I always knew I was too good for him. There I was, twenty-two years old and trapped. Even though deep down within myself I knew I could just leave and never look back, the actual break away from the disease was the biggest struggle. I somehow convinced myself that I wasn't complete without his neglect, his abuse, without him in general. It took me two years to sit up from a sleepless night in our bed, look over and down to the right and decide to leave all of my insecurities behind, and narrate an ending to our story. I gathered most of my belongings and packed a khaki colored tote. Right before I fastened the belt shut I turned off my mobile phone and I heard five words echo calmly throughout our two-bedroom apartment, “You'll be back. Just wait.” My stomach began to pound and my hands started to perspire as I headed straight for the door. I didn't look behind me; if I did I knew I'd stay. I headed downstairs, opened the cab door and cried the entire journey to the station.
Just as my Amtrak began to locomote, I ended up ignoring a very sociable boy doing what sociable boys do best, making conversation. Hiding behind my headache, my cover was blown when he questioned my final destination. “Home” I muttered. “I'm starting over and going home.” He looked at me up and down and nodded remorsefully. He grew silent for a long while until he commenced conversation about himself. During our discussion, it became evident that his relationship with his significant other was quite unhealthy, one subject I feel I am not qualified to speak on. He looked at me with promise when he asked for advice, but all I gathered up to say was, “I ran away from my mistake. Sometimes it's easier done than said.” The conversation ended with an exchange of numbers and a double embrace. It was nice having a stranger spill everything to me; it was nicer yet I actually cared enough to care about his situation.
The three-hour trek flashed by quickly. I thought about the five words that were now ingrained within. “Why does he think I'm coming back?” I thought. I never fully understood why a person couldn't just cut it loose once it started to worsen. Before attempting at figuring it out, I was startled by a sharp ring of the outside bell that translated the conclusion of the ride. I picked up my bag, exited through the train door, and took a deep breath in. I was home. My mother was there, waiting for me. Double-parked nonetheless, but she was there. She didn't seem to say much but her kind smile spoke for itself. “I'm glad you're home, love” She managed to say. I turned on my phone and right before I had a chance to respond to her, my voice mail rang. I had six missed messages. My mother's hands tightened as she gripped the steering wheel, she knew they were from him. She looked straight ahead and said “Don't you dare listen to them. You're an adult now; I'm not taking away your belongings. You need to have the strength to know you can defeat this on your own.” My throat had gotten so tight, that horrible and uncomfortable feeling of not wanting to cry in public. All I could think about was him, he's all I ever knew. By the time we got home, all I wanted to do was climb into my bed, and dream. I followed my mother as she carried my tote and navigated her way through our home to my bedroom. “Here we are, just as you left it,” my mother said. She turned and looked at me, “Need anything?” I looked down towards the hardwood floor then up, towards her. I nodded and said “strength.”
The next few days turned into the next few weeks and those inevitably turned into months. Everyday he called me. Even though I kept occupied by beginning to work again, miraculously actually, my old after school job hired me back; I still had him in my mind. I was dating, probably one of the kindest men I have ever encountered in my young life, as well as going out and socializing. I was back on track I felt. I was in school, doing very well and I was finally feeling free again. Still, everyday he called and everyday I listened to his empty apologies. I thought to myself one day at a red light on my route homeward from work, “I did it once. I left him without turning back. Maybe now, since I feel I'm no longer attached to him, I can handle spending time with him.”
My mind immediately shot back to that piercing headache I had endured on my train ride home. That horrible throbbing on my left temple. “How can I go back?” I said aloud. “I've come so far. I'd be admitting I'm weak if I go back.” The car behind me honked and I drove home thinking about that question. “How was work, love?” My mother asked when I walked in. “Fine Mama, thanks” I responded. I strolled into my room, took out my khaki colored tote from my closet and packed some of my belongings. I picked it up, walked into the kitchen and stared at my mother. Her smile subsided as she shot me a double look. She looked me up and down and locked eye contact on my tote. All I could tearfully state was, “I can't do it, Mom. I can't break away from the disease.” Before letting her form her thoughts into words, I turned around and moved slowly towards our front door. I felt the back of my neck turn hot because I knew she was staring at me. When I reached for the lock on the door to unfasten it open, my mother calmly said five words to me, “You'll be back. Just wait."