Well, on one particular flight, as we were descending in altitude, I quietly chatted with my seatmate while rubbing my hooting daughter’s back in little calming circles. I was careful not to say anything to my daughter as I did not want to esculate the situation. But the very large lady in front of me a lady who was so fat that her fat pushed through the crack when she twisted around to yell at me, turned and screeched “if you paid half as much attention to your daughter as you did the chick next to you, she would not be making those wierd noises, lady!”
The relationship I had with this man, “Chris,” was tumultuous. I was in my early twenties and stupid for sticking around with him. He had a temper, and I had low self-esteem. He would start fights over stupid things, like the time he wanted mashed potatoes for dinner. He liked potato flakes, I like mashed potatoes from fresh potatoes. I was willing to prepare both for our meal that evening, but the fact that I wouldn’t eat potato flakes set him off.
This time his need for a fight escalated to beyond insanity. He kept pushing me to my emotional and psychological limits. I could feel I was close to “breaking,” which scared me because I didn’t know what it would be like to lose control of myself. I knew it wouldn’t make the situation better at all. I don’t remember what happened to escalate it to the point that I felt like my grasp on my self-control was slipping, but I remember the “oh sh-“ feeling.
I used to smoke cigarettes back then. We were outside and he was yelling at me, getting in my face in a threatening manner. I was smoking a cigarette when that realization dawned on me that I was losing control. I took my cigarette and burned myself, so I could get the calming effects of the release of endorphins. He stormed up to me and hit me so hard across the face, my glasses flew off my face and landed in the grass, misshapen.
Somehow, I managed to get my hands on a phone and I called his mother and his best friend’s wife, both of whom came over immediately. (Yes, I should have called the cops. I didn’t want the further instability that involving the law would present.) After they arrived, they noticed the smell of gas and I became very emotional in my recounting of the events that recently transpired. After they helped make sure things were defused and safe, they left.
My daughter starts screaming at the top of her lungs “It hurts, Mommy, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts!” And of courses I can’t give her any more ibuprofen, Benadryl or the like she is maxed out, I knew this was coming, it always happens. Each and every time. I give her some more water. She screams more “It hurts, Mommy, it hurts MOMMY, IT HURTS!” I hug her. I feel for her, I have always felt for her. Deep and utter empathy. But I have tried everything, and I know there is exactly one thing I can do, and I do it exactly the same way every time.