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LJI: Fear is the Heart of Love

I can’t catch my breath.

Every sound freezes me in place, frantic for for a place to hide. I've never been outside at 2am before. It’s dark and cold. My back pack weighs me down when I jump behind a bush to avoid being seen by a cop. I don’t want to go back. I’ve just turned 14 and the fingerprint bruises are still fresh on my skin where my father’s hands have been.

I told him I was afraid of him after he hit me. His anger exploded, a geyser of searing insults. If one of his students had said that about their father he would have to report it to the authorities. How dare I say it to him.

I snuck out the window that night to run to my mother’s house, crying when I left my sister and brother behind.

Another cop car comes by and I rethink my plan of running. How would his anger affect them if I was not there to bear the brunt of it? How would my grandmother react to finding me gone in the morning, the window of her bathroom left ajar?

I turn back.

The window sill cuts my palm open as I climb back in to the house, the red blood damning evidence on the white metal. Another wound that I stay silent about for two more years.

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

I can’t catch my breath. The blood is pounding in my ears, my husband’s face towering above me. His body leans toward mine, blocking the exit to the house. My hands are shaking holding my suitcase.

I tell him I am afraid of him. I want a divorce.  In response he backs me into the bedroom.

He takes my suitcase away. He takes my clothing away. He takes my voice away.

He does not take my fear away.

Afterward, he lies sleeping. I dress, gather my belongings, and leave.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
penpusher
Jan. 12th, 2017 07:26 pm (UTC)
The fear is palpable, we are right there a part of the scene and unable to do anything to help. Certainly this could be a the opening of a longer work because clearly this story isn't over.
lostin_thestars
Jan. 12th, 2017 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I started to write the after, but I felt like tying it up with a neat bow took something away from the fear I wanted to convey.

I'm glad that I was able to capture the feeling.
lilmissmagic71
Jan. 13th, 2017 01:46 am (UTC)
Wow... you packed this with such pain. The mirrored situation from child to woman is chilling. Well done.
lostin_thestars
Jan. 13th, 2017 05:02 am (UTC)
Thank you. This was one of those topics that just spilled onto paper for me. It hurt to write.
adoptedwriter
Jan. 13th, 2017 05:37 pm (UTC)
Wow! So powerful! Then again, fear is very powerful, and this piece shows that cycle so clearly. Hugs
lostin_thestars
Jan. 13th, 2017 05:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
marlawentmad
Jan. 14th, 2017 02:26 pm (UTC)

You framed this so well, it's powerful.

lostin_thestars
Jan. 14th, 2017 04:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much
rayaso
Jan. 15th, 2017 04:34 pm (UTC)
You did a great job with this, particularly illustrating why someone might stay in such a relationship -- to protect those left behind, as well as how abuse by a father can precede staying in an an abusive relationship with a husband. Very well done.
lostin_thestars
Jan. 15th, 2017 08:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
halfshellvenus
Jan. 15th, 2017 08:51 pm (UTC)
Too often, abused children may stay because they're afraid for their younger siblings. It's a terrible trap, but how can they avoid it? They're right.

Thank goodness there were no children in that later marriage- that is the second trap that awaits, and almost as hard to escape as the first one.
lostin_thestars
Jan. 15th, 2017 08:58 pm (UTC)
There was a child in the later marriage. She was already at my mothers before I had the conversation with him so she was spared from hearing that.
halfshellvenus
Jan. 15th, 2017 09:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad you got her out of there safely as well as yourself.

Sometimes, worrying about how to support herself and her child holds the mother back, or sometimes it's the awful gaslighting of being convinced her husband could get custody and take away her children.

But sometimes, children are also the final straw that help bring the abused spouse to "Never again."
lostin_thestars
Jan. 15th, 2017 11:12 pm (UTC)
It took me 5 years to put together the safety net I needed to leave. And yes there was a bit of gaslighting that contributed to it
bleodswean
Jan. 17th, 2017 01:20 pm (UTC)
Empowering. Nice job building the fear here.
lostin_thestars
Jan. 17th, 2017 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much
magazhchi
Jan. 17th, 2017 07:02 pm (UTC)

I loved the fact that she left the second time. Bravo! *Hugs*

lostin_thestars
Jan. 17th, 2017 08:47 pm (UTC)
Me too! I was glad I did.
eternal_ot
Jan. 18th, 2017 07:25 am (UTC)
Well written. The fear was alive and throbbing. Powerful!
lostin_thestars
Jan. 18th, 2017 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much
mamas_minion
Jan. 18th, 2017 08:50 pm (UTC)
This is very well written and you can feel the fear of the story teller. The transition from child to woman and the continued pattern of abuse is heart wrenching.
lostin_thestars
Jan. 19th, 2017 12:10 am (UTC)
Thank you
my_name_is_jenn
Jan. 18th, 2017 10:56 pm (UTC)
This was so powerful and so painful. I'm glad you were able to get out of there.

*hugs*
lostin_thestars
Jan. 19th, 2017 12:10 am (UTC)
Hugs!

Thank you
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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Writing
lostin_thestars
Light in the Darkness
My heart was broken open over and over and over again... and it just kept getting bigger.

It's time to either grow up, or disintegrate.

'What makes the desert beautiful,' said the little prince, 'is that it hides a well somewhere.'

To write love on her arms

You risk tears if you let yourself be tamed.

I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees.

The books that help you most are those which make you think that most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.

To whatever end.

I would not deny you, but by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion, and partly to save your life, for I was told you were in a consumption.

Always.
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