“Hi, I’m back!” she said looking at Annie’s face with relief. The lack of answer didn’t bother her at all, and without an invitation, she sat at the edge of the stone and then resumes the conversation. “She kicked me out of the house again, this is the third time she’s done that” - she pauses and after taking a deep breath continues saying - “I don’t know what to do, I’m tired of fighting! I don’t know how long I will be able to stay strong…” the tone of her voice reveals the emotional distress she is going through.
A warm and tender breeze kisses her cheek and hair as if trying to ease her sorrows. The silence is only broken by the birds singing from a nearby cypress tree. Looking directly into Annie’s eyes, she asks - “Why does she hate me so much? Why can’t she love me the same way she loves my brothers? What did I do wrong?” - with anger she fights the tears trying to show up on her face, as crying is not permitted on a strong girl like her. “Yesterday, despite the rain and the cold she locked me out of the house and probably got soundly asleep in a few minutes, with no concern for my well-being. I heard one of my brothers trying to plead with her, but then gave up as he was almost shown the way out too. After an hour of crying out and kicking the door with no results I headed to Tory’s house, she always offers me shelter. But you have to see her face, she can’t hide the compassion she feels for me….” - Her brown eyes can’t disguise the sadness apprehending her, which contradicts the hard expression of her face. Her eyes are the window to her soul while her face is a well learned masquerade to conceal her real feelings.
She is only fourteen but looks older than she really is, years of suffering and emotional abuses have made a dent in her. She is being considered a wild and aggressive child by her schoolmates and teachers, making it so difficult for her to have any friends. Loneliness is her only companion, but sometimes the aloneness becomes too heavy to abide, so she comes to see Annie and the others for companionship and conversation. They always listen and never charge or criticize her, but she misses some kind of advice or guidance from them, after all, they have lived longer and had more experience. She knows there is nothing she can do to halt their unbreakable silence, but she is consoled but the inner knowledge that they listen and care. “Today, Tory told me that my mother can’t continue doing this to me, that she is breaking the law and that the authorities can take me away from her. She wants to report her, so my mother can start taking better care of me. I begged her not to do it, because I’m afraid I may be sent to an orphanage… You know, my mom keeps telling me she will do it and I believe her.” She pauses and takes a deep breath in, as if trying to grow bigger and stronger. She doesn’t want to start crying, if she does, then she may never be able to stop, so she keeps breathing deep until the urge to cry is fully controlled.
After a while she speaks again, “Tory felt sorry for me so she promised not to do it this time, but she will if my mother does it again. The problem is that I know I will be kicked out again; any mistake will be used by my mother as a pretext to fight me, she will not stop until I’m gone… She did the same to my older brother, she kicked him out of the house when he was just thirteen, and never allowed him to come back. I have nowhere to go, if she kicks me out again I will have to sleep by the door, despite the weather conditions and the time I have to spend outside. That will be the only way to fight her back, she will have to take me in sooner or later, as she will not want the neighbors to tell my stepfather what she is doing to me…” she looks around and after a short silence she asks: “Annie, did your mother love you or was she like mine? Aren’t mothers supposed to care and tender for their children? Why doesn’t she love me? I really want to know…” – as expected she doesn’t get any answer, but that doesn’t bother her as she is feeling better. Being able to talk about her troubles really eases her sorrow.
She keeps looking at Annie’s face, as if searching for answers, then she says - “Ok, is getting late, I must start heading back to hell. Today my stepfather is getting back home, so my mother will pretend this never happened, instead she will complain about how much she had to do and how unhelpful and disobedient I am. After all, this is part of her master plan to get rid of me one day!” - Saying that, she slowly began to rise up from the stone that she was sitting on, she then bends so as to be able to reach Annie’s picture and kiss her goodbye. “Annie, do you think she will ever love me or care for me?”
She doesn’t wait for an answer, once again she breaths in deeply and slowly, filling herself with strength and willpower, the one she will need to face her mother’s rage. Then with determination she starts walking away from Annie’s grave and the ones around her, until she gets out of the cemetery.
Over twenty years have passed, and I still remember my afternoons at the local graveyard, the only place I used to feel at home. During that time I seriously contemplated the idea of joining my dead friends as an easy way to escape, but I guess my warrior spirit keep me from doing it.
I was told so many times and even read in many books that the people that harm us the most are the ones that teach us the most too. I believe that is true but sometimes it is still hard to digest, especially if the people who hurt you are your closest relatives.
From a physical level, I still feel the pain and the emotional abandonment, while the same question still bothers me sometimes: “Why doesn’t she love me?”
From a spiritual level I do appreciate the teachings that help me to become who I’m today, the challenge was rough but I had managed. Today I’m free and full of love, I have learnt to love myself just the way I am and to love the rest of the world the same way, just the way they are… including her!
When a door closes a window opens:No matter what, there is always a way out – as long as we are alive it is never too late
I dedicate this poem to all the people who in one way or another are being abused. Domestic violence/abuse can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse. Men are sometimes abused by their partners, but domestic violence is most often directed toward women or children.
The only way to break the cycle of domestic violence is to take action — and the sooner the better.
·Talk to someone about the abuse, whether it's a friend, relative, doctor or other close contact.
·Call a counseling or mental health center. Counseling and support groups for women in abusive relationships are available in most communities. Be cautious of advice to seek couples or marriage counseling. If violence has escalated to the point that you're afraid, counseling isn't adequate.
·Create a security plan:
oCall a domestic violence hot-line for advice. Make the call at a safe time — when the abuser is not around — or from a friend's house or other safe location.
oPack an emergency bag that includes items you'll need when you leave, such as extra clothes and keys. Hide it or leave the bag with a friend or neighbor. Keep important personal papers, money and prescription medications handy so that you can take them with you on short notice.
oKnow exactly where you'll go and how you'll get there, even if you have to leave in the middle of the night.
If you want to know more on how to ask for help click here