I looked down at the picture in my hand. The face in the photo was splattered with tears, my tears. I took one last look at the face I had seen smile at me so many times before, the face that I had seen contort into anger just before the blows, the face that my eyes could never tire of. The mouth from which so many warm words and cold threats came from. The hands with the fingers that fit so perfectly in the spaces between mine, the hands that lovingly held me tight, the hands that bruised and bloodied my body. The false smile on the face that only involved the lips. The eyes never smiled at me. Tears streamed down my own face as I remembered all his mannerisms.
I was convinced that he loved me, that’s why I put up with his faults. Deep down he really did love me, even if it would take him a while to realize it. Even though he hit me, he still held me after, and I felt safe in his arms. I crumpled the picture into a ball. It crumpled easily; it had been put into a similar state many times before. I tossed it in the direction of the waste basket. It fell short by a few feet. I’d get it later. I always picked up the picture again. I just couldn’t manage to leave it where it was. I’d cry and decide I’d throw it away and it would be over for good. I would be just about to call him, and then I would change my mind. I could never make the one phone call to say “it’s over”.
I could hear the phone ring. It felt almost as if I were watching the scene play out, as if I weren’t really there. I watched myself go over to look at the caller ID; it was him. For a second I thought about picking it up, but then, I changed my mind. He’d ask me to come over, and I just couldn’t face him right now. I needed time to think. I’d call him back later; I knew I wouldn’t last long without knowing what he called for.I glanced back over at the photo lying near the trash barrel. Just once I want to leave it there. It never happens. Maybe this time I wouldn’t pick it up. This could be the time that things go differently. I could be strong; I could change the way my life is going around in this endless cycle. This could be a new start for me. Maybe this time I’ll find someone else, someone who won’t hit me as he does. I walk over to the waste basket and slowly pick up the picture. I look at his face again. But I feel so safe when he holds me, he’ll change someday, I know he will.