Oh no! He’s here… What am I going to do?
Maybe if I keep really quiet and stay in my room he won’t find me.
I’m so scared he’s going to kill me.
He said he would. No one believes me.
Everybody hates me. They don’t help me.
They think she’s just a kid. What does she know.
She makes it all up to get attention.
But I DON’T! I swear to God, I don’t.
And then, she fell asleep. He did go away.
But she knew in her heart that he would be back.
And maybe next time he really would kill her.
Like he said he would.
When he lived with them, he always picked on her.
Called her names. She wasn’t allowed to do anything fun.
She would have to stand in a corner for hours.
And clean. Always clean
listening to him screaming and shouting at her.
She was a slut.
She would never amount to anything.
She was ugly.
She couldn’t concentrate. Learning at school was hopeless.
She was in a state of constant hypervigilance.
Even after he moved out.
He would phone and scream at her on the phone.
Still try to control her life.
And then he came over.
Not inside the house, mind you. Outside.
Pretending he cared. But he never does. It’s all pretend.
He didn’t ask for her. Or see her. He left.
She was panic stricken when she woke up.
He was gone. But the memory of him, his voice, his threats
echoing in her head were so strong she couldn’t think.
My life sucks. I have to run away. Somewhere. Anywhere.
First she tried screaming for help hoping someone would hear.
By then it was dark. They were all hurting her. Punishing her.
Or so she thought.
What they were really doing was trying to help. To calm her down.
To let her know she was safe.
But she knew she wasn’t. Never would be.
She didn’t hear any of that. What she heard was the screaming,
the threats, the loud voices and looming scare.
So she screamed louder.
She threw things on the floor. Anything that she could find.
She kicked. And punched.
Used foul language to hurt with her tongue like he did to her.
Words that no twelve year old child should even know.
Finally, she snapped.
And ran. In the cold and dark.
In the middle of the night.
He wouldn’t know where she was, she reasoned.
So she would be safe.
The police did find her. Took her home.
Where, exhausted, she eventually fell asleep
wrapped in the embrace of her mother.
Dedicated to all the children who are not safe.
And always should be.