I was so bent on getting back with Wilson; I bought airline tickets to Las Vegas with my credit card and talked Dad into lending us money for the trip using the Buick as collateral. He agreed reluctantly.
A week before we were to leave, Wilson called. "Someone stole the Buick. I got up this morning and it was gone."
I went to his house to call the police. The police located the car later that day in a wrecking yard. They had towed it from where it had gone off the road and through a guardrail. It was totaled.
Wilson had some cuts on his arm and his glasses were missing, but told me he had fallen off of the curb while drinking the night before. After over four years of sobriety, he was drinking again.
"You were drunk and crashed it, didn't you?"
Wilson denied it. But at the wrecking yard I found his glasses on the dash of the car under the broken windshield. Despite my suspicions, I told Wilson that I believed him.
Cheri, angry at her dad for both drinking and seeing me again, moved back with her mother.
Although our collateral was gone, I took my dad's money and time off from school and we went on the trip to Las Vegas anyway. I wasn't really interested in gambling. I had only suggested Las Vegas because I knew it would interest Wilson. The manipulation (his and mine) had worked; we were a couple again. The first half of the week was fun. We played games, walked the brightly-lit streets and saw a show. On an evening about half way through the trip, Wilson slid a wrench into his boot and went off by himself to what he said was the Indian side of town. I stayed at the motel and studied my homework. He wasn't gone as long as I thought he'd be.
"Some people thought I was a nark, so I didn't hang around." Instead, he took some money and went downstairs to gamble. When he came back up, he was drunk.
While getting our breakfast at a buffet the next morning, Wilson claimed he'd lost our last $100 dollars in a taxicab. I was four months pregnant, and we were broke. Our room was paid for, but the plane ticket couldn't be used until the reserved day. In the meantime, we'd have to find a way to eat. My dad refused to accept anymore collect calls.
Late one night, after a couple days of not eating, Wilson returned to our room with a plate full of chicken. An employee had set it aside in a back room for his own dinner, and when the man had gone to grab a drink, Wilson slipped in and took the plate. Chicken had never tasted so good.
And the plane ride back couldn't come soon enough. But we were now back together again.
A week or so later Wilson woke up shaking. The weather was hot, but that wasn't the reason he was sweating. He needed a drink. After calling around, he found out people were drinking over at his ex-brother-in-law's. We got in the car to drive the mile or so to his house. As we passed the park, a tire on our car suddenly blew.
"Here," he said, "go over to that store and call AAA. I'll meet you over there."
And he left.
So five months pregnant, I waited in the heat for AAA to come fix the tire. But I said nothing when I finally arrived at the brother-in-laws. I just smiled and laughed with the rest of them.
"The reason you can't leave me is because I have medicine in my bag that keeps you with me. Wanda’s dad gave it to me a month ago," Wilson told me.
But he wouldn't tell me just what a medicine bag was or what was in it. All he would tell me was that it was personal, and that he shouldn't have said as much as he did.
"I shouldn't have even told you I was carrying it."
It was hard for me to decide whether or not he was just being melodramatic, but I chose to believe him. I wanted to believe there was a real reason, not my fault, for continuing with this relationship.
How comforting it was to now have an excuse. My behavior was now beyond my control.