“I don’t remember when it started. All I know is that it was a long time ago.
Bradley was my best friend growing up. He was much older than me but that never mattered. Not to me. He was tall, a brunette to the core, handsome, and was 17 years old when I turned 8. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe that’s when it started. I wasn’t much to look at then, I’m still not now, but he loved me. Or, at least, he said he did.
I remember on my 10th birthday, he took me to the amusement park. And that’s when he told me that he loved me, he said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and then he kissed me. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world at that moment. Sometimes I still do even now…but…I know I’m wrong. I was never the luckiest girl in the world. I was a kid. An innocent little kid. And he…was a pedophile.
We “eloped” then. Right then on the spot. He took me far away from home…and I haven’t seen my family since. I didn’t think about it back then…because I loved him. Or at least that’s what he made me believe. I still remember when I woke up the next morning believing that I was no longer a little girl, that I was a woman now because of what we had done. I was wrong, it has taken a lot of therapy for me to finally realize and admit that. I never loved him, he never loved me, what we did was wrong; disgusting.
But Bradley never knew about those therapy sessions. As a matter of fact, he still doesn’t. By the time I was 12, I realized that every time he hit me…it wasn’t an accident. It was my punishment for behaving however I had at that moment. All my sessions told me that it wasn’t my fault…but that’s not how I see it…or how Bradley sees it for that matter. According to him, it was all my fault…all because of that day.
A few months before I turned 11 I was walking around town, grocery shopping as a matter of fact. An older woman stopped me and asked me where my parents were. I told her that I didn’t have parents and was living with my boyfriend. Needless to say…she didn’t believe me. She followed me home and when she saw Bradley kiss me, she called the police. When they arrived he told them that I was his “sister” and that “the old woman was mistaken, I simply kissed her on the cheek as a greeting”. I kept my mouth shut and the police believed him…simply because the woman had no proof. We left that night. But before we left…he made sure I wouldn’t ever do something like that again. He beat me like I’d never been beat before. My left eye was swollen shut when we arrived at our new destination. My face was one big bruise, and I had marks all over me. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house until my wounds healed.
That hasn’t happened yet. He blames me for everything bad that happens now. I haven’t left the house since, until today that is. My 18th birthday went by last week. We didn’t celebrate. And now I’m here, telling you the story of my life, simply because you asked, and because I’m tired of keeping it a secret. I’m tired of waiting for him to act like he loves me; I’m tired of hearing empty promises about how he won’t hit me anymore. I’m tired of living my days in fear as though at any moment, he could hit me. “
“Why don’t you leave him?”
The sound of laughter, my own I believe “That’s much easier said than done”
“No its not, you’re here now, away from him, if you leave now, he won’t be able to catch up to you”
More laughter “That’s what you all think. He will find me, and when he does, it’ll be ten-times worse than it is now. At least now, he lets me out of the house to spend time with other people. You don’t understand, no one seems to. Not you, not my therapist, no one.”
The sight of the person in front of me faded, I spoke again “He isn’t always bad. He brings me gifts, he loves me, and he lets me lay next to him at night. He kisses me gently, he holds me when I cry. He is such a sweet man. It’s only when he loses his temper that things get bad. I know how you noticed today. I ran out of foundation. That’s the real reason I’m in town today. Without my makeup, I can’t cover up the bruises. But…well I have to go.”
I stood and began to walk away; my arm was grabbed “No! Don’t go back to him! Tell someone! Get some help!”
I tugged my arm away “I just did”
I walked back to that house. The house where we lived. “I’m home!”
The beautiful brown-haired man stepped in the hallway as I shut the door. “Did you get the makeup?”
“Good” he stepped forward and kissed me gently, taking the bag out of my hands.
The bag dropped to the floor as the two of us moved to the bedroom.
I looked at him in shock. Did I hear him correctly?
I kissed him in reply. Is this what I want?
When I woke up the next morning I heard a noise outside.
Are those sirens?
I jumped up to see Bradley staring at me
“You called the cops on me! You stupid bitch! After all these years, after all we’ve been through! And I asked you to marry me!!!”
I was speechless as the police came in and handcuffed him. I stared out the window as he was put in the police car.
My hand was on the windowpane as I leaned forward and watch the only man I ever loved ripped away from me.
I felt the laughter spring up inside me again “I guess that’s why they call it window “pain” huh?”
I’m not sure if I’m happy, or if I’m sad…but now…I’m free. Thank you stranger…you set me free.
I began to pack and called a cab.
“I’m going home now…thank you again…what did you say your name was again?”