It has always been a lifelong dream to be a parent. I was told at an early age it would be impossible for me and to consider adoption. We (my lover and I) were parents for 5 glorious days, two boys, brothers: three and six.
The adoption would have taken place three weeks from the day of hate the crime. You see, my lover was a transgender, FTM who had decided to transition from a female to male. This is an excerpt from my book that I wanted to share. The event took place at a family gathering on Easter Day:
I can remember that day as if it were yesterday. The air was clean and crisp, the birds were singing and the sky was as blue as an ocean on a clear day. Mother Nature had given the gift of a beautiful March morning to celebrate Easter yet, hidden, waiting behind the trees and rocks were hints of disaster that lingered in the background.
As we walked outside towards our black truck after the Easter Egg Hunt, my son “to be” and I couldn’t help but notice every single member of Peter Marie’s family standing around in a large half circle. Fifty or more people all came out of the lakeside building that was full of food and festivity. The group consisted of all adults as well as children ranging from all ages, starring and anticipating. What was happening? Why did they all congregate at that very moment? For a second I felt as if I had entered the tapping of a horror movie – the scene: a stoning of an innocent individual who was considered the “evil one.”
Her mother and sister were behind us as I hurried and tugged at the child, trying desperately to make it to safety. I had seen them earlier out of the corner of my eye as they began their approach. To the only sanctuary in sight, was Peter Marie’s black, slightly shiny truck that had the colors of the rainbow in metal rings hanging from the rearview mirror. I held his hand with all my might. I just wanted to protect him. My heart was racing. My palms were sweaty.
The air turned into a bath of red mist, her mother began furiously screaming obscenities at me, “You F**cken* B**ch!!!” for one and then it seemed to go on and on like a volcano exploding. This was then followed by her pointing a finger at Peter Marie shouting, “You’re killing my daughter…you’re killing my daughter!” All I wanted was to make it to the truck and get home unharmed with our sons, a young three year old and his brother of six.
The last thing on my mind was any type of altercations. Why would such a thought enter my head on a family get together holiday such as Easter? That particular day was to be a time to enjoy family, holiday food and candy, to laugh and love. It was our first Easter with the boys, their first Easter hunt with us as a family. The countdown had begun, three weeks from that day until the adoption would have become official and finalized.
Prior to that day, Peter Marie had instinctually known her mother would not handle her transition from female to male reasonably or rationally. She described her thoughts, “I knew my mom was going to flip out on me so…maybe she won’t notice if I took my breasts off” stating as matter of fact and then smiled awkwardly.
The next thing I knew, my so called mother-in-law was standing before me about a foot away. She clenched both fists while raising them high above her head. She was in a rage attack mode. The air had changed, thick and dense. The sky became dark and stormy. It was her thunder that was out of control and I tried to brace myself for the explosive outburst that was clearly deep within her eyes.
Within seconds I felt her power, her wrath. Was that a bell I heard, did a boxing match start? I’m in emotional turmoil and suddenly hopped up on adrenaline. I immediately released the child’s hand. Fight or flight? She proceeded to punch the daylights out of me in the face several times while someone was pounding the back of my head with their fists. But whom? I was amazed and even proud for a brief moment of how many times I was struck, and yet still stood my ground. I remained stationary for as long as I could, taking these hard blows until eventually my knees buckled and I fell to the ground. My head was throbbing, maybe from the swelling of my assaulter’s actions or maybe because my face was plastered to the ground. Small rocks and shards of glass pierced my skin. I was kicked at that moment in the head, neck, head, neck, neck and then in the small of my back over and over. I couldn’t tell which individuals were battering me…her mother or sister or who knows…I think it was both, but if felt like more. Were other family members involved? I’ll never know.
Why didn’t I fight back you ask? After the third blow my instinct was to fight back, to show them I was not afraid and to stand up for what I believed to be right. To release my Brooklyn girl attitude in self defense. I looked down and for a brief second and I saw into the three year old’s eyes, heart and soul. These boys had seen enough violence in their short lives and I did not want to be associated with such horror.
I couldn’t see, my glasses went flying after the first punch to my forehead.
Where was my son? I did not know. Everything was a blur. A flash of a time of warmth and love between her family and I. Emotions were flaring. I believe all the rage was triggered by the idea of Peter Marie’s transitioning and the realization that I supported her. Would it be a considered a death in the family when she transitioned?
Peter Marie struggled then yanked her mother causing any more injury. Then her mother and sister turned on my hero, my lover, my friend. It was no holds barred punches and kicks in every direction. She yelled at the top of her lungs, loudly with the sound of her heart breaking, “Get the boys out of here.”
This must have been so traumatizing for them. These children were placed in the adaption system because of the physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse concerning of both their parents and grandparents…and now this. Not understanding what was happening. Come to think about it…I didn’t even know what was happening.
I found my glasses and raced to get help. I ran as fast as I could…stumbling, losing my balance along the way until I reached help or so I thought. Sweating, out of breathe and desperate I pleaded for assistance. “They are beating Peter Marie up…please help me!” Her father did not seem surprised at my request. Could he have known about the potential of violence before it occurred? Leisurely he walked to the front of the building where Peter Marie was being brutally beaten. It seemed like an eternity had passed.
What I will never understand was that everyone knew Peter Marie had a hysterectomy just two and a half weeks prior to this day. Why would they attack her physically? It could have caused serious damage and possibly internal bleeding. But, I guess they didn’t care about her well being…her physical health.
Come to think about it, even though we were physically assaulted by her family members, neither of us fought back. Peter Marie deep within her heart truly cared about their well being. With every blow that stunned her, the love was still there looming overhead. She had been a black belt in Tai Kwon Do and not once did she use any of her defensive moves for life and death situations.
Finally the beatings were over. The blood had been spilt, a family torn apart. We had to make sure that the boys were returned to us. Peter Marie told our assailants that we were not leaving without our children. After a few minutes that seemed like hours, they brought them out to us.
We got into the truck and headed home. At first there was silence. Slowly we drove down the country road which led to the lake we just came from. Both of us were glancing back to see if we were followed and scared to death. The six year old broke the quiet. He asked Peter Marie why things happened the way they did. She tried her best to explain that there were bad people in this world. Blood trickled down her face as I tried to hold back my tears. This incident was a life altering experience, a shifting point in both our lives.
Our boys ended up back in the shelter for their own protection and we left to another state a week later for our safety with a broken heart.
Timing is everything in one’s life. This experience reinforced what I had already known, that there are bad people in this world and that hatred is everywhere. But, then I remember all the love and good people out there and in my opinion, the good will always outweigh the bad.
The boys were adopted out two weeks later to a loving couple.