Blessings and Cursings
The Night I Was Attacked, and Pregnant
When my first husband and I were still married, (back when dinosaurs roamed), he had a sister-in-law whose sister worked at the hospital. Like most ladies who work in the medical profession, Lynn had a stern constitution and very little fear. I, on the other hand, have called fear my friend and have no qualms with being maniacally afraid of needles, bad guys, boogey men…etc.
One afternoon in late September, my mother-outlaw came over to tell us that Lynn had been attacked in the hospital parking lot on her way home for the day, and that she had been admitted.
With speed rarely attributed to those of us living here in the South, my husband and I grabbed our coats and made for the car.
I will never forget how badly it hurt me to see her in that hospital bed with white patches of gauze over both her eyes. Her curly brown hair was matted in the back from the flat hospital pillow, but it still caught the light with lustrous shine. Lynn was a tiny woman, frail to the eye and that is most likely what made her a prime target.
She proceeded to tell everyone in her perfect British accent, that a man had asked her for the time as she came to her car. As she looked at her watch, he pulled a gun on her. She opened the car door as he instructed, and he shoved her in.
She said that this was when she realized that he planned to take her somewhere and kill her, then joyride in her car.
Ironically enough, it angered her more that he intended to have fun in the car she’d just bought than it did that he planned to have some fun with her, (British tenacity…gotta love it), so she began kicking him the minute he got in.
Almost immediately, he dropped the gun into the floorboard. With her kicking him, (and the seat being pulled up for her because she was about 4-foot-9-inches tall), he couldn’t bend over to retrieve it.
This man attempted to shove her back but she kicked him so hard so many times in his private area that he was forced to do something. In betwixt her kicking, she was pounding on the steering wheel and coincidentally… the horn. The man thought by jabbing her in the eyes as hard as he could, she would cower. This only angered her even more and she began biting, kicking, screaming and banging on the horn until the guy had no choice but to run for his life.
She maintained that her eyesight would be fine, and that she had talked the police through a sketch, which she would check the details out on later when her eyes healed. She was enjoying hot tea and conversation as though nothing had happened.
Naturally, the man had been injured so badly during the encounter that he had to go to the emergency room for treatment. By the end of the day, they had her assailant behind bars. He was nearly incapable of ever bearing children again, but behind bars.
As my husband and I sat at home that evening talking about it, we could almost see the surprise on that big man’s face when little Lynn put such a sound beating on him, that I began to feel a little creeping fear wedge its way into my psyche.
I told my husband that I felt sorry for her but that I was really proud of her too. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like having someone come out of nowhere like that in broad daylight and do what that man did.
I also voiced the fact that I admired her, and I was really glad I never had to go through that, because I knew with certainty that I would have wound up dead. I didn’t want that to ever happen to me because if it did, I probably would just pee my pants and fall over. The odds of me staying focused enough to survive an attack like that were pretty slim.
He laughed, kissed me on the cheek and told me not to worry. He would take care of me.
Have you ever heard the adage that out of your own mouth proceed the blessings and cursings of your life?
Late October of the same year, I came home from my job at Dairy Queen and realized that neither my husband nor myself had any clean uniforms for in the morning. I worked morning shift at a local nursing home, made beds at a local hotel in the afternoon, and then rushed off to Dairy Queen at night. As a maintenance man at a hotel chain, my husband had company uniforms as well.
At the time, we lived in a little motel in Brunswick, Georgia called the Golden Isles Motel. (I can get away with saying that because it was mowed down in the name of progress about thirty years ago.) My ex-husband’s mother ran the hotel back then and we stayed in one of the little efficiencies there.
This was a poor motel. Fashioned like a Spanish villa with a stucco façade in mustard yellow and an ancient red tile roof, washed out by years of oxidation in the sun. The place mostly catered to the less than wealthy who could only pay for as much time as they could hustle for; a day or a week at a time. There was no laundry facility, and it was way too late to try my mom's house! My dad would have popped his cork if I rang the bell after ten o'clock.
I decided to go on out to the laundry-mat and wash clothes. Having been paid from all three jobs that morning, I could easily afford it.
Being that I didn’t get off work until nine o’clock at night, it was late by the time I set out. I went to my usual laundry-mat because they were typically open until midnight. This particular night, they were closed for remodeling.
Sighing, I got in the car and sat in the parking lot for a moment trying to think where I might go to at least get some clean uniforms. I stopped at a convenience store to trade ten dollars for some quarters and as I got back into the car, I knew what I had to do.
Three blocks down the way from where I lived, there was another motel, the one where I made beds in the afternoon. (Since this establishment is still there today and under the same family management, they shall remain nameless.) This particular place had an outdoor, all-night laundry.
The parking lot has never been all that well lit, but under the canopy that shielded the washers and dryers from the rigors of tropical weather, fluorescent lights popped and hissed merrily in the autumn night.
In a line on the back wall, stood a row of washers and dryers… not overly beautiful machines by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly effective enough to wash my week’s worth of laundry.
In the Golden Isles, it was common practice to build buildings and roads around trees, rather than move the trees or build elsewhere. Growing in the midst of the parking lot, its tall branches hovering over the canopy, stood a giant tree, its mossy tendrils drifting lazily in the dark. This laundry-mat had been built around the tree and so the canopy had a hole in the top for the tree to go through. At the base of the tree, someone had built a shallow table and a bench to sit at that encircled the gigantic trunk.
Once I got everything into the washers, I put a quarter into the pay-phone and called my husband because he believed I was at my usual laundry-mat.
As a child, my mother used to drive me crazy about letting her know if I changed locations while away from home in case anything happened to me. This way the police have a more effective opportunity to find the bad guys if they knew where to start gathering witnesses and evidence. She was thinking this stuff up before we had all those crime scene televisions shows! Naturally, having that notion branded in my brain by my mother’s neuroses, I telephoned my husband.
He was watching an intense football game but said he didn’t like the idea of me being outdoors that late at night by myself. At half time, just a few minutes from then, he would come down. Since I had the car, I offered to come and get him but it was only a few blocks and he said he would run down in a bit.
At the time, I had purchased a small, unlined notebook to write and illustrate stories in for my little sister’s birthday that was coming up in February. I sat down at the table and began drawing. At seven months pregnant after a long day working, I don’t mind saying that any amount of time off my feet was highly valued, even on the uncomfortable laundry bench.
After a moment or two of sketching, I heard footsteps. Someone was sneaking up behind me. My husband and I were young, and it was no uncommon thing for us to sneak up on one another. So, under normal circumstances I’d have been petrified but seeing as how my husband had just finished telling me he’d be right down, I assumed it was him.
After a split second or two, the momentary lapse of reason shifted, and I began to wonder if I should turn around. An overwhelming sense of fear took over and I tried to look over my shoulder. As I did so, a deafening crack sounded somewhere.
It only took a second for me to realize that the sound was something colliding with my skull. I stood up.
He hit me again.
This time, he hit me so hard my head went forward and smashed into the tree before me. As it bounced back, the assailant swung again. As my head rebounded the second time, I threw my arm up and tried to turn around to see who would do such a thing.
He swung once more and the blow nearly broke my arm. I began screaming and as I did so, the attacker began swinging harder and faster.
All I could think of was that my unborn son would die and nothing would be done about it, because I was alone.
As the blows came harder, faster, I looked to the busy roadway running parallel to the parking lot where my attacker even now attempted to kill me. No one stopped. I doubt now that any of them saw me but at the time, I hoped so bad someone would stop.
Finally, I hopped over the bench and began running, screaming across the parking lot. At some point during the onslaught, the manager’s wife who was in the hotel laundry behind the building, heard my screams. She grabbed one of the young men who worked there and the two of them came running across the parking lot toward me.
I stopped for a brief moment. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recalled watching my uncle chop off a turkey’s head. The body kept running after death and for some insane reason, I held no doubt that I was already dead. If that were true, I wanted to come back and haunt the man who had done this to me and… what if it was my husband?
The shock of that one thought caused me to stop thinking and turn around. In the distance, I got only a fleeting glimpse of a man, running around the corner. He was tall, black, and was wearing only a pair of blue gym shorts and some white running shoes. In his hand, he carried a four by four piece of wood.
Spinning around to face the manager’s wife as she reached me, I collapsed.
As they helped me into the hotel lobby, I told her what happened without breathing and nearly passed out again. I expressed how concerned I was that something may have happened to the baby. With suddenness, she recognized me and immediately called my mother-outlaw.
As she put together a small bag of ice for my wounds, she instructed her husband to call an ambulance.
He told her he didn’t know what all the fuss was about. The man had just hit me with a board, and to his mind it wasn’t the end of the world. He had not looked me over as she had. My head was badly swollen and my arm appeared to be broken. She scooped up a clip board from the counter and threw it as hard as she could so that it made a cracking noise against his head.
He yelped and she shouted at him.
“Pick up the darn phone and call us an ambulance!”
It seemed an eternity before the ambulance arrived and oddly enough, my husband and mother-in-law, who were less than three blocks away, arrived at the same time. Apparently, it had not been an eternity, it just seemed like it. The EMT’s didn’t think the attack would have harmed the baby but to be sure that I would survive beyond my concussion, they took me to the hospital for good measure.
Most husbands hear that their wife has been attacked, and they don’t want to leave their side until they know they will be all right. My husband on the other hand had been born an Alabama boy. His primary concern was not necessarily being there for me and the baby now that the EMT’s said we were okay… but hunting down and hurting the man who did this.
So, he sent his mother to the hospital to see about me and went off on his own adventure. (Of course my ex-husband’s search for the catalyst was no more fruitful than the police’s search.)
The hospital was cold, like most hospitals. (I don’t know why that is. It seems to me like they think in order to keep a sterile environment you have to leave with ice-cycles on your butt.)
I sat in a sterile white room in a gown that made my posterior look bigger than it already was, and waited for the doctor. Nurses flitted in and out with needles for the I.V., and I got to take a ride to x-ray. They put the big shield over my tummy to x-ray my arm and my head.
Four hours later, a nurse came in to tell me once more that a physician would be with me in a moment. She examined my bruises, shined a light in my eye and asked me was I a victim of domestic violence. I told her I was not and she scribbled on a clipboard with the corners of her lips turned down as if she did not believe me.
“I was attacked in a parking lot a few hours ago.” I supplied.
Her green eyes shot up in shock, the slight age lines tightening around them. She grabbed a box of things to begin working on the abrasions on my hands, (I guess at some point when I fell, I went down hands first), before fitting me for an arm brace and sling.
As she worked, she asked me to tell her what happened. I recanted the story much the way I have here, and with no aggression. Once I digested the fact that my baby would be okay and I would live through this to see him, everything was right in the world.
“Any idea what he wanted?” She asked.
“No.” I answered. “By all rights it doesn’t make any sense at all. I have over six hundred dollars in my pocket and he didn’t appear to be trying to rob me.”
When I had finished talking, the nurse stopped working for a moment and sat silently thinking about something.
“That man should be dragged behind a car until his skin falls off.” She murmured.
“Nah.” I told her. “I’m going to be all right and so is the baby.”
She looked up at me, concern playing about her brow, and asked me why I wasn’t angry.
At twenty-three years of age, words that founded the cornerstone of my life slipped from my lips without forethought and astounded the woman before me to the point of temporary speechlessness.
I replied thus:
“Well… grudges are heavy and I have enough weight to bear as it is. That man could walk into any church, temple, synagogue or shrine he wants to in the morning and whatever God he serves would forgive him. Who am I to judge?”
“Well then you get to be the one to forgive me because people like that just upset me beyond all reason.”
I didn't wake my parents with a scary call in the middle of the night. I called them the next day and started the conversation with:
"Before I say anything else, I am ok, and so is the baby." To which, my mother went off the deep end anyway. Once she was out of full panic mode, I thanked her profusely for giving me the upbringing that made me aware of the importance of your family knowing your whereabouts. I don't like to think what might have happened if I actually hadn't been able to stay up long enough to runaway. No one would have known where I was to start looking and I would surely have been gone.
I look back at what happened to Lynn and to me and am so grateful that from the cursings and blessings of life, there have been more of the latter. But more importantly, I am also thankful for those terrible things that I survived. Not that I'm glad they happened, but I have learned so much about myself in the face of that adversity and that's priceless.
About the Creator
I'm a mild-mannered business consultant by day, a free-spirited writer, artist, singer/songwriter the rest of the time. Let's subscribe to each other! I'm excited to be in a community of writers and I'm looking forward to making friends!
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Zero grammar & spelling mistakes
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
Wow! That was a lot of pain. I am just happy that you are all ok. Many crazy people in the world.
Oh my wow!! What a rollercoaster of emotions. I am so glad you both ended up being ok. Thank you for sharing!
It is really sad that you can't even do your laundry and be safe. You are a very brave woman. I am glad you were ok
Lynn was such a badass! I'm so glad that you and your baby were okay. It's such a scary world to live in and it just gets worse. Thank you for sharing this story! 💖
Splendid telling of your family story!!! Left some love!!!
Wow! That's a whole lot of different experiences there. Well one thing I can say about life is we learn from experience. Thank you for sharing. And keep on writing it's good to get these things out. Good job.