Because of You | Teen Ink

Because of You

December 31, 2015
By NaomiF, Menlo Park, California
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NaomiF, Menlo Park, California
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Author's note:

I personally have never been in a abusive relationship before, but I hope that this story will help people who might be in a similar situation see that they are not alone. I hope it gives them hope, in their dark times. 

Death. War. Disease. All seemingly bad things.
Life. Peace. Health. All assumed to be good, positive.
But what is life without death?
What is peace without war?
And what is health without disease?
What are the good days without the bad ones?
Everything is relative…

“Everything is relative?”
“What is this? Math class?”
“No! I’m just stating that everything is being compared to each other in this situation.”
“Maybe you should use a different term.”
“Ok, ok. But other than that, what do you think?”
“What do I think?”
“If I’m completely honest…I don’t like it.”
“Wow. Wait why?”
“It’s just not…original. I think I’ve heard the whole, ‘You have to have the bad days, to have the good ones’. And also with death, war, and disease, it’s a completely different thing. Those are just bad things, period.”
“I think you mean, seemingly bad things.”
“Ok, fine. Seemingly bad things. But you get my point. I think you should go in a different direction for your essay assignment.”
“But it took me so long to figure this one out!”
“Well, you still have time right?”
“It’s due next week.”
“That’s enough time! And I’ll help you with it.”
“Alright, let’s do this.”

I wake up and throw on some leggings and an oversized sweatshirt. I pull my thick, dark, brown hair into a high pony tail and slip on my grey vans. I plug in my ear buds into my iPhone and turn on my favorite playlist (mostly consisting of EDM), since it helps wake me up for my morning walk to the cafe. Walking down the  streets of San Francisco, I breathe in the crisp, cool air. Some leaves have started to fall already, even though it’s only early November. The sun peaks through the grey clouds, shining just bright enough and giving enough warmth off. A beautiful day for San Francisco.
Not many people are out as there usually are, probably because it’s Saturday. Three minutes later, I arrive at Cafe Zoe, my favorite cafe. I always stop by it on my morning routine, even during the weekdays. Their coffee isn’t as bad as it could be and the atmosphere is quite relaxed and cozy. Also the staff isn’t half bad.

“Hey!” Sam calls out.
“What?” I ask, innocently.
“Half bad?” He asks with a smirk.
“It’s supposed to be a joke!” I laugh.
“I don’t think the reader will get it.”
“Well…ok fine.”

Also, the staff is pretty…

“What now?”
“You have a better vocabulary than that, right?”
“Ok Mr. Particular, how ‘bout you throw out an idea. Since you said you’d help me.”
“I meant I’d help you out with an idea for your essay prompt, not actually writing the essay.”
“What? You don’t like, ‘A Not-So-Regular day for the average San Francisco Girl’?”
“I can’t relate to it.”
“And why is that?”
“…Because I’m a guy, obviously.”
“Well it’s either this idea or the ‘Everything is Relative’ essay.”
“Yeah…I’d stick with this one.”
“You’re no help. You do know that right?’
“Indeed I do. But I got to get back to work anyway, some actual customers are coming in.”
“You mean I’m not your only customer?” I say jokingly.
“No, you’re our best customer.”Sam replies.
“That’ll do.” I say, picking up my computer, “Ok, well I better get going too then. Maybe I’ll go to the library or something. It’s pretty peaceful there. I could probably get most of this essay done.”
“Ha! Not likely.”
“Yeah we’ll see. Anyway, so see you tomorrow?” I ask, a little quieter.
“…um, yeah sure. But I thought you said you had a date with Tony tomorrow morning.” Sam says.
“Oh, right. I forgot about that. Oops, ok well maybe I’ll see you in the afternoon then. Anyway…um, bye” I say, trying to quickly finish the conversation.
“Yeah, bye Lucy.”

I hurry out of the cafe as fast as I can. I cannot believe I had forgotten about my date. Well, actually I could believe that. But what I couldn’t believe was that Sam had remembered and I just had to bring it up. Right when Sam and I were actually getting somewhere.

No matter. I thought to myself. Let’s just get to the library and finish this stupid essay.

I walk into the public library and grab a seat at one of those big, comfy, lounge chairs. I take my laptop out and open my word document.

Alright, let’s get typing. I think to myself.

I scratched the, “A Not-So-Regular day for the average San Francisco Girl”, and decided to just wing it and start typing.

Once upon a time…

No, thats just stupid.
One day, a little girl walked into an ice cream parlor. But little did she know that an adventure was waiting for her inside.

No, no. That’s even stupider.

Some people believe that are are just two types of people in the world: Extroverts and Introverts. But one person cannot just be an extrovert or just an introvert. A person can’t be only shy, and nothing else. Or only outgoing, and have no other feelings whatsoever. People are complicated, very complicated. Everybody has lots of feelings they feel daily. Some people have a better time expressing their feelings, while others don’t. Some realize the feelings they have, and understand them all and can control them. While others, including myself, have no understanding at all. This may seem complicated, which it is, but well hell, so are we.

Hey! That’s not half bad…I mean, right? Maybe I should take a picture and send it to Sam…No, no. That’d just be awkward after the whole Tony incident. Alright, let’s continue…

All my life, I’ve been the shy one. That girl in the back of the classroom who never raises her hand, and when she gets called on, speaks with a very soft voice. I was the girl who, yes, had a few close friends, but never a lot. The girl who never tried out for a sports team, or a play, or was in any clubs. The girl who never went to any football games or dances.
But I was also the girl who always turned in her assignments on time, who got A’s in almost all of her (may I add, advanced) classes, and the girl who knew what she wanted to be life and had a plan for it. Freshman year of high school, I knew exactly what I wanted to be: A writer. I would go to college, major in writing, and afterwards become a world-famous novelist. I loved writing fiction, especially ones about romance.
So you see, people can be very complicated. Their exterior that they show to the public is not their only personality. They could be hiding some feelings, very deep down inside themselves. You never know what a person could be going through, what their dreams are in life, or just what…

“Hey…Lucy!” I heard someone shout, my head springing up from my computer. 
I looked up and instantly the color drained from my face, “Oh…um hey. Hey Tony.”
“Woah, whatcha doin’ here babe?” Tony said as he leaned in to kiss my cheek. His lips were oddly warm and the touch sent shivers down my spine, and not in a good way. He smelled of weed and alcohol. I cringed at the smell.  
“Oh, I was just working on some homework. But…uh, who are you doing here?”
“Ah, well actually I came here looking for you, babe.”
“Me? How’d you know I was here?” I asked, suspiciously.”
“Oh you know, I just sensed it I guess.” Tony said with a little laugh at the end.
“Oh…ha, funny.” I replied, with a half smile.
“But yeah anyway, so now that were together, why don’t we go out and get something to eat?” His eyes looked stoned and I could tell he was defiantly drunk.
“Oh um, I’m so sorry but I really need to finish this assignment. I was kinda on a roll and I would feel more comfortable finishing it tonight.” I spoke as fast as I could, hoping maybe he would just  leave it be.
“What! Come on babe, it’s Saturday. Let’s go out to a bar, grab a couple drinks, I’ll take you back to my place…” He started to speak louder.
“Please…Tony, I really need to finish this. But, tomorrow, tomorrow morning we were going to meet up, right?” I asked, stuttering. I was starting to shake a little.
“What? Oh yeah right.” He laughed, “I forgot about that.” He was practically shouting by now.
“Ha…right.” I whispered.
“Yeah…whatever Lucy. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then.” He was already starting to walk away.
“Wai…wait Tony.” I called out, standing up, “I…I love you babe.”
He looked back towards me, hands in his jean pockets, his pants sagging a little. I saw cigarettes in his back pocket.
“Yeah whatever…” He quietly said and then continued on walking. I noticed a hickey on the back of his neck, half covered by the collar of his shirt. I’ve never given a hickey before.

I sighed and sat back down. I quickly packed up my computer and ran into the restroom. Once inside, I ran into a stall and started to cry. Holding my hands to my face, I cried uncontrollably, my sniffles echoing through the room. I didn't care if someone else was in there, they’s have to deal with the noises. Once I had no more tears to cry, I stood up, got my bag, and walked out. I didn’t know where I was walking, just away from that place, anywhere but there. The air was much cooler by then, I wished I had brought a jacket. I walked by a park with some children playing in it, I sat down at a bench and watched as the moms and dads played with the little kids. I tried to smile. I opened my bad and took out my computer. I decided to open up a new word document and started to type…

Some people grew up with the “traditional” family life. Others, like myself, did not. My mom got pregnant with me when she was seventeen. She was in her junior year of high school and dropped out the moment she found out. My father was a senior in high school at the time. They had been going out for only three months. My dad was a total alcoholic at the time and was a very frequent drug user, as my mom describes. She never told her parents what happened, she just ran away one day and never returned. To this day I don’t even know what my grandparents names are. She ran away to San Francisco, which is where we live now. My mom told me that when she told my father that she was pregnant, he told her he didn’t want me, . And that if she told anyone that I was his, he’d kill her. So I don’t blame her for running away. And She’s been pretty successful on her own. Came up with a whole new identity, got a fairy good job working as a manager, and we live in a small, yet homey, two bedroom apartment. And if you’re wondering, I was able to get a scholarship at my college, so my mom was very proud. My mom also told me that five years after I was born, she decided to go online and see if she could find anything about my father. She told me that she found out he had died in a drunk driving accident only two years after he was out of high school. He was the driver. So, growing up was a very different experience than most other kids at my school had. But my mom and I are very close, so we made it through together. And I decided to never look up anything about my father, because I knew all I needed (and wanted) to know about him.

I looked up at the sky and felt a drop of water land on my face.
“Oh no”
The rain started to come down faster and faster. I quickly zipped up my computer and started to run. I ran until I got to the apartment and quickly went up the stairs.

My mom and I live in an apartment that’s above a Chinese restaurant, which is actually pretty good. So basically what I’m trying to say is that we eat there a lot, like every night. Anyway, the building above the restaurant is painted a dark grey and has this victorian look to it. There’s three stories above the restaurant and my mom and I live on the very top story, which means there are a lot of steps to climb everyday. And because it has a victorian style to it, the steps are very tiny and very creaky. There’s mostly dark wood inside the building and weird old chandeliers everywhere. On the first floor (above the restaurant), lives this musician couple. they’re probably in their late twenties and their style is very rock. You can always hear them playing music, which can get pretty annoying. So the other people who live in the building started this weird petition thing to get them to either move out or sound proof their walls, which they did neither of. Nobody really cares anymore, in fact it’s like white noise to us now. Also on the same floor lives the family who own the Chinese restaurant. They’re probably the nicest family you’ll ever meet. The family consists of like twenty people (who all work in the restaurant), with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, and lots and lots of children. It can get pretty crazy. Moving onto the next floor, lives a quiet, old man who had the same routine every morning (which I sometimes, usually watch). After he wakes up, he picks up his newspaper, walks to the cafe that is next to our building (which I never go to because the coffee there sucks), picks up the same drink everyday, and then sits on his balcony for while until (I presume) he has to go to work. Also on that floor live some floaters. We call them that because there are at least two rooms on that floor that are for people who come and go. It’s actually kinda creepy. Sometimes you’ll hear noises in the rooms, and sometimes it’ll be dead silent for two weeks straight. No lights, no noises, their mail never gets picked up, nothing. And then a few days later, you’ll start to hear noises again and lights go on, but you’ll never see them come in. In fact, I think the last time I saw them was like two years ago. Like I said, creepy. Anyway, moving up to our floor lives well, us obviously. There’s also another girl who lives up there in her early thirties. She’s very quiet as well, and owns lots of cats. I think she hosts a book club thing every week, because some days I’ll hear lots of chatter and laughing in the room. And then I’ll watch through our peep whole in our door and watch as at least ten people walk out, all holding the same book. And I’ve watched her cats a few times while she was away on vacation, and she owns a lot of books. My theory is that she is a librarian, or a school teacher, but I’ve never asked her. Maybe I just like the mystery. Or maybe it gives me more opportunities to write stories about her. Also on our floor lives a very annoying family. This family is much smaller than the Chinese one downstairs, but much more annoying. They have two very annoying, twin boys who are about ten, I think. Anyway they love to run up and down the stairs and knock everything over and color the walls with markers. Also, I can always hear them playing their violent video games at three in the morning. And they’re only ten! I don’t know how many times I’ve had to get up and out of my bed, walk over to their apartment, and slam on their front door and yell, “TURN DOWN THE DAMN T.V.! Some of us are trying to sleep!”. Which then leads to the boys crying and throwing a tantrum, which leads to their parents getting very annoyed at me, which leads to them coming over to our apartment and slamming on our door saying things like, “This is child abuse! We’ll call the police!”. Which they never do, because it’s all talk. Anyway that’s a pretty regular thing that happens. There are some other people who live in the building, but they’re not that interesting, or I’ve never really paid enough attention to them to be able to write about them…

“Lucy! Dinnertime!” My mom calls from the kitchen. My head springs up from my computer. I look at the clock, How long had I been writing?, I think to myself.
I stand up, save the word document, and head to the kitchen. I smell pesto as I walk into the room. My mom turns and smiles at me, her short, brown curls bouncing.
“Look, I made your favorite. It’s ham and pesto sandwich.”
I come closer and smell the food, “It smells amazing, thanks.”
“No problem hon.”
We sit down at the little table in the hallway that we call our dining room, and eat our sandwiches.

The next morning I get up and do my usual routine and head to Cafe Zoe. I stare down one of the annoying boys who’s playing on the stairs, who then proceeds to run back to his apartment, crying. I laugh silently. I give a friendly hello to Aya, who’s works at the restaurant and start my walk.

The bell on the cafe door chimes as I walk through. The warmth hits me like a slap to the face. I quickly take off my scarf and jacket and walk over to the counter. There aren’t many people inside, nobody is at the counter and only one other person is sitting down at a table. I look around, observing the dimly lit room. It’s purple walls, wooden tables and chairs, the smell of roasted coffee beans and cigars, the shades on the windows, preventing any natural light from coming in. Truly a crappy cafe. So why do I walk for five minutes just to come here, when I could  walk thirty seconds from my house to another crappy cafe?, I think to myself.

“What are you doing here?” Sam asks, waking me up from my thoughts.

Oh yeah, that’s why I come here.

“Is it a crime to get coffee now?” I ask, desperately trying to lighten the mood.

Sam starts to walk towards the cash register, “What can I get you?”, he asks me, not making eye contact.

“Can I ha…can I just have my regular?” I ask quietly, just wanting this “conversation” to be over.

Sam says something under his breathe and starts to push buttons on the cash register.

I take a deep breathe, sigh, and grip the counter tightly, “What? Hm? What the hell is your problem?”, I lean in closer, hoping to make eye contact.

Sam’s head shoots up, making instant eye contact. His stare is icy, his blue eyes penetrating into my skull. Feeling insecure, I look away.

“What the hell is my problem? What the hell is your problem?” His voice grows louder, “What the hell are you doing here today Lucy?”

“Wha…what do you mean?” I ask, spiraling with confusion.

“Oh come on! Don’t tell me you ‘forgot’ again about your breakfast date with Tony?” He yells.

Oh…damn. I think to myself.

I feel my face start to get red, I look at my feet.

“Lucy…why do you even come here?”

“I…I…” I stammer. I’m at a loss for words.

“Lucy, I’ve known you for over a year now, and for the duration of that year you’ve been with Tony. And I don’t know why the hell you you’re even with him because whenever you have a date with him or some type of plan…you always end up here, hiding in this cafe. And if you actually do something with him, you always end up here afterwards, shivering and crying. And I’m the one who talks you through it, I’m the one you cry with because of him. And yet, you’re still with him and I can’t seem to figure out why. And it’s…” He slams his fist down on the counter and more quietly says, “And it’s so hard…to see you like that…I hate seeing that he’s hurt you, and I try my best to help you but at the end of the day he’s still your boyfriend. And you’ve made it clear that I can’t interfere with that.” He sniffles a little and stands up straight again.

I feel a tear run down my cheek, my lip quivering. Sam walks around the counter and comes towards me.

I shake my head, saying “You…you don’t understand.”

He comes even closer and puts his hands to my arms. Holding them, looking deep into my eyes, he says, “Then make me understand.”

I met Tony about a year and a half ago. I was in college and one night my friends and I wanted to go out to this new bar in town. That night was supposed to be a girls night out, so I put on a little, black dress, some high heels, and headed out. Once we arrived, we saw a huge line outside the bar. We were disappointed but decided to go stand in the line anyway. After about ten minutes of waiting, I had had enough of it and went up to the front of the line. There was one of those big security men standing there with a clipboard in his hand. I confidently tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around and I instantly felt like a mouse standing next to a cat…a very large cat.

He grunted, “Yeah…what do you want?”

“Um…I was just wondering…if maybe you could let me and my friends in. we’ve just been waiting here for a while and I thought…”

“What? You thought what?” He interrupted me, “You thought that I would let you in just because you asked nicely?”

“Well…yeah kinda” I said quietly.

“Well let me tell you something missy…” He leaned in towards me, my heart started to race, my breathe quickening, “I’m not gonna let you in, even if you…”

“Hey!” A man yelled from inside the club. He walked outside to me and the security man, “She’s with me.

The security man quickly stepped away from me, his face turning red. “Oh…I’m so sorry Mr. Delavega. She didn’t say anything about it.” He turned to me, “I’m so very sorry ma’m, it won’t happen again. Here call your friends up and I’ll let them through.”

I was all very confused but called up my friends anyway, who quickly went inside. I started to walk into the club when the other man pulled me to the side.

“Woah” I said, startled.
“Oh sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” He cast a smile, a genuine, sweet smile.

I laughed a little, “Nah, it’s no problem. Hey thanks so much for back there. You saved my ass.”

“And what a pretty ass to be saving.”

I started to laugh.

“Oh! I’m so sorry if that offended you. I really didn’t mean to say that.” His cheeks started to turn red.

Continuing to laugh I replied, “No it’s ok, no problem.”

We laughed together for a little bit, “So…you’re Mr. Delavega? If I’ve heard correctly?” I ask him.

“Hm? Oh um yeah that’s me. I partially own this bar.”

“What? Wow! That’s incredible. It’s one of the most popular in town.” I say, surprised, “And…well…you’re so young. I mean you don’t look like a child or anything, but I mean…you look young to already be owning a bar.” I shake my head, so embarrassed.

Luckily he laughs, “Nah it’s fine, I get that all the time. My father really owns it, but I’ve helped out a lot. Especially to get this one running, so now I partially own it.”

“That’s so cool! I wish I had something like that.”

“Maybe you will…some day.”

“Yeah, one can dream I guess. Anyway I’m Lucy.” I say, reaching out my hand.

“Nice to meet you Lucy. I’m Tony, Tony Delavega.”

I looked up at Sam who was focused beyond belief at my story.

“So…yeah that’s kinda it, on how I met him at least.” I say. At this point, there’s nobody in the cafe except Sam and I. Both sitting on the lounge chairs. Him, holding an iced tea and me, holding a hot chocolate.

Sam struggles for a few moments to find his words, “Wha…wai…hmm”

I awkwardly look around, “Yes?”

“Why…why did you you tell me that?” He asks me.

“Why did I tell you that? Well, there’s much more to this story. But you always gotta start somewhere right?”

Relief flushes over his face, “Oh…I thought that was it. Ok, continue on then.”
I rearrange my position and continue on…

The rest of the night, Tony and I spent together. We ordered some drinks, danced a little, but we mostly talked. We talked for hours. Mostly about ourselves, like our pasts, our desires, fears, and more. I remember he gave me his number right before we departed and whispered into my ear, “Use it or don’t, but I felt something tonight.”
A few days went by and I still hadn’t called Tony, or even texted him. I had filled those days with lots of studying, trying to get my mind off it. I hadn’t been in a relationship since high school, and therefore I was kinda nervous. But four days after that night one of my friends forced me to call him. He picked up after two rings.

“Uh, who am I speaking to?”
“Oh sorry! This is Lucy.”
“Oh! Wow, I had given up hope on you calling me.”
“Sorry, that sounded weird.”
“Nah it’s cool.”
I laughed weakly, which made him laugh as well.
(It was a pretty awkward first phone conversation)
“So I was thinking, maybe you would want to meet up later this week.” Tony said, “We could go and grab some lunch, walk around, maybe see a movie in the evening. Just some ideas.”
“Yeah, that all sounds wonderful.”
“Ok…ok cool.”
“Cool…so I’ll uh, text you later to pick a day.”
“Alright cool.”
“Alright, bye Lucy.”

Our first date went pretty normal. He was always very gracious and sweet. We met at 11:30 at this restaurant called, Mardini’s, which was one of his favorites. Afterwards we walked around the plaza and grabbed some coffee and ice cream later on. We talked a lot, even held hands at one point. Then he dropped me off at my house and we parted ways. We kept meeting up, more and more frequently as the days went on. It really was like any normal relationship. I met his parents, his friends, I stayed over at his house a few times, and all vice versa. We even moved in together at his house. I thought I was falling in love. We celebrated our one month anniversary, two month, three month…and even half a year anniversary. Then everything started to go downhill.
i remember the first sign I saw when I realized how bad this was getting. I mean, for a while things started to go downhill: Tony missing our dates with some lame, last minute excuse; he always being late; Tony never getting home until after three in the morning and saying something like, ‘I was finishing up business at the Bar’; also noticing missing alcohol bottles and then finding them a few days later, empty, in Tony’s car; and my friends telling me that they saw Tony with some other girls at a club one night. It was a very awful time. I could tell Tony was spiraling downhill. He was developing some serious issues and was becoming a whole different person than the man I fell in love with. Whenever I tried to confront him about these issues, he would wave them off like they were nothing, like nothing had changed, like everything was normal and the exact way it was supposed to be. I cried a lot during that time. I talked to my mom a lot as well. Then one night, I was laying in bed, staring at the clock and waiting for Tony to come home. It was 4:30 in the morning. It was always hard to fall asleep when Tony didn’t come home. Then I heard the front door open. He was always very loud when he came in the house. I could already whiff the smell of alcohol, weed, and probably some girl’s perfume on him. And for some reason, on that particular night, I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I jumped up and out of the bed and walked over to the bathroom, which was where he was. The door was closed so I pounded on it.

There was silence, some mumbling, and think he bumped into some things before finally opening the door. I walked into the bathroom and started yelling, screaming at him.
“What the hell Tony! It’s four in the morning! Whats the hell? You smell disgusting! Have you been smoking weed?” I continued on yelling at him. He started to yell back, mostly just nonsense, probably because he was so drunk, he couldn't put a sentence together.
Then, all of a sudden, he grabbed my arm. I shut up immediately. His grasp was so tight, my arm started to go numb. He continued on yelling at me. Then, I slapped him across the face. He wasn’t down for that long. I was scared out of my mind, my heart was pumping rapidly, I was hyperventilating, my body was shaking uncontrollably. And then, Tony punched the bathroom mirror with his fist. He punched it so hard that over half of it broke off and fell onto us. He started to swear uncontrollably. Pieces of broken glass fell down onto us, I still have some scars from that night. We were both bleeding, mostly on my arms. his hand was cut up badly, I remember seeing the cut was very deep. It was disgusting. Then, he punched me in the gut. I fell onto the floor, I think. I don’t remember this part as much because I was very close to unconscious. I felt like I was throwing up. I think he kicked me a few times on my side and then he left me there and walked away. I was left there, pieces of glass around me, blood pouring from my arms. I thought I was going to die.

After that I don’t remember anything until the morning. I woke up in a hospital bed that morning. The fluorescent light was harsh on my eyes and there was some tubes in me. I was hooked up to a very big machine as well. Only one person sat in my room with me; she was reading a book. It was my mom. I think I made a noise because my mom suddenly looked up from her book. She ran over to my bed and started crying.
“Oh Lucy! Oh Lucy! You’re awake!” She kissed my hands.
I tried to smile but it hurt too much.
“Shh shh baby, don’t speak I ‘m here. Everything is ok. You’re going to be just fine. You’re safe now, I promise.”
My mom always knew exactly what I needed to hear. I remember I burst out crying. It was painful, but I couldn’t control it. We cried together for a while until my doctor came in.
Apparently I had needed lots of stitches for the ten cuts on my arms, I had two broken ribs, a very minor concussion, and I was very bruised up all over. He also said I luckily to have no internal bleeding, but was very close to it and that’s why I was kept overnight.

My mom told me that after she tried calling me multiple times that night, and when I didn’t answer, she decided to go over to Tony’s. She said the front door was wide open and there was a trail of blood from the sidewalk to the front door, which was probably Tony’s. Once she found me, half unconscious in the bathroom, she called 911. She saved my life.
After I was let out of the hospital, my life was very different. My mom and I got closer, and my friends helped take care of me for a little while. My life was starting to get back on course as I tried my hardest to forget about Tony and all that he’d done. That is until I got a call.
I didn’t know it was Tony because I had blocked his number, and he was calling from a different number. I let it go to voicemail, but when the number called again, I decided to pick it up.

“Hello?” I asked.
“Lucy, it’s me. It’s me Tony.”
“…” My finger was about to press hang up.
“Please…please don’t hang up. I know, I know that there’s no way to ever apologize for what I’ve done, but I’m going to try.”
“Sto…stop” I said weakly
“No wait please hear me out. I am so sorry Lucy. I was lost. I was lost. I had lost myself to drugs and alcohol and other bad things and I didn’t know how to fix it. I lied…so much. I’m so sorry. I let it all get away from me. I couldn’t handle being a bar owner. i wasn’t strong enough. And I know that now…so I quit. I quit Lucy, and I…I’m going to rehab, I’m gonna try to fix this problem.”
I was crying by then.
“I’m gonna try to fix this…I promise. because…because you’re worth it. I’m so sorry Lucy, so sorry I hurt you. Please…I know I don’t deserve it but, will you ever be able to forgive me?”
No matter what anybody was telling me to do about Tony, my mom, my friends, my neighbors, he was still the man I fell in love with. And there was no changing that. You can’t just make those feelings disappear. It’s so hard to explain…I’ve tried it a thousand times. But you just can’t understand unless you’re the person. And so, I gave him some time to solve all of his problems and then I forgave him., because I loved him.
My mom forbad me, but I didn’t listen. My friends hated me for it, but I didn’t care.
Tony had actually cleaned up pretty well. We met up, grabbed some food, and talked, just like the old times. It was like starting all over again. It went almost exactly like our relationship had gone before, except something was different. I was never able to fully be comfortable around him, which angered him, which scared me, which angered him even more. He wasn’t the same Tony, and I recognized that, but I didn’t do anything about it because I just wanted things to go back to the way things were. But that’s not possible, and I know that now. You see, over the past few months I’ve noticed that he’s started to spiral down again. I sometimes smell alcohol on him, or weed, and even a hickey (that’s not from me, obviously). And I know now that I’m done, I’m done giving him a second chance because he can’t fulfill it, and he never will. This is not a healthy relationship and I understand that now. All he has done is torment me, ruined my life, taken away my innocence, and he has no right to do that. But you see, Sam, the reason why I’m still with him, even though I’ve realized all of this, is because I’m scared. I’m scared that if I try to break up with him, he’ll…he’ll hurt me again.
Sam’s head shoots up as I begin to cry. I scoot over on my seat as he sits next to me and wraps his arm around my shoulder. I lean my head against him.
“Lucy, you have to do this. You can’t keep putting yourself through all of this. And we’ll do it together, we’ll get through all of this together. I promise you that.”
“How can you promise that?” I asked between sniffles.
“Just trust me, I have a plan.”
I looked up into his eyes. His blue eyes didn’t look so icy anymore; They looked soft and warm. They were beautiful.
“But I want to ask you to do something Lucy” Sam asked
“What is it?”
“I think you should write your story, about Tony, for your essay assignment.”
“What! No! I couldn’t…I…”
“Yes, yes you can. Because your story needs to be read. So other people in your situation know that they’re not the only ones going through this.”
“Alright, let’s do this thing.”

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