I came home late one night and my father was shaking from head to toe. Shaking with rage. Like he was holding himself back from hitting me. Like it took every ounce of his self-control to keep his hands at his side instead of wrapping them around my neck, instead of aiming a fist at my face, instead of making me see how big of a mistake I had made. I escaped to my room before he lost complete control of his temper, before I found out whether I was right about what he wanted to do. That was the first time I saw him like that. That was the first time I felt afraid of him.
I came home after class one day and found the bathroom door smashed to pieces. Slivers of wood scattered across the tile. Glass from the full-length mirror that had once been connected to the door completely shattered. Stray blood on the floor and on whatever was left of the door. They had a fight. She ran into the bathroom to escape. But he found a way inside. That sounds like a fucked up story, a story that should only be told in fiction, but to me, it’s just a story. To me, it’s just my life.
I heard glass shatter one night and jumped out of bed. I’ve become the kind of person who jumps out of bed at the slightest sound to check downstairs, to make sure that she is okay. To make sure that he hasn’t hurt her. By the time I reached the stairs, he was already coming up them and laughed about how panicked I looked, told me with a straight face how nothing happened, how I was hearing things. He told the lie so well that I believed him. Went back to bed. Didn’t find out until morning that he had smashed a glass and left her to clean up the mess. It’s weird to realize how well someone can lie. It’s weird to realize there’s poison in my genes.
He came home from the bar at midnight, covered in bruises. I’d never seen anyone that beat up aside from in films. A black eye. Purple bruises across his entire arm. Deep cuts creasing his knees. He said that the bartender told him he fell. He doesn’t remember it himself, of course. He never remembers the bad stuff. To this day, I don’t know if he got into a fight or if he really did fall. And I don’t know whether it matters anymore.
I finally got out of that house. I finally found peace. I finally found someone who would never hurt me, emotionally or physically.
After getting over my trust issues, after finding someone who made me feel comfortable for a change, I felt his fist against my chest. I watched the bruises bloom from purple to yellow. I covered up with long sleeves and sweatshirts.
I switched homes, but I still ended up in the same place I tried so hard to escape.