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Alexander

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Before I left for the store, the telephone rang. I picked up, and yet again you wanted something from me.
"I refuse to be your hired help again," I said.
"You know I don’t pay you," you answered on the other end. My conscience like Zeus whipped lightning bolts at my brain, reprehended me for disobeying my first instinct, yet again. I can’t stay away from you. In the mean time, you said,
"It's just tonight, I promise it’ll stop."

***************


“Hurry up,” my mother says. She has the cart grasped in both her hands like a mouse wrapped up in a preying bird’s talons and she runs to the van. The seven-seater silver van with automatic doors, seat-warming and a DVD player. My winter refuge for our weekly sojourns to the supermarket. I hear the alarm 'click click' amidst the screeching wind in my ears, and decide I’d better hurry up. I jog the 15 feet or so the van, trying not to slip on the slush that covers the black-and-gray tar parking lot. I slip into the front seat and blast the defroster and crank up the seat warmer. I close my eyes, take out my iPod Touch (thanks go to my summer employer’s pay checks), put my lime green headphones in and press play. I smile as the car’s warmth and John Mayer’s voice pervade my mind.

"…I want you so bad; I’ll go back on the things I believe… There I just said it; I’m scared you’ll forget about me…"

***************



I had slept with no lights on, not even the television had flickered its iridescent glow on our skin. I’d listened to the rain, the wind whipping through the cracks in the window. I’d watched the lightning; I’d felt I was one with the thunder. I lay so still, barely even breathing. I’d heard the creaking of the house, and then I’d heard the sound of your breathing. And I’d fell from the clouds back into bed and let myself be wrapped up in you again…



Now I’m sitting on top of the comforter on my bed, watching the shadows of the cars pulling in and out of the drive way. I try to blink as least I can because I don’t want to miss the light hitting the pale green walls of my room. I don’t want to be caught in the darkness. I’m sitting on the corner of my bed, crossing my legs, breathing shallowly. Barely moving at all, and both my feet have fallen asleep. I am tired, but I stifle my yawn. I don’t want to make any noise. I look at the TV, but then remember that it isn’t even on. I want to pull the covers up to my shoulders and over my head. I want to scream, cry, shake, run, jump, fly. I just want to get out of here. The bed creaks ever-so-slightly and I cringe back, hugging my knees and pressing myself into the corner. I put my head down, to avoid meeting death. To avoid being trapped by the gaze of the monster. To avoid seeing your face.


I hear you sit up, and then I feel you grab my arm. You yank it towards you and tilt my chin towards yours. You tell me to look you in the eyes. I do.

"What’s wrong," you ask me.
"Nothing," I say.
"What did I do?"
"Nothing." I say again.
"Why do you always do this?"


You pull my arm. It’s already sore and now the burning pain comes back. I don’t answer you. The prelude of silence strikes me almost as hard as your hand across my face does. I don’t fall back; I know better. I know you strike when you feel that your prey is at its weakest. I said I would never be your prey again. But look where we are right now.

"Well?" You say. You demand.
My face stings. I hold one side against my hand and say, "Do what?"
"Hide from me, you say. Are you scared of me?"
I do not answer.


One of the last things I remember before I pass out is your eyes. Electric green. They spit fury, almost hatred, out at me. Then, the room freezes and both of us stop breathing. I feel your hand whip across my face before I even see it. I fall back against the wall, one leg almost twisted behind me. You spring. Your hands are clenched in fists and you pummel me with them. In your left hand, you hold my face and then you backhand me with your right. The pain is blinding. I see white, red, yellow, orange, blue. I see sparks, flames, stars and fireworks. I feel water on my face. It’s dripping from my eyes, down and out of my nose. It tastes salty; like tears. But it also tastes rusty, like—blood.

I scream, "stop!"

You don’t. You continue. I am curled up in a ball and you tower over me. Your breathing is ragged and you shake. I try with all my strength to hold up my hands and fend you off, but it’s just too much of an effort. No more. No more fire, no more blinding light, and no more pain. What have I done wrong? What have I done to make you think I deserve this? You are still shaking and I plead, I plead with all my might that you are finished for the night. That you’ll just stop. That you’ll get up, go over to the window and open it. That you’ll climb out onto the slanted roof and smoke a cigarette like you always do. You do; you leave. I put my hands down and breathe as best I can. I don’t. I sob. I choke. I shake. I whisper and I pray in my hand for the blessed blackness of sleep. For the silence of unconsciousness. But it does not come. I lay bleeding, crying, and broken on the bed until the sun rises.

Now you are gone. The covers are over me protectively and I hear a small knock at the door. A little voice wafts on through: "Cassie, it’s time for school!" It’s my little brother, mi hermanito, Leo.

I want to say ‘just give me a few minutes’. But "okay" is all that croaks out. I limp out of room and down the hall. I almost fall down the stairs, adding to my injuries. I hide my face from my mother who stands at the sink, rinsing dishes. My breakfast is laid out and I eat it. When I finish, I limp into the bathroom, and look into the mirror. My face is swollen, and red, and blotchy. My bottom lip is split towards the corner and there is dried blood coming from my nose and my right ear. I notice I cannot hear out of it. My left eye is almost swollen shut. I can barely move my mouth to form words. It takes all the strength (or lack thereof) to hold my arms up long enough to flip my bangs over my left eye and clean the blood with a warm (but dark colored) washcloth. Someone knocks on the door.

"Hmmm" is all I can mumble.
"I’m in the car. Let’s go now," my mom tells me. I open the door. No one is there and I breathe a sigh of relief. I grab my backpack, pull my hood up past my face, grab my house keys and bolt out the door. I open the door to the gray/purple Ford Escape and climb in. I turn my face opposite my mom. She thinks I have my lime green headphones in, but I don’t. She leaves me alone. The drive to school is short. I open the door and she says, "Have a good day, honey." I just nod. I look at all the students that I will have to either ignore or avoid today. I know they will all ask me about my face. I know that the teachers will, too. There is a 0-percent chance of me getting out of this one. I see one of the upperclassmen turn the corner and he brushes past me, looking down at his cell phone. He has green eyes; just like yours. My heart rate triples in speed and I hustle towards the insanity that I will have to face today.
My friends, my mom, my teachers, and people who care ask me how I became so purple and blue. They ask,
"Why are your bangs covering most of your face?"
"Why are you walking so slowly?"
"Why are you wearing sunglasses in the house?"
"Why have you been so quiet lately?"


I have to muster up the strength to hunch my shoulders and will myself to open my mouth and say, "I don’t know. I just don’t know."


************





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TianaFairy said...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm
Wow you've been through alot and I hope this has made you stronger and you'll live past this episode Good Luck
 
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