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I looked in my mirror, tears streaking down my face as I surveyed the damage that my boyfriend did to me. I was careful not to cry out loud, lest my mom should hear and come investigate. I couldn’t have that – she had already forbid me from seeing him. I could never stop seeing him.
I love him.
I gently applied cover-up to the red handprint on my face. I only wish there was some way for the bruise on my arm to go away. That’s where my dad always grabs me when I’ve done something wrong. He grabs a hold of my arm real fir,. Sometimes, if he’s really angry, he’ll hit me – but mom doesn’t know that. He hits my mom too. I don’t like seeing him hit her, but she loves him, so she endures it. That’s exactly the kind of attitude I have toward my boyfriend, Jake.
One of my good girlfriends asked me how I stand it. I just tell her I’, used to it – which is true, and I love him. Simple as that.
There, finished applying my makeup. I hope it doesn’t come off in the night. I climbed in bed, and as soon as my head hit the pillow, shouting erupted from my parent’s room, which is right on the other side of my un-insulated wall.
My dad was yelling at my mom – incredibly loudly. There was a slight break in his rant when he allowed my mom to reply. Then I heard a slap and a gasp.
Mom would be putting on cover-up tomorrow, too.
“TERRA!!” came my name from his room. I slowly climbed out of bed and trudged dreadfully down the short hallway to their doors.
I knocked, as was required.
“Get in here!” I opened the door just wide enough for me to slip through.
“Where were you tonight?” I glanced at my mom holding her face on the corner of the bed and the clock that read 2:13 am.
“With Jake,” I replied quietly. My mom looked at me.
“Honey, the boy that hits you?” she asked.
My father glared at her and she visibly shrank back. Then he grunted.
“At least he’s teaching you respect. I know I sure don’t get it from you.”
“Richard!” my mother exclaimed. “He hits our daughter!”
“What’s the difference?” I asked. “I get it here, I get it there. But I love him. You…” I swallowed and mustered my courage. “You can’t keep me from seeing him!”
“You get it where?!” Mom shrieked.
“Watch your words, girl,” Dad warned me. “You’re treading in treacherous waters now.”
“What are you…?” Then realization dawned on her. “Richard! You…you hit our daughter?”
“She’s got to learn respect somehow!” he defended himself.
“Richard, how could you?!” Then, with visible difficulty, she steeled herself.
“Terra, pack your things, we’re leaving.”
“I thought I was protecting you by letting him get his anger out on me. He promised he never would.”
“Don’t talk about me like I’m not here!” Dad roared. Mom ignored him. I commend her for that. It’s really hard to ignore my father.
“I’m so sorry, baby.” My mom got up and took a change of clothes out of her closet.
“Meredith, if you leave, I…I’ll…I’ll kill myself!”
“Good riddance,” she muttered. She was at the door, I was in the hallway, when my father took a 5x7 picture in a frame – a wedding picture no less – and flung it at my mom.
It hit her right in the back. She gasped and stumbled forward. I caught her and help into the hall just in time to stand up and storm over here. I shuddered at his face in the lamplight. Then I realized that I had had way too much of him hurting my mom. I pushed her out of the way and faced my father’s bulk in the doorway.
“Move!” he screamed. I set my jaw.
“No.” He glared at me.
“Terra Jean. Get out of my way.” He was about to shove me aside when I yelled, “Get out of my life!” and kicked him in the groin, and shoved my palm upward on his nose as he doubled over. Then I took the lamp from the small table in the hallway, ripped the cord out of the outlet, and smashed it on his head.
“That’s for everything.” I looked at my mother, who was staring at me with shock written on her face and a little bit of pride.
“Mom?” She nodded.
“Let’s get out of here.”
“What about Jake?” she asked. I contemplated that for a minute.
“He doesn’t deserve me.”
“Amen,” she said. “Amen.”