April 27, 2013
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As I got out of the car and stepped into the cold night I couldn’t help, but be mesmerized by the tall building in front of me that disappeared into the night sky; it brought me comfort, comfort of knowing that not everything is laid out before us. I walked inside the building and quickly pushed the elevator button. The cold metal doors opened and I stepped inside. Elevator music played quietly in the background and my reflection on the elevator doors stared back at me, taunting me. The bruises around my eyes were already yellowing, but the pain was still so real. I had been coming here for two weeks already; I knew nobody and nobody knew me. I was hoping that wouldn’t change today. I walked down the empty hallway to the wooden door and stiffly walked into the room. Inside seven women were sitting on white plastic chairs in a circle in the middle of the room; I took my usual place without meeting anyone’s eyes. Dr. Sullivan, a woman with big glasses who always wore pant suits, stared straight at me waiting for me to meet her gaze.

“Marissa, I think it’s about time you told us your story.” Dr. Sullivan said impatiently. I knew I couldn’t avoid the truth forever.

I took a deep breath and said, “I met him on October 12th of last year at a carnival in Seattle. He was the sweetest, most caring guy I had ever met. We liked each other instantly and we were always together. At first it was kind of sweet how protective he was of me, but then one night I didn’t tell him where I was going. When I got home he was there waiting for me, badgering me with questions about where I was and who I was with. I told him he was scaring me, but that just made him even more furious. He grabbed my arm and threw me into the corner of the room; he started hitting me repeatedly like he was never going to stop. Sometime later he stopped and went into another room; he just left me there crying on the floor. When he came back he said he was sorry, that he lost control, and he would never do it again. Something inside me was telling me that I couldn’t believe him, but I ignored it. I believed him. The same thing happened over several months and I always believed him when he said he wouldn’t do it again. I would cover up my bruises with makeup the best I could and if anybody asked I would just say I tripped. It got worse over time and I got more scared. I couldn’t tell anyone. I was so ashamed and I had no idea what he would do to me if someone knew what he was doing. One morning he couldn’t find his favorite shoes and he blamed it on me, he started beating me. My sister walked in the door and caught him; she started yelling at him and crying. He said it was for my own good, but when my sister threatened to call the police he just ran. He didn’t think twice about me or what we once had; he just ran…” It was all real now and I couldn’t stop the tears from coming, I just broke down. Everyone around me sat quietly in their chairs and Dr. Sullivan cleared her throat. I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up to see a young girl I had never paid much attention to. She had a pink scar that went from her left eyebrow to the corner of her mouth and a gold bracelet with the word Courage on it.

“It’s okay. It will all be okay now.” She said and I felt I could believe her. I felt everything would be okay.

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