The Big Red Pickup

Delta Winds cover 2015Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


The Big Red Pickup

Marla Jenkins

April 11, 2012, was the day that I promised myself that I wasn't coming back to my husband. I honestly want to remember every detail of that episode, for it will give me the strength to face whatever challenges lie ahead for me. Oscar and I had been arguing throughout the terrible night before. His behavior had turned scary, and I feared for my safety, so I decided to stay outside in the front yard overnight so that he couldn't hurt me.

I remember being extremely cold and scared. Oscar continued his emotional and verbal abuse toward me throughout the whole night. The next morning I told him that we were finished, and he agreed. He added, "Leave now. I don't want to see you in my house anymore." I said, "Okay. I'm leaving as soon as I shower and gather my personal belongings." Oscar said, "No, leave now!" It seemed as if he was possessed because his character was worse than ever. I reached for my car key, but he said, "No, you're not taking the car. Just get out now." The only things he allowed me to take were my cell phone and my purse. He literally threw me out of the house.

I felt close to having a panic attack. My heart rate was elevated. I had major palpitations, and my body was trembling nonstop. I began walking toward the main street. I had a long walk ahead of me to reach a safe place. When I turned to look back, I saw something that made my heart race even faster: Oscar was chasing me in his big red pickup. When he caught up with me, he insulted and threatened me. I told him I would call the police. He said, "Go ahead. By the time they get here, you're dead."

It seemed as if he was leaving, but then he began driving straight toward me. I heard the engine accelerating, and I saw the big red pickup approaching me. Instinctively, I jumped into some bushes to avoid his running me over. Suddenly, the street seemed endless, with no help in sight. I was approaching a storage unit area where no one was around. I crossed the street to see if that would keep him from chasing me. He continued riding alongside me saying that if he wanted to, he could finish me right then. Finally, a man stopped in the middle of the street and asked, "M'am, are you okay? Do you need help?" I instantly said, "Yes, please help me." I approached this total stranger's car and with no hesitation got in.

This man called the police and waited with me until a squad car arrived. An officer took me to a safe place and asked if I wanted to press charges. The officer explained that even if I didn't want to press charges, he still needed to write an incident report. I was granted a temporary restraining order against Oscar. But, ultimately, the officer determined that it was necessary to take Oscar into custody, and he was arrested for attempted murder.

When you say "I do" to someone, on the happiest day of your life, you never imagine that your spouse could someday turn into a monster who will try to kill you. The terror I experienced when I saw that big red pickup coming straight toward me will stay in my mind forever. There are days when I still feel broken. But overall I strive to live my life fully and worry free. I take every opportunity to share my experience with others, especially other abused women, to help them find the courage to change their lives.