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81 5 Living Through It “He Made Me Believe He Was Something He Wasn’t” After Billie quit high school and left her mother’s home, she had dreams of returning to school to earn her diploma and romantic hopes of falling in love. However, it was not long after leaving her mother’s home that she became pregnant with her first child and found it difficult to survive. She was living in a government-funded housing development and receiving government subsidies when she met her first husband. Billie ’s desire to be swept away from “the projects” by a man who was holding stable employment, “made a lot of money,” and would be a father to her toddler, Nia, had her rushing into marriage. Billie recalled, “The wedding was beautiful. The marriage was a nightmare.” The marriage was replete with sexual unfaithfulness and mental abuse on the part of Billie’s husband . Her husband’s behaviors were emotionally taxing: “I wanted to kill him. I was so hurt. I wanted to kill him. My child is the only thing that kept me from killing him. After that I felt like, ain’t nobody ever gonna love me. Ain’t nobody ever going to want me. For a long time I was by myself. I would do the three Fs: Find ’em, fuck ’em, and forget ’em. And that’s the way it was and I was like that for a long time.” After a few more years of struggling financially, continually being in failed intimate relationships, dealing with low self-esteem, and anticipating the birth of her third child in a few months, Billie met Kobe, a man who would love and support her: I told him that I was pregnant. He was like, “Are you? I don’t mind. I could be the father.” That just [melted] my heart. I was like, here’s some great man wanting to be my baby’s daddy. So me and him got together. I let him move in. . . . After I had [the baby], we brought the baby home, he went and got a job, started working. Our first car was a little blue Pinto. 82 Living Through It But we had a car. He wanted me to move out of the low-income [government housing]. . . . I went and got Section 81 in [another city]. It took us a little while to get it, but we finally got it. It was just great. Sadly, Billie’s long-awaited relationship bliss was short-lived. Before they could move into their new home, Kobe exhibited his suppressed violent behaviors. The battering incident was preceded by Billie’s confronting Kobe in a nightclub about his talking to a White woman. Billie poured liquor on Kobe and tried to hit him with the emptied bottle, after which they were both forced to leave the establishment. Billie describes what occurred upon the arrival at their home: We got in the house. I went in the bathroom and started taking my clothes off to put my gown on to go to bed. I had kept telling him, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I just got upset because men have been going out with other women on me, and I’m sorry, I freaked out.” I was in the bathroom. He came in the bathroom and punched the shit out of me. I have never been hit like that in my life. You know how in the cartoons where you see little Tweety Birds going around your head? Sort of like that. Where you see a flash of darkness and then the Tweety Birds. He was like, “Yeah, I’m’a teach you how to embarrass me in the club,” and he just started beating the shit out of me. . . . He beat me only in my face. Nowhere else. Just my face. Not my arms, not my stomach, just my face. I kept saying, “I’m sorry, Kobe. I’m sorry.” The more I said I’m sorry, the more he would beat me. I got loose from him by hittin’ him in his privates. . . . I found out he broke my nose, he cracked my jaw. . . . He had knocked teeth out of my mouth. . . . Just to look at myself in the mirror. That hurt me so bad. And the way he did it. Most guys who are gonna beat the crap out of you, they’ll be hollering at you, arguing with you. He was quiet the whole...


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MARC Record
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