Jumped forward a bit in “The Dave Files”, however I needed to share this, being the five-year anniversary…
It started like any typical Saturday morning. Woke as normal, had breakfast and started getting the equipment ready for the day. I had… that is, we had a DJ Company. The company, and everything contained within it, was in my name. We had been in business for a few years. I did my normal Saturday checks to make sure the right drives were with the right laptops. I had to take a set to Sidelines for a four-hour weekly karaoke show at the outside patio bar. I also had to bring a set of laptops with drives for one of our other DJ’s to pick up for the karaoke show he ran on Saturday nights.
If Dave had a wedding to DJ, I would end up on my own or my youngest would be with me. She was great about helping so I didn’t have to lift too much weight. On this particular Saturday, Dave had a wedding. Also, the general manager of Sidelines, Chase, was having a baby shower and had asked if we could DJ. We were already spread out, so Dave offered up my iPad with the BlueTooth speaker we used for outdoor wedding ceremonies. This required Dave to leave earlier to get out to Chase’s house and get a playlist running on my iPad before heading to his gig at the wedding.
Dave took care of the wedding reception we had booked that day, and I set up for karaoke. Nothing spectacular, always fun. Though not a “DJ”, I was good at running a karaoke show and kept it flowing and interesting. I used to get as many as 36 singers, which is a large number of singers for a karaoke crowd. There’s a sweet spot with karaoke, somewhere between 10-20 singers. When you have less, the rotation runs too fast, more and it takes entirely too long to get through a single rotation. I had a couple of female friends that would only come out if it was me alone (somehow I didn’t quite fully absorb that for what it was), and two of them had come out. They pulled up chairs and hung with me behind my table while I ran the show. They both sang, one remarkably well.
Dave had finished his event and was on his way to help me load my equipment. I couldn’t lift the speakers and hated to bother the shift manager if Dave wasn’t too far. I had everything broken down, mixer and mics put away for transport. Knowing Dave was nearly there, I ran inside to the ladies room. I left my phone with my equipment for the few minutes I would be gone. Alex, the bar owner’s son, stayed with my equipment. I was only in the ladies room for a moment when the door flung open and slammed into the wall. (Fortunately, I was alone.) Dave was upset. I had missed two calls, one right after the other, no more than a minute after I walked away from my phone. He hollered at me asking why I didn’t answer, I replied that I had been away from my phone for less than five minutes. To Dave, this was unacceptable. He was so controlling at this point that he became angry if I didn’t answer his call, regardless of my situation. He left a nasty voicemail, nothing I hadn’t heard him say before. Dave turned off the lights and left the ladies room. I finished, turned on the lights, and washed my hands. I then went out back, knowing Dave would be there smoking a cigarette. I’d apparently done more wrong…
Dave said he would break down my set. I had already broken it down, since he was running later than he should have been, given the time his event was done. He stayed down at the venue and had a few beers with the venue staff. They liked us, and we liked them. To me, this is not a problem. To Dave, it was unacceptable that I broke down before he arrived. I knew not to engage him or risk the embarrassment of the scene I knew he would create. But he was already loudly berating me. He scolded me, told me I should have waited. He growled that he doesn’t know why I can’t allow him to be “the man”. Dave frequently accused me of trying to be “the man” in our relationship because I was handy with tools and knew how to repair and maintain things. Somehow it threatened his manhood, since he had never learned how to do household tasks. (His dad “always knew a guy”.) I grew up a little differently. You do what you can, when you can, and you do it correctly the first time.
He peeled away, I didn’t go home…
This tantrum lasted a short while. He ended the tirade with, “Oh, I forgot, you’re useless. Why don’t you pick the handicap sign up and stamp it into your forehead? Then everyone would know how useless you are. Since you couldn’t wait for me, you obviously don’t need my help! Load your own damn car, bitch! I’m going to Chase’s in Lehigh, don’t follow me.” He left me there to load up on my own and peeled off. I’m Puerto Rican and German… my temper flared. I didn’t go home.
I’m protective over my electronics and my car. Having three daughters, everything in my life was community property, except for my electronics and my car. They were mine, and mine alone. Something else that Dave didn’t care for. I drove to Lehigh to get my iPad. I entered quietly and went to the back where Dave was sitting with a stiff drink in his hand. I picked up my iPad, drove home, turned the alarm on (as always) and went to bed. Dave had a key fob to disarm the alarm when he arrived, as he always did, until tonight.
I had been asleep for maybe half an hour. I was awakened by the shrill of the alarm blaring. Dave turned the bedroom overhead light on, not the bedside lamp, hoping to disrupt my sleep. He walked over to my side of the bed with a hammer in his hand. He ripped my phone off of the iHome clock where it rested each night. “First your phone, then your head,” he drunkenly grunted, looming over me with a big rusty hammer in his right hand and my phone in his left.
The last thing I saw before I blacked out was his feet in the floor length mirror…
Again, I’m protective over my electronics. Dave knew this and often used what he knew against me in a hurtful manner. I instinctively snatched my phone from his left hand. He tried to take it back from me, lifted me up, and dropped me on the floor on my back. I quickly rolled over on my stomach, protecting my phone underneath me. What came next was beyond unexpected.
Dave straddled me, roped his arm under my neck, and constricted my throat in a rear-naked choke while using so much force, he was lifting my head and chest off the floor. I can’t breathe. I reached back, grabbed his arm with both my hands and attempted to say “I can’t …….”. I couldn’t speak or breathe. I barely had time to think, “This is it, this is where I die, I’ll never see my girls again.” The last thing I saw before I blacked out was his feet in the floor length mirror…
I had a million dreams at warp speed
I had a million dreams at warp speed. Then I was awake, and very confused. It took a few seconds for me to get my bearings and rerun what had just happened. Once I had my wits, I gathered myself and walked out of the bedroom to see Dave standing in the kitchen, scrolling through my phone. No reason, he simply wanted to exert control, so he did.
This man was supposed to be my protector? This man loved me? Not fully knowing how to negotiate the fact that we had a bridal show in seven hours, I went to sleep. He had already made it clear that if I ever called the cops, again, he would “do as much damage as possible” before they arrived. I got up the next day and went to the bridal show to represent the company at noon.
It was two more years before I told him I wanted a divorce.