#52weeks52stories – Week #4
prompt: “I’m trying to erase you from my mind…you’re my religion and my belief…“
My body is heavy, weighted to the bed by a cocktail of painkillers, monitors, metal, and casts.
And lying here, even now, I wonder where you are.
Trapped tears pool and sting my eyes, unable to flow past the eyelids swollen shut. A broken wrist and dislocated shoulder keep me from wiping the tears away.
Tears I shouldn’t be crying for you. Tears you do not deserve.
I loved you. For seven years, you were my religion and my belief. Since the day we met rollerblading on the pier, I knew I’d found my soulmate.
To me, you were the smartest man in the world. It didn’t matter to me you failed the state bar exam and I passed. I didn’t blame you for taking your frustrations out on me. I was insensitive for wanting to celebrate my own success. I should have been more considerate of your feelings.
When you failed the exam two more times, I shouldn’t have chastised you for not trying hard enough. You carried the burden of repeated failures. I deserved the slaps for thinking only of myself.
Our night out with friends to celebrate your new position was one of our best times together… until we got home.
I was confused when you threw me into the wall and accused me of throwing myself at your friend, Marty.
You punched me in my side and said I embarrassed you by dancing like a slut, even though I only danced with you.
The next morning, fed up, I packed with one hand, determined to get away from you. Your tears and promises to change broke my heart and I stayed.
Only things didn’t change. I was still your punching bag when things didn’t go your way. When you missed out on a promotion, lost a case or even had car trouble, it was my fault for not being supportive enough; for being too consumed with my own career.
And still, I stayed, making excuses for black eyes and bruises no one believed. That’s when I knew I was as broken inside as you… and I had to save myself.
But I was foolish to believe you’d allow me to walk away.
Your silence made me believe you accepted my decision.
But I was wrong. Again.
I opened my door to you for old times’ sake, trying to be a friend. I didn’t see the first punch coming… or the second, but you swung your fists until I fell to the floor. Trading fists for feet, you kicked with wild abandon, not aiming or caring where your blows landed.
No longer feeling your kicks and punches, I knew I was in shock… and probably dying. But as I slipped into the darkness, I’m sure I heard you say, “You’ll always belong to me. You can never leave.”
I awake to the rhythmic beeps and low hums of medical devices standing watch over my body. My senses are dull, and my thoughts muddied with memories I don’t recognize. I am aware of pain only after I attempt to breathe deeply. The sharp stings ripple deep inside my chest and though still disoriented, I try to keep my breathing shallow.
My injuries are extensive and will take weeks to heal. As the doctor discussed the severity of my injuries and the violence it took to inflict them, I heard something akin to pride in his voice when he said, “Young lady, I’ve seen men succumb to less than what was done to you. Those broken ribs were a problem… we were afraid they would puncture a lung. But that didn’t happen. Your heartbeat was always strong. You were determined to live. You’re a survivor.”
You broke my heart and battered my body. But you couldn’t break my spirit.
The DA contacted me again.
He said you took the deal.
Your sentencing is in a couple of weeks and I’ll be allowed the opportunity to make a victim’s impact statement.
But I won’t.
Because I’m not your victim. I am your end.
I’ll attend your sentencing and smile as you’re taken from the courtroom in shackles.
And then I’ll walk away… with no fear, and not haunted by the way you brutalized me.
It’s said people pass through one’s life as a blessing or a lesson. I’ll remember this lesson… but not the man.
I’m already trying to erase you from my mind.
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