Behind Closed Doors

May 14, 2008
By Monique Guerrero, Waterford, MI

Behind Closed Doors
“Nice to finally meet you!” he said to me, just like the ones that came before him. Yeah I bet I thought as I examined my mom’s new boyfriend head to toe. He was tall and very nice looking, almost too nice looking, smooth, shiny well groomed hands like women’s hands. He stood with a ruler straight posture; as if he thought it would make him taller. I gazed intently into his eyes, eyes that were only a few years older than mine. I tried to see through him, which is something I’m usually good at but this time I got nothing. On the outside, he was as fake as acrylic nails, conceited and arrogant but polite at the same time. I tried to think of questions to ask him. What are his intentions? Who does he think he is? Why does he like my mom? Why are his pants so tight? Where does he get his nails done? Does he even like women? There were so many questions to choose from; they flowed through my mind like water out of a faucet.

“Mi Hija pass me a napkin please” my mom said as she snapped me out of the mental interrogation.
“Yes ma’am” I said as I passed her a napkin without taking my eyes off him.
“Is there a staring contest going on here or what?” she said with a nervous laugh trying to ease the tension, yet her voice was strong and stern letting me know that I was being rude.
“No ma’am, I’m sorry” I apologized with the plea of forgiveness quivering in my voice. The dinner went on for what seemed like days. When it came time to go, I excused myself from the table and went outside to start the car for my mom. I cautiously walked to the door, feeling the burn of his blazing eyes on my back as I turned away. Something just wasn’t right. For the first time, I felt like I just couldn’t figure him out. One thing I quickly learned was what you see is defiantly not what you get.

As the hours, days and weeks past, my mom’s boyfriend started to come around more frequently. Then he lived in the same household with us faster than I could blink. After a while I thought things had started to slow down, I thought my prayers had been answered, maybe my mother and her boyfriend had been having problems, maybe they would break up. Then like a sudden gun shot, my mom’s voice, cheered with happiness as she said, “Mi Hija I’m getting married!”
The world around me tumbled, crashed, and fell to the depths of hell where I would now rather be. My head dropped to the floor when I tried to hide my real feelings, I took a deep breath as I said, “Congratulations mom!” with an illuminating smile on my face.
As time passed I had begun to despise her boyfriend, yet I tried to hide my emotions from my mom. I tried to subdue my thoughts so my mom could have her fun. But the relationship had proceeded further than anyone could have thought, and my mom’s fun turned into commitment. My emotions fluctuated, my confusion turned to sadness, then to anger, then to rage, then back again. I began to think: how could my mom do this? It’s so soon? She didn’t even talk to me about it? How could she just make a decision for the both of us? My mom gets to try, at all costs, to live happily ever after, and I…well I just get to go along for the ride.

Well as far as the ride went, it led right to a dead end. Things began to fall apart and there was more fighting in the house than there was in World War 2. Then to my horror, the day finally came when my world and what I perceived it to be changed forever.

About a week after she announced her engagement, I meandered slowly home after a long strenuous day at school. Barely able to lift my hand, I gripped the handle and pushed the door open with a loud continuous creaking sound. I sighed with relief, as if all the fatigue left my body at once… I was just happy to be home. At least I thought I was, I heard loud yelling.
“No No! Please don’t do this she’ll be home any minute” my mom begged as I heard her feet running from him.
“Come here now b**** you must think I’m playin”. He demanded. The two of them screamed at the top of their lungs, the noise shrieked like nails on a chalk board. Frightened I dove under the table as I hurled my stuff beside a nearby couch. Unseen I remained quiet and still to await the closure of all the commotion. Finally my mom and her boyfriend appeared from around the corner yelling in each other’s faces. He shouted as the veins protruded from his forehead, she whimpered and prayed it will soon be the end. He had the look of anger and aggression in his eyes and she looked of fear and helplessness. My heart started to beat faster and faster, I was sure they could hear it pounding from inside my chest. As I watched relentlessly, and contemplated about what I should do, my eyes searched the room for a weapon but I found nothing. I looked for a phone, and to my surprise the wires had been cut. I looked back to the argument. By that time it had gotten out of control. My mother raised a hand to guard her face, he swooped it away exposing her face full of tears, the fingers of the opposite hand grasped and wrung around her neck pushing my mom against the wall. Fear overwhelmed me as the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Anger flooded my soul as my fists clenched, and my stomach drops to the pit of my abdomen, I felt flushed and confounded. He pushed my mom into the doors of the coat closet; made of glass it shattered to the ground. Some of the pieces pierced her skin. I flinched as if I felt the pain and tears flow from my eyes like the blood from my mom’s arms and back. She seemed not to even notice because by that time she had been used to the abuse both physically and mentally.
My feelings told me I couldn’t look any longer, but my mind told me to keep my eyes on my mom I couldn’t let go. I saw my mom’s long, black hair fly in the air as her body flew from here to there; annoyed by this the boyfriend grabbed hold of it and pulled her to the floor. My moms flailing arms seemed useless until finally she landed a good punch. With eyes full of surprise, he got knocked back a bit; he grew furious and pounced on her. He hit her repeatedly in the face until she was unconscious, her corpse as limp as a rag doll. He stood over the defeated, with a look of accomplishment in his face. I whimpered and sob then, to my terror he heard me and looked in the direction of the side table which I had been hiding under. Surly this would lead to my demise.
Suddenly I bolted from under the table, out the front door and ran, in no particular direction. Desperately I knocked on every door looking for help. Finally I used a neighbors phone to call the police, confused I ran back home...maybe the police would arrive by the time I got there. In what seems like minutes I returned home, Police were everywhere. Inconsolable and traumatized I searched for my mom to find her conscious and sitting in the back of a police car. Officers were inspecting the scene and taking notes, they wandered for a little then suddenly they left as quickly as they arrived. The police took both of them away because they both had proof of physical abuse on their person. Unsure of what to do I just waited, all alone in my house; a house that had been turned upside down.
The house was quiet and still, awaiting its company to return home. Then a couple days later it did, my mom walked through the door with a blank dull look on her face as if she has done too much thinking and pushed herself to have one too many migraines. Regardless, I was there waiting to help her, to have a conversation and hopefully have some questions answered but only he knew that I saw what happened. She told me she had been sick and the whole issue was never dealt with. For awhile my mom walked around cautiously, with fear in her eyes. He strutted through the house with no signs of remorse and I was just there confused and worried. We kept to ourselves for many days after her return home, walking on eggshells and whispering to each other afraid to push one of his many buttons. Surely I thought he would be gone but he continued to monitor the house. He walked the halls and consumed the happiness in the house turning it to depression and fear. The fights descended from being physical, to just fighting with words, words that cut like knives and looks that kill. Silence filled every room, tension seeped through the cracks in the floors; pain painted on every wall, the whole house seemed almost irreparable I wondered if it will ever be the same.
Then one day again without any explanation or reason he was gone, he just up and left which is probably for the best but I still remained confused, worried, and scared. Time passed and things started to come back together the communication opened up between my mom and I, we started to do things we used to do back when things were good. I felt good about it. Although, I never did ask what exactly happened and why. I figured my mom would come around; I kept trying to convince myself she would talk to me when she is ready. I prayed and prayed that she would be okay, that we would spend some real quality time together. Then, just yesterday my mom asked me to meet her for dinner after school. I went to our favorite restaurant, Don Pablo’s. There was quiet salsa music in the back round and the smell of tortillas filled the air. I was so happy to be there, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. I was about to sit in the chair next to mom, but as I walked up her head turned abruptly as if she wasn’t expecting me.
“Oh mi hija someone is sitting there” she said.
Before I could even respond, with my hand still rested on the arm of the chair, a man tall and very nice looking strolled between my mom and I. He calmly sat down in the chair and looked as me as if to say thank you for having already pulled the chair out for him, which is something I would never do. Perplexed, I kindly moved aside and sat down, I thought maybe he had the wrong table until he reached across the table with his well groomed manicured hand to shake mine and he said “Hello, you must be Aiyana it’s nice to finally meet you?.

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