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Black and Blue
Five dark circles, trace the outline of his fingertips. Around my throat they sit, for anyone to see. I wish he was more careful. What if someone saw, what if they asked me about it. What if they suspected. Thank God for makeup. I bought a big bottle of liquid foundation the first day he hit me, and it has never let me down.
I was sure he was gonna finish me off this time. My mind started going all fuzzy, and I had begun to go in and out of conciseness. The only thing I really remember is him finally letting go right at the moment my last breath was fading away.
He comes to pick me up today, and I walk out to his car. When I get in he looks at me, I can see the question in his eyes, he’s waiting for my reaction to him. I smile and lean in to kiss him. He grins back relieved and pulls me into his arms. He likes to trace his fingers gently down my skin, in the moment it makes me happy, but later as I lie in bed, it gives me the creeps to know those gentle and sweet hands, have hurt me.
“Where do you want go”? He asks.
“Wherever you want”.
We drive for awhile, down slightly familiar roads.
He turns down a small dirt one, thats barely visible through the overgrowing trees.
We come to a stop, at and open valley.
Then it all comes back.
Swarms of memory, so strong I clutch the the seatbelt and close my eyes for a second. This is the spot where it first took place, the ritual of my new life begins here. In this valley.
We had driven down here to get away that evening. He had been upset about something, but what it was I still don’t know. He walked me over to a big oak tree, and sat me down. He ran back to his car, and a few minutes later came back with a blanket, and a pack of beer. He sat down next to me and smiled. It was an uneasy smile, and I remember chills running up and down my spine.
He pulled out a beer, and took a big gulp. He handed it to me, and as I began to take a long sip, he pulled it away suddenly.
“Ah ah ah, little girl” He said, “This stuff ain’t good for you, just leave the drinking to me”.
He laughed then and downed the rest of the can.
We sat there in silence as he drank another, then another.
I averted my eyes, instead looking out at the sunset. Usually he wasn’t like this, he was talkative, and I rarely saw him drink. I felt like I was with an entirely different person.
He crawled closer to me. And swung his arm over my shoulders.
“Babe” He slurred, “We should...we should come here more often, just the two...us. Don’t you wish we could..could run away..together”? I elbowed him playfully, “Your crazy, you know that?” He let go of me and pulled me up to our feet. “Im not crazy!” he yelled.
I looked at him, shocked.
“I was kidding”
“Well I don’t appreciate you kidding with...me”
“Ok Im sorry”
He got in my face then, and grabbed my shoulders.
“Why do you act like this huh? You think you can just insult me, then laugh it off, your never serious, all you want is fun fun fun. Did you ever think about life, real life. After high school your going to have to start fending for yourself, no mommy and daddy to pay for your clothes, and makeup, no mommy and daddy to cook you meals and drive you places!”
I tried to twist myself from his hold, but he was to strong.
“I am serious about stuff...you know that, why are you acting like this”?
“Because...you don’t know how it feels to have no parents, you don’t know how it feels to be abandoned, you don’t know how it feels to wake up one morning with your parents in the kitchen then come home after school with them gone forever”.
I thought he was going to cry then, and I began to feel bad.
“I know I don’t know how it feels, and I’m sorry you have to live without your parents, and Im sorry I don’t understand all the time, and I take my parents for granted. I really am sorry. It’ll be ok”.
He held on tighter. “You think its going to be ok”?
“I know it is”.
“You don’t know crap” he snarled.
Everything happened quick then.
He stepped back, let go, rose his hand, pulled it into a fist, and punched my right on the cheek. I doubled back and fell to the ground. I held myself in a ball, and hid my face in my lap, crying. He fell unto his knees a minute later, and started talking all nervous.
“Oh my gosh, Im so sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you, that wasn’t supposed to happen, I can’t believe I did this, Im sorry, Im so so sorry”
He tried to lay his hand on me, but I pulled back.
“No its ok, I wont hurt you again, I promise”
I just kept on crying, and didn’t stop.
Finally he got up and said “I guess I’ll wait in the car, come in when your ready...”.
He walked off and I could hear the car door open and close.
I sat there for probably another fifteen minutes when I finally got up, and wiped the tears and dirt away.
I touched my cheek lightly, and winced.
I walked to the car slowly, and opened the door and got in.
He looked at me, and stared. I could hear him crying.
“Im...” He began, but I stop him by holding up my hand.
“Just bring me to Kate’s house for the night, Ill call my parents there”.
“What will you tell Kate?”
“That we went to batting cages, and a ball hit me”
He drove me to Kate’s, then left.
Now as he gets out of the car, and starts walking out to the tree again, I can see he doesn’t remember. All the times have just blurred together for him. Just one big nightmare. But I can remember each time, each place, each spot on my body. I sat there for a minute and took deep breaths. I never knew when he would strike again, there were rarely any signs. Sometimes he was upset for days and would never hit me, other times he could be completely fine and out of the blue he struck. He used to usually be pretty drunk before he hit me, but after awhile he just did it whenever he was in the mood. The only way to really tell was seconds before it happened, the look on his face. I got out of the car, and walked over to him. He was standing under the tree looking up, his hands in his pocket.
His back was to me.
“Are you ok?” I asked.
He turned around slowly towards me.
I could see it in his eyes, in his lips, in his eyebrows. I could see it written all over his face. Solemn aggressiveness.
I closed my eyes, flinched and held my hands to my face.
Waiting for his attack.