Misunderstanding

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I must’ve misunderstood my mother when she came crying into my room, throwing my stuff frantically in a suitcase and sobbing, “We have to go.” Because now, I found myself in the same situation. I fear for my life every night I come home and every morning I wake up. I don’t understand what could be wrong with me. I just misunderstood my mother, that’s all.

His name was Mark Johansen, I so seldom called him my father, yet we had some type of bond that could not be broken. He would never hit me, no matter what I did, no matter how much I provoked him, he would not swing. I was like him in many ways, selfish and hot-tempered. My mother would often come home to us clashing heads throwing hurtful words across the room. Then his anger towards me would quickly turn towards my mother and he’d slap her across the face smashing her into the wall.

What was I to do? I was only twelve at the time, still young yet maturing all at once. I was scared but I was use to it. I would quietly make my way to my room and burry my head under my pillows, attempting to drown my mother’s screams. One day, I came home from school with my mother just glowing, she was so happy. I smiled and could only imagine what could make her, of all people, so giddy. She looked at me, then called in my two older brothers and we all stood anxiously in the kitchen awaiting the news. “I’m pregnant,” she said. My brothers seemed uninterested, but I, thinking automatically it would be a girl, was ecstatic. I gave my mother a big hug and laid my head on her belly.

Fi. Fie. Fo. Fum. My father made his way into the kitchen and demanded I return to my room at once. Of course being small and nosy I didn’t obey and lingered in the hallway. They started arguing and they screamed so loudly over each other that I couldn’t even make out what they were saying. Then Mark grabbed a bat and jabbed my mother right in her stomach she let out a long painful shriek. I stood in awe in front of the kitchen door. My brothers rushed in, one grabbing me the other grabbing Mark. The oldest, Junior, punched Mark square in his mouth then again in his left eye. It was bloody and swollen and nearly blinded him but, Mark swung back. Mama yelled and yelled as they fought like strangers in the street, each blow more powerful than the other. Finally Mark threw Junior to the ground and drug mama by her shirt to their room, locking the door behind them.

I could hear Junior banging on the door, trying to get in and soon after sirens came and lights were flashing outside our house. Then it got quiet. The door slowly squeaked open to reveal my father on the floor, his leg tied to the bed post. He was distorted but I knew not for long. She came in my room crying, throwing my stuff frantically in a suitcase and sobbing, “We have to go.” I helped and then looked up to see Him, standing over my mama with a bat. “Mama!” I yelled she turned around to meet the bat that he took and with a single strike was knocked out cold. She was dead. My mama was gone and there stood this man, this stranger in my house.

The police came in and put him in hand cuffs. I never saw him again, I never wanted to see him again. It was never that I misunderstood my mother really, it was that I just chose not to understand, yet I found myself attracted to Marks. I liked that raw energy in a man, and yes it was dangerous but me, I loved it. I got married to a Mark, yet at the time of marriage I had no idea what I was getting into.

No real relative showed up at my wedding and I could only imagine my funeral being that way. I figured it was because of who I was marrying not because I was not loved by my two older brothers. It was months after our wedding the first time he showed his “Markism”. It wasn’t nothing big, he just yelled at me and threw a book at my head. I thought nothing of it and the second he saw the fear in my eyes he stopped and told me he loved me. I believed him, too.

The next time was after the birth of our first child, a little girl named Cheri. This time was worse he threatened to kill her and me too if I didn’t do what he said. He didn’t hit me but he left that night. I was afraid and the next day he came home I was gone. I had moved to New York, changed my name and started fresh. I was no longer Mrs. Cheriti Sparx, but Ms. Denise Good. Cheri and I were happy. Two years later, he showed up on our front stoop with a bushel of roses. Foolishly I let him in and nine months later Rod was born.

On Rod’s second birthday I found myself back where I was five years ago. He watched me in my sleep and every night would ask if I loved him. Dare I say no, he would’ve killed me. One morning, the morning after actually, I woke up to find myself handcuffed to the bed post. He left me there for two days, no food or water and absolutely no knowledge of where he or the kids were. There was a small note, It read “learn to behave.” I was disgusted.

When he came back we made love for hours but that did not ease the pain. So that very next morning the kids and I got in the car and I told him I was taking them to the movies. We never came back. We three, made our new life as far away from him as possible in a little place called Hollywood, California. In a town this big and this fake he could never find me, it was impossible. I thought this time I was safe for sure. Although I was living fresh, I realized that I was still married and my generally good spirit would not let me date anyone for fear of adultery.

I kept thinking of how my mother would have handled the situation. He and I were separated that was for sure but legally we were still married. In fact we were only separated by distance because
I had never, not once, told him I was leaving him. How foolish was I? And, nevertheless, when I thought I was at last safe, he found me. I came home to see him on my couch surrounded by a room of presents.

“What are you doing here?” I whispered to him as the kids looked frightened behind me.

“Why do you keep leaving me? I love you and I know sometimes I can get temperamental but we’ve got to work past that and move on with our lives.” he said slowly getting up and walking towards me.

“Cheri, take your little brother to your room.” I said as my eyes followed them to the back. I looked at him. He was sad in the face but I’ve seen through his eyes once and I saw through them again. “Get out of my house, and before you leave I want a divorce.”

“A divorce?!” he yelled , nostrils beginning to flair. “So after all these years and all that I’ve done for you, you want to leave me?”


“What have you done for me besides give me heartache? You can’t fix a broken heart, especially if you’re the one who keeps breaking it. I’m done playing the victim, I’m done with you.” and I chucked the papers towards him as he plummeted to the floor. “Need a pen?” My heart was racing and I could barely breathe but I felt good, I felt wonderful. Reluctantly and without fuss he signed the papers. I had never seen a man cry before and today I saw him cry, it gave whole new meaning to my life. As he finished the last few letters of his name and lifted the pen away from the paper I felt as if a heavy burden was being lifted from my shoulders, I felt free.

In the divorce I was granted full custody and the estate in which I was currently residing, including the car and anything else that was ‘ours’. I had thought of issuing a restraining order against him, but I still wanted my kids to grow up knowing their father. I wanted them to have what I didn’t: a family. So every major holiday he would come and like a family we’d eat and be merry. Then at the end of the day I’d look at him awkwardly and send him out the door. Everyday my heart was being ripped from me, but I stood for it because I was not going to stand for what had once been.

Years passed and him coming and going became a regular routine. Our oldest child was now 17 years old and ready to graduate form high school. The other one was starting his freshman year in high school. They had become comfortable with the flakiness of our family and thought nothing of it until I announced that I was getting married. That first month was December and that was the first time ‘daddy’ didn’t come home.

I started calling him a lot after that and he never would answer. One night I caught him sitting up on the top of the hill facing our house. He just sat there, in the cold, dark, or rain, he sat. He would stay there all night just watching. Some times I wouldn’t go to sleep for watching him. I was terrified of him, I was scared he might try to hurt my family. The neighbors noticed him and they too started watching him at night. For two entire months he sat on the hill, for two entire months he watched.


It had became normal for him to be sitting on the hill every night so now I began to pay less and less attention to him and focus more on Henry, who I was set to marry on Friday. Henry was nothing like the Marks in my life, he was kind and gentle, he actually was a truly loving man. The day of my wedding a glimmered with delight. Cheri was also unusually joyous, she danced around the chapel spying on Henry and the boys for me. He would send her back to our room with cute little messages all summing up the same message that this day portrayed: love.

That song began to play as I slowly began to walk down the aisle. Yet, as the allusions of a joyous day faded and I began to see clearer, I realized that the person I was strolling along to meet was not Henry at all, but my Mark. Tears began to pour from my eyes as I raced down the aisle.
“What are you doing here?” I yelled, mascara making dark streaks down my cheeks.
“I can’t let you go” he looked at me as I tried my hardest to look away. From the corner of my eye I could see Henry barely gasping for air in a small utility closet. Henry’s family stood on edge as they watched my Mark and I clash in front of them. He then grabbed me and pulled me close to him. I snatched back and smashed him over the head with my bouquet. At that moment I then snapped and ripped my veil off, running out the chapel. My Mark, Henry, Rod, and Cheri all came chasing after me. “Mama stop!” yelled Rod. I heard nothing just ran as fast and as far as I could before I came crashing down in a nearby softball park. Henry was the first one to my side but soon after was my Mark. Henry was outraged and swung violently at my Mark, Rod and Cheri both begging him to stop. It was no use, Henry had started to pound him into the pavement but as soon as he took a break my Mark swung back. A small crowd began to gather as they fought like the strangers they were.

Rod eventually jumped in, in an attempt to try and separate the two but it was no use. That’s when it occurred to me that my Mark could no longer be a part of my life. I straggled over and grabbed one of bats laying on the ground and the rose to my destiny. I swung at my Mark with all the force that Mark swung at my mother with, all the rage, all the anger. Cheri began to cry as I smashed the bad into her fathers head rapidly, blood painting the bat a new color. The crowd grabbed me and pulled me off of him but it was late my Mark was dead. It was almost like I had finally gotten rid of this man who tormented my mother for so many ways in a way that was just like him.

The police came and my family watched as I was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. The lights flashed as I watched their faces filled with despair while I rode away into the distance. I must’ve just misunderstood my Mark.





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shy_anna_13 said...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm
oh my goodness, this was really sad! im verry sorry you had to go through this... thats not right.
 
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