I was dreaming! I was walking through an open field and the grass was red, as I looked up I saw the sky and the sun were red too. The sun was bleeding. I felt a tug on my hand and I looked down and a little girl with blonde hair and hazel eyes looked up at me and said, “mommy, are we there yet, I’m so tired! ” I looked back and saw a man walking slowly towards us. I said, ” No honey, we can’t stop yet, we have to hurry!” I felt a sense of urgency. I looked around and the man was right behind us. He put his hand on my shoulder.
His hand was cool, yet strong and we turned to look at him, and I saw tears on his face, and he said, “I am sorry beloved.” “It is time”. I was crying and I begged him, “No please just a little longer”. He said, “Daughter, in your future is a blonde girl child, but don’t worry, I will take good care of this one for you . He touched my face and my tears dried up and he smiled. When he smiled the sun became bright and shinning again, the sky was blue and the grass was green. “She will be here with me waiting for you, when someday you return.”
A bright blue parakeet flew over my head and landed on his shoulder. “Blueboy”, I whispered. A beautiful little chihuahua jumped into the little girls arms. “Chico” The tears were back. The man smiled and turned and they disappeared. I tried to follow, but my feet wouldn’t move.
I woke up in a bright white hospital room. Neal was sitting by my bed, and he was sober. He said, “Damn, Sugarbabe, I was scared you weren’t ever going to wake up.” I saw Anu laying across my legs. I didn’t say anything, but the tears wouldn’t stop. I finally fell into a dreamless sleep. I had to stay a couple days. I had lost some blood. Neal kept saying he was sorry over and over again. I felt like punching him and screaming at him to just shut up. Farm boy was wearing on my last nerve.
I tried not to sleep. I did sleep and her sweet face and innocent eyes were staring at me. I could hear her calling, where are you Mommy! Anu tried to comfort me, but I refused to be comforted.
I was dreaming! My mother, both my grandmothers and my daughter were all standing in the field holding hands. My mother said, “Patsy, someday you will cross over and meet us at heaven’s gate and we will all be waiting for you, but you have a long life to live now, and it’s time.” “Go on girl, you can do this.” I really didn’t think so.
I woke up feeling a little stronger, but very sad, especially since today was the day of my mother’s funeral. I got dressed and went back to my parent’s house. I took a shower. My brown wedding dress had become a funeral dress.
Looked like the whole town turned out for my mom’s funeral. Neal and I sat in front with my sister and my dad. I couldn’t feel anything. I was numb. My aunt Mary June sang. The grey speckled bird was my mom’s favorite song. Mary June was not her favorite, but I knew that didn’t matter where she was now.
After the service and the graveside service, Neal and I went back to my parent’s house. I went through my mom’s clothes and put them all into the goodwill box in town. I had a bad feeling that was a mistake, wasn’t sure why. We stopped at a store in town to pick up something for Neal’s mother. I waited outside the car.
A pretty woman I never saw before stopped and told me she was sorry about my mother. Her cousin knew my cousin. Oh well, small town, everyone knows everyone or is related to them. She was dressed strangely. No make up, hair long down her back and a long dress past her knees. I told her she was wearing a pretty dress. We talked a while. She told me she was Pentecostal.
Supposed to go strictly by the bible. Women subservient to their husbands. No jewelry except a wedding band, no cutting your hair, no makeup and can’t show your legs or arms. Pentecostal believed in faith healing, so no doctor’s. In my frame of mind, I was willing to try this. I needed more to believe in to hold on to, and I hoped Neal would stop drinking.
Janey kept on talking to me and invited me over to her house along with Neal to meet her husband. He was a preacher at the church. We went over that night. Kevin was a nice man and explained the ways of the church to us. I could see Neal was intrigued. I was willing to try anything right now. I was trying to save my marriage and maybe my sanity! Hmmm!
We attended Sunday services. It went along pretty much like a Baptist service. Sunday school, singing hymns, preaching. At the end of the service after the closing hymn ,the preacher asked for sinners to come up to the altar and be saved. An older lady dressed up really nice suddenly danced out into the aisle. The only way I can describe it is she was writhing in ecstasy. Yes, she was!! My mouth fell open and Neal’s eyes bugged out! I elbowed him because it wasn’t polite to stare at women like that.
This lady kicked off her high heels, dancing all over the place, then she was joined by another lady both of them hollering at the top of their lungs, “oh yes, Jesus, sweet Jesus, rain your blessings down on me!” Uh oh! Looking around I saw other ladies and men too dancing in front of their seats. Finally one of these ladies started ululating and trilling in language not understood by human ears, or at least my ears. Anu was sitting next to me and she stood and all her hair stood up. She whispered to me that most of these people were faking, that the language of God only came to a chosen few.
I told Anu that I was scared and didn’t understand any of this. Anu said we needed to leave right then before it was too late. Oh boy! It was too late for me. Somehow I knew it. My feet felt like dancing! Toes wiggling in my heels. I held on to Neal, almost gouged a hole in his arm.
When we got home from that first service Neal’s mother was mad. Someone had told her that I had given my mothers clothes to Good will. She had a telephone and used it a lot. Gossip hotline. All the news before it was news. 24/7. She said I should have given my mothers clothes to her because she really needed them.
Now this woman wasn’t much bigger than a flea, even though she was meaner than a stepped on snake. My mother was at least 6 or 7 inches taller and probably 25 pounds heavier. Mrs. Mosier informed me she could sew and would have altered them. I told her that there was no way I could look at her or anyone else every day in my mother’s clothes.
I went upstairs and went to bed. I wouldn’t get up. I couldn’t get up. Anu stayed with me and I stayed in bed for almost a week. Neal called Janey to come and talk to me. First thing she said to me was, “what are you doing in that bed Missy, get on up and take care of your man!” I knew she was right. I had left my farm boy to his mother’s mercy far too long. I got up, got dressed and decided she was not going to get to me anymore.
Neal’s sisters liked to follow the circuit and watch wrestling. It was on local t.v. It was fun. His sister Connie was dating one of the wrestlers. So on Saturday nights we went to the wrestling matches. We knew it was scripted, but it was so much fun. Cheering and booing the men in their elaborate costumes. Neal wanted to be a wrestler, but changed his mind when he found out he couldn’t take a punch! Heck, I could take a punch better than he could!
On Sundays we went to church services and I watched as men and women danced around, crying, beseeching the savior for the gift of tongues. I kept my wiggling toes firmly on the ground and gouged holes in Neal’s arm. This went on for a number of Sunday’s.
One Sunday I was sitting in my seat, and my feet were moving and I was feeling strange tingles all over my body. I tried to hold onto Neal’s arm, but I couldn’t and I danced out into the aisle, no control over my own body. All of a sudden My mouth and throat opened and those ululating sounds were coming from me too. Later on Neal asked me what I was saying. he said it sounded like gibberish and I had a look of ecstasy on my face.
It’s true that’s how I felt, ecstatic, and happy and the sounds I was making meant praise God over and over in different languages, and it’s still hard to explain. This happened to me every Sunday. It’s like I just couldn’t control it. Sadly, it never happened for Neal. He wasn’t drinking and he was working again at Tacoma foods. We were happy, and we hoped to have a baby. Mrs. Mosier was behaving and we cleaned the house together and she taught me how to cook a few things Neal liked.
There came a Friday when Neal didn’t come home from work. He didn’t come home on Saturday or Sunday either. He came home on Monday still drunk. I was so upset and angry and I begged him to tell me why! Why! after almost two years, why!! I was crying and couldn’t stop and he told me to stop, he couldn’t stand to see me cry. When I didn’t stop, he hit me in the face with his fist! I was on the floor and he stepped over me and went out the door.
Mrs. Mosier came up to the attic and she looked shocked! She had asked Neal what happened and he pushed her away and ran out the door. My face was bleeding. Mrs. Mosier called Connie to come home from work. She took me to the emergency room. It wasn’t that bad, bruised, a cut. My face would heal well, but I’m not sure my heart would ever be the same. I was so depressed! Mrs. Mosier was really nice to me. Don’t get me wrong, she was still mean as a bobcat caught in a bramble bush.
Mrs. Mosier was shocked at the change in Neal. She told me to call her Frances, then she told me it was my fault. Neal was never like that before he met me. I told her Neal put on a sappy face when he was home before he met me, and when he met me he grew a pair.
I thought Connie was going to wreck the car, she was laughing so hard. “Frances” became Stoneface Mosier. Neal didn’t come home. I called his dad’s house and told him to tell Neal we had to talk.His dad told me Neal was ashamed and wasn’t coming home yet.
two days later Neal drove up into the yard and Mrs. Mosier went running out there, he sent her back to the house and told her he wanted to talk to his wife. He apologized for hitting me, said he knew that church wasn’t for him, and he didn’t think he could quit drinking. I started to cry and put my hand on his arm. I told him to come home and we would work on it together. He had been drinking and I could see he was getting angry. I tried to step away, but he pushed me down, jumped into the car and drove away.
Anu had been standing near me growling! As Neal drove away she jumped into the car with him and he drove away erractically. Anu was a panther, but a spirit panther. I didn’t know if she could hurt him or not. Billy and Pat came by that night and told us that they found Neal walking down the road and his car was wrecked. He told them he thought a huge panther jumped him and almost killed him. They both thought he was just drunk. Anu was smiling.
I called my sister who had moved back to Chicago and she wired me the money for a bus ticket. Two days later I got on the Greyhound bus bound for Chicago. I cried all the way, and Anu growled softly to herself. Mrs. Mosier was happy, and I wasn’t. I tried to call Neal to tell him I was leaving, but he didn’t answer. I was 21.