Free.

Sometimes, I surprise myself. It’s like one of those things where you don’t really understand what you’re capable of until it’s down to the nitty-gritty. No, I still don’t have a car and I am no where near being close to having one at the moment, but the amount of emotional courage I gain sometimes is astounding. I really am smart, or I can be. In certain areas.

I realized that I haven’t been all that personal with my posts. And I think that part of me is afraid to really let it all out. I’m afraid that total strangers might think that I am absolutely psychotic, or that I am completely mentally unstable. Which I’m sure many of you already think. But I’m going to try to be a little more personal. And I have a story that might bring me into it.

I was dating this guy once. It was for about 2 years or so. He was a recovering heroin addict and I was just looking for some companionship. We got along alright and were kinda forced to move in together. And by that I mean I was being kicked out of the last place I was living and this guy, lets just call him Tom, well Tom being a decent human being didn’t want to see me struggle. So he asked his dad if him and I could move into a house that was owned by his family and we could pay rent. Tom really did me a favor and saved me a LOT of stress and tears by having to find somewhere to go. But if were going to be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about having to live with him. It was just convenient and ten times better than the alternative, which was sleep in my 1995 Nissan Altima. So, even though I did not want to live with Tom, and I was skeptical about him being a recovering addict, I figured if he was willing to stick out his neck and help me like this he couldn’t be that bad, right? Well, maybe for the time being.

So, we co-habit-ed.  I did the girlfriend thing like try to have dinner cooked and took care of the dogs and I worked. I slept in the same bed as him and I had sex with him. Even though I wanted to do absolutely none of those things but I thought it was something I just had to do.  Because that’s what happy people who live with their significant others do, right? I tried so hard to be happy. And he was good to me for a while. Not someone I actually wanted to spend my life with but it wasn’t completely uncomfortable. Not until I realized that some of the things I that I actually hated and have been ignoring could not be ignored any longer. Like his drinking. His crazy, excessive, every single night drinking. He was either a really happy drunk, or a really really mean one. And his friends. His loser friends with no jobs that would come over on a Tuesday and drink till 4 or 5 in the morning and pass out on the couch or the floor – or worse- the drive way. It was so embarrassing and I would try to explain to Tom that I did not like this. I hated it. I was mortified when the neighbors would come outside and point and laugh. Or shake their heads in disappointment or disapproval. And Tom? He would tell me things like ‘These are my friends and my dad’s house and I make the most money so get used to it or get out’. And at the end of the day, my voice held absolutely no weight because he was doing me a favor by keeping a roof over my head. I began to hate my life and all the people in it. But I was stuck. I was stuck and I couldn’t get out because I had no family and no friends. I was alone. I was alone and miserable and I would think daily that I want nothing more than to just end it.

It only got worse when I lost my job. The bank had let me go and then I was a full time stay at home dog-mom looking for any job, anything. My self esteem had never been lower and my dignity had all but disappeared. I then could no longer even voice my thoughts or opinions or feelings on Tom and his drinking and his friends and his parties. Because before when I could at least say that I didn’t like it at least I was bringing home some of the bacon. Now here I was, 18 years old. No job. No money. Completely relying on a man because not even a fast food place was hiring. I had then at that point stopped having sex with him. I couldn’t stand him or myself. I hated being alone in the room with him because I was afraid he would try something. And I would have to because if not, he would kick me while I was already down and guilt me and force me to have sex with him by saying I was useless, jobless, a slob. I owed him. If I wanted to eat that day? I had to do things with him. If I wanted a cigarette? Even more degrading stuff. I would silently lay there and cry while he did whatever he wanted. It was sick. I had never felt less like a person in my entire life. I was basically a prostitute. All because I was hungry. Or I needed a new shirt for a job interview. Or just because I was a waste of space and he needed something out of me for breathing his air.

Until one day. I came home from applying for some jobs and there Tom was. Sitting in the living room with his friend that was running from the cops. Getting high. Shooting and snorting heroin. I couldn’t take it any more. I lost it. I yelled at his friend to get the fuck out of the house or I was calling the cops and turning him in. I cried and told Tom he had come so far, that he couldn’t go back to doing this. He couldn’t do this to me. But Tom didn’t care. Instead, he got violent. He started with a huge slap across my face. I had never, at that point, been hit by a male. I hadn’t been hit by anyone in my life. I think the shock made it hurt worse. I’m not really sure how it escalated from there, I think that I had blocked it out for so long that the details get blurry. But I remember being dragged down the hallway by my hair. Being kicked. Spit on. I remember covering my face and praying that at least that would be alright. Nobody would hire me with a banged up face and I would really never be able to get out of this situation. Then Tom picked me up by my ponytail and threw me on the bed. I remember for sure praying that he would continue to beat the shit out of me and not rip off my clothes and try to have sex with me. Especially not with his friend in the house. But lady luck was on my side. He didn’t tear my clothes off, instead he hovered over me and began to choke me. His thumb pressing deeper and deeper, cutting off all air. I remember his friend standing in the doorway to the bedroom and laughing, actually laughing, tell saying “Dude, Tom, she’s totally turning blue. Look at her!”

I started seeing spots. I started getting tunnel vision. I didn’t know what to do and a part of me was ready to just give into it. I would rather be dead than continue my life like this. I didn’t want to live anymore. I was ready for it to be over long before I even realized it. Subconsciously, anyway. But then right before I passed out, my hand flopped off to the side and I felt something hard beneath it. And without even thinking, just a reflexive thing, I picked up the back massage thing he used every night and swung up as hard as I possibly could. Which must have been pretty fucking hard because with one good hit to the head, Tom keeled over to the side, lying next to me on the bed. The tunnel vision started to clear and the spots disappeared. I didn’t take long to get my grip because I knew at any second he would come to and who knew what the fuck was going to happen to me after what I’ve just done. I couldn’t even believe it myself!  I got up and checked to make sure he was still breathing. I mean, I could NOT tell the cops that I killed someone. I sat there crying. Begging for him to be okay. I tapped his cheek a few times and kept saying his name over and over.

God, this could not be happening! What the fuck just happened? And where in the hell did his friend go? I looked down the hall and saw that the front door was open. The friend along with Tom’s dogs long gone. When I looked back down at Tom I saw his eyes began to flicker. That’s when I made a run for it. I whipped around, jumped off the bed, sprinted down the hall and grabbed my keys off the counter. I didn’t have time to put on shoes, I got in my car so fast and floored it.

The last thing I really remember is looking in my rear-view and seeing Tom standing in the middle of the road staring at my tale-lights.

It wasn’t the end, it was far from being the end. But for that brief moment, I was safe.

For that brief moment, I was free.

-B

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