A teenage devotee started visiting us and asked if he could keep a TV at our house (which is how I got to watch the Hulk). One morning he came to watch cartoons in the morning. We were in the bedroom. Mahasraya decided he wanted sex. For my part, I was so unhappy with our relationship by this time that I pretty much lacked desire. I recall lying on my stomach while he climbed on my back and pumped away. It turns out that this was when my daughter was conceived, in July of 1978.
Before I realized I was pregnant, I decided to leave Mahasraya. I was in contact with Manindra dasi in Hawaii and she suggested that I come out to stay with her until I could get the money to get my own place. I found out about the air fare from SriGovinda, who I swore to silence. Meanwhile I was talking to Nitai dasi about buying some artwork we had which would help me come up with the necessary funds. She helped me arrange a reservation at a motel and was going to take me there at night while Mahasraya was at his temple guard job. I got my plane ticket and scheduled everything for just after I got my welfare check and foodstamps that August.
On the night I was to leave I was packing feverishly, going through the closets and knowing I had to take whatever I needed because I was not coming back or staying in touch with Mahasraya. I was genuinely afraid he'd come after me if he knew where I was--he'd said as much when I'd spoken of leaving previously. I missed my deadline for getting to the motel and they didn't hold my room, but I had an alternative place to go until it was time to leave on the plane. I was trying to pick and choose what I was taking and yet still not have too much luggage for the plane, and I had stuff strewn out all over the living room from the closet, going through it.
Suddenly I heard the key in the lock.
My heart was pounding and I felt so guilty that I was sure he'd know what I was doing as soon as he opened the door.
He walked in and said he'd decided to come home for "lunch" and asked what I was doing.
Thinking quickly I said, "I'm going through the closets, trying to get rid of stuff and make more room."
I was surprised and amazed that he accepted this without question and that he grabbed something to eat and left. I was weak with relief.
I quickly finished packing and got Lakshmana ready to go with his stroller and infant seat. I was forced to leave a lot of his stuff behind, like his baby swing.
I called a cab and went to a friend's home, unfortunately waking her up. I explained I just needed a place to sleep until time to take a taxi to the airport. She sleepily agreed and I laid down with my son and watched him go to sleep.
Now the enormity of what I was about to do began to set in. Before I was sort of running on desperation and the cheerleading of my close friends. Now I was picturing myself trying to make a home for me and my son in another state where I knew only one person. I was mindful of the way I had worn out my welcome at Srilekha's and afraid that Manindra would grow tired of us being there before I had the money to pay first/last/deposit on an apartment.
Somewhere deep down I still loved Mahasraya and the sorrow was also hitting me. Was it really impossible to get him to see that I couldn't take any more beatings?
Not sure of my options with the plane ticket I called SriGovinda at about the time I knew he would be up getting ready for the morning program. He answered the phone and I asked if it was too late to return the ticket for a refund. He assured me it would be ok.
Now I had a final decision to make. Was I going to go or was I going to stay?
I really agonized over this, going back and forth in my mind. The ideal would have been if I could just keep the apartment I already had--but I tried that and failed. Would my nearly leaving be enough to wake Mahasraya up? I hoped so.
When daylight arrived I got a cab back home. Mahasraya was waiting for me, and instead of the anger I feared he was sad and sobered by my near departure. We had a tearful reunion and he was on his best behavior for a few weeks after that.
It wasn’t long before I was morning sick, even worse than my first pregnancy. I dived into watching TV to get through it, trying to distract myself. I couldn’t keep anything down. Where in my first pregnancy I lost ten lbs., this time I lost twenty five.
With the nausea and my inability to keep up with meals and housework Mahasraya's anger returned. One night he was ranting and raving about something--I can't remember what--and I could see he was working up to violence. I grabbed my son and sat down, thinking he wouldn't hit me with our child in my arms.
He hit my left thigh repeatedly with his fist, the only place he could reach and still miss hitting Lakshmana. He left a bruise about 9 or 10 inches in diameter.
He always told me I needed more vitamin C because I bruised so easily.
This incident really shocked me because I was thinking that the violence didn't affect my child--and now I could see that I was wrong.
Soon an incident would threaten the very life of my unborn child and drive that lesson home.
--to be continued--