Every year when the 23’rd of October rolls around I am reminded of the woman who was to be wife and mother of my children in this lifetime. She broke off our relationship when we were 17. Through the years I’d kept in contact with her sister, Linda and her mother, getting bits and pieces of her story and then about 10 years ago Phyllis re-established contact with me. It was short-lived as she feared her abusive husband, Patrick would find out we were in communication and she’d have hell to pay. I never got around to asking her about the baby she aborted when she was 16. Her sister assumed it was mine and said it was a boy. I almost asked her about it one day, wanting to ease into the subject, asking her if she ever had children with Patrick and she said she didn’t. I seem to remember Phyllis saying she some troubles and so her and Patrick never had children. Did something bad happen during the abortion? I guess it’s also a possibility that she avoided getting pregnant so she didn’t bring innocents into an abusive marriage.
My family had moved and put 1000 miles between Phyllis and I when we were 15, but we’d planned that I would move back to Kentucky when I was 18 and we could be married. Two days after my 18th birthday I returned to Kentucky to live with my grandmother. I let Phyllis know I’d come back for her and wanted to begin trying to heal our relationship. She never once told me that she had married Patrick Hickey the month before I arrived. I’m glad I didn’t find out till many years later about her marriage at age 17 to Patrick. Phyllis came uninvited to my grandmother’s home late at night with her sister Linda. My grandmother did not allow me to answer the door. Phyllis faded away after that. Years later when we finally reconnected she would admit that marrying the abusive Patrick Hickey was the worst mistake of her life. It also changed the trajectory of my own life. Patrick would not allow her to have a car or drive his car. He would drive her to her job and drive her home. He wouldn’t even allow Phyllis to walk feet across the parking lot of the strip mall where she worked to eat lunch at a restaurant with fellow employees. She could only have her hair cut at her gay brother’s hair salon on Sunday when the salon was closed to the public. She gave me many more details of her horrible life with Patrick and I asked her if she wanted to get away from him and we began to develop a plan for her to escape him and come live with me in California, but then she got cold feet and stopped contact with me again.
My last form of contact was with her sister Joan in early 2019. I wanted Phyllis to sign off on her identity in my book to be published. Joan offered to give Phyllis my contact info, but then she came back with some lame excuse that Phyllis didn’t have email or a phone, and added that things with Patrick had gotten better? Really? Over 30 years of hellish abusive marriage and now Patrick is being good to Phyllis? Doubt it. Poor Phyllis.
Update: 8 June 2019 I took a nap today and awoke during a dream where Phyllis and I were laying in bed cuddling. That was a really strange dream to have out of the blue. I don’t know that I will ever see her again in this lifetime and I don’t understand why our lives unfolded the way they have, but my belief system tells me we will understand when we do meet again in Heaven.
On May 18, 1975 Phyllis lost her father. We met just two years later. While I was never ever able to ask Phyllis why she was so anxious to marry I want to guess that it’s because she was a young woman who was hurting from the loss of comfort of a man who loved her, her father.
Being haunted by memories is a strange thing. I have never failed to remember her birthday in 40 years. I wonder if she has ever thought of me on my birthday?