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I Love You

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I scrawl three words on the paper then sign my name. I know they will get it in the morning. I know they will wonder where I am. I know they will be hurt when they find out.

But they can't stop me. It's too late now.

My phone vibrates softly on the nightstand next to my bed. I open it. It's him. "Outside in 5. Be ready." the text reads.

I go to the medium sized brown duffle bag on the end of my bed and glance through the contents again. Clothes for three days, underwear, bra, extra tennis shoes, socks, pajamas, toothbrush, hairbrush, phone charger. Everything in place: good.

I open my bedroom door slowly and softly; just as I had done so many times before. I grab my bag and my phone then silently close the door behind me. This was the last time now.

Staring into the darkness of my hallway, i hear two distinct noises: the loud snoring of my parents and the soft breathing of my six-year-old sister in the room beside mine. Good, everyone is sleeping.

I silently tip-toe down the hall and walk down the stairs, making sure only to step on the stairs i know won't creak. When I reach the bottom of the stairs, I stand for a moment, making sure the two noises are still heart: yep. All is well.

I feel my phone vibrate again in my hand. "Let's go...i'm here now." I flip it closed and walk to the window i made sure to leave open earlier. As I crawl out I hear my dogs finger nails on the kitchen tile walking towards me. I quickly jump out the window and close it as silently as possible: my dog stares at me, wondering where I'm going tonight. No turning back now.

I see his car in the street waiting. A street lamp casts a yellow shadow on the hood. I run to the car, careful not to make any noises and open the passenger side door. Greeted by the sweet smell of his cologne i throw my bag in the back seat and sit down. "What took you so long?" he said, pretend annoyance in his voice. "Sorry", I play along with his false anger, "I had to say goodbye to Chi Chi." "That dog better not give us up, you know what would happen if we got caught." Real anger now penetrates his words. "Don't worry, babe, i was just messin with you. He's asleep." He puts the car in drive and pulls slowly down the street. The car picks up speed as we reach the highway, and slowly, all my worries vanish. This is what I want.

We drive for two hours then make a stop at a gas station, somewhere along the highway. We both get out of the car and walk into the store. I use the restroom as he buys Coke and Pringles for the long trip ahead. As we walk out to the car together, he takes my hand. How perfectly they fit together. How perfect we match.

He puts the grocery bag in the back seat next to our duffle bags then closes the back door. He pulls me close to him and gives me a kiss on the forehead. I know we will be all right: he promised.

We get in the car again and pull out of the bright lights of the gas station. He turns to me and says three words. My heart stops. These words are all to familiar. They are printed on a scrap of old paper in black scribbily handwriting. They are lying on my bed, waiting for my parents to find them in the morning. I love you.





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