January 10, 2018
By Anonymous

     Screaming.  Familiar screaming.  It’s been a while since there has been any other noise.  Another fight, another smashed plate, another broken heart.  Parents don’t fight like this, so why are mine?  It seems like everyday I’m battling with myself, trying to see if I can make sense of my parents’ anger, if I can find a singular reason for their fury.  Everyday I try to solve my parents’ problems, while sitting alone in my room.  I wonder why they seem to dislike me as passionately as they do each other.  Don’t they understand the awful feeling of having to face the threat towards your safety everyday?  Of always being on the verge of hearing your bedroom door broken open, barely hanging onto the hinges, slamming against the wall? Of knowing that no matter how sure you are you locked it and no matter how tightly you close your eyes, the door always opens?  Of feeling your wrists being roughly grabbed and waiting in suspense for the sharp pain that comes with the palm of a hand?  Yet, the worst part is leading up to the outbreak.  Having to sit in the suffocating darkness of my room that never ceases when it seems that my eyes may never be able to adjust.
     I’m torn from these memories as the volume of the screaming begins to increase faster and faster.  Before they can yell my name, break down my door again, and use me as another outlet for their hate, I dart down the dimly lit hall and force our backdoor open.  Sunlight pours in through the opening.  Sprinting out, I ignore the shouts at my back.  All of my built-up anger, confusion, and doubt have reached the surface, and my emotions spill out of me.  Practically shoving the tears off my face with the back of my hands, I blindly follow a path to the forest.  Running without looking where I’m going proves to be a mistake when I find myself lying down on my stomach and in a world of pain.  When I finally look behind me, since running out of the house, I notice a root poking out of the soft dirt.  Now, with a bleeding elbow and tear-stained cheeks, I lift myself up to a sitting position.  My heart is still beating painfully against my chest, but I know I need to calm down before moving farther.  Good thing no one will look for me, I figure. Composing myself, I register that I have plenty of time to look around and see where I ran.
     The color is what shocks me first.  Bright greens of the trees, the brilliant blue that is the sky, even the brown color of the dirt I’m sitting on is surprising.  Then, I hear distant noises, much more peaceful than where I came from.  Curious, I stand up and brush myself off, already forgetting about my elbow, and begin to follow the trail that continues deeper into the woods.
     Not much has changed after nearly an hour of walking, yet I still am in awe of how much color I’ve missed out on being stuck in that little house for days on end.  A highlight from the trail I’m following has been the small patch of flowers I came across.  They were a pure, unblemished white with a little bright sun in their center.  The flowers smelled like the sweet air that always comes after a rainstorm.  As I walk away, I realize that those were the daisies in my mother’s stories.  Before the days got louder and angrier, she would tell me stories of whole fields of flowers.  We would debate about what we thought each flower smelled like.  The smell of the flower we argued the longest about was the daisy.  My mother thought daisies would have more of a bitter scent to them.  She couldn’t believe that something so bright and beautiful could also smell sweet.  I think she would really like them though, if I brought her.
     A few more minutes of walking brings me to a break in the trees.  I guess nature had one more surprise for me in store because right before my eyes is a massive meadow, with endless rolling hills of grass and countless more flowers.  A river cuts through the center of the meadow and veers off back to the outskirts of the trees.  I step out of the line of trees I was hiding in and stride through the grass; my arms wide open, collecting all the sunlight I can.
     Walking through the meadow reminds me of the bright books my mother and I would read at night when I was younger.  It was so hard to imagine what walking through a meadow would feel like, or lying next to a river, listening to the water and watching the sun twinkle when the wind would move the trees.  All sorts of sounds that I can identify but aren’t familiar are reaching my ears.  Sounds like the grass shushing my footsteps; sounds like the birds chirping in protest; sounds like water hurrying to its destination.  With the sun comfortably warm against my back, a realization hits me.  I feel safe.

The author's comments:

This piece of writing is meant to inspire those struggling with abuse at home, or in any environment, to maintain their strength. Finding a private and personal oasis, like the main character, is sometimes the only thing that keeps people going. Though it may seem that there is nowhere to go right now, keep in mind that things will get better. There is light beyond the darkness and beauty in all sorts of places.

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