“The Last Ride”
It was the realest thing I'd ever heard. He looked at me and said, “Baby, f*%K it. Let’s die together."
I started praying silently and asked God to save our lives. That was the moment my boyfriend took the wheel, as we were driving south on I-95, 75 miles per hour, and tried to run the car directly into a tractor trailer.
“Oh my God! Oh my God! Please save me!”
Terrified, I looked over at him. His eyes were bulging out of his head and he was shaking - burning from the fire penetrating his skin after being maced by one of his family members. (We had just escaped town after a huge blowup that involved too many people that were too close to us.)
We were running from everything and everyone. His family, my family, the police. I felt like we were wanted fugitives.
When I saw the determination of death in his eyes, I flipped. I LOST it and gave him a piece of his own medicine.
I screamed to the top of my lungs, then jerked the wheel really hard. He let go and I nearly drove us into the red compact car that was approaching on the passenger side - his side.
Wanting to scare him as much as he had scared me, I shouted again and tried to hit the car with everything I had. “YOU WANT TO DIE? FINE! LET’S F*%KING DIE TOGETHER! YOU GO FIRST!”
He exploded. “You think you’re f*%king crazy now, huh? Are you trying to kill me? Huh? You want me dead too?”
He was livid but I didn't care.
I was fed up. He had been falling lower and lower, into a downward spiral of paranoia and anger for weeks. He thought everyone wanted to kill him.
Now he could add me to the list.
“YOU SAID YOU WANT TO DIE. SO F*CK IT! LET’S DIE. RIGHT HERE!! I’M TIRED OF THIS BULLSH*T. WHAT DID I DO TO YOU? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS??? I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. I’D RATHER US DIE THAN PUT UP WITH ANOTHER MINUTE OF YOUR PSYCHOTIC BULL!”
Of course I wanted to live. But I learned that sometimes, you have to deal with psychopaths with the same thing they use on you. This situation called for reverse psychology.
He was still giving me all he had - yanking the driver's wheel and banging on the dashboard.
“YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY I'M DOING THIS? BECAUSE I DON'T GIVE A FUCK ANYMORE. I'VE F*%KING LOST IT! WE'RE GOING TO DIE TODAY!”
In that moment, as he beat on the dashboard and banged on the roof of my car - as we were driving in the middle of Interstate traffic, my car began to stall. We were in the fast lane to the far left of the highway. My car slowed all the way down.
“WHAT’S HAPPENING?!” He yelled. “BABE WHAT’S GOING ON? WHY ARE YOU SLOWING DOWN?”
“I’M NOT!! IT’S THE CAR. IT FEELS LIKE IT’S STOPPING. IT WON’T ACCELERATE!”
Silence. We waited... At this point, I think we both snapped back into reality. Our car stopped.
I had just about lost my mind at this point. The effects that this "Summer of Terror" had on me were deep. For the previous four days leading up to this incident, our situation grew worse and worse. The night before, he held a knife to my neck, forced me into a suitcase and threatened to toss the suitcase, with my corpse inside, into the Anacostia River. His rage and the destructive outbursts led to this ride. I thought it was our last. We were on the run. My thought was to get us out of Maryland, get us to North Carolina, so that he could see his daughter off to her first day of school. He had never missed a first day of school. Maybe her presence would calm him, make him love life again and to see that all this wasn't worth it. If not, this ride would be our last. I no longer had anything to lose. I had already lost everything. It would be the last time he put his hands on me, the last time he saw his daughter, the last road trip, the end of it all. I had a plan. It was my final straw.
My journey has taught me the power of prayer. I prayed for God to save me, and to save us that day as he took the wheel to crash us into a huge truck, and then, GOD RESPONDED. The car simply stopped, right there in traffic. After we had both calmed down, I was able to get the car started long enough for us to get off the highway and pull into a gas station. It was a Sunday, and we were in rural Virginia. There were no open service stations in sight. I called a tow truck, and a we were towed the 100 plus miles to Maryland, where we had nowhere to go.
This wasn't the last time that I would experience the delusion, the rage, or the abuse. But it's one of the most memorable. These journal entries that I wrote during this time period take me back to that time, but they have also helped me to heal.
Through the 31 Survivors Domestic Violence Storytelling Series, I wanted us to put a face and give a voice to survivors, so that together, 31 of us could encourage victims to break free and be released from their own "last ride." All of us are different. The stories that you'll read this month through this series are all from different times, different places and different survivors, but we share a common experience - we have looked death in the face, and at crucial moments, we each had to make a decision. We had to determine what to say, how to react, and when to leave.
I am honored and blessed to share the stories of these survivors, and I thank God that we all had the opportunity to leave. I thank each person who has shared and each eye that will read.
I pray that these stories and our journeys of survival inspire you to not only survive, but to thrive.
- Natasha, Founder 10 Blessings Inspiration & 10K Survivors
Share your thoughts with @NatashaTBrown on social media.
In addition to serving as the founder of 10 Blessings Inspiration, Natasha is a Tragedy to Strategy Coach, Christian Ghostwriter and Author, and the managing partner of Brown & Duncan Brand, LLC. She is also pursuing a degree in practical theology.