There is always a line of people here who desperately need our help, and we get to them as quickly as we can - never fast enough. We have found that it is useful to have each person write down for us what is happening in their lives, what got them to a point of crisis. This keeps them busy writing while they are waiting, and gives us critical information. This is what Thornton wrote while he was waiting:
"How young does a new life need to be for abuse to lead to a damaged soul? I really need to know, if anyone here knows for sure. I made a mistake. I shouldn't have married Teresa. I was thinking with my dick, not my head. I suppose we are very typical. We had a good start, then she got pregnant, then we lost interest, then frustration set in, and in our case, frustration led to violence. She would get angry with me over the least little things, and would hit and punch me. She hurt me several times pretty bad. One time I had to go to work with a black eye and try to explain it. I'm a bad liar. Neither of us was having a good time. The world seriously changed one time when she swung a broom at me. My baby daughter was on some pillows on the sofa behind me, and when Teresa swung I naturally moved to cover my daughter, to protect her so she wouldn't get hit.
Teresa watched me do that and seriously smiled. It was an angry, evil, smile. She pushed me away, pushed me to the floor and grabbed our baby. She understood that this was one way to get to me, because I loved our daughter and she couldn't care less. She dangled her above the floor, holding her by one arm, laughing. She could have pulled her arm out of her socket. I begged her to stop. She casually dropped our daughter onto the sofa and came after me again with the broom, beating me for several minutes - all because I forgot to get potato chips at the store.
I knew this had to end, so that night, when I could hear Teresa lightly snoring in bed, I quietly got up, got dressed, dressed my daughter, wrapped her in a blanket, and we left.
I had nowhere to go (we really have very little money) so I went to the train station and sat there for a while. Fortunately, my daughter slept most of the night. I got some little snacks and juice boxes for her at the all-night drug store in the station, not sure what I would do next. I fell asleep with my daughter in my arms in a chair there, and when I woke up, fortunate that my sweet girl hadn't dropped from my arms, I decided I needed some fresh air. I walked to the escalator that goes up to the sidewalk, carrying my precious child, and felt the fresh air as we went up to see a new day. It was very early in the morning. I still had no plan, only to walk, and so I did. I walked about six blocks. The streets were unusually empty since today is Sunday. I don't know how, but I sensed motion and heard the roar of a car in the distance. We were half way across the street when I realized it was Teresa's Camaro driving down the middle of the street, headed right for us. I desperately ran for the corner, hugging my baby close to me as she sped up with me in her sites. I'm sure she wanted to kill us both. I hesitated when I got close to the sidewalk on the other side of the street. She got closer. I stopped and looked at her. She was coming right at us. At the last second, I stepped onto the sidewalk, and she eagerly adjusted her path to focus on us, not realizing that I had just stepped behind a phone pole. The impact of her car not only damaged her car but almost pushed the phone pole on top of us. I couldn't even see Teresa, just a blood filled, cracked windshield. She never did wear a seatbelt. A man in a business suit was walking down the street and stopped to help. He called 911 to get an ambulance. He asked me what had happened, and I tried to tell him. He suggested that I come here with my baby to get some help that we desperately need. Please help us. I don't know where to turn. I just want my baby to grow up happy, and to not have to live like this."
We finally go to Thornton. They sat in my cubicle as I read what he wrote. He held his precious package, still bundled in a little blanket, close to his chest. He asked if there was a nurse or someone who could perhaps change his baby's diaper. I asked if I could hold his daughter, and, hesitating, he stood up and passed her over my small desk, into my arms. My first impression was that she was too light for her age. I unfolded the blanket from around her face and head. A baby doll looked back at me. One eye was broken, some of its hair was cut off, and she was very dirty. I unwrapped a little more to see that the doll only had one arm. I hugged Thornton's child for him, and pulled some forms out of my file cabinet, so we could try to get him the help he, I mean they, needed.
Sometimes you just have to write - it may not be good, or it may move someone. We just have to keep trying, keep meeting new characters, see who they become, where they go, and appreciate them all. I love this ReadWave community! I've learned a lot from everyone's comments, and appreciate every word.