by Heiress.ha10, 11th
[Note: before reading]
This fictional story has scenes of abuse and physical violence. If these issues bring up anything, reach out and talk to someone- a trusted adult or teacher.
I wish I could start this story off with “Once upon a time” but that’s too tranquil for the story I’m about to tell you. My name is De’Liza King and this is my story. EIGHT. EIGHT. I was eight years old when my father struck my mother for the first time. It was 10:49 pm and I had woken up from a nightmare. I went downstairs to look for my mom because I needed the comfort only she could provide and as I was on the last step I heard pleading. It sounded like my mom. When I turned the corner before me was my father pinning my mother against the wall. He slapped her and she tumbled to the ground.
That was the first time I had ever seen my mother cry. Instead of going to my momma I turned right back around and went back to bed because anything I dreamt of would be better than the nightmare I had just stumbled upon. The next morning both my parents were at the dining table and my mom was smiling at something my father had said. There was no bruise anywhere and it seemed like everything that I witnessed never happened. Honestly, sometimes I think it never did but the cries I hear at night remind me that it was not just another nightmare. But that's how it was for the next eight years and my ideology of a good relationship was morphed.
My junior year of high school is when my life took a turn for the worse, I meet a boy named Daxton. He shared a history class with me and one day we were paired to do a presentation together. As the weeks passed by Daxton and I hung out more and more and I became infatuated. We eventually started dating and everything was PERFECT, or so I thought. My senior year of high school Daxton became violent. He got jealous and mad at me for hanging with people other than him, he isolated me from my friends and I didn’t like it. One day I was paired up with another boy for a film project and Daxton got mad. That was the first time he had ever hit me. That day I went home and cried to my mother and she told me that if I really loved him than it was ok and that I should love him regardless of his flaws.
That should have been my wake up call, that if I didn’t want to end up like my mom I needed to end this. But I was foolish and naive and I listened to her. The next week Daxton took me to the movies and while we were there I was seated next to another guy and Daxton became quiet. I asked him what was wrong because he was never that quiet, but I didn’t mind I wanted to enjoy the movie anyway. While watching the movie I felt a tap on my shoulder and I looked over and the guy seated next to me asked if he could squeeze by to go to the bathroom so I moved my legs and watched him walk away until I made eye contact with Daxton. I turned back to the movie until he came back again and then apologized for disrupting me and we went back to watching the movie. On the ride back Daxton was still quiet. It was kind of alarming and I was worried about him.
When he pulled up to my house my parents weren’t home so I invited him in so we could talk but as soon as I closed the door my back was on the door and my feet no longer touched the ground. As I looked up I no longer saw my loving boyfriend, standing in front of me was a monster. His veins were throbbing out of his neck and his pupils were completely dilated. He dropped me and as I slumped to the ground trying to gather my breath he kicked me in my stomach and yelled, “You whore! How could you? I thought you loved me! But if you want to talk to other guys than I’ll give you a reason to talk to other guys. Just know they will never love you the way I love you. You’re worthless and nobody except me will ever love you.” Each word accompanied by a kick or a punch. No longer was I worried about him, but more fearing for my life.
All I could think about was how I was going to die in my parents house with no degree. But all of a sudden he stopped. He looked down and we made eye contact and tears started streaming down his face. He ended up taking me to the hospital chanting how much he loved me before I blacked out. That was probably one of the scariest days of my life. The next day I woke up in a hospital bed with him by my side and the events of last night fresh on my mind. The doctor ended up coming in and asking to talk to me, he asked me what happened and I stayed quiet. He dismissed Daxton and asked again and when I didn’t answer he gave me a card. On that card it said battered women helpline with a number. He gave me a knowing look and walked out.
I was stuck in the hospital for days, because I had two broken ribs, a fractured wrist and internal bleeding and they wanted to run test on me. Everyday the same doctor who I found out was Mr. Alighieri, kept checking in on me and trying to talk to me to get my account on what happened that night, but I never talked. After a while he just started talking to me to keep me company and for the first time I realized just how much I longed for a friend. The following week I was discharged. My mom drove me home and during the ride she looked at me and asked, “He did this didn’t he?” I looked away because I didn’t know how to respond. She let it go and continued driving. When we got home she gave me the same card the doctor had gave to me and told me that she had scheduled me to join a group session and that it should be good for me. That night I stayed up listening to my mother plead with my father and wondering if that was the life I wanted for myself.
The next morning I got dressed determined not to relive my mother’s nightmare and went into the building. As soon as I walked in I saw the same doctor that tended to me. We made eye contact and he smiled at me. I looked away and walked to the front desk. They showed me to the room and standing in the front was the same doctor. That day I found out he was also a psychologist and he told us how he got into working with battered women. After the session on my way out the door he asked me how old I was. I was perplexed but answered 18 and he walked away. The next day I saw Daxton and avoided him like the plague. The following week I went back to Mr. Alighieri’s battered woman class, and that was when he told me that when I graduated high school he could help me. I didn’t know what he meant so I left it at that. That night I told my mom about Mr. Alighieri and him saying he could help me and she told me about how she told him about her hunch on Daxton and him abusing me. She also told me how she actually saw Mr. Aligieri threaten Daxton to leave me alone or he would call the police on him. The following session I thanked Mr. Alighieri. He offered me the opportunity to escape after high school. He told me about a vacation home he had in Nevada that he would let me use until I could get back on my feet. I accepted. The weeks that followed were relatively the same, I would go to my weekly sessions go to school and come home. Except every now and then Daxton would attempt to try and talk to me. One day I let him and he told me how much he missed me and how he would never put his hands on me and like the fool I was, I believed him. I took him back.
The weeks flew by and Daxton and I were in bliss. We hadn’t argued, he hadn’t hit me and we even made some new friends. Not only that but graduation was in two days. I was ecstatic. Although we were back together, I still attended my weekly group sessions with Mr. Alighieri and when I told him about me and Daxton being back together he was highly disappointed in me and for some reason his disappointment didn’t sit well. I hated the feeling that it gave me. But deep down I knew he was right. I knew I shouldn’t have gotten back with Daxton but I missed the feeling of being with him I missed him, the good him.
The day before graduation I made an unexpected visit to Mr. Aligieri and I invited him to my graduation. He gladly accepted and promised to see me tomorrow. The next day I woke up early and well rested, elated to finally be done with high school. This was the day I had been yearning for. As they called my name and I walked across the stage, collected my diploma and realized that I couldn’t have been happier. As I went to go hug my parents Daxton came over angrier than I had ever seen him. “Who is he ?” I stayed quiet. “I said, who is he?” he yelled in my face. The vein in his neck started throbbing and I started getting flashbacks of that horrible night. As I started cowering away Mr. Aligieri came over and pushed Daxton away from me. That’s when Daxton swung on him. Next thing I know there were two men fighting in front of me and all I could do was stand there and watch. Finally they were pulled apart both of them huffing and puffing. Daxton had black eye and bloody nose whereas Mr. Alighieri had a busted lip. As I started towards Mr. Aligieri, Daxton grabbed my arm and started dragging me away, but that’s when I had enough. I realized I couldn’t do this to myself anymore.
That night I cried myself to sleep but for once it wasn’t tears of sadness but tears of relief. The following morning I packed my clothes up and went to Mr. Alighieri’s office to see if his offer for the vacation home was still available. He said it was so the following morning I said my goodbyes and fled to Nevada away from this madness I called life. When I arrived I applied to university and went searching for part time jobs I could get to bring in some extra cash.
It’s been five years. No longer am I that naive young child I used to be. I still have nightmares but Mr. Aligieri has been helping me to get over them. Speaking of Mr. Aligieri, I no longer live in his vacation home. I have my own place and even my own business. I own my own jewelry store in Carson City, and it’s quite successful if I do say so myself. I’m still single because I wanted to be able to know what love truly is before just jumping into another relationship.
The previous week I was in my store when I saw Daxton walk in. His eyes were bright and lively. He looked more muscular and his hair was shorter, but I would recognize him from anywhere. As he approached me I could see the shock in his eyes. Tears began swelling in his eyes as he grabbed my hand. I flinched and he released my hand immediately. “I’m sorry, I am so so sorry. I never wanted to hurt you and in my own twisted way I truly did love you.” I stayed quiet.“I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you, but I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in junior year and I didn’t want to tell you. I was afraid you would leave me. But then things got out of hand. The day I hit you for the first time was when I signed myself up for therapy and they gave me pills. For a while it was working so I stopped taking the pills. But I lost it, I lost my self control and I did it. I hit you again and put you in the hospital. That was when I vowed to never stop taking my pills. But it was too late. I had lost you, but then you forgave me and I had never felt happier. I did everything I could to make you happy but I knew deep down inside you would never fully recover and resented me for all I had done. Graduation was when I knew I had lost you for good. That look you gave me as I sent that first punch sent chills down my spine. The amount of venom and hate in your eyes were uncanny. I knew I had to let you go. I realized I wasn’t right for you, and our relationship was toxic and for that I’m sorry. You should never have been in those situations and I should have been honest from the start.”
The last thing I had ever told him was “If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be living in Nevada, I wouldn’t have taken the path to find a better life for myself. I wouldn't have my own jewelry store and like they say PRESSURE CREATES DIAMONDS, so thank you for being the pressure I needed to succeed in life.
Oakland | East Bay, CA