The crime: domestic violence
The weapon: a loaded gun
The victim: me (the daughter)
The motive: unprocessed pain? uncontrolled anger?
Tempers flying was the norm. “I’m not yelling! You want to hear yelling?!” was a regular tagline. So was, “Stop it or I’ll give you something to cry about.” We had good days but man, were those bad days tough. Unbearable at best. Of all the bad days, this is when I think we hit bottom. As a family, this was my last straw. Society bottom would be pulling the trigger but this was when I had enough.
It was midweek. I want to say Tuesday night but it could have also been Wednesday. I’m not 100% certain. Mom and Dad were yelling on the phone. She was at work and he had a suitcase open on their bed. I was tiptoeing between the family room and my bedroom. My heart says to do something to make it stop. My gut says, leave the house. My mind says, you are financially able to take care of mom so just force her to pack up and move to Singapore with you.
I was on a two-week holiday. I was living in Singapore and came home for Christmas and New Years. This particular trip was difficult because we lost Grandpa Corvo. He died on Dec 14, 2009. He was my protector, my shield, my 24/7 call to fix anything. He was my escape when things like this happened. I no longer had an escape. I was in the middle of a storm without a way out.
Dad is still shouting and throws the phone across the room. He’s only seeing red. He is consumed with anger. I know this but I forgot how to act when he’s in this state.
I’m standing in the hallway just outside his bedroom. I use my voice to defend my mom, “Dad, if you want to go, then go. Don’t worry about Mom. I’ll take care of her. I made her a promise years ago that she’d never have a financial worry. As long as I have air in my lungs, she’s looked after. So just go. Stop making empty threats and if you want to go, go. No one is stopping you.”
The moment the words fell off my lips, I KNEW it was the wrong thing to say.
Dad’s nostrils were flaring. He was towering over me. Frantically throwing his arms around. He stopped. He marched to the basement. The basement bathroom has a fan. If the fan turns on, he’s either taking a shower or smoking. He used to go into the garage to smoke but I’ve noticed he’s gotten bolder and does it in the house. If the fan is on, then he could be smoking. My bedroom floor is vibrating. The fan is on. This is a good sign because smoking calms his temper. I obviously didn’t realise the true meaning (importance) of him going into the basement.
I was now trying to control my own heartbeat. My heart was racing. I couldn’t breathe. I walk into my bedroom to process my words. Now I’m back in solution mode. Does mom have a passport? Should I start packing her bag? Call the travel company. George is arriving in few days, I’ll spend new years with him then leave the country. Never look back. Is my apartment big enough for mom to feel comfortable? Am I actually making enough money to pull this off? What about Michael? Call Lemonhead and stay with him. At least tell him what is happening. A million thoughts racing through my head are quickly interrupted and come to a halt.
Dad is standing in my room.
Loaded gun in hand.
He’s shouting something. I can see his lips moving and saliva forming at the corners of his mouth but I cannot process what is happening. He’s pushed me up against an upright mattress that is leaning against my dresser. I check back in. Now I’m absorbing every single detail. I’m questioning if the blood will be absorbed by the mattress or if mom will have to bleach the curtains. My sorority cooler is the last thing that I’m looking at? No, find the picture of young Jess and Brandy (first dog). Blue metal frame. Windowsill. That’s going to be the last image I see. I refocus. Dad’s eyes are bloodshot. The coldness of the gun barrel up against my cheek is nothing compared to the coldness in the room. I already feel dead.
“Is this what you want? Want me to pull the f*cking trigger? Keep pushing! Keep pushing and see what happens!”
The tears start streaming down my face but I can’t find any words. I gently shake my head ‘no’.
Dad then turns the gun on himself. He wraps his lips around the barrel of the gun. “Or is this what you want? You want me to blow my f*cking brains out?!”
What seems like forever, is probably only a few minutes.
Dad demonstrates control. He takes a step back and then leaves my bedroom.
I call Kristen. A sorority sister. She lives in Elmhurst. Fewer questions. Dad doesn’t know her. I will be safe. “Kristen, it’s Corvo. I need your help. I cannot explain but can you please pick me up. I can’t stay here. I’m not safe.”
“Of course. I’m leaving now. I’ll be there in about 20 minutes.”
Dad storms back into my room, “Who was that? I’m going to shoot whoever comes through that door. You better call them back and tell them not to come here!”
I call Kristen back, “Kristen, please don’t come here. I’ll call you later. I’m sorry. I’ll call you later. I love you. I’m sorry. Please do not come here. I’ll call you later.”
I fall to the ground. My childhood bedroom is more of a storage place than a bedroom. I’m sitting on a bag of trinkets. The mattress is blocking the view between me and the bedroom door. I can feel Dad pacing and hear him muttering something.
Time stood still.
The last time I felt I was in danger was 2004. I called the police. I was sure they took away Dad’s guns. I don’t understand how this is possible. Dad and I were both arrested. Yeah, I called the police because I didn’t feel safe (Dad held me by the neck up against the wall. I broke free, locked myself in the bathroom and called the police). I was arrested. In Illinois, apparently, both parties get arrested for domestic violence. Both parties. The police can’t help me. They took away his guns. They searched the house. And yet, here, 5 years later, I have a gun thrust into my face. Up against my cheek was a loaded gun. A gun in the hands of my Dad. Dad’s are not supposed to put loaded guns in their daughter’s face. This is unacceptable. This is a betrayal.
I comfort myself. I tell myself that he’d never pull the trigger. He’s just trying to scare me. My body said otherwise. Trusting the wrong message could very easily get me killed. ‘Keep pushing me and see what happens’ echoes in the back of my mind. I feel that breathing is the definition of ‘keep pushing me and see what happens’…
We had the wake for Grandpa Corvo on Monday night. This situation happened the following day.
2,988 days ago is when my childhood bedroom turned into a crime scene. 2,988 days ago is when I lost my Dad. 2,988 days ago is when my heart broke into a million pieces. 2,988 days ago is when I learned the depth of the betrayal. 2,988 days ago is when my life changed forever…
I try my hardest to find gratitude in every single situation. Here is a general letter of gratitude to people that have caused me harm: Dear Mentally Unwell person, Thank you.
#WhyIwrite #MentalWellness #DomesticViolence #MentalAbuse #EmotionalAbuse #Heartbroken #Betrayal #Family #Recovery #Healing #SettingMyselfFree #Survivor #JourneyToPeace