All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
She is walking across the back yard of the school to the library. She just wants to get away from him before he blows up at her for nothing. He is following her, yelling her name. If she can just make it to the library, he can’t get angry at her. She could avoid him for just a little bit longer.
All she has to do is keep walking, speed up, keep walking.
She gets so close to the door of the library when he catches her by the arm. His hands feel violent in a way she has never felt before. She can no longer avoid his rage. He slams her back against the wall, it hurts. It feels like if he applies just an ounce more force he’ll break her bones. It is enough force to break her heart. She has never seen him this angry. She sees him raise up his arm, she snaps her eyes shut.
He doesn’t know why he hit her. It just happened. His anger feels like a pot of water boiling inside of him. There is only so much he can do before he has to let the pressure out. It slowly leaks out before he must explode. And hitting her provides that release of pressure. He doesn’t know why.
She shouldn’t have of been talking to that other guy. He thinks. She should have been talking to me instead. Not that the guy would’ve done anything, it’s her I can’t trust. She’s always talking to other guys.
She claims that she is just friends with the guys she spends her time with, but how can she only be friends with them? He knows how guys think, so what could they be thinking about her?
But this was the first time he ever hit her. He’d yelled at her for years and threatened to hit but never had. He’d always swore to never lay a hand on her, and for some reason, hitting her had made him feel better.
“What are you doing?” The horror in her green eyes cuts through him like a knife. “Brian?”
He holds her against the wall. His power over her causes her body to shudder with fear. “Why were you talking to him?” He snaps, that being all he could say. She didn’t answer. She’s terrified of what he will do if she says anything. “Why?” He says. He hits her again, this time right below her eye.
“Because he’s my friend, that’s all.” Her voice is barely a whisper. “Why are you doing this to me? Stop!”
“Don’t you ever talk to me like that again! Are you listening!? And if I ever find out that you were hanging out with him again, so help me...” He pauses. He is holding her arms so tight his nails are starting to leave indents on her forearms.
This had been going on since a few years ago. He’d yell at her, put her down, and make her feel like she was worth less than garbage. She couldn’t even list the amount of names he had called her, there were just too many. All the fights they had gotten into. She stuck around, afraid of what he was capable of. She never told anyone about how bad he was, and she never would. That would only make it worse. He stares at her, his eyes relentless.
She pulls her eyes away from his glare. She slouches her head forward, her hot tears falling on the cold and cracked concrete sidewalk below her feet. He holds her arms and tries to look at her face. He can’t help being angry at her. And she can hardly talk. He is shaking. His eyes are open wide and he just wants her to look at him.
“Look at me.” He demands. She shakes her head weakly. He grabs her chin and pulls it up towards him until she meets his gaze.
And they are forced to make eye contact. Her dark green eyes are so afraid, full of tears and fear. His own hazel eyes show nothing but darkness and rage. Something about seeing this much anger sparks new emotions within her.
“I’m done.” She whispers.
He grabs her arms even tighter. “What do you mean we’re done? We’re not done unless I say so! We’re not done!” She winces at the volume of his words.
Part of her hopes someone will hear them and come help her. The other part prays no one will come near and set Brian off worse.
He grabs her chin tighter and tries to kiss her. She jerks away from him.
“I’m done Brian, I can’t do this anymore.” She says, suddenly strong. She pushes him away from her.
“Don’t you say that, Lucy.” He grabs her arm again. She ducks as if he is going to hit her again. “ You will never find someone as tolerant as I am, who will treat you better than I have treated you! No one will ever love you like I do!” He yells, he hits her again.
She touches her face where he had hit her. This isn’t love. She finds herself thinking. She pulls away and begins to walk across campus. Keep walking, she tells herself again. Keep walking. Walk away. She picks up her speed.
Seeing her walk away like that does something to him. It makes him furious. He doesn’t want her, but he doesn’t want to be without her either. What would people say? What would she tell them? He has to keep her.
“Baby no. I’m sorry.” He says, running after her. She keeps walking.
This is the first time she ever just keeps walking. Her sobbing drowns out his shouts. She makes it to the library and down the hallway. Brian is far behind her. A teacher yells at her for running in the halls, she doesn’t care. The final bell of the day rings and Lucy runs to her car, not looking back. She pulls out of the parking lot and drives. Just drives.
Don’t look back. She tells herself. Don’t give in again.
At this time Brian is in his car too. He is yelling at the steering wheel, calling Lucy a slurry of names under his breath. He has to really make it up to her if he is going to get her back.
Lucy gets to her house and locks herself in her room. She doesn’t want her parents to know what happened. They had been trying to get her to break up with Brian for years. If they knew he had hit her and held her against the wall, they would freak out. They’d call the cops. Everyone at school would know about what Brian did to her. They’d probably blame her. She starts crying, crumpling into a ball on the soft baby blue shag carpet of her bedroom floor.
Brian is still in his car. He is shaking, his fists clenched. He doesn’t care if she leaves him. He knows she’ll come back, she always comes back.
Lucy takes their pictures down, putting them in the drawer beside her bed. She can’t get herself to throw them away. They used to be happy. Brian never used to be like he has become. She fell in love with the boy who would bring her flowers out of the blue. She fell in love with the boy who she could just sit and talk to for hours upon hours. The boy who had made her feel beautiful even when she knew deep down she wasn’t. The boy that took her to his junior prom and expected nothing from her in return. He was the kind of boy who would send good morning and good night texts to her every day. Now the texts had become mean and demanding. The boy she fell in love with is gone now, replaced by this new and cruel boy.
The pictures almost tell the story of their love. Through out the pictures Lucy’s smile becomes more fake and so much hides behind it. The first picture is them at their first date. Lucy’s eyes are so bright and filled with a new found joy. The last picture she puts away is them at his family’s house. Her eyes are hiding her emotions. Her eyes seem dark and tired in the picture, no glow within them. It feels good to take the pictures down.
Brian sits there, in the driver’s seat of his old white Toyota Tundra. A Metallica song is blaring, vibrating the windows, trying to drown the images of Lucy walking away out of his brain,but that’s all he can see. Her walking away. He can only see the tall, slender girl walking across the snowy grass. Her worn out deep purple Chuck Taylors pounding across the ground, leaving small foot prints behind. He can see her clothes, grey jeans and a baggy emerald green sweater. Her ebony black hair against the white landscape. The images run through his mind. They make hot tears fall down his face. The tears make him angrier. He screams, slamming his fist against the steering wheel and making the horn sound loudly.
Lucy sees Brian as well. It makes her feel physically sick. She can see his hazel eyes flashing as he hit her the first time. She can see his tall frame, muscle and height standing over her. The picture of his arms, covered in a Hollister hoodie she had gotten him for his birthday, as he held her against the cold wall of the library. His hands, tan and big, locked around her forearms. She shakes her head, trying to erase the images. If only her brain were an Etch-A-Sketch, then she could just shake her head and it would all be erased.
Brian looks up. He can’t be without her. Seeing the replay of her walking away sets something new off in his heart. He feels guilt, shame. Tears fall from his eyes. He pulls out of the parking lot.
Lucy sits down on her bed. She just wants to be alone. She doesn’t even want to think of Brian. He’s all she can think about. The images dance through her brain on a constant loop. She looks at her reflection in the rectangular mirror on her dresser. Her cheek is bruising from his hits. It throbs and is turning a deep red. She pulls up the sleeves of her sweater where his nails have left little crescent shaped purple cuts on the inside of her arms. She puts a pillow over her mouth and just screams.
About twenty minutes pass and there is a knock on Lucy’s door. She jumps, her heart nearly leaping from her chest. She opens the door, her hands shaking uncontrollably. She already knows it is him, by the soft and gentle knock on the cedar door. He always knocked like that, about four quiet beats, so her parents couldn’t tell something was wrong.
“Lucy.” He says. His eyes are shiny, like he had been crying. His hands aren’t fists, but resting calmly at his sides.
“What do you want, Brian? I told you, I’m done.” She stands tall before him for the first time. Her hands are still shaking, so she folds them behind her back. Her eyes look straight ahead at him. She tells herself not to be afraid.
“Can we just talk, Lucy? Please, let’s go outside and talk.” He says. He reaches for her arm. She takes a sharp step backwards.
“Don’t you touch me! You touch me and I will call the cops. I don’t care any more, Brian.” She widens her eyes at him with caution. He folds his arms across his chest.
“Okay, okay, I won’t touch you. Please, Lucy, I just want to talk.” His voice pleads.
“Fine.” She grabs her turquoise, wool peacoat from her chair and puts it on. She storms past him and through the French style door to her backyard.
Snowflakes are tumbling down from above, like ballerinas dressed all in white. They spin and fall, glittering in the light. It’s not that cold out, just chilly. They stand there, in the oak gazebo, the only dry area in the massive yard. The seafoam green colored paint is chipping. She just stares at him, her eyes sore and tired.
Brian looks into those eyes. “Lucy I’m so sorry!”
She looks down at the heart drawn on the toe of her right Chuck Taylor. He had drawn that after one of their fights. “You say that every time.”
“I know I do baby, but this is different.” He says.
“Yeah Brian, it is different. You hit me! You hurt me! It is different!” She raises her voice at him for the first time.
“I know, and I wish I could take it back. I’d do anything to take it back. I can’t believe I hit you. I just lost control of my anger and lost it. I know, it’s no excuse, but I am sorry. I have never been more sorry in my life, Lucy.” He says.
Lucy just stands there. She closes her eyes as tight as she could, trying to hold in the tears. Her attempts fail and a hot tear slips down her face, almost burning her skin in the bitter and cold air. “Sorry isn’t going to change anything, Brian.” She says, her teeth clenched.
“I know, Lucy, I know.” He says.
“I’m done, I mean it, Brian. I’m done.” She says a strange calmness to her voice.
His sorrow is painted across his face. His eyes close softly then open, brimming with tears. He lets out a sigh and looks at her. “Lucy, please,” He whispers, “Don’t do this.”
“I can’t do this any more, Brian. It hurts for me to end it, but you hurt me if I don’t. What choice do I have?” She shivers.
“Lucy, baby please. I will change I swear. I hit you and I’m so sorry. If you stay, I will never hit you again. I promise you, please Lucy.” He pleads.
There is something different in his voice she has never heard before. There is concern. There is regret. All the fights they had been through, he had never had this inflection to his voice. There is no sign of anger, just truth. No, don’t fall for this, she tells herself, He’s just came up with a new game.
For the past couple years, she hasn’t had any control. She is the puppet and he is the master. His hands control everything. They pull her up and tell her where to go and not to go. They give her freedom then pull her back to his control. The hands that control her now hold her and hit. There is no true freedom, she’s always connected to him by strings. If only she could cut those strings. She is the puppet, and he the master.
He stands before her, his eyes breaking her heart. He reaches out his hand to her. She tries to ignore it. His hand falls back to his side. Part of her sees him in front of her. The sad boy with desperate eyes, who might for once care about her. The other part sees the boy slapping her. She can still feel her cheek throbbing from his hand. Feel her arms burn from his cuts. And then she sees the boy in front of her again, hanging his head in defeat. It feels like her heart is in the middle of a game of tug-of-war.
They had went without speaking for almost ten minutes. Brian had never felt worse than he did during those ten minutes. All he could see was her walking away. He never wanted to see it again. “Lucy, what can I do?” He asks.
“Nothing Brian.” She looks down.
Don’t do it, don’t you give in to him again. Tears fall down her face as her heart and her brain argue with each other. You’ll only regret it. Her brain says.
No, you love him. Give him another chance. Her heart responds.
She sits down on the old bench behind her, her knees shaking too much to stand anymore. She places her face in her hands. Brian kneels down before her. He touches her hands. She looks up at him. He takes her hand in his, and she lets him.
“I promise you, Lucy, I am going to change. ” He says. She can’t tell if he is being real this time.
She doesn’t want to give in again. But this time is different. He smiles at her faintly. “Please Lucy, I promise.” He says.
She smiles back at him, giving in to his game once again.
Another jerk of the strings.