Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Your Boyfriend Will Kill You"

The note was stuck to the front door of my apartment, 2D, and in my rush to rip it off I almost dropped the paper bag full of groceries on the hard floor. I looked around the dark empty hallway frantically, searching for movement, like whoever put it there would still be lurking around. I wondered who else had seen it, this proof of my shame and my fear.

"Your boyfriend will kill you"

I was even more afraid that HE could have seen it. 
In my head I knew it was impossible: 
he was away, doing construction work at that country home,
the kind he says he will build for me...someday
But still I was afraid. 
This would make him really angry.
He told me never to make him mad
Never to tell anyone our business.
And I didn't, I swear I didn't. Not even my Momma.
But I have done something wrong. Someone knows, and it is my fault.

I rushed into my tiny studio apartment and bolted the door, away from their prying eyes.
The groceries forgotten right by the door, I half-ran to my bathroom and knelt by the cleaning cabinet. My heart was pounding as I searched for the old, discarded box of dryer sheets that had been damaged by the leaking faucet, now kept in a dry corner because they contained a secret he must never find. "Someone knows" The others were undiscovered, right there where I hid them beneath the vanilla-scented sheets. I spread them out on the cold bathroom floor.

The pretty white card in the mail on Valentine's day: "Your boyfriend will kill you"
The back of the crumpled block-party invitation under my windshield wipers last month: "Your boyfriend will kill you" 
This lipstick-scrawled note on my apartment door: "Your boyfriend will kill you"

Someone knew. And they were warning me. Get out now.

"You need to get out. Now." Those were the last words my only remaining friend said to me before I threw her out of my apartment and vowed never to speak to her again. Everyone else had long given up on me, frustrated that I would not leave a man they all knew was bad news. She had come to see me, uninvited, and when I wouldn't open the door she used the spare key I had given her long ago. I was crouched in the corner of my kitchen, my lips bleeding, my left eye swollen shut, and holding on to the pieces of my shattered spirit by a tiny thread. Still, I wouldn't tell her. But she knew. She begged me to go to the Police with her, offered me her place to stay so I could be away from him and expressed concern for my safety. But I turned on her. He had told me never to listen to her. She was single, lonely and obviously jealous that someone loved me. So I stuck a knife in the only person who still cared enough for me, I stuck it where it would hurt the most, and I twisted it until she hated me too. And then I was alone.

Now someone else knew. 
I tried to think who it could be. 
The beautiful couple with the cute baby in 3D.
Ms Mae, the sweet old lady down in 1D.
Tara in 2C who used to invite me to drinks with her friends.
Or David, the cute, concerned medical student in 2E.
Any of them could have heard us through the thin walls.
Really, it could be anyone else...

I thought about what they were trying to tell me: I was a victim, and in grave danger.
The first time he hit me, I was so surprised I walked in a daze for days.
I wouldn't speak to him, I swore it was over.
All the books and magazines and TV shows warn that you should leave him at the first hint of violence.
But they don't tell you how you will feel when he shows up at your door with flowers and repentant tears in his eyes... I forgave him instantly. After all, it was only a slap and I had brought it on myself by being too inquisitive about his problems at work.
But then it happened again. 
He had made me jealous by flirting with the sexy bartender all night at my office party and I was not in the mood for lovemaking. He hit me again, over and over, and then he forced himself on me. 

That was four months ago, when he still had his nice job at the bank, before he was fired for suspected fraud. (But it wasn't his fault. He told me everything and I understood and believed him. I became the most important person in his life and he promised that his temper would always be under control.)
Now he hits me all the time. It was hard to tell anyone at the beginning, to admit that I had chosen the wrong man in spite of all their concerns. Now, I can't tell them until I have fixed this problem, somehow.

I am not that girl, you know. The dumb one with low self esteem and all sorts of issues from a bad childhood. I come from a wonderful, stable, loving family. I know I am beautiful, smart, capable of being with any man that I choose. I know that he has no right to treat me like he does. But somehow I am still here, with him, and someone else is concerned for my life... 

I am so tired now. I wish I had the strength to do the right thing for myself, but I am just so tired.

A few weeks ago I witnessed physical abuse for the first time, between someone really close to me and her boyfriend. She has refused to admit that there is a problem and for now there is little we can do unless we actually see it happen again. But I cannot stop thinking about it... -Dami

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Good Little Girl...1

My screams pierced the still air and startled the cleaning lady two floors beneath us....

I could not breathe
I welcomed my Sweet Death
But just as quickly as it came it was over,
and I was alive again.

The room itself was alive with the sounds of heavy breathing and the scent of our almost violent struggle. As I wiggled from underneath his crushing weight, I thought to myself that everyone who had called him an animal was not mistaken, but it was not because he was a ruthless businessman. He grunted in protest and tried out to hold on to me as I slithered away on the crumpled satin sheets out of his reach. Still, I could not hide my satisfied smile as I recalled the things he had done all night with his hands, his mouth, his lithe athletic body. Delicious things; some magical, some savage. He was gentle and rough and soulful and wicked.

Like Father,

Like Son.

Yes, definitely just like his son.

After my breathing returned to normal, I got up from the massive bed and as I pranced around the room proudly, I could feel him watching me from under carefully hooded eyes as I flaunted my lush, naked body. My body is another weapon in my carefully crafted arsenal, and even now that I have my prey I can't help myself. I picked up my skirt from where someone - I don't remember who - had tossed it on the floor and idly dropped it somewhere else. I found my ripped stockings and carefully hid them in the trash, it is not yet time for him to get caught. I liked to set the timing for these things. Timing was the difference between hurt, and crushing pain. Everything I did was slow, deliberate; prolonging the silence as I waited for him to break that silence that always descended when we came back to earth...

And I remembered...

I have always hated silence.
When HE started coming to me, I would pray to die
as the silence closed in on me while I laid there
afraid to move, even afraid to breathe.
HE told me that first day that if I made a sound he would kill me.
When I thought of death, I thought of my mother
and I knew I never wanted to die.
So I lay there unmoving until HE thundered up the stairs demanding his breakfast.
But his son, he was not usually silent.
His son liked to talk, mostly about high school, upcoming football games
College scholarships, tailgate parties 
sometimes his son would ask me questions 
"are you hurt? did you like it? are you crying?"
His son would sometimes apologize. 
But just like his father it always ended in silence 
as he awkwardly dressed himself and left me to my helpless tears. 
I was only a little girl...

I was so far away in my memories that I jumped when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I don't remember walking to the large windows of the penthouse suite that overlooked the rainy city and I certainly did not hear him calling my name. Meena. Princess. But as soon as I turned around the shadows were gone from my face and I was a playful seductress again, teasing him and playing the part of the helpless victim of his seasoned charm. I smiled inwardly as I allowed myself to be coaxed back to his bed. Eight minutes later, the guests next door called the concierge for the sixth time and requested to be moved to another room, on another floor.

"Good little girl"

I woke up again at noon.
Finally it was time to leave.
I never stay past daybreak, but I have been breaking many of my own rules lately. I enjoyed being here. This man did not scare me, he worshipped me, almost like a dying man rescued at sea by a mysterious siren. Inexplicably, I was drawn to him too. Some times, I allowed myself to imagine what it would be like to be with this wonderful, powerful man instead of his insecure spineless son. But I always crushed those wayward thoughts,
before I was punished for being disobedient.

My thoughts always made me feel guilty and suddenly I could not wait to be away from him. I dressed up hurriedly and made arrangements to return home before he roused from sleep. I said my goodbyes quickly, promised to do meet him at the next rendezvous and rushed downstairs to meet the car that was to take to the airport. I barely made it on time, and as the plane taxied off the runway to take me back home, I congratulated myself on our third successful getaway.

"Good little girl"

Those who have known me say I am the devil's own, and maybe they are not wrong.

Beautiful, mysterious, orphaned. And very sick.
There was only one rule I never broke:
Like Father, Like Son.
Just the way I was raised...

to be continued

Friday, May 6, 2011


I found my first diary today in a box of old things
There were no pages inside, only a shell
I remember why:
Long ago,
Whenever I was sad, I wrote all about it in my secret diary
I read the words over and over
I shed a few tears for the hurt I was feeling
And then I tore the page, and threw it in a fire
I watched it burn
Then I moved on....

"How are you?"
There is a question in her eyes so I know what she is asking, without really asking.
I sip my cocktail slowly and pretend I heard nothing unusual as Lily plops her oversized purse on the extra seat at our lunch table and settles in. She is always late; always in a hurry, but always late. This is the first time she has seen me since The Breakup, and even though I have told her over and over that I am fine she still worries about me.

"I'm great. The question is, how are you?" I retort, "Why are you extra-frazzled today?"

But she doesn't buy it. In a few minutes we will be discussing It again. The Breakup. The shocking collapse of my last perfect relationship. I will mildly refuse to discuss it. She will push on anyway. She will tell me again how much of a loser he is and how I am so better off without him. She will ask me if I have spoken to him or seen him. I haven't. She will update me on his facebook and twitter updates since The Breakup and she will try to get me to guess what each mysterious word means. "Why is he pumped up about going to Elaine's? Is she his new girl?" I will smile and remind her "Elaine's is his favorite bar...." Then I will try to change the subject, but to no avail....

What my best friend is doing is not unusual or cruel. She genuinely cares and the more I evade her questions, the more frustrated she gets. The Breakup happened only 14 days ago, after a year of seeming bliss. Nobody saw it coming and no one was as surprised as I was. More importantly, no one can understand my calm reaction and my reluctance to speak about it. It is only normal to grieve and talk about it and lay it to rest. But what she does not realize is that, in those three days between the event and my telling her, I dealt with it. I thought about it, maybe cried about it, and now it's in my past. Now it is just another story, like a stranger's life that you ponder at dinner.

I am not bitter, or angry, maybe only a little sad. I am not suppressing my emotions, they have simply been dealt with. When I laugh loudly and say I am having a great time, I see her look closely, waiting to see my smile crack and the shadows come over my face, and I love her a little more. I wish I could tell her, my dear sweet Lily, I HAVE tried to tell her...

I wrote it down
I burned it up
I moved on

I like to tell myself that no one reads these pages