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I know hate is a strong word. It really is. But we all toss it around like nothing. We use it just as often as we use “it” or “okay”, and I’m admitting that I do, too. I never mean it though; who really does? Sure, you may dislike someone, but never hate, right? Wrong. There is someone I can honestly say I hate. More than anyone, anything. It’s a man. A man who ruined 4, maybe 5, years of my childhood. A man who I will never forget, Ever.

I was about 8 years old when my mom and dad got a divorce, one of the worst things a child could go through, and I don’t wish it upon anyone. Clearly, I was extremely upset by the divorce. My brother, who was only 2 at the time, didn’t quite understand yet, but it quickly started to affect him just as much as me. It hadn’t even been a month when my mom started talking about her new boyfriend, and not even two months before my brother and I met him. At first, he seemed completely harmless, a nice guy who I thought really liked my mom, which was most important to me.

About a year went by when Shawn (that’s his name)’s true colors started coming out. You see, Shawn was an alcoholic- it was clear as day. Shawn was a mean alcoholic, too. I was constantly being blamed for things around the house that I didn’t do, and he and my mom were arguing a lot. He was even picking fights with my dad. I started to really dislike Shawn, Especially when he and my mom fought. It would always end up with my mom crying, and that broke my heart. I used to try to comfort her, tell her I didn’t like Shawn anymore, and that I was scared. She never listened; I just made her even madder.

I remember the first time I saw Shawn lay hands on my mom. They were arguing about something. I was too young to realize what exactly, but I knew it was bad. All I remember was checking downstairs to see if everything was alright, and it wasn’t. What I saw made my stomach turn. Shawn had an arm around my mom’s neck. Shawn was choking my mom. I screamed, “Shawn!” and that’s when it ended. That image will never leave my mind. I even have an entry from the diary I had at the time, from that day exactly. I read it sometimes. I don’t know why.

After that night, I thought things were better. Not between Shawn and me, they never would be, but between him and my mom. I was wrong. Little things kept happening: An occasional fight, my brother and I being sent to our rooms with no TV, no light, and many other things. I never thought it was that bad, though, because I knew what the worst was, and I also know that wasn’t it. Not yet.

Here it is. I’m 12, and my brother is 5. We don’t know it yet, but we are about to experience what could easily be the worst day of both of our lives. We’re woken up in the morning to the sound of broken glass, screaming, crying, banging. We’re scared. We walk downstairs, not knowing what to expect. I can still picture it to this day: My mom curled up in a ball in the corner of the room, crying and screaming for it to stop. “For what to stop?” you ask? Shawn, That’s what. Shawn was throwing anything and everything he could get his hands on, full force, big or small, right at my mom. Everything in the kitchen was now broken on the floor, but it was that one moment that brought everything to whole new level. Shawn grabbed the TV remote, and wailed my mom with it. And when I say wailed, I mean no holding back, with all of his strength, hit my mom. Right in front of me. Even worse, right in front of my little brother. He and my mom screamed, “GO UPSTAIRS!” By then I was crying, bawling even. I didn’t want to go upstairs. I didn’t want to leave my mom alone with that horrible man. I didn’t want to know how far he would take it. I didn’t say anything. Even to this day, I still wish I spoke up; told him to stop, anything. But after about 5 “GO UPSTAIRS!”’s, I finally ran. I was lost. I felt so empty. I was shocked.

I was cradling my little brother, flourishing him with encouraging words, saying things like, “It’ll be okay, mommy’s going to be alright.” All of a sudden, I heard someone frantically running upstairs, then down the hall. I prayed for it to be my mom. When I heard a delicate knock and a woman’s voice say, “Let me in”, I quickly realized it was. I unlocked the door and she ran in, quickly locking the door behind her, and immediately started comforting my little brother. She still had tears streaming down her face. I heard a door slam downstairs and I knew that finally, Shawn was gone.

I asked my mom what I should do. She didn’t answer for a really long time. I don’t think she knew what to do. She finally shot a quick, “nothing, stay up here,” and left the room. My brother and I, still terrified, put in a movie, and ended up falling asleep. When we woke up, it was late afternoon, later than either of us normally slept until. We slowly made our way downstairs and found my mom and her best friend cleaning the mess up in the kitchen. They had already spoken to the police; they already had a restraining order. I helped finish clean up and we didn’t really talk about it much after that. Shawn was gone.

I’m not going to sit here and ask for sympathy, nor will I go on and on about how happy I was, because I wouldn’t. That probably sounds crazy, but because of the situation, I honestly felt nothing. Shawn was gone. Out of me life for good. Well, out of life isn’t always out of mind. He ruined my childhood, hands down. I will never forget the pain he put my family and me through. I still get panic attacks when I see him I don’t even have to talk to him and there go the tears. I’m done with him, and I’m done with being scared, even though 3 years later… I still am.

Although I can say this was one of the worst moments of my life, it has helped me grow so much as a person. Because of that time in my life, I’ve learned that everyone needs to be certain before they make choices on who they want to be with, and to always speak up when placed in a situation because you may regret not saying anything later. Be strong when life brings you down, because it gets better. It really does. Trust me, I would know. And even though my mom has forgiven Shawn, I don’t think I ever will. At first, I was skeptical about holding a grudge on him, but sometimes you have to put yourself first. This is me, putting myself first, letting go.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

augustsummerflingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 8:33 am:
This was awesome!
 
mariasherneskyy replied...
Oct. 29, 2012 at 11:28 am :
Thank you!
 
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