Safe and Sound

March 20, 2012
By brookyboo, Houston, Texas
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brookyboo, Houston, Texas
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Favorite Quote:
just because you paint a picture doesn't mean it fits the frame

I gasped as my head impacted the ground the pain instantly went through my body. My breath came out choppy, and I could feel my now ex-boyfriend Bruce lift me up to throw me down again. Unexpectedly, my voice came out clear when I yelled, “Stop!”
We lived in a small town, and I knew somebody had to hear me yell. Bruce put his hand over my mouth to make sure I wouldn’t scream again. Then we saw people walking near us; I was thankful one of them was Old Man Jenkins. Old Man Jenkins walked with a cane and was wearing brown pants, a cream shirt, and an old weathered leather jacket. He had already lost most of his hair, but he still had a little bit of white around his ears; he was like a second dad to me. His godson, Declan was my best friend so I was delighted to see that he was with Old man Jenkins; Declan had had short, dark brown hair and hazel eyes; he was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and his varsity jacket.

I couldn’t hear Declan, but I could read his lips as he spoke my name, “Rain.”
He was shocked when he saw Bruce and me—more importantly, what Bruce had done to me. I don’t know what I looked like in that moment, but from the way Declan looked at me, I knew it was bad. I glanced up at Old Man Jenkins, he said sternly, “Bruce, put her down!”

Bruce looked at me and threw me down. I was gasping, grabbed my legs and pulled them up against my chest. Bruce turned around and ran away quickly. I could feel Declan pick me up, and I whimpered as I wrapped my arms around him. He whispered, “Are you okay?”

I said, “Take me home, please.”
“I’ve got you”, he assured me.

Declan and Jenkins didn’t have a car with them and there were no cabs here since we lived in such a small town so they carried me back to their home that was about three blocks away.

Declan wanted to know what happened, but all I could whisper was, “I don’t know.”
When we finally got to his house a few minutes later he carried me inside and set me on the kitchen counter as Jenkins got out the first aid kit. I was breathing heavily still; they both could tell I was in shock. Mrs. Jenkins came home and gulped loudly when she saw me she made the boys take me to the bathroom where she helped me take off my clothes that wasn’t an easy task; the dried blood made them stick to my body then she helped me into the shower to clean myself off. My lip was swollen and was still quivering from the shock of everything that happened. She got some of her old clothes for me and walked me to the living room.
I didn’t speak; I was too scared. Declan looked down at me and said, “How about you guys give me some time alone with her?” Jenkins and his wife looked at Declan trying to figure out why, but they listened and left us alone. Declan moved a strand of my brown hair behind my ear. I shuddered, and he gently asked, “Rain, what happened?”

“He…he hit me.”
“Well I see that.”
I smiled. Declan always knew how to make me smile in the worst of times. He looked at me, “Do you want me to order pizza?”
“Could you get Hawaiian?” I requested.

He smiled, “Is there any other kind?”
I let out a sigh as he called the local pizzeria. He turned on the TV, and the news was on. I looked at the TV screen they were reporting about a severe fire that destroyed a bakery in a town that’s about an hour away from us. The entire bakery was burned to the ground the story overwhelmed me with memories of what happened to my parents when I was younger. I guess that’s why Declan and I are so close he became one of my best friends when my parents died. I was 8 years old when I went to live with my aunt, and I had to change schools in the middle of third grade; I didn’t know a soul. Declan accidently turned his juice cup over on me at lunch. He apologized, but I have to admit I held a grudge for a while. He ruined my brand new dress! I also had been through a lot recently; it took Declan roughly three weeks until I forgave him and ever since then we’ve been inseparable.

Declan came back and asked, “So what movie do you want to watch?”
He saw the look on my face as we both gazed at the screen. I looked at him and asked with a smile, “Do you remember how we met?”

He turned off the TV and chuckled, “How could I forget? You weren’t too happy with me for spilling juice on you, and you wouldn’t forgive me for weeks! It took forever till you would be nice to me!” I laughed at the memory he was right, but still he shouldn’t have been so clumsy! Declan looked at me then asked hesitantly, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, it’s just the memories of them. You know I don’t really remember what they looked like? My aunt never lets there be any pictures of them in the house because she thinks it’s too hard on me.”
Declan and I looked at each other then I stated, “I want to see my old neighborhood again.”
He raised his eyebrows, “Really? Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“Declan, I haven’t been there since I was eight; it’s only an hour away. Would you take me?”
Declan sighed and after another half hour of me begging and not letting him eat until he agreed he finally caved. I thanked him and he told me he could take me after he ate and took a shower. While he was in the shower I called my aunt to let her know I’d be home late.
Declan and I took the hour drive to my old neighborhood. I pointed to where my house used to be. The lot was empty now but I could see the smoldering and smoke though a couple of blocks over where the bakery used to stand. It was sad for me as I remembered crying in the ashes and wet soot when I was just a little girl. It seemed like so long ago. Declan tried to comfort me as much as he knew how to. He mainly quoted something from the Bible in the book Ecclesiastes; I think that’s what book he said it was. He told me how there’s a time for everything; there’s a time to cry and a time to laugh. Right now I think is a time to cry.

Once Declan got me back to his god dad’s house I went upstairs because they offered for me to stay the night. I texted my aunt to let her know I was staying the night. She doesn’t care she’s never really cared about what I did. When I told her I got hit she didn’t really ask any questions or seem worried about me. I’ve always felt like I was a nuisance to her. The next morning was a school day and my alarm went off. I got up and for a minute I completely forgot about yesterday. I stood up and immediately felt pain scorch through my body. I fell back down on my bed and breathed heavily then forced myself to get back up. I limped to my bathroom and looked in my mirror. The second I saw my reflection I knew I wouldn’t be going to school today. The girl in the mirror didn’t even look like me. My normally tan skin was now a sickly pale color, my dark brown hair that always seems to look perfect was oily and fell limply in front of my face, my normal lips that Declan used to tease me about by telling me every boy wanted kiss was swollen and cracked, my eyes looked pretty much the same aside from the bruises near them. I stared into my eyes from the reflection normally it seemed like I looked so happy right now my brown eyes looked like pools of darkness and despair.
There was a knock on the door that snapped me out of my daze. I limped to the door and saw Declan he smiled weakly at me and said, “You’re not going to school today, hon.”

“Thank you.” I muttered and I fell against his chest and started to cry. He wrapped his arms around me and held me close. It felt like the one day every year Declan and I would skip school come to mine or his house and just sit on the couch while I cried my eyes out. We did that every year on the anniversary of when my parents died. I guess we’ll have two days we do that this year. We walked down to the living room and he put in the movie “13 going on 30” it was one of the movies he always put in because he knew it made me laugh on a bad day. Today I stayed silent through the whole thing after that he put in the movie, “The Proposal” I didn’t laugh during that either. I could tell Declan was getting worried about me so he decided to put in, “Hitch” I still didn’t laugh. He decided to take a break from comedies and grabbed the computer and typed into Google, “10 top movies of all time”. He put in “Titanic” which was rated number 2 and I fell asleep in the middle of the movie. By the time my aunt came to pick me up I was still asleep in Declan’s lap and my aunt decided to leave me here for another night. I didn’t mind I loved staying at Declan and Old man Jenkins place. After I went up into my room and walked out onto the balcony I didn’t hear Declan when he came in. I sighed and then heard him say, “You okay?”

I looked back at him and nodded as I whispered, “Yeah.”
“No you’re not.”

I forced a smile, “How do you know that?”
“You’re voice cracked.”

“I just don’t understand any of this, Declan, you’ve told me that you’re a Christian and you serve God, right?”

“How could a God that’s so great and powerful let something so horrible happen to me?”
Declan sighed, “I don’t know, God has a way of working things out. I think you’re a part of some plan of his and that was the only way he could get your attention.”

I stood there for a second: confused about how I feel about this. I turned around and yelled, “Why couldn’t he figure out a different way?! Why couldn’t he send a little angel down and flat out talk to me! Why did he have to let me get abused!”

“Rain, calm down.”
“No Declan! Why should I? Nothing matters anymore! My parents are dead! My aunt doesn’t even take care of me I’m here over half the time because she’s always a business trips! She didn’t even ask me if I was okay after I told her Bruce hit me! The only person that even acts like they care about me is you! I love you Declan, but my life can’t revolve around you because that’s not fair to you so what do you suggest I do?!”

Declan grabbed me and held me tight and whispered in my ear, “Calm down Rain, you’ll be alright.”
“How do you know that?”

“No one can hurt you now; I won’t let them.”
“It just seems like my whole life is like a city that’s slowly burning down.”

I moved away from him and sat down on the floor of the balcony and said, “I need to leave this town.”
“I don’t really think you can do that.”

“Why not?”
“Rain you’re not even seventeen. Maybe when your eighteen you and I can leave here.”

“You and I?”
He looked at me, “I’ll always be here to protect you, Rain.”

“I love you, Declan.”
He smiled, “I love you too.”

“How long do you think it’ll be before I forget this nightmare?”
“Rain, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to forget it.”

I yawned and Declan looked over and smiled weakly at me and said, “Somebody needs some rest.”
I nodded slowly and Declan helped me get to the bed I looked up at him as he walked away and I said quietly, “Declan.”

He looked back at me and I stated, “I’m scared.”
“Rain, I’m right down the hall if you have a nightmare wake me up and we can go watch a movie.”

“Thank you.”
“Try to get some sleep.”

I nodded as he closed the door, but I knew I would get no sleep tonight.

I was right. I didn’t get any sleep that night. I heard Jenkins when he got up to get ready for work so I decided I’d greet him good morning. We’ve always called Jenkins “Old Man Jenkins” since we were little, but honestly he wasn’t too old he was in his mid-fifties right now. He worked as a pastor at the church Declan also goes to. We talked for a few minutes before he ran off. I watched TV until Declan woke up I heard him check my room and could hear his footsteps as he ran down the stairs as quickly as he could. He checked the kitchen for me first and yelled out, “Declan I’m in here!”

He walked to the living room and said, “Did you really have to scare me like that?”
“I didn’t know you’d freak out.”

“Sorry, I guess I’m paranoid.”
“You guess?”

“Okay, I am paranoid. I’m sorry I’m just worried about you.”
I nodded; I understood I couldn’t fall asleep last night because I was terrified that something might happen to me. Before I knew what I was saying I stated, “I want a therapist.”

Declan looked at me surprised that I said that. When I saw his look of surprise I knew I said that aloud. Declan nodded for a moment then said, “That’d probably be best for you.”

“Everywhere I turn I keep looking back to make sure that nobody is following me and I haven’t left this house. Declan, you don’t know how it feels for it to seem like everybody is just watching and waiting to attack…waiting to see you mess up again.”
“It’s not your fault that Bruce hit you.”

“I know, but it feels like it is.”
“Well get that feeling out of your system.”

I laughed and said, “I want to get out of here.”
“Rain, we talked about this you can’t leave this town yet.”

“I’m not talking about leaving this town I’m talking about just getting out of this house. I eventually have to face my fears.”
“Rain you can’t even walk up the stairs without wincing from the pain what makes you think you could walk around outside?”

“I don’t know Declan I just know if I stay here much longer I’m going to be scared to leave. I know this place is safe and I’m worried that eventually I’m going to get too scared to leave here.”
“How about you can come with me to church on Sunday? That’s in two days so you have a little bit more time to rest.”

I nodded and Declan knew that I was agreeing but just had no comment. Declan went into the kitchen to get us some left over pizza and I just sat there and thought: I was about to have to spread my wings and get out of my safe haven. Where everybody will wait and watch to see me mess up…again.

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