A Time For Change

By
Mom now says that we should all feel lucky. She tells me
everyday how grateful she is that I was able to save my self. Lena says that if it was her she would have been too scared to fight, to afraid to defend herself. She says that if Anthony had tried to kidnap her, she would have just sat there and not kicked him, not causing the car to veer of the road, almost killing herself. Everyone is still mad that I held the facts from them for so long. Luckily I had a great lawyer and the police realized that I was a good kid.
I want to tell Lena that she is smart and beautiful and to never let a guy hit her. I want to tell her but I cant, I try to open my mouth, to cry out and tell mom that I love her, but all I can do is sit here and stare at the white hospital ceiling. I can hear everyone, and every once in a while look at them. I try to lift my arm, my head, but the doctor says it will be awhile before I regain control of my central nervous system totally. I just wish that all of this never happened.

My life was like any other head cheerleaders, well actually just on the surface. I was homecoming queen, girlfriend of the quarter back, and actually pretty smart. I loved every minuet of it, well except the fact that Anthony often took his anger out on me, yelling, scolding, every once and a great while hitting me. He always apologized, and had only done it three or four times. I knew he loved me, he was just stressed out. That’s what I thought at the time. I was stupid. Lena, my sister who is younger than me by just three years, caught him once though. He had grabbed my arm when we were fighting and he hit my shoulder when I pulled away. Lena screamed, and he let go. No one was home, and she threatened to call the police. He quickly left, slamming the door behind him. I knew what I had to do. I looked shocked, telling her that this was the first time he had ever even gotten mad at me. He then did exactly what I thought he would and sent a super sweet text message. I showed her and she believed me that he was sorry and would never do it again. She said that if she even suspected any thing that she would automatically call the police. I agreed and remember now how happy I felt, and feel sick at that feeling. Lena had my phone one day soon after that, and heard a message he left. He was so mad that the team had lost, and he was yelling at me for it. She yelled at me and told me that if we didn’t break up right then she would call the police. I promised that I would that very night.

That night, it was a Saturday, and we went out for pizza. He was acting weird, really weird. He was driving me home, and I told him that we had to break up.
“It has to end now, I can’t do it any more” I told him crying. “I’m sorry baby” I choked out.
“No!” he screamed “You can’t do this to me!” he was getting madder and angrier.
He suddenly veered off the road we were on, and on to a ramp. Violently going over the curb we were going the opposite direction of my house, and our town. I grasped my phone tightly and called 911, where he couldn’t see me. He was suddenly very calm.
“We’re going to run away baby, that’s what we will do. They will never be able to separate us, NEVER!” he laughed like a maniac.
“Please take me home, I won’t tell them, let me get that dress you like so well, and we can go to Vegas and get married! Please baby!” I pleaded using my sweetest voice.
“No”, he shouted, “no”! He then sped up. Going faster and faster. Finally I pretended that I gave in.
“Ok baby, ok” I soothed “just slow down.” He slowed down, going the speed limit.
Thinking quickly, I knew he was having a break down; I reached over and yanked the wheel. The car swerved, and then flipped over. I screamed and screamed and screamed. There was blood every where. I was so afraid, there was so much pain. Finally after what seemed like hours there were sirens. I felt strong hands pull me out of the car, out of my pain as I passed out in the fireman’s hands. They got Anthony out in time, just barely. He suffered many cuts, bruises, a few broken ribs, and a broken leg.

I did not get off so lucky, my legs are mangled, and I should be able to use them after a few more surgeries. My neck is fractured in two places, I have a neck brace. They had to repair one of my lungs, and take out my gull bladder. My face is scratched up, my hair cut to above my neck. My face is swollen, both my eyes blacked, and right now I can’t talk. My vocal cords, along with my nervous system, are not under my control yet. I can’t talk or move, my voluntary reactions, and breathing, blinking, ex. my body does it by itself. I can hear everything perfectly, every word, sound, breath.

My friends all come to visit me; they bring me flowers, cards, candy. They sit and talk to me, and some don’t come back after one visit, and then some, like my best friend Carrie, visit almost every day. She talks to me, tells me stories, and makes jokes. I’m pretty sure that she knows I can here her. I try my hardest to respond. I don’t want her to quit coming here and talking to me. I would miss her terribly, she is my best friend.

Progress is getting much better. Today I was able to lift my arm, and I made a sound! They say that it is amazing for me to have this much progress already; it has been almost one month since the accident. I have totally regained control of my nervous system. My vocal cords are still swollen, and all I can do is make small sounds. I hope to be myself soon; I am working as hard as I can. I work through all the pain, physical and mental. I just remember how I was and that gets me through the day. I just think of the thrill it will be to see everyone, to do the stuff I have not been able to do for a while. I want to take care of myself, take a shower, and fix my hair. I want to do for myself, what I have not been able to do for a month. I want to eat my mom’s food again; the hospital food is not very good. Truthfully I can’t wait to go back to school, I can wait for the looks and the pity, but I want to learn and to be back with my friends. I want to study and get good grades, but I can’t do it here or now.

I know that it sounds stupid and crazy, but I miss Anthony. I miss the sound of his voice, the way he makes me laugh, and almost every thing about him. He is gorgeous, he has light brown hair, dark green eyes, and he is tall and muscular. He’s just popular; he is smart and mostly nice. I really love him. It is true love, not just puppy love. I loved, still love, him. He was my best friend, other than Lena and Carrie. He was my best guy friend exactly. I can’t wait to actually see him again. He wouldn’t talk to the police, and is in juvenile detention for ten months.

I was able to walk today; it was painful, and very hard. I can see clearly, and my vocal cords are almost back to normal. People still can’t understand me, but its ok and will be even better. I still miss my old life, but there is nothing I can do about it right now. I should be getting out of the hospital soon, three weeks to be exact. I have made friends with all of my nurses, except Berta. She’s mean, and hate full, old and grumpy. She never talks to me for more than the time it takes to take my vitals and check my dressings. My favorite nurse is Amanda; she is nice and always tells me about her twin daughters, Sherrie and Susanne. They are two years old and very cute with bright blond hair and baby blue eyes.

I can finally talk. My vocal cords are perfectly fine now. I love to be able to talk again. I tell my mom how sorry I am, and Lena how I should have listened to her. I tell Carrie, when we are alone, how much I miss Anthony. The one thing I don’t tell any one is that I was the cause. I don’t tell anyone that he hit me; I don’t tell them anything about that. I am so ready to go home and be with my family. I called my dad in England yesterday. He was so worried when I told him, and extremely angry when he realized that it had been one and a half months. Mom had not called him; she does not talk to him since he told us that he was getting remarried to this redheaded model from Texas. They decided to move to Europe when she found out she was pregnant. She has not had the baby yet, she still has three months to go.

My dad has always been my hero. I was always a daddy’s girl. He was always more cautious with my sister. She was born at the time mom and dad started having their problems. She was four and I was seven when my dad moved out. He was the one that told us. He took us out to dinner at our favorite restaurant. We went out to see an early movie and then to eat. He then told us that he was moving out and that he and mom were splitting up and not being married any more. He also told us that we would be living with mommy most of the time, and with him some too. When I asked him if I could just live with him, he said that mom would miss me too much and he was staying with Uncle Ron for a while. After he moved to Texas when I was twelve I learned to stop asking. I was no longer his favorite, Brittanie, his new wife, was. I knew this when he told me that he was marrying her. I have never actually met her, even though I am now a seventeen year senior and they met five years ago.
I am finally home. Finally it’s all done after all of this drama and horror after the accident. I just want to sleep. The bright yellow and blue banner waves in the crisp autumn wind. As I walk up the stone steps, slowly and painfully, I grasp mom’s hand. I am sleeping in the guest room until I am well enough to move up to my own room. Lena moved my TV, comforter, and radio down the day before. Mom also put dark curtains up at my request. It looks so inviting I put my head down on the pillow and start to think about every thing. I am so tired.
The clock on my bed side table says that it is 7:00 pm. I suddenly realize that I am starving. I try to stand up but realize that my legs are asleep. I cry out, but quickly put my free hand over my mouth. I want to do this my self; I need to do this myself. So I limp to the hall, trying my hardest not to cry out. I bite my lip, almost drawing blood. Lena dances down the hall and suddenly realizes that I am there. With out a word, or a look of pity, she takes my arm. We get to the kitchen and mom makes me a plate of chicken and mashed potatoes. We talk about school and television. I realize how much I miss it.
After mom and Lena clean up, there is a knock on the door
. “I’ll get it!” I shout grabbing my crutches. I slowly wobble down the hall, and open the door.
“What?” is all I can manage to choke out when I see my father and his new wife at the door.
“Mary, please let us stay, i'm sorry, I was just so worried” my dad pleaded.
“Fine, you can sleep on the couch, Brittany can sleep in Sami’s room.” Mom said being very firm that they don’t stay in the same room in her house.
“Fine with me,” my father said defeated.
“Samantha is there a good church near by?” Brittany asked me.
“Yeah,” I said thinking of the church I went to before I started seriously dating Anthony. “Do you want to go tomorrow?” I offered being nice.
“Oh yes please,” she practically gushed. So I was stuck, I had to go to church tomorrow and see all the people that I had abandoned six months ago. They are all going to know that I was wrong and screwed up.
I went to my room, apologizing and saying that I was too tired to stay up and talk.
“Sis, you ok?” Lena asks in her soft quiet voice.
“Yeah,” I sniffle, trying to cover up my sobbing. “The truth is that I can’t stand dad being here with her like every thing is ok” I lied.
“I came down here to tell you that I am sorry and should have been I better sister, I should have told some one that Anthony was hitting you,”
“Anth…”
“Stop!” she almost shouted, interrupting me, “I know that he was so don’t even try to tell me that he wasn’t, I saw the signs, I should have said something, and you would be ok, and nothing would have ever happened like this.”
“No don’t say that, Anthony didn’t do any thing that I didn’t make him do, please don’t tell mom and dad, it was my entire fault.” I said quickly, my words almost slurring together.
“Sami, you deserve so much more than that. You need help, so does he.” She paused, “that’s why i'm not telling them.” I breathed a sigh of relief.
“ You are.” She finished. I burst into tears at those words.
“ I cant, I cant, please Lena. . . Please!” I sobbed.
“Samantha, you will thank me later. Stop crying and come on.” She lifted me out of bed by my arms. I grabbed my crutches and began what seemed like the longest walk of my life. The tears running down my face cascade down on to my t-shirt. I take a deep breath and with the help of Lena step into the brightly lit room.
“Mom, dad, I have something to tell you” I say bravely, my tears stopping.
“Yes honey?” my mom says in her sugary sweet voice.
“Um, anth…, um.” I broke down again. I couldn’t say that Anthony hit me. My dad would go kill him, my mom would call the police, and everyone will know that I am stupid and let Anthony control my life.
“You’re not pregnant are you!?” my mom asked practically yelling.
“No!” I half sobbed half laughed. I looked at Lena for some comfort, thinking maybe she would be nice and tell them for me.
“You have to tell them this; I can’t fight this fight for you.” She whispered in my ear. Taking another deep breath I lifted up my shirt to show them my bruised side.
Mom, looking confused, said, “Yes, we know, Anthony caused the accident.”
“No mom, I did. And this is not from the accident.” I said it all jumbled and quickly.
“I don’t understand,” my mom choked out, barely breathing.
“I do,” my dad said his fists clenching, “that boy you let her go out with hit her!” he exploded. “None of this would have happened if you had let them live with me in England.” He shouted at my mother.
“Stop,” I screamed, “Just shut up,” I started crying even harder. I tried to stand up, to go to my room, but almost fell. Suddenly Lena and Brittany were at my sides helping me to my room. I collapsed on to my bed to tired to do anything. They sat next to me Brittany telling me funny stories of my dad and Lena rubbing my head. Pretty soon I couldn’t hear the fighting; all I could hear was my sisters tinkling laugh and Brittany’s calm voice. I started to fall asleep with a story of a goat that ate a pair of dad’s pants.
The sun was bright in my eyes.
“Time to get up sleepy head,” Brittany said with a smile. She had opened my curtains and gave me a glass of juice.
“What?” I say in my sleepy voice.
“Its time to get up and get ready for church, you will go with me wont you?” She asked starting to sound panicked.
“Yeah, sure, why not?” I say, figuring that my life has already sunk as low as it can, and hopefully ever will. I hobble out of bed with Brittany’s help, and go brush my teeth. We go down the hall to the kitchen to see my parents and Lena having a very uncomfortable breakfast.
“Sami, what are you doing up?” my very surprised mother asks.
“I’m going to church…” both my mother and Lena look surprised at this announcement that I have just made, but they also look grateful that I am finally doing what I used to before Anthony. It’s like every one is walking on egg shells around me and its kind of hard to bare. I just wish that everyone would say what is on their minds, maybe then we can move on. Ha-ha what I am thinking? It would be too awkward for any one to say anything, maybe I was dreaming last night; I wish that was the case.
“Sami we need to talk to you, we are sending you to therapy, it will help you deal with all of this, I think that you are having abandonment issues from when I left for Texas all those years ago so you don’t feel the amount of self worth that you should be feeling.” wow some times my dad can be a real jerk.
“Thanks Dr. Dad but this has nothing to do with you and your selfish ways all those years ago. I loved Anthony, that’s why I stayed with him.” I was spitting mad now. How dare he think that he was the reason that I stayed through all that I have been through. Glaring at my dad my mom helped me to my room before I totally broke down and said something I would regret. I could hear Brittany and my dad arguing in the living room, they were trying to keep it quiet but it was not working so well.
“Steve, why would you do that to her?” Brittany said in a harsh whisper.
“I thought that I was telling her something that she had been waiting to hear for five years, I didn’t mean to but I abandoned her and Lena I should have fought harder.” That statement made me suddenly remember something.
“Mom, dad said something last night, that made me wonder.” I said in a clam voice.
“What? If I was really stupid?” she spat out.
“No, did dad ask you at one time if I could come live with him in Europe?”
“Um, well, yes.” She finally said. “but I declined, you had just made J.V cheerleading, you were starting to date, you had tons of friends, you were doing so well I couldn’t let him ask you, you have always loved him more, since you were a baby. I don’t blame you; I worked when you were a baby, and you were a total daddy’s girl. I am so sorry baby.”
“Mom!” was all I could say. I was amazed, all this time I had thought that my dad had abandoned me and that was not the truth. Pretty soon there were tears pouring down both mine and my moms faces. Lena came in looking very surprised at this sight. My mom and I have never been very close. Lena has always been closer to her than I have. For some strange reason all I wanted to do at this moment, when my family was falling apart, I want to go to church and listen to the music and see all my old friends. I really miss Jake, his girlfriend Savanna, my youth pastors, my old best friend Sarah, and all the kids who are like thirteen. I don’t know all of them by name, or even really want to learn every name. I know that sounds mean but very true. I started going to that group the summer I turned thirteen, and now there are a bunch of thirteen year olds that go there. I cautiously go into the kitchen, and to my relief find Brittany in there.
“You still want to go to church with me?” I say in a moment of bravery.
“Yeah,” she says surprised.
“Ok, let’s go.” So we grab our coats and head out in to her cute rented sports car.
“I talked your father into this.” She says with a sly smile.
“So what are you naming the baby?” I ask, not sure I want to know the answer.
“Aleaha rose,” she says obviously happy with her choice.
“I love that!” and I really do. The rest of the ride we talked about movies and boys, not Anthony, and listened to music. It was a blast.
We arrived at the church around ten. It was time for praise and worship. I went over to the youth building when we were dismissed, leaving Brittany alone to listen to the pastor. I took a deep breath and ventured in to the parking lot, on my way to the youth building.

I walked up the stone steps, taking a few deep breaths as I went. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I was almost shaking. I almost decided to jump in the sports car and run away from here. Because I was still on crutches, there would be no running for me. I opened up the door, the metal handle feeling like ice in the warm summer sun, and stepped inside. I was met by a chorus of “hey’s” and “hi’s” and a few “look who’s here’s” all the nervousness that had been in my heart and mind was suddenly gone, I was ready to face what ever was in God’s plans for tonight, and what ever was going to happen. I was so relieved when everyone came up and embraced by everyone. It was my only truly happy time in two months, just to know that everyone forgave me for ditching them and didn’t hold grudges. No one asked me what exactly happened, Kerrie, my youth pastor, must have known I was coming sooner or later, and told them not to ask. Lena talks to her all the time, so i'm pretty sure that she already knows, I don’t mind, Kerrie has always been really good at stuff like this. Youth went well that night, I was so relieved.
The next morning I woke up with a fresh heart and a clear mind. Youth group had gone so much better than I had thought.
The next few weeks went extremely well. Therapy went well enough to let me know that what happened was not my fault, and eventually I knew that I had to press charges, just so I could get him help. He went to therapy, but ended up hating me. Dad and Brittany had a baby boy, Isaac James. He is adorable! I love him with everything I have. They decided to stay in the U.S and moved down the street. I go over there often. My and moms relation ship has gotten a lot better to. I am going to college in a few weeks, so I have to pack.





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