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It’s not like this was a huge surprise. I’d heard all the stories; I knew it’d been happening. I had even been waiting for it to happen, in a way. Yet all the time, the idea had been sort of abstract. Almost as if the entire time I heard every story, I was thinking to myself: Yeah, but it can’t be THAT bad. Stuff like that doesn’t happen to people I know. Not MY mom. That was the one thought that I was constantly thinking to myself. Not my mom. There was no way that the person that I had tried to model my life after, the woman I looked up to the most, could possibly allow herself to be defiled like this. Not my mom. The strongest, and at times, most stubborn woman I knew would never allow her body to be used like this. Not my mom. Now I know. After that night, nothing could ever be abstract again.
It was just another summer night. It was spent as it usually was at one of my mother’s many friends houses. The parks all close at ten so we have to have somewhere to go until she finally tires herself out, and my brothers and I were just waiting her out. Along with a bunch of other kids, Allie and many other children with parents just like ours, we went inside to find some form of entertainment. A Play Station was quickly found and soon we were watching the movies Mom had rented on the way over. We were about halfway through The Spy Next Door when the trouble started.
Sometime I get really annoyed that I can’t speak Swahili. In a large group of Kenyans, it’s no small irritation that I can never understand the conversations. Of course, there are some things I don’t need to understand to be able to see. Like when Sam gets jealous, or when he gets drunk; which pretty much are one and the same. If there really is a thing as Napoleon complex, Sam is the perfect example of it, and alcohol only seems to enhance his need to try and overcompensate for all his insecurities. Anyone could tell when Sam had had one too many. He had a routine and he never failed to follow through on each of the steps. Tonight was different though. Tonight he went a step further. He made a move that un until now, I’d only heard about.
It started out with the calling. Anytime he started to feel a little insecure, the first thing he would do is call my mother. I can’t remember a time when my mom was not the favorite among her group of friends. And I guess Sam felt like his claim to her made him special. Though anybody could tell that my mom’s interest in him was not anywhere near what he wanted to be. He would call hear over and over with almost no reaction from her besides annoyance. She would always make some excuse to get him off her back, looking almost embarrassed at his obvious neediness. But Sam is not the sort of person to take no for an answer. If my mother would not come to him, then the following would start. He would suddenly get up and start to follow her wherever she went. It even got to the point where he tried to follow her into the bathroom. Quickly after the following, he would start to physically intimidating, or annoying, as I like to refer to his grabbing. In my eyes, it always came across as his way of proving to an even farther extent that he owned my mother. It only ever happened after his following her proved to no avail, but it happened every time. This was the place where we always stepped in. The whole family was trained to see when this was happening, a fact that made me both proud and ashamed of the necessity. It was always a funny little coincidence that whenever Sam started to get a little too close for our liking, Ian suddenly had a story to show Mom, even if it was for the second time that day. He and I had a system, we knew when she needed us and we would take turns to keep her busy. And whenever that started to fail, her sisters always had something important to tell her about. It was always a work for improv, but it worked. It worked every time except for that night. That was because tonight, it wasn’t just us how decided that they’d had enough. Tonight, someone else decided that they’d had enough. And Sam didn’t like that, not one little bit.
I didn’t know Walter by anything other than sight. He was very tall and seemed like a decent guy. Not that I would really know anything about him. He had seemed to be a little bit of a problem for the last few nights. Sam would not let Mom talk to him if he called her cell. And Walter was a name I had heard a lot in the last few days. Considering my lack of knowledge of Swahili, I could only get the general impression that he was someone that my mom wanted to talk to, but who Sam could not stand. So when Walter stepped in when Sam started to get aggressive, I was both shocked and worried about how Sam would take what was most obviously a move against him and towards my mother. Everything instantly exploded. People began taking sides and everyone was shouting at someone else. The entire time I am the only one aware of just how bad things are getting. Ian and Gabriel are still watching the movie, completely oblivious of the war that has just broken out outside of the house. I soon return to them, trying to keep it that way. My mom returns with me but her leaving catches the ever- watching Sam’s attention and he soon tries to follow her. Rather than bringing the fight inside, she sends him back outside with the excuse of having to just go to the bathroom. She shuts the door behind her and Sam returns to the fight outside. He begins yelling at Walter in rapid Swahili. At this point I just pray that this all turns out to be nothing. But when my mother comes out of the bathroom, the look on her face dashes all hopes of that. She tells me that she is about to end this all and storms out of the house. What happened next was all in English, so I could easily tell what had happened. Understanding it didn’t make it any less horrifying though.
She came outside, everyone was still trying to calm each other down by screaming at the top of their lungs, but it still hadn’t quite worked. My mom had never had a problem making herself heard though, so what she said was easily heard, I’m pretty sure some Martians even caught it. She told him that it was over. That she had never even loved him. That she never wanted to see him anywhere near her or her family again. She screamed it and she screamed it loud. And yet, the next thing that I heard was louder to me by far. I heard my mom hit the ground; I heard the absolute silence that surrounded the moment. And I lost it. There was not a single person in that moment that lost a second in going off on Sam. The loudness of a second ago was nothing compared to this. Not a single thing was heard above the screaming of my aunts and mom’s friends. And yet despite this I took that step outside. I screamed in a near hysterical voice, “Did you hit my mom.” Millions of accusations ran through my head, all the stories that I’d heard came down to this one moment. This one moment made every abstract thought of anger solidify into a solid block of hatred. And almost as fast as I had started to scream, I stopped. I knew what I had to do. Shaking with pure rage I went inside to my purse. I pulled out my phone and dialed those three numbers, the numbers I had been waiting to dial since I first heard the stories, but had never had a chance to use. And then I did the stupidest thing I could have at that moment. I went outside as the phone rang. The instant the phone was seen on my ear someone grabbed it. Something was quickly mumbled about ‘immigration papers’ and in that second that I heard those words something broke inside me. The instant the phone was taken away from me, I lost all hope that I could do anything. Not just now, but ever. As long as Sam had those immigration papers, or lack thereof, I knew I could never touch him, no one would let me. And I realized that my mom had put us into something that we could not escape as simply as I had first thought. My mom was being abused by the person who paid for her to be able to eat, to be able to have a home. And all I could think as my mind went black, and I lost all control of myself was “not my mom, not my mom”



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This article has 8 comments. Post your own!

Alejandra the Great said...
Aug. 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm:
Mercy! this was phenomenal!!! It left me speechless and with mixed emotions.i loved it. ;)
 
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Michael the Great said...
Aug. 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm:
Very good story, you will evolve into a great author one day.
 
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riley... said...
Aug. 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm:
nice work! very descriptive and i really appreciated your detailed writing style.
 
beautifulworld replied...
Aug. 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm :
Thanks! This was one of my very frist short stories, I'm happy you liked it.
 
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mudpuppy said...
Aug. 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm:
Whoa. Very interesting! I too enjoyed this!
 
beautifulworld replied...
Aug. 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm :
Thank you! I really appreciate it, and I'll read anything if you'd like me to.
 
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singergurl12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 14, 2010 at 10:56 am:
great work! i loved it!
 
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Hushed said...
Aug. 14, 2010 at 12:54 am:

I really liked it :) Great Job keep up the good work. Your going to make a great author :)

 

Feedback mine?

 
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