The fire didn’t catch and the raging husband grew bored and went to break other things. He would regularly destroy Wildflower’s things, her paintings, writings, photographs, anything within reach. During this time Wildflower was very confused, for she had never experienced anything like this and it all seemed quite odd to her. Abuse is when someone hits you, right? This was not like that. It seldom is, she would later learn. It almost always starts with signs of anger, lowering the victim’s self-esteem, estranging her from family, calling names, throwing things, yelling in their face…and then it escalates. Wildflower got through those particular few months while she was pregnant with her baby girl by praying fervently.
She remembered the year before when she was at a church and her asthma had been healed. She had been working for an animal shelter and was taught incorrectly when mixing chemicals to clean and a horrid case of chemical asthma ensued. The company did not tell her about workman’s compensation and was pleased when she decided to give up the job because she couldn’t breathe. Many trips to the hospital, nights trying to catch her breath, she now found herself sitting in that church, unbeknownst to her of what would occur, the pastor began naming off people and ailments and even though he didn’t speak to her, she could feel her lungs healing and from then on the asthma was gone. She often wondered why God had chosen to heal her twice of horrible ailments.
During those dark hours, locked in a bedroom, locked out in the snow with her son, dodging things being thrown at her, wondering why he was so angry at her, wondering what she had done, she listened to tapes from that church and in a month or so he went into a nice phase. This happens quite often too, she later learned, there is always a make up phase. Roses, apologies, will never happen again. When couples that had been married a long time would tell Wildflower, “We have been through some tough times but we made it!” she thought they meant what she was going through. Half of her family had already been isolated by the raging husband and the other half didn’t believe her. She no longer had any friends. Only her little boy, who meant everything to her.
During the nice phase the little girl with the big blue eyes was born and then another. A little red head. Beautiful as the other two. The raging husband and the doctor decided that Wildflower was having too many children and she was wheeled into an operating room after giving birth to the red head and was no longer able to have children. She didn’t feel like she had a choice.
Over the next few years Wildflower lost her identity. She loved modeling and was very successful after the little red head was born. But after awhile she opened her own company and struggled to make it work. The raging husband saw that several of the models were exotic dancers. They made several hundred dollars a night and he decided Wildflower should do that, just once so that they could get caught up on bills. Just once. She did not want to go but he told her it would be her fault if they ended up losing everything. Just once turned into three years as every time she tried to quit, his tyrannical rages and guilt trips convinced her to stay.
There were bright lights in this time though. One was her cousin, Faith, who began dancing with her. It became a game. They put on fake eyelashes and hair extensions. Lots of beautiful makeup and pretty clothes, and since they were both real dancers, would make it a real show and have fun. They both acted like ladies and did not do anything that would be considered in bad taste (except, perhaps, the dancing!). Wildflower spent most of the time each evening listening. Most of the people that were there were widows, divorcees, older gentleman who just wanted someone to talk to. Wildflower learned to listen and console. Her job became listening to and comforting the lonely.
Over those years at the house of the raging husband, unbeknownst to everyone else, there was terrible unrest. Wildflower was so fearful of losing her children and animals if anyone learned what was going on. She lied to the veterinarian. She said that her cat had fallen out of a window by accident because she was afraid if the vet found out that he had been thrown down the stairs and had his leg broken she would arrange to take all of her animals away. Cats were being thrown against walls. Wildflower’s beloved childhood cat often hurt. Dogs hurt. Horrible names were replacing Wildflower’s name. Rapes. Volatile outbursts. And worst of all, silence. After a day in the hospital following a particularly harsh fight, after her head had been repeatedly slammed into a headboard and her arm twisted around her body until she was certain it would snap, she called the police. Her only thought was escape… but could she?