I'm stressed. I'm just putting it out there. I have a lot on my plate, and i know I'm not the most consistent blogger (or person, for that matter), but I've always been very candid and transparent, and have kept you informed of schedule/post changes or delays. With that being said, I'm kind of at my wit's end. The release I usually find in writing just isn't there right now, and i feel more stress to try and put up posts because my brain is fried and I'm having a hard time writing.
To completely put myself out there, my SO and I broke up about a month ago and it's been a really difficult transition to single parenting. Plus dealing with the sadness and lonliness. Kudos to you all who do the single parenting, and do it well. I'm not good at it.
In addition to that I'm trying to get a promotion at work, but in the meantime I'm kind of in a time crunch and am working a lot of overtime from home.
I'm sure I'll receive some comments about not caring about excuses or my personal life, etc. Etc. So, just go ahead and keep those thoughts to yourself. Because, frankly, this is MY blog and I get to choose what I share. And i choose honesty and transparency.
All this to say I need to take a brief hiatus. I need to recuperate and sit down and take some time to refocus and actually enjoy writing. I want this to be as brief as possible. My intention is to post again April 3rd. So in a week and a half. If for some reason that changes, of course I'll let you all know.
Thank you for your continued loyalty and comments. Know I read them all and smile a lot seeing them (well, most of them).
Saturday, March 14, 2015
My heart was pounding out of my chest. I didn’t have the money to fly back to speak with the detective, so I was riding up with Luke’s parents. The car ride was slow and painful. Slow because it felt like time was standing still. Painful because we didn’t know what was happening and we were all riding in silence.
I tried sleeping most of the way to pass the time.
When we got to the police station that Monday, we had to wait, and then I was called back first. I was escorted back to an interview room by Detective Stratton, the same one who had called me.
My hands were sweating and I was nervous. I knew at this point that Luke was in jail, but didn’t know many details beyond that. Detective Stratton started out asking me what I guess would be normal questions about me like my name, age, what I’m studying at UNL, how I know Luke, and what our relationship was like. He seemed calm, if not friendly.
But then he asked me if I knew someone by the name of Aleah Lange.
That bitch. What did she do.
I tensed up and said I did.
“And what is your relationship like with her?”
“There isn’t one. She wanted Luke, but he didn’t want her.”
“I see, so what do you know about Aleah’s and Luke’s relationship?”
“They weren’t ever in a relationship!” I balled my fists up, under the table. I was getting pissed.
“By relationship, I mean how do they get along?”
“They don’t,” I replied, flatly. I also rolled my eyes. It started to appear as if Detective Stratton was
getting a kick out of this.
“Here’s the thing, Victoria, I’ve received information that alludes to the fact that Luke and Aleah were in a dating relationship at the end of last school year. Do you know anything about that?”
I could feel my face getting hot, and I was seeing red. There was no way, was there? I attempted to keep my voice even as I said, “I don’t believe your information is true. He’s been with me for years.”
“Where were you Friday night?”
“I was on an airplane to go home to Kansas. Then I was in Kansas.”
He asked me questions about my flight and what time I left, go to the airport. I started to get a really bad feeling.
“Was Luke with you?”
“Seeing as how he’s in jail right now, I’d say he probably wasn’t, wouldn’t you? But speaking of, are you going to tell me why he’s there? I’m sure whatever the reason, it isn’t true.”
Detective Stratton leaned back in his chair, linking his fingers behind his head, giving me a half amused, half disgusted look. “Do you know where he was, then, if he wasn’t with you?”
I sighed. I was over this game. “To my knowledge, he was supposed to be going back to my dorm apartment to get a Christmas gift I’d accidentally left there for family.”
“Do you know if he did?”
“I don’t, because after he dropped me off at the airport, he was supposed to come back and catch the flight with me, but he never did. I texted him and called him, and he never answered me.”
“How was he going to get into your dorm?”
“I gave him my key.”
He just stared at me. I realized, then, I probably shouldn’t have said anything. My hand flew to my mouth, as if to stop anything else from breaking free.
“Uh, do I need an attorney?” I asked, more to myself than to him.
“That’s up to you. You aren’t being interviewed as a suspect, at this time. You’re free to go whenever you’d like.”
I felt tears welling up in my eyes, and I didn’t even know why. I stood suddenly, feeling an intense need to get out of the room, knocking over the chair as I stood.
I turned and ran out, to where only Luke’s mom was sitting, wiping her eyes with a Kleenex. She looked at me sympathetically, but I didn’t know why.
I sat down next to her, numbly. “What is he in jail for?” I whispered.
His mom looked at me only momentarily, as if it hurt her to make eye contact. She took a deep breath and said, “aggravated assault, sexual assault, and attempted rape.” Her voice cracked on the last word, and my heart broke for her, for me, and because I couldn’t fight the sinking feeling and the growing pit in my stomach that it might possibly be true.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
After I shook hands with my opponent after completing my match Sunday, I turned to walk towards my bag on the bench by the side of the court to put my racquets away. I grinned, giddily, at Aaron, who had come to watch me play.
I packed up my stuff, casually chatting with my opponent about the tennis seasons so far, and asked her if she by chance knew my brother, since the opposing team was from Purdue. She said she didn’t, but asked if I had a picture, because she was better with faces than names. I pulled out my phone and quickly pulled up a picture of him from Facebook.
She frowned at my screen, “He looks really familiar. I think I have a class with him. And, I think a girl on the team is friends with him, actually.” She pointed towards a girl who was just finishing up her match against Cara (my doubles partner).
“What a small world,” I quipped. We parted ways and I jogged over to Aaron and told him about my conversation with her. He placed his hands on my shoulders and kissed my cheek.
“You did awesome today!” He held out his hand for a high-five and I slapped it hard.
“Thanks. Today finally felt fun again, playing. I actually really felt carefree.”
“I could tell.” We were walking side by side; he was carrying my bag, as he’d taken it from me when I’d approached him. “So, are you going to talk to her?” He nodded his head towards Cara’s opponent who was off the court and about to walk past us.
I nodded vigorously. “Hey!” I called out, half waving my hand.
She stopped and looked at me, and then looked behind her. Realizing I was talking to her, she changed directions and came towards me. I summarized my brief conversation with the girl I had played against, told her my brother’s name, and showed her a picture of him. Her eyes widened and she smiled at me.
“Oh my gosh! You’re Tommy’s sister?” Tommy? Really?
“Uh, yeah. So are you guys friends?”
She blushed slightly. “Yeah. We have a lot of our general ed classes together, because I’m a freshman, too. He’s really sweet.”
I attempted to not make a face, trying to imagine my brother being sweet. “Huh. How is he doing?”
“He’s good! We actually had a study date... I mean, we studied together a couple nights ago. He’s really smart. So far he has a 4.0. I’m actually kind of jealous. But he’s been helping me with some math things I’ve been struggling with.”
“Oh, yeah, he’s basically a math genius. So have you met Miriam, then?”
She furrowed her brows at me. “Who’s Miriam?”
I squinted my eyes at her, unsure if I was the one missing something, or if she was. “Uh, nevermind. I must be confused.”
We chatted a little longer until she left.
“Sorry about that,” I apologized to Aaron.
He smiled and grabbed both of my hands. “So, when you all are done here, I need you to go home, shower really quickly, and get ready, because I have a surprise date planned for us tonight, okay?
I couldn’t stop the grin that took over my face. “Really?”
He teasingly rolled his eyes. “Duh.”
“How should I dress?”
“Comfortable, casual, and with Husker pride.”
I laughed. “Gotcha. I’ll see what I can come up with.”
“Okay, I gotta go to get some things ready, but I’ll see you in a little bit. Let’s say 5:30?”
“I’ll be ready.” He kissed me lightly on the lips and started towards the exit.
I watched him walk away, and also felt pride as I saw several of the Purdue team’s players check him out as he walked by. I went to join some teammates to watch the rest of a couple matches that were still going.
I plopped on the ground next to Cara. But shortly after sitting, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see my opponent. “Oh, hey.”
“Can I ask you something really quick?”
“So the girl that knows your brother, Christa?”
“She mentioned something to me about thinking they were kinda seeing each other or something, but you said something about another girl... I think she’s a little upset that you didn’t know he was seeing her, or maybe that he has a girlfriend or something?”
Try wife, I thought. “Well, um...” I stalled, not wanting to throw my brother under the bus, even though he deserved it with how Miriam is. “To be honest, I haven’t spoken to my brother a lot recently. I’ve had some... things happen to me, and I’ve been a little occupied. I don’t know what’s going on in his life. If he’s seeing that girl, Christa, I probably am just confused because I haven’t talked to him in months.”
I made a mental note to call him asap.
She smiled. “Okay. I told her the girl you mentioned was probably just a friend or relative anyway. I’ll let her know she has nothing to worry about.”
I refrained from rolling my eyes, thinking that was the exact opposite of what she should be doing. We said bye, and I went back to watching the match.
After the matches, I got in my car to head home to shower and get ready for my surprise date. I opened up Facebook on my phone, before backing out, and saw I had a new friend request from Christa. With one friend in common, my brother.
Friday, March 6, 2015
“Ma’am,” the flight attendant looked at me sternly, “you need to shut your phone off. Now.”
I sighed and rolled my eyes, more in frustration with the situation than with her. I looked at the empty seat next to me and angrily shut my phone off, stuffing it into my coat pocket. Although I was angry, there was an underlying edge of fear starting to creep in. “Where the hell are you, Luke?” I whispered to myself.
I examined the diamond on my left hand, noting that it needed to be cleaning. I ran my fingers through my tangled flaming curls, antsy. I started tapping my foot. I blinked back the tears that were starting to burn at the corners of my eyes. Luke was supposed to be on this flight with me, but he didn’t show at the airport.
Really, it was my fault, probably. I was the one that forgot my parents’ Christmas gift in my dorm room. Luke dropped me off at the airport to get our bags checked, and then he took my keys back to get it. He had jokingly told me to get on the plane if called to board, that he would make it. But yet, here we are, taxiing down the runway, and there is no Luke beside me. Fucker. He probably purposely stood me up.
I looked out the window, watching us float higher and higher, Lincoln’s lights growing smaller and smaller. Turning into dots.
I gazed at the ring dazzling on my left ring finger. I was still in a state of wonder over the previous night. Luke had sold his car just for me! For us. Our family we were going to have. I rubbed my tummy and rolled onto my back, to look at Luke, still sleeping next to me. I kissed his forehead and got up, preparing to make breakfast.
Luke was working at a local factory now, and had his own apartment. He had sold his car to save for our baby and buy me a ring, and bought a cheap beater to get him to and from work. I had just started senior year. No one knew I was pregnant, yet. Since I was just a few months along, I luckily hadn’t started showing and was able to (barely) get into my cheer uniform without any wayward glances from my squad.
I stayed at Luke’s apartment as much as possible. Although my parents were controlling, they also didn’t care too much about me. After I’d go in my room and close my door they never came to check on me, so I would just sneak out my window. I was always up and gone to school before either of them ever awoke, so I just didn’t bother going home and would go to school from Luke’s.
After he slipped the ring on my finger, we had discussed that until I started showing and people knew I was pregnant, I would wear the ring on a delicate chain around my neck. I already knew the judgmental hillbillies would all say I was too young. I mean, I should at least wait until I’m graduated!
I finished making the eggs, pancakes, and sausage and went to wake Luke. I leaned on the bed and kissed him, shaking him gently. His eyes fluttered open and he grinned at me, and sat up, kissing my stomach first, and then me. I started bouncing up and down, having to pee. Luke laughed and asked, “Bladder being squished?”
“Yes! She’s probably going to have your height genes! Already affecting me. She’s making my back hurt already, too! Or maybe it’s just your mattress.” I stuck my tongue out at him.
“She?” Luke cocked an eyebrow at me.
I winked and skipped to the bathroom, calling to Luke that breakfast was on the table.
When I sat down, that’s when everything changed. I looked at my panties and saw a bright red stain. My eyes widened. I had done all of my research. I knew that bright red or pink was bad. And at 10ish weeks, I was still in the high miscarriage time.
I don’t know how long I was sitting on the toilet, staring blankly at my hands, picking at my nails. My lower backache I attributed to Luke’s bed had slowly wrapped its way around to my abdomen, and it felt like cramps. Suddenly. I doubled over, and starting crying.
And that’s how Luke found me. He took one look at me and knew what was happening. He helped me clean up and get prepared, holding me and crying with me. It was the beginning of the end.
As soon as the plane landed I held the power button down, powering my phone back to life. I waited, impatiently, but no new messages or voicemails came through. “What the ever living fuck!” I exclaimed to my phone.
I tried Luke again, but it just rang with no answer. I left another voicemail, something about him taking a nap in my dorm. I had tried calling him 10 times and sent multiple texts. Luke had gotten the rental car in his name, so I really didn’t have a way to get to my parents’ or any money to get there. I called my mom and asked her if she could come get me. I figured my dad was at the bar anyway. She obliged, though I could tell she was pissed, since the airport was an hour from home.
The next morning, I still had no messages from Luke. But now, when I tried calling him, it was going straight to voicemail. I hadn’t moved out of bed yet, and was starting to get worried. I thought maybe I should start calling the area hospitals up there, to see if Luke was in the ICU or something. I unlocked my phone and was just about to start googling the numbers for Lincoln’s hospitals when my phone started ringing from an unknown number.
Better be Luke.
“Hello?” I answered, tentatively.
“Yes, hello. Is this Victoria Watson?”
“Uh, yeah. Who’s this?” My heart stopped, as the voice didn’t sound friendly on the other end.
“Victoria, this is Detective Brad Stratton with the Lincoln Police Department. There’s been an incident with your fiance, Lucas Hammond, and we need you to come down to the station as soon as possible.”