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“I know you’re lying! You can’t play innocent with me! You’re just trying to get me in trouble with your mom and I’m sick of it!” His voice sent chills down my spine with every word. Troy, the dirty, low-life my mother calls a husband, was starting another argument with me.
Hot tears were running down my face and soaking my cheeks. My whole body was shaking with fear and anger. I couldn’t think. I had no clue what to do. Next thing I knew, I began to yell right back at him.
“You have no right to call me a liar! I didn’t do anything! I just freaking woke up! She text ME first and I haven’t even had time to text back! You have NO CLUE what you’re talking about!” With these words, I changed the course of the fight. My life and the lives of my family would be changed with these few simple exclamations.
My heart began to pound harder and faster in my chest as Troy got in his last few words, and turned to leave. Everything started to bleed together in my mind.
My attention had switched from him to where I was going to go when I left.
My legs felt like gel as I attempted to run down the stairs to my room, tripping on every other step.
My adrenaline, pumping through my body, gave me the energy to fight through the tears and grab a few necessities: my jacket, my purse, my phone, and its charger.
I jolted back up the stairs and rushed out the door without a second glance. I was trembling as I sprinted away from the hell I used to call my home. I knew that if I let Troy catch me, I’d be in for a day filled with more fighting. I knew that I’d be in trouble sooner or later for leaving, but it was worth it for the undetermined amount of peace my soul would receive when I left.
I knew that if I looked back, I would think of my sisters. I would see their faces, with expressions that come from their torn, little hearts. I wouldn’t want to leave anymore.
I was finally doing something for myself. I couldn’t let anything hold me back.
“Just tell me what happened,” his voice brought tears to my eyes. Relief washed over my body the moment I stepped into my Uncle Garrett’s house. He soothed my soul by telling me that I was going to be just fine, but he really had no need for words. It only took one look into his loving blue eyes, the same ones I see when I look in the mirror, to know that everything was going to be okay.
It had been so long since someone had talked to me as calmly as he was then. I tried with all my might to tell him everything, to let go of the pain I was holding inside, but it was impossible. Every time I found the right words to explain what happened, it all got caught in my throat. My tears would return to their path along my cheeks.
“Don’t worry about it, Sam. I’m gonna make everything okay again. I’ll adopt you before I let you get treated like crap by him ever again.” What he was saying was much more than words, but a promise to keep me safe. I knew I could trust everything he said. The truth was that despite all the people who were succeeding at letting me down, I could always rely on him.
This broke down a wall in my heart, and everything began to pour out of me in a rush of words.
“All I did was wake up. The texts, my mom, everything just happened at once. I couldn’t stop any of it. She wasn’t even home. She was working today; she text me while I was sleeping. She asked me to move out, because of how much I fight with Troy. I didn’t text her. I swear I didn’t. When I went upstairs, he was just standing there. Waiting for me. I didn’t get a chance to say anything, he just started screaming. I guess my mom text him telling him to be nicer to me. Saying we needed to get along. He said I was texting her, complaining about him. But I wasn’t. I was just sleeping.”
There wasn’t anything left to say. We both just sat there, him holding me in his arms and promising me that it wasn’t going to happen again. The warmth of his skin enveloped my body and gave me a feeling of security.
“Everything will be different this time, you’ll see.” These lies poured out of my mother’s mouth so smoothly I almost believed her. Nearly two months had passed since I had last seen her and I still didn’t miss the way she thought I didn’t deserve the truth. The ride home with her was like my heart breaking all over again: the constant flow of tears, the painful expression on my face, the physical aches throughout my body, and the distracting thoughts of how the past few months had been.
My mother continued to talk, but her words meant nothing to me. I wasn’t focused on what deceits she had to tell me, I choose to fill my mind with memories that made my heart warm. Living with my uncle made me feel like I was worth something. It felt as if my life had actual meaning. I began to understand the true definition of the word “family.”
I continued to drift out of reality and back into the moments spent with my uncle that I will forever treasure. The trust he had in me was like nothing I had ever felt before. Without knowing what was going on, I started to bawl. I began to miss the happiness I felt when I was around him, when I was free to be myself without judgment or harsh words being thrown at me. He never shoved his opinions down my throat like my mother does, suffocating me with her control. I was able to be myself, and feel good about it.