I'd already seen danger signs Monday evening. I'd tried to call time-out on a fight that was getting too heated, and cflute refused to accept it, and stood in the doorway of the kitchen blocking the exit while continuing the fight. In front of one of the children, which was something she'd always insisted (correctly, IMO) that we not do.
But things had calmed down after a while, and we were trying to talk things through civilly. Except it started heating up again, and I called another time-out, not wanting to lose the progress we'd made. She said, "Then I want this bedroom. Alone."
We'd shared before successfully during time-out, we just don't talk to each other. And the spare room makes me hurt badly if I try to sleep there, which she knew. So I said no. It was fine with me if she stayed here too, I said, but I wasn't leaving. And I picked up my Kindle and started trying to read.
cflute grabbed the Kindle and tried to pull it out of my hand.
I held on. I think I asked something like, "What the hell are you doing?" She didn't answer. She just said, "Let it GO!!!"
I didn't. And then she grabbed my wrist and started digging her nails into it to force open my hand.
I tried to push her away with the other hand. No chance; her arm is a lot longer than mine. I drew my feet up and pushed with them, around chest level, trying to make her open her grip on my wrist, which was getting painful.
"You almost kicked me in the face, you bitch!!" And she did drop my wrist, and started raining punches down on my face and head. I tried to fend them off and it didn't work well; she was too determined, and hitting too hard. Pain exploded across my eyes, and then I made the mistake of turning over, face down to protect my face and head.
cflute landed on top of me with her full weight -- close to 300 pounds. Her hand grabbed for the back of my neck, and she started grinding my face into the bed.
I was terrified. I couldn't get any air. She outweighed me by a hundred pounds; I struggled, but I had no chance to get away. I managed, in the few instants when I could force my head to turn enough for a gasp of air, to say, "I can't breathe!!"
"Good!! I hope you suffocate, you little bitch!" was the horrifying reply.
I've only once before been scared for my life the way I was in that moment: when I lay in the wreck of an automobile, too badly injured to move, wondering if someone would come and find me before I died. Then, there was nothing to do but wait. This time, I had to fight for my life. I put all my strength into getting the next breath... twisting my head when I could, pushing up just enough to make an air pocket when I could, but she was blocking every move so that I couldn't use it again, and I was running out of possibilities. I was seeing dark-gray sunbursts in front of my eyes by that time, and sometimes it felt like the bed was upside-down, dangling from the ceiling, I was so dizzy.
I used those few snatches of air to beg. Well, first I tried to scream for the kids to wake up, but the bedroom isn't easily heard from the rest of the house, and I had no air to yell with. It was useless. So I switched tactics and then I begged. I said I was sorry. I promised I'd do things any way she wanted, that I'd do anything she wanted, just name it. I asked her please, let me breathe.
I don't know what made her let go, but eventually, she did. I fell back against the bed and gulped air down in huge whooshes.
She asked, quietly, "Are you going to call 911 now?" I said, "Yes."
And I did. While I was talking to them, my voice trembling so hard I could barely be understood, she gathered some things (already assembled because she'd packed to leave during the earlier fight that afternoon), and drove away.
The police picked her up a few blocks away. They came to me and talked with me about what happened, bringing a medical team to check out the gashes around my right eye, made when my glasses cut into my face from the pressure with which she was grinding my face into the mattress. It turned out there were cuts on my leg, too, which I don't even remember happening. That must've been in the earlier part, when I tried to push her away with my feet and she started hitting me.
cflute spent the night in jail. She is out now, they told me. There's a no-contact order, so she can't come here, unless a police officer comes with her to make sure things stay safe. Meanwhile, a friend of hers came and picked up the things she had previously packed.
So far, I'm coping. Badly sometimes, but coping nevertheless. The kids are grieving terribly; cflute came into their lives when Joey was only a year old, and they don't remember life without her. They're making pictures for her, so she will have something from them to keep. Someday, I've told them, if she wants to visit them I'll be willing to let her, but the no-contact order will last as long as the criminal case remains open, so it will be awhile before we can make that happen.
The prosecutor gets to decide whether or not to press charges, I don't; but I've already told them that I don't want to. Not if she is willing to agree to go away quietly, without making more trouble. I don't want her to do prison time, I just want to be safe. The DV advocate from the prosecutor's office said that since she has no prior record, she will almost certainly be offered a plea bargain which involves anger management courses and counseling, and I hope that she takes it. I want her to get the help she needs.
But I also want myself and the kids to be safe. And I never want to have to be afraid for my life that way, ever again.