telling him or anyone all of what was going on, so much of what we talked about was just how angry I had become, and how much I resented having allowed myself to be abused, by the job as well, as by Harry.
I told Dr. Syed that if it wasn’t for the fact that I believed in the Lord I felt that I could really hurt somebody! I would go see him then go home, and act as if everything was fine, but as the days were going by, I was becoming more angry, and more resentful.
Harry had came in from work one day, and he was telling me about something Jesse had told him. He said that he doesn’t know why Jesse thinks that dating younger women is all that, and he went on to talk about how stupid he thought Jesse was for loosing his wife, and for fathering a child after all of his children were grown. I told him what Jesse do is Jesse, and I think that for any man to go outside the marriage, and be unfaithful is surely something I could never forgive. Harry continued to talk about that, saying that knowing that Nookie was coming upon Graduation there was no way he would even think of having anymore children, and he certainly would never entertain the idea of having some young girl; who knew nothing about life.
Well I guess all that would serve as a confession because in June Harry was back doing his same ole stuff. This time he was suppose to be taking the kids to Gus Macker game in the morning. I had been out late at the casino and when I got up that day Harry was already gone but the kids were still there. I asked them why they hadn’t gone with their dad, and they told me he was gone when they got up. I waited around til 2:30pm and finally i GOT THE KIDS AND WENT DOWN TO THE GUS MACKER, ESPECIALLY BEING HARRY HAD TAKEN $100.00 out of the room. When we got to where he was. He was standing there all nonchalantly watching Nuk’s game, while Debra, and Ted stood close by. I asked him why he went off and left the kids, and also why he took $100.00. He tried to play it off, and began walking off. By this time I was pissed, and I demanded that he give me the money, which he refused to do. Finally I got the kids and told him that unless he gave me back my money, he best be finding him someplace else to go, and me and the kids left.
When we got back to the house, Harry was already there, and going out the front door with some of his clothing. I went inside, and locked the front door. He had got in the car, and left. I sat there for awhile, and decided that I was not gonna go thru anymore of this mess with him, so I got up and went and bought some new locks, and asked Judy to help me change them.
I was determined that he was not gonna run off with my money, and leave me and the kids without! Later that evening I was combing Tami’s hair. She went in her room, and came back saying ” Momma somebody is going in the garage”. I went to her window and looked out just in time to see Harry coming out of the garage, carrying some yard tools, and his bike.
I called the police, and went outside to see how he had got into the garage, and as usual he had broke the door, and busted the lock off. I got in the car and went around to Laura Ann’s house. He was on the porch along with all the rest of his family. I told him that I wanted my money, and the yard tools back. He said gimme my clothes. I told him that he would not be getting anything else out of my house until he returned my money and all the items he stole out of the garage. He lunged at me from the porch saying ” B*TCH you gone give me my shit” just as he reached out for me I flashed a knife, and told him that I was not gonna play this game with him, nor was I gonna allow him to continue to come and destroy my home. He stepped back inside the door, and I could hear Laura Ann saying call the police, I said yeah right go head and call the police cause I am sick of him, and all of ya’ll thinking it’s OK for him to do me any kinna dayumm way he wants, and I got in my car and left.
I sat up most of the might kind of scared wondering if he was gonna come back. Finally I dozed off. The next day I found that he had been back, and this time he had taken my wallet out of the car. I called the police again, and reported all that he had taken. He continued to come and break into the garage til finally I had it secured to where he could not get in there even if he tried to kick the door in. I knew I needed my wallet and so I called him at work and told him that I would give him all of his belongings if he gave me my money and the tools back. He said that he would come around there when he got off work but he never did. A couple of days went by and the kids came in telling me Stefon just rode by the house driving my Grand Am. I thought Ok here we go again. Harry had given Stefon my Grand Am to take back to the army with him, and I guess Stefon had given him his new trans Am to drive. I would be outside and Harry would come riding by blasting rap like he was some kind of Teeny Bopper or some kind of cool dude. Tami’s birthday had came and all she got was money from me a cake from me and some ice cream, Harry didn’t even bother to call and wish her a happy birthday or anything, she had waited all day hoping he would call, but he never did, and she never said a word but still somehow I knew she was hurt.
One day I was outside doing some yard work and Harry pulled up, he asked me if he could get his clothes, and I asked him if he had my money. I told him that he would need to call the prosecutors office and arrange to go, and sign the papers so they could enforce my child support. I told him that until he did what he knew he needed to do I had nothing to say to him, and that he could get nothing from me.
He started to cuss, so I turned and went in the house. Harry finally called the friend of the court, and the prosecutor from the friend of the court called me, he told me that it would take a little time but that I would be hearing from them soon as to the amount that I could expect to receive in support.
Finally I went to the welfare, and applied for any help they could give me. They approved me for food stamps but not any money. I tell you I was grateful to get the stamps because we had hardly any food, and I wasn’t making hardly enough money doing hair. I was working hard, trying to keep the grass cut, the pool open, and the kids fed. But I was determined I was not gonna let Harry or anyone else see me suffer.