Once upon a time…. So long ago… Miss Bliss was still an innocent oblivious to most of the failings of men. She had faced two shocks, but still led the bewildered life of the inexperienced, believing that love was always kind and people were good.
Miss Bliss had begun private school in a tiny free school run by Quakers. This school was held in the basement of a Church. The building was huge, and the under level housed a food bank and an information service and emergency hot line we will call V S.
Both of these attracted that part of Miss Bliss that wanted to save the world. Soon she was working in both. The food bank was easy. You showed up, packed boxes and handed them out.
The VS service required training. Miss Bliss was successful at completing it and was soon answering phones on the graveyard shift. The rules were that you must be at least 16 to work there, but those under 21 would be supervised by those over 21. No minor would be allowed the responsibility of running the phones alone.
So it was that Miss Bliss became acquainted with Dan, who was 22, a nice young man who was a weekend National Guardsman and a couple named Curtis and Suzanne who always worked together. As the nights passed into summer and school fell away, Bliss worked more and more graveyard shifts.
When the night calls thinned out, they would play cards or tell each other stories of their adventures. The time passed quickly and Miss Bliss thought of it as mostly fun, with a touch of community service. Dan was a fascination because he was male and let’s face it… at sixteen, girls are fascinated with males. That’s just how it is.
But the couple was even more of a curiosity. Curtis was younger than Suzanne by sixteen years. He was handsome in a young Michael Sarazin sort of way. The most interesting thing about him was that he was perpetually flipping the bird with his right hand. This was due to a fight with some MPs that left his finger damaged and unable to bend. It made Bliss laugh to play cards with a man who constantly flipped her off.
She found Curtis to be a very charming tease and a flirt. She was impressed that he would love a woman so much older. Suzanne was mid forties, looked her age with heavily freckled skin that burned easily and a face that seemed impressed with a sort of exhaustion that absorbed all joy from her eyes and smile. Bliss would look at Suzanne and wonder what on earth could be so interesting there that could hold the affection of such a sexy young man. It made no sense. Because of this, he seemed heroic to Bliss… a man who loved for the beauty inside his woman.
That ended abruptly when Bliss accidentally walked in on Suzanne examining her chest in the women’s room mirror. She could not stop herself from gasping loudly and putting a hand to her mouth to keep from saying the obvious.
“Its nothing…” Suzanne explained. A fall down the stairs. She was clumsy. But Bliss could clearly see the imprint of a boot in Suzanne’s side. The bruising was not mere discoloration, but lumpy and dreadful in its coloring in shades of yellow, brown, green, black and blue. Clearly the there were bruises on top of older bruises, all hidden by the gold lame tube top.
Bliss was of course fresh out of training on the subject of domestic violence. Bliss was backed by the naivety of the young, and the impressions of her recently viewed training films. She decided to make it her mission to help Suzanne escape from Curtis, who would surely beat this woman to death if given enough time. Suzanne would not be swayed.
Bliss did not give up. She continued to spout her opinions on how simple it should be to leave a man like that. Suzanne insisted that Curtis was dangerous and that someone would get hurt. Bliss insisted that she was not afraid of Curtis. She would help Suzanne move out. Together they would pack her things and the leave the man behind.
Bliss had almost given up when Suzanne called her at home. Curtis had just beaten her again and she was frightened. Could Suzanne hide at her home until she could get out of town. Bliss was elated… she had done it. She had won. She agreed to hurry over and help Suzanne run off to safety and freedom. The two women packed Suzanne’s most prized possessions in very quick time.
Bliss peaked out of the door and saw no sign of Curtis. She waved Suzanne to follow. They were half a block from the couple’s apartment when Curtis showed up, running from between two houses. Suzanne screamed as he grabbed her by the hair and began to pummel her face and head. Bliss shouted for help. The street was silent except for the grunts and soggy punches.
Bliss ran to the first house she saw. Inside a large family comprised mostly of large males, sat around a dining table eating. Bliss pounded on the glass. The family ignored her. Frantic, Bliss pushed open the door and yelled inside that a woman was being beaten in the street outside, please… please…hurry and call the police and please come help. Bliss was flooded with relief when the family rose as a unit and shuffled to the porch. But her feeling of hope fell away as she realized they were only going to be spectators. No help was coming from these people. Bliss helped herself to the telephone and called 911.
Back in the street the beating continued. Bliss pushed her way through the horrible family and not knowing what else to do, Bliss removed her leather sandal and began to slap Cutis in the face. The sandals were so flimsy that they were more annoyance than effective.
“I called the police Curtis… they’re coming…” Bliss warned him, hoping the threat would motivate him to run away. It was not until the siren rounded the corner that Curtis bothered to care. He then suddenly ran quickly off between two houses and vanished.
The policemen took Bliss and Suzanne, who refused medical attention to Bliss’s home. There Suzanne was able to take a long hot bath, eat some fried potatoes and prepare her plans for escape. Miss Bliss’s father hurried home from work to drive them to the Greyhound Bus Station. When he pulled up front, Bliss reached for the door handle to accompany Suzanne inside.
“No, I don’t’ want you to go with me. It will be safer if you dont.” Suzanne said firmly.
“Will you write and tell me where you end up?” Bliss begged.
“Sure. You bet. Thanks for all your help, honey.” Suzanne exited the Mustang and was quickly lost in the travel crowd.
It would be lovely if this was the end of the story, but of course it is not. Curtis was not arrested that day. Miss Bliss had accidentally made a wise choice. While Suzanne had bathed, Bliss had called Dan at the VS and told him what had happened. Dan immediately set about purging any trace of connection or identification of Bliss to VS. Her name was removed from every file, every log. He told Bliss that she was not to come to VS until he said that it was safe. She would in fact, never go there again, though she was unaware of this at the time.
Over the course of the next few days a series of events transpired. Bliss only knows that they happened. The details are sketchy. That night, Curtis tore apart the office of VS and all its files searching for a way to reach Bliss. He held Dan at gun point in an attempt to get him to tell where Bliss lived. Dan did not tell, though he was no doubt scared spitless. Curtis found the name and address of another girl named Bliss and after beating up Dan, left to find her. Dan immediately called Bliss’s father and explained the situation.
Mr. Bliss knew what to do. He called the army. Curtis was AWOL. When Mr. Bliss explained the situation to Curtis’s commanding officer, MPs were dispatched and in two days Curtis was taken into custody within a block of Bliss’s house. A loaded gun was removed from his possession and Curtis went into an army prison.
Bliss learned of these facts after all was finished. She never really felt threatened. She never really needed to be brave. Sometimes being ignorant is a blessing. When she was given the details, she was incredulous and became very frightened after the fact. The other girl named Bliss who worked at VS and her family had also been threatened at gun point, but Curtis could see that she was not the right Bliss.
That was the end of her days at VS. Life went on and time passed. Bliss found her new school, from which she would get her blog name, attended and graduated on to college. She met and married. The couple decided to move to
His name was Larry. He said he was so glad to see her because he had important news. Curtis was out of military prison and had been asking all over the old neighborhood for news of Bliss. Larry had not known how to reach her. But he was certain that Curtis was very sorry for his actions and truly wanted only to apologize.
Bliss said NO. She took the piece of paper that she had scribbled her future address on to give to her teacher and wadded it up, stuffing it back into her purse. She would not be leaving any traces here. She said good-bye to Larry and hurried to the bus stop. She did not stop looking over her shoulder until they were packed and on their way out of
Miss Bliss never did hear from Suzanne about where she landed or that she was safe. Bliss does not blame Suzanne for this. She only wishes her well.
These days when her own children display signs of thinking themselves invincible or smart enough to avoid certain trouble, Bliss tells this story about a time in her life when she was too young to understand the danger she put herself into without even thinking once, let alone twice.