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Deadly silence my alarm clock; fear and hate my life. "Another Saturday morning, the third of this month." I think warily. Saturday means softball, and softball means her.
“Time to get up honey.” whispers my mother joyfully.
“Grmm kay.” I respond, half asleep.
I now have no choice. My mom is the manager of my softball team, and I can’t let her know my weakness or my pain. I can’t let anyone, ever again. I go through my morning routine in a daze, reminiscing painful memories and dreading the coming future. I pack up my bag and make one last trip to the bathroom. As I look at my reflection in the mirror, I see the proof. The proof I must hide at all costs.
“Honey, are you ready? It’s time to go!” shouts my mom across the house.
“Coming!” I say quickly and brush my hair, so as to be a shroud across my weakness.
“I’m so proud of your commitment to softball…” my mom drones on and on, while I sit in the passenger seat staring out the window for the duration of the five minute drive to the softball field. I daydream with false hope that she will not be there. Those false hopes are soon shattered as my mom pulls into the parking lot. There she is, her back to me, talking to my teammate Caitlyn. As I unbuckle, open my door, grab my bag and walk towards the dugout, she spots me. A smile creeps across her face; a smile full of evil intent.
“Hello, Danielle.” she says, feigning innocence.
“Good morning.” I say in response, hoping she will not sense my fear.
The game starts, making her the predator and me the prey. The objective of her game is to bring me pain and fear, to quench her own insecurities and hurt.
This game is a secret, I will confess to you. A game of stepping on eggshells, hoping that she will not notice me, or merely find interest in someone else. To my disappointment, I am once again her focus of interest. She watches my every move, listens to my every word, and analyzes my every action.
I joke around as usual, in effort to shroud my own insecurities and fears. Some of my remarks are directed toward her and like a rattlesnake; I can hear the rattle of her tail in warning of the coming attack.
“What did you say?!” she hisses menacingly, with that same smile plastered on her face. I look at her at that precise moment. Her brown curls pulled in a bun on top of her head, her blue eyes cloaked behind sport glasses, and her body hidden behind a sweatshirt and baseball pants. On her face, a fake smile, revealing perfect pearly whites, glistening from the sunlight, and her pale skin bright in the sunlight. I take a mental picture of this moment, a memory I will always have.
My only response is silence.
“That’s what I thought..” she says cynically in a joyous tone to herself. As she approaches my body tenses, and my eyes dart around frantically looking for an escape. I scan the area; my other teammates sitting unaware a mere twenty feet away and my own mother discussing the schedule for the day to the coach on the distant field. These people are all in hearing distance, but that is of no use to me. I will not give her the satisfaction, of verbally expressing my pain. So instead I grimace, and prepare myself for the coming pain. As her hand finds its spot on my neck, she probes around looking for the vein, my pressure point. Her fingers are ice cold with a grip, firm and rough. She finds the vein and starts applying pressure, only releasing when I make a sound of weakness.
“Aahh.” I say faintly, only knowing pain.
“There we go. You had enough?” she says contemptuously, full of joy.
I scream at myself inside my head for confessing my pain for letting her find my weakness. Practice goes on, and is relatively normal. Practice on the same field as her; my game master, abuser, torturer, and teammate. I stay silent for the duration of practice, not daring to arouse her from her throne once again.
“Time to go honey, say goodbye.” my mom says exhausted from the four hour practice.
“Goodbye.” I say quietly to the dugout full of my teammates. Many of them vocalize replies of dismissal, but all I hear or notice is her.
“Have a good day.” She says sweetly and pats me gently on the back as she walks out of the dugout.
I cringe in fear at her touch, but soon realize this touch of adoration was simply for show; her show of a good and nice girl, confident in herself. Yet, I know her secret, her life full of fighting, anger, abuse, and brokenness. Perhaps this is why I am her target, but really I will never know. I simply get in the car and doze on the way home. As I walk into the bathroom, I brush my hair out of my face and see the damage. I see my weakness once again. Sadly I feel no hate for her, but instead for myself. I look in the mirror and see ugliness, imperfections, and my own weakness.
A weakness exhibited by bruises. Bruises on my neck, made not by myself, but by her. I keep this hidden however, and I have made it through another day.
“Goodnight.” my mother says.
“Goodnight.” I say cloaked, hidden, and masked where no one can reach