The Beginning of the End
Jenny got a full time job working at Aisin Manufacturing. She was
a janitor with a local cleaning service and was thrilled to have
gotten the job. Mark wasn't as excited; in fact, he said she
wouldn't be able to do the job. She was determined to prove him
wrong. Jenny worked as hard as she could, while still dealing
with the fact that her beautiful baby boy was growing up way too
fast for her. Zachary was going to turn 2 years old that summer
and she was dreading it. She cherished her time with her little
bitty baby, but knew it wasn't going to last forever. Jenny still
could not figure out how to fix her marriage that seemed to be
deteriorating at an even faster rate than before.
Jenny found out how Mark paid for the ring her got her for Christmas. He had been stealing $20 bills from her purse for months to save up and buy the ring. Jenny adored the ring, even though it was the wrong size, but she was upset that he had stolen, what was actually his son's disability money, to pay for it. Her first week of work was tough. She wasn't used to such strenuous work and needed support. Mark did try to make an effort; maybe it was because she was making money now.
The first 2 days of work, Mark drew a hot bubble bath for his
wife, had a cold soda waiting on her, and even had dinner cooked,
or ordered, and ready to go. Jenny was in shock, she didn't know
he had it in him! That didn't last, though. After the first week,
he didn't care anymore. Throughout the month, she barely saw her
husband. On Valentine's Day, his mom bought a teddy bear for Mark
to give to Jenny.
Jenny was struggling. She hardly ever saw her son and it was making her crazy. Mark was a stranger to her now, and she couldn't name any friends she talked to. She didn't have time for anything other than work, sleep, and scheduling doctor appointments for both her and Zachary. Jenny had finally seen a doctor and began treatment for stress-induced insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
She was so proud of herself for making money, but soon the money
became the problem. Jenny did not approve of marijuana usage, but
if that's what Mark wanted, then he could do it on his own time,
away from her home, and with his own money. Since Zachary's birth
he had only worked a total of 3 months. She gave Mark money every
payday to cover his cigarettes and fast-food while she was at
work throughout the week. Even with that, Mark was greedy. He
stole money from his wife's purse to pay for his drug habit.
Jenny was furious when she heard it from her mother. "How dare
he!" she fumed! Not only had he stole the money, he had gone to
her mother's house to brag about it like an idiot! Zachary was
still asleep when she got back home from her mom's.
Jenny usually went to visit her mom while Mark and Zach slept early in the mornings. She gathered some of her son's things and took him to her mom's. She called Mark's mom and asked if he could come stay at her house for a while because things were bad. When Jenny returned home after dropping Zachary off, she awoke her husband with a short, "Get up." and left the room. When Mark was dressed, he met her in the living room. Jenny sat at the kitchen table while he put his shoes on. He looked up and asked her "Are we going out to eat?" Her heart dropped.
She just wished he wouldn't screw things up like this! She loved
him so much, but she couldn't allow herself to keep getting hurt.
In her alternate reality, she looked at her husband and said
"Yes, baby, let's go have a family breakfast." Unfortunately, she
wasn't in that reality and she couldn't say that. "You have one
hour to pack your things and call your mom to pick you up." she
said coldly. He asked why and she told him what she knew. He got
angry with her and started to yell, saying that if she wanted the
money he would pay her back. "It's not about the damn money,
Mark! It's about you stealing from me! I'm your wife for god's
sake!" Jenny was so angry. She was angry for right then and
there, she was angry for all the times in the past, and she was
angry with herself because she couldn't fix it all.
Jenny wasn't sure if she wanted a temporary or permanent separation, but she knew she needed to be away from him now before she ended up hating him. Mark refused to leave which only angered Jenny more. That wasn't the plan. They made a plan and he wouldn't follow it. They agreed that if she asked him to go, he would go, calmly and civilly.
Since he would not leave, she decided she would. She contemplated what she was doing while she gathered some clothes. Her thoughts were mainly about their son. She knew she was going to go stay a few nights with her sister, Mandy, but Zach couldn't stay there. There was no room in Mandy's apartment for a baby, and she had a big dog. No, it wasn't going to work. Then she thought about his therapists, and doctor appointments. Jenny didn't have a phone, only Mark did.
She decided, with a broken heart as she walked out the door, that she would bring Zachary back home before she went to her sister's apartment. She couldn't call herself a mother if she put her wants before Zachary's needs. He needed to be at home with his things and his therapy equipment. He needed to be as stable as possible through this rough time. Jenny left her son with her husband, and walked out the door, bawling like a baby.
After Mark's blatant disregard for her feelings and their divorce plan, Jenny decided that it was truly the end of their marriage. She began talking with Mark's mom, Sharon, about getting an apartment. She assumed Sharon was on her side, after all, she agreed with Jenny that the drug use was unacceptable. Jenny soon realized that she was only looking out for what she wanted, which was Zachary to stay in her life. Jenny would never have taken Zachary away from his family. She began to rethink what she was doing. She couldn't stand to be away from her son anymore.
She was still working more than full-time, and although the money was good and she could save up for an apartment, she had no time to go see her child. Jenny decided to go back home, for her son, not for Mark. She had been gone only 2 weeks, but it seemed like an eternity. Things grew worse by the minute while she was there. Mark was so angry that she still wanted to separate that he even locked her out of the house when she returned home after working an 11 hour shift. He wrote her letters trying to make her feel guilty and asking her to leave her son so he would feel better.
She refused to keep living this way, but she had no idea what to
do. She got very depressed and started drinking every weekend.
She hated to be at that house while he was there, but he never
left! They began fighting constantly anytime they were in the
same room. Zachary started crying a lot more often and Jenny
could tell the fighting was stressing her baby out too much.
Shawn was a friend to both Mark and Jenny when they were in high school, but neither of them had talked to him in a while. One night while Jenny was at a party, she bumped into him. She walked into the bar and saw him sitting in the corner. He had obviously lost weight since the last time she saw him, and even as rugged-looking as he was, he didn't look too bad to her. She greeted him with a big hug and they sat and talked all night. It was 4 am before she realized it, so she rushed home to get some sleep; she still had to work the next day.
Shawn and Jenny talked everyday on the phone. He called her on all her breaks at work, and she stopped by to see him every night when she left work. Not too long after, they had started a relationship. Jenny couldn't stand the idea of living in the same house with Mark while she was seeing another man, so she asked him to leave once again. This time was worse than the last, and Jenny became frightened of Mark's fiery temper. She went and got a hotel room for the week with Shawn. She continued to work and tried to see her son at least every other day.
Just before Mother's Day, Jenny picked Zach up to go visit her
mom. She brought along one of his toys from Mark's house and was
on her way. Once they got there, Mandy's dog, Gracie, got a hold
of Zachary's toy and chewed it up pretty bad. Jenny wasn't going
to give her son a toy that was in a dog's mouth, so she threw it
away. She dropped Zach back off with his father and he asked
where the toy was. Jenny explained what happened to him, "No big
deal, we can always buy another" she said. Mark became irate,
screaming about how that toy was sentimental to him and he wanted
it back even if it was chewed up. Jenny didn't understand what he
was talking about. "Why the hell is a toy sentimental to you?"
she asked her estranged husband. "Because Brittany bought it for
him." he told her. "WHAT?" she screamed. "You have had your
little crack head girlfriend around my child without my
permission?" she urged him to say yes. "She's only been around
him once" he tried to back out of the conversation.
Jenny smacked her husband's face as hard as she could. Mark started to run up the stairs, but Jenny was right behind him, still smacking him. He turned around and threw her in the computer desk and ran up the stairs. Jenny got up and ran as fast as she could, if she caught him, she wasn't going to use an open fist this time! Mark was inside Zachary's room, on the phone with the police. Jenny began punching her husband. "How dare you!" She screamed. He pushed her out of the room and stood against the door. He wasn't following the plan!
They agreed no other man or woman was to be around the baby unless the other parent met them and agreed that they could be near him. Shawn still hadn't met Zachary; Jenny was trying to follow their plan. Jenny went downstairs, got her son from Mandy's arms, gathered his things, and headed for the door. Mark stopped her and held his arm in front of the door. "You aren't going anywhere with him!" he yelled at his wife. "Yes, I am, Mark. He's coming with me, move please." she was much calmer now with her baby in her arms. Once the police arrived, Jenny went to the officer, explained the situation, and admitted fault. He simply asked where the baby was. Jenny told him she was taking Zachary with her to her mother's house. The officer agreed that was the best idea, and told her to go. Mark began screaming and protesting against Jenny taking their son.
The officer threatened that if he didn't stop yelling he would be
arrested. Jenny left that night with her child. The next day, she
left Zachary with her mother so that she could get some of his
things from the apartment. She was relieved to see Mark wasn't
home. She still had her key; after all, her name was still on the
lease, it was still her apartment, too. The neighbors called Mark
and told him Jenny was there. Within 2 minutes Jenny was
bombarded by Mark, his mom, dad, and his sister. Mark's sister,
Lacy, actually tried pulling Jenny out of the apartment by her
shirt. As Mark and Sharon began to scream at Jenny, he asked her
where the baby was. She told him, or course, and out the door
went Mark and his father. Sharon stood there yelling to the men,
"Go on guys, go get our baby". Sharon and Lacy surrounded Jenny
in the living room questioning her about what she was doing
there. "This is my house, not yours. I'm getting Zachary's toys."
Jenny tried to stay calm.
Sharon began screaming obscenities at Jenny about being a slut. Jenny tried to ignore them so she could finish gathering toys and go get her baby. By the time Jenny arrived back at her mother's house, Mark, his father, and his sister were standing outside as Mark talked to the police on the phone. Jenny went to the back door and asked her mom to let her in. She locked the door behind her and took her precious son back into her arms. The cop came in and asked if Jenny was the mother. He said that he would make Mark and his family leave, but if Jenny hadn't been there Zachary would've gone to his father. Now Jenny couldn't be away from her child for even one second or Mark and his family would take him away.
They think that you
Are the good one
They think that you
Were the one wronged
They think that I
Am a whore
They think that
I screwed up
They think that we
Never should have been
They think that we
Were doomed anyway
You think that I
Hurt you most
You think that I
Am just a bitch
You think that you
Were perfect all the way
You think that you
Did everything for me
I think that you
Lied to me
I think that you
Stole from me
I think that you
I think that you
I think that you
It was May again. This would've been Mark and Jenny's 3 year
anniversary. Jenny's father fixed up a trailer for her to live in
until she got on her feet. She cared about her boyfriend, Shawn,
but felt more like his mother than anything. He was deeply
disturbed and she saw this more each day. Zachary had just had
another surgery. During the trip Jenny tried to rekindle the love
between her and her estranged husband, but he wanted nothing to
do with her. She was so confused and depressed. She didn't want
to be with Shawn anymore, but wasn't sure how to break it off
with him. He had nowhere else to live and she was supporting him.
She let things just go on the way they were going for a while.
She was bored with Shawn and was starting to despise him for
turning her into the mother he never had.
Her younger cousin, Sabrina, was diagnosed with bone cancer a couple years earlier. Jenny got a phone call from her Aunt Molly telling her that Sabrina had taken a turn for the worse. "Sabrina won't make it much longer. They have her on a lot of morphine right now for the pain. She's been screaming for you for hours now. She thought she saw you walk past her room and started yelling your name. I had to tell her you weren't here, but now she's begging for you to come see her." Jenny's aunt knew it was time although Jenny refused to believe it. She told her sisters and mom about the phone call and told them she'd be leaving the next day to go stay the night with Sabrina. None of her family wanted to go, but Jenny refused to just not go, so she went alone. She was devastated to see her cousin so weak and in so much pain, but if Sabrina wanted her there, she wasn't going to leave her side. After her visit, Jenny had to return home, she had a baby waiting for her.
About a week later, Jenny got the call. The same call she got when her Aunt Sandy died and the same as when "Mom Brenda" died. She hated those calls. She was sick of getting those calls. "Are you trying to take every single person I know away from me?!" She begged God for an answer. At the wake, Jenny thought she was doing well. She was being strong for everyone, especially for Sabrina's mom and brother. Jenny kept it together. She kept it together until she walked up to her cousin and realized she was really gone. Jenny lost it. In front of everyone she finally broke down and sobbed so loud that the children outside were asking what was going on. Jenny ran outside trying to breathe. She ended up sitting in her car alone, crying her heart out and cursing God.
Sabrina died at 18 years old from cancer and there was no bringing her back.
Zachary had another cleft surgery in June. Jenny was ready for this one. She knew the drill and wasn't afraid or upset. This surgery would be the worst, though. This was the one when the doctor would put Zachary's palate, the roof of his mouth, together. This time it would take several months to heal, it would be more painful than all the other surgeries, and it would slow down his progress in speech and eating. Jenny wasn't worried. She knew she and her son would do just fine as long as they had each other. His eyes and face were black and blue and the poor baby looked like he had been in a horrendous fist fight at only 2 years old.
One day while Jenny was in town to let Zach visit his father, she
stopped by her best friend, Deanna's house. Deanna, Derek, and
Danielle were all living there. Deanna had a 1 year old daughter,
and was 6 months pregnant with her son, Derek was divorced, and
Danielle was almost 9 months pregnant. Jenny told them about
Shawn, all his disturbed thoughts, and that she didn't know how
to break it off with him. Derek jumped up and told everyone to
get some things together, they were going with Jenny. She was
happy that someone cared; she had forgotten what family felt
like. Her friends gathered their things and in 2 cars, they all
traveled to Jenny's trailer.
That night, Derek took over. He got on the phone and broke it off with Shawn for her. All Jenny had to do was tell Shawn, when he came to get his things, that she didn't want to be together. He took his things and left. That night, Jenny felt like she was finally at home. She had her son, Derek, Danielle, Deanna, and Deanna's daughter Gracie with her. The only thing missing was "Mom Brenda" standing in the kitchen yelling at one of them to do the dishes or be quiet. Derek jumped into her bed before she even noticed. Once, the kids were asleep and dinner was put away, Jenny headed back to her room where she saw Derek, laying in her bed, making himself at home. She laughed. Derek was always like that, and she loved him for it. He sat his glasses on the nightstand and Jenny looked at him as she walked to the bed. She hadn't thought about it before, but she had known this family for 6 years now. She loved them all so much, and was so happy they came to help her. The court date for Mark and Jenny's divorce was set for the end of the month. Jenny had 3 weeks until she would be legally single again. Something she hadn't been since she was 16 years old. She was determined to do everything in Zach's best interest. Jenny gave her soon to be ex-husband very generous visitation guidelines. Zachary would stay with his father every other weekend as well as some time for almost every holiday and birthday. They were going to share joint custody, but Zachary would live with her.
Jenny and Derek became a couple as soon as she crawled into the bed that night. They weren't even intimate for weeks, but immediately something special was happening. This wasn't like Shawn or Mark, she thought. Something is different. After a couple weeks, Jenny got brave and spoke the words that truly terrified her. She said, "I love you". She hadn't expected a reply, but he said he loved her too. "You don't have to say things you don't feel. If it's not there it shouldn't be said." she explained to him, hoping he knew he didn't have to say it back to her, she would understand. "I know, and I say the same to you. Do you mean it?" Derek asked Jenny while looking into her eyes in a way she had never seen before. "I do, I love you." "And I love you." They smiled at each other and kissed.