Wilson not only stayed sober but he kept coming around. I started letting him watch our kids while I was at work. For two weeks he courted me. One night he picked me up from work and took me to our old restaurant - just like we used to. When he dropped me off and drove away, I felt as though I’d been on my very first date ever with him.
One day I called home from work. "Wilson, I forgot my medication this morning. I just don’t feel like I can cope. Could you bring me my medicine?”
“Sure, I’ll be right over.”
But the medication didn’t help. It was my life I hated. How could a drug change that?
After just two months, I left ‘bitter’ BetterLife and went back to the family-run nursing home where I had felt more comfortable.
“Shirley is going back to live with her husband in Detroit and Joy wants to move in with me,” Wilson said one day.
I sat down. How could Joy “move in” with Wilson? He didn’t have a place. I knew I was asking for trouble again, but I really did love Joy. “Well, I guess you both could come here.”
Joy and Wilson moved back in with me on March 16. I explained to Steph that I had to do it for Joy’s sake, but she didn’t believe it. We argued and Steph moved out. Troy also went back to Salmon Lake and stayed there.
I enrolled both Joy and Andrew in swimming lessons at the YMCA. While they were in class and Haley was in the nursery, I worked out in the weight room. I was there partly to get back into shape after having a baby, partly to build myself up in case of another attack by Shirley.
Joy reported that the family from the Rez rolls joints on their coffee table. Four- year-old Andrew joined in, “I stole some cigarettes from 7-11 for them. They wanted me to smoke one.”
“And Mom,” he confided, “Rose is Louis’ girlfriend. They were in the garage and she told him to put his hand in her pants.”
I felt sick. Rose and Louis were both nine-years-old.
Standing on our sidewalk with Andrew, I pointed from one house to another.
“I don’t want you to play over there or that house either. They do bad things over there. You are not to go inside the house across from them, or play with the kids over at the red house. And stay out of that green house, too.”
“But Mom,” Andrew objected, “then there’s nobody left to play with!”
Elmer and Marcia came to visit relatives in Salmon Lake, then came down to the city to spend a couple nights with us. Having them physically in front of me was reassurance that they really existed. Seeing them was like nourishment.
“Why don’t you move on out to west?” Elmer cajoled.
“I’m buying this place. Where would we live out there?”
“There’s plenty of places.”
“Well, if we did go Wilson would have to find us a nice house first.”
“Well, don’t be so high on the horse. Sometimes you have to accept something not so good for awhile if you want to make a better life. You might have to accept living in a trailer or something.”
Later, I spoke to Marcia. ‘What happens if I quit my job, drop this house, go all the way out there and then Wilson starts drinking again?”
“He really is a Christian now. I know; I saw him crying on his knees on my living room floor. I was there.”
I still didn’t think I loved Wilson and didn’t trust that he was really going to stay sober. And I most definitely didn’t believe he was really a Christian. But I knew I wasn’t happy being a single mom trying to buy a house I didn’t like in a neighborhood I hated. I also knew I’d have to be evening charge nurse for awhile. When Andrew started school in the fall, I’d never see him.
I also knew I was an angry, bitter woman and if I kept going that way - my heart filled to the brim with hate - I’d end up like some of the bitter, old women I had worked with in the nursing homes. I decided moving couldn’t be worse than living here.
We sat around the dinner table with Mickey, Joy and my kids. We made a commitment to each other that we were going to stick together and move as a family. Grandma and Grandpa were having their 50th wedding anniversary and later that summer was my class reunion, so we decided to wait and move in late August, before school started. I’d have to prepare the house for sale and hire a realtor.