I met him the summer of 1987. My younger sister introduced us. I was home from college and wanted to party. He was tough with tattoos and a wild side. I will call him Don. I remember just hanging out and having fun and getting drunk. I headed back to school and we decided to have a long distance relationship for my senior year of college. You know. Letters, phone calls and seeing each other at Christmas.
I don't really remember when the abuse started. I know that it was very subtle at first. Don would get upset about little things that one needn't get all that upset about. He punched a wall next to my head and stated that he did it cause he felt like punching me. There was a lot of yelling, door slamming, fist pounding and hanging up on me when we talked on the phone. He used the silent treatment and consistently pointed out how wrong I was about everything. I remember once we were walking into a Twins game and he squeezed my hand so hard I thought my fingers would break. I ignored, overlooked and made excuses for all of it. I was called every despicable name there is. Dumb C. Effin B. I can't recall him ever using the name Carla. I began to suspect he was into drugs but he denied it.
As we talked about "love" and our future together he wanted more and more control over my life. He wanted to know where I was, who I was with, when I would be home. He didn't like me going out with friends and constantly accused me of seeing someone behind his back.
After a huge fight once I went out of town for the weekend. I came back to hear how sorry he was. How he would never hurt me again. He produced a ring and asked me to marry him. I said yes. I remember hugging him and wishing I felt happy or excited.