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Decisions

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She was through with it. Done. She could not handle it anymore. The way he treated her was not right and she had known that from the first time he had said those nasty, uncalled-for words.

Still, the way he made her feel - reckless, free, loose and tense at the same time. Like she wasn’t that goody-two-shoes everyone knew she was. How he told her that he loved her hair, her long, black river of hair. He said it was his favorite thing about her. He said it was what first caught his attention.

He made her feel beautiful and wanted. That was worth a lot to her, the girl with a no-good family. An alcoholic father, a mother who was so bitter about her life, she felt like it was her personal responsibility to make everyone feel resentful about theirs. When he told her that he wanted her to come on a date with him, it did not matter to her that it was more of an order then a question, that it foreshadowed a bad relationship. She was wanted by someone. That meant more to her then any good grade she got in school.

But what about the way he made her feel the rest of the time? Like she was whipped. A kicked dog. Worthless and weak for the way she just could not fight back. Like she was being rewarded for good behavior when he said nice things to her. Not like she deserved them, but like they were a privilege that he had the right to give or take away. How could she allow herself to be put into this situation? How could another piece of her existence mean so little, fall apart so quickly?

Yet, she could not stop thinking about those good moments. “The honeymoon period,” is what her best friend called it when they watched cop shows featuring abused women. Those times after they fought that he would apologize and say, “I won’t ever say that again baby, I promise.”

And she believed him. Every time. Because she wanted so badly for this to work out. To have something good in her life. To feel normal and different simultaneously. Normal because she also had someone who loved her, just like the other girls. Different because he wanted her. Her and not the other girls who seemed so much better off then her.

Only, he did do it again. For every time he said those words, there was a time that she could recall him breaking that promise. Like last night, when he got so mad at her for saying she had not been spending enough time with her best friend lately. He had called her ungrateful and told her that she did not know how good she had it. He ended the fight by telling her that he just could not handle her whining anymore and if she decided to grow up and appreciate what she had, to call him.

And that was it. Just a few sentences strung together that had the potential to knock her down. It was over within minutes, yet he had managed to pierce every hole in her armor.

Now, she was meeting him for coffee. A preconceived date that she wasn’t even sure he planned on attending.

Yet, there he was, beautiful as always, walking through the door with that strut, that cocky smile, the tilt of the head that could mean nothing but could also tell you that this person was extremely confident and had the potential to completely ruin your self-esteem.

“Hey.” The smile turned slightly shy, the one word was soft and convincingly sorrowful.

“Hi.” Hers was unsure. She had no smile.

“Listen, about last night…”

This was where she was supposed to jump in and reassure him that all was well. And true to form, she did.

“You know what? I’m totally over it. It’s totally cool.” He smiled completely now, glad that she had just accepted him without him even needing to make a real apology. In other words, glad that she had fallen into his trap once again.

“It’s just, you made me so mad.”

Silence. He had turned it back to her. Once again, he hadn’t done anything wrong. He was the perfect one. It was her fault. Always her fault. She could never find a break and never would find one because he did not love her. He loved the way he could push her around and she never fought back. It was always silence with her. She was silent about her life at home. She was silent in school. She was silent when people asked if she was okay. She was silent when he decided to lay the blame on her. She was always, always silent.

And for once in her life, she decided to speak up.

“You know what? I changed my mind. It’s not okay, and I’m not over it. I’m actually really mad. So it’s over. Oh, and one more thing. I’m getting my hair cut.”





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