A Silent Death

February 8, 2017

           He loves me, maybe even too much, and I love him. But there is a difference between the two. My name is Jazmine and I am twenty-two years old. I stay in a little apartment in Dallas TX. I date a very sweet, kind, handsome forty-five year old white man named Richard, who owns his own business. We met January 14th at the Mansion Bar on Turtle Creek Boulevard--a very fancy place. The only reason I was there was because my daddy gave me cash for my birthday the day before. I was hoping to meet the man of my dreams at a very special place. And what I hoped for came true... until it didn't.

        Richard and I have been together a little over a year now, and we've been through a lot. He´s a little overprotective of me, but I understand completely, I´m a hot twenty-two year old dating an older man. I could leave any second, if I wanted to, and get any man I wanted. But I wouldn't because I stick with things until the end, and I love him. But, like, just yesterday I wore a dress to the market; he threw the biggest tantrum and broke his phone by throwing it. I really just worry with his temper sometimes. It'll get better though, He's a good man and he loves me. Next time I won't do that. At least I know better now, right?

        So Richard came over from work early today to check on me. (He gets a little worried sometimes.) I was just reading a book, sitting on the couch in the apartment. It kind of scared me because he was just looking through the window at first, just watching me; then he came in upset because the blinds were open, and he probably wasn't the only one watching in on me. I argued, which was my mistake. He grabbed the blinds and ripped them off, yelling, ¨Fine, you skank! Let the whole world see you then!” I was a little frightened, so I did what I knew would calm him. I walked slowly to him, taking off a piece of clothing with every step. I then looked up at him and said, ¨Do whatever it is that will make you happy with me again. I love you, and I know you love me.”  He spun me around, causing me to have my back to his chest and held me tight with his hand around my throat. Then, he replied, ¨Let's play a game where no one can see us, and I'll show my love for you then…..”

        Thank god for makeup! Richard gets a little carried away sometimes. I wish he didn't get so wrapped up in his head and could just love me like a regular person, like I love him. He´ll change. He just has to get used to being in a real, committed relationship, I think. I'll just give him more time, and he will calm down.  I love him...I love him. It will get better!

       Two months later…..  ¨Hey, baby, how was your day? I made you supper.¨ Richard rewards me with a look that sends chills down my back. He is the best! He is my lover. Rejoice Rejoice! I then notice his hands behind his back. It's pathetic, my first thoughts. ¨Is this another one of his games? What's behind his back? Am I going to have to buy more makeup?” He notices my face has changed to a slightly horrified expression and quickly reveals his hand. He is holding a present with some flowers. I feel dumb and pray I didn't just ruin the mood. I set his plate on the table and pour the wine, then he tells me to sit and open the gift. To my surprise it is my favorite movie, some chocolates and a card. It is the sweetest thing, and then I realize he really is the best man and I'm foolish to ever have had thoughts of him out of my life. So I reassure myself that it's okay to be afraid.

         Finally, I get a chance to watch the movie with Richard. Twenty minutes into the movie, I see my ¨movie lover” Gerard Butler and mention my affection for him. Richard turns to me and asks if I will go to the store with him. I think it very random, but oh well, he didn't go crazy about my accident of talking about the actor, so I agree. We hop into his car and set off to Wal-mart. I light up a cigarette just from habit, and he smacks it out of my hand, calling me a dumb whore. I stay quiet in my seat thinking any minute we will be at the store, there will be people around, and he won't hurt me in front of a lot of people. Just breathe.

          He opens my door, and I look at him, trying to figure out if he's back to being sweet. He seems to be my very sweet boyfriend. I step out of the car and smile at him, and he puts his hand around my waist. We walk into the store, and I see other couples, lurking around the store. I begin to feel depressed. I'm tired of worrying if he is going to attack me or love me. I start to ask him questions about his future with me and whether he might change and if we can one day get to be like one of those dream couples we see all the time. Is it be possible? He doesn't pay any of my questions attention. instead it’s like he’s in his own world. He leads me to the women's undergarments department, picks out the sexiest panty and bra that Wal-mart has to offer, and tells me to try them on in the dressing room. Confused, I decide to be strong and not let him treat me like a rag doll anymore. I stand my ground. I tell him, ¨No more. Get out of here. I'm done with you and the way you treat me! I will find someone else richer, nicer and hotter than you. No more of your crap and abuse!¨ I start to cry with relief, proud that I finally said something.  We are over and done with, no looking back.

          People are walking by looking shocked by what just happened in the store when suddenly Richard gets behind me and whispers, ¨Get your ass in the dressing room or so god help me! We are going to play the quiet game.” I start to leave him and he holds me back, pretending he is showing me love while he slowly pulls out a knife and holds it to my waist, reminding me that he means business. I'm terrified and trembling. I don't  say a word. He says if I don't go now, he'll kill me. He will wait around the corner until the dressing room lady isn't paying attention so he can slip inside. I obey.

            I ask for a room, trying to give the lady a look to help me but also trying not to make Richard notice because he is still with me. No luck! As I walk into the hallway of the dressing room, I see a black woman with her little boy leaving one of the rooms. Richard walks away to hide out until the lady is back doing her work. This is my chance. I have a few short seconds until he comes back for me. I tug on her arm and simply say, “My boyfriend is trying to kill me, I think.  He is sneaking back here in just a second when the lady leaves. Will you please help me?” She looks at me as if I’m either crazy or pulling her leg. I see Richard walk by, so I slip into one of the rooms so he doesn't see me talking anyone. He comes in and tells me to change into the outfit. I do as I am told. He has black gloves on and asks me, ¨Are you ready to play the game?¨ I begin to beg, ¨Do not do it. People will notice I'm screaming, Richard, I can't take the pain anymore. My body is weak. I love you, remember. I can't do this. Look at my bruised body. Richard, I can't take it. Please give me my clothes back.¨  He looks at me, laughs like a crazy person, and says very calmly, ¨Leave! You don't need your clothes. Be yourself already. You should be used to not having clothes on, skank.¨ I walk out of the room and go toward the exit of the dressing rooms. I stop. I glance out and see the black lady and her sweet family. She sees me, and I slowly start to cry. I can't walk out of here like this. Richard comes behind me like before and whispers, ¨A quiet death.¨ Before I can react, he stabs me over and over again right below my shoulder blade.

             My body goes numb. I/'m breathless, I can't hear or move, and it hurts. I see the women pointing at me with a terrified expression.  I want to scream. HELP! Hours go by it feels like, but finally i'm out of pain. Richard lowers me and sits on the ground with me in his arms. His lips are moving. Everything is becoming blurry, and all I can think is ¨it's okay to be afraid. Nothing will be the same.¨ This thought gives me instant relief as I slip into a permanent dream….

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