Battling Internally

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - How It Normally Goes

Submitted: July 01, 2017

Reads: 233

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Submitted: July 01, 2017

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My ego was shattered. I envisioned it in pieces on the floor as he said these things. Why so harsh? I asked silently. Why do you make me feel like shit? I already know I am. My eyes stayed glued to the floor. Once upon a time, I was in love with this person. I was certain that I would do anything for him, and that even maybe, he’d do anything for me. Now, four months later, I’m here. I like to think that he is just having problems at home, that he loves me, that he needs me, that he needs something or someone to take it out on. I reassure myself of this nonsense, over and over again- yet, I’ve concluded that I don’t love him, and I don’t need him anymore. So now I’m stuck, trapped in this god-forsaken relationship, with no one to turn to.
“Please Jimmy,” I dared looked up at him. “No more.”
“You need to know your place, Lace. I do so much for you- you were a half hour late to our date!” He yelled. Our date? Oh, our date. Where we get high for four hours, listening to the same old music and eating the same cold pizza.
“I know, I’m sorry.” I was looking at him now, hesitant. “I really need to go, my parents are going to be worried.”
“Your parents can wait, you know that Lace? I have things to say and you’re completely disregarding my feelings for your selfish purposes.” He began to shake my shoulders. I could feel the pit in my chest aching- throbbing- suffocating me. If he could just see it, if he could just understand the pain I’m in. Would that be enough? Would it be enough to stop him from treating me like an animal- a dumb, oblivious animal. I can’t work the nerve, find the words, get the motivation I need to stand up to him. I might puke blood from a peptic ulcer anytime soon. And that’d still be easier than saying anything that could sign that I’m in trouble.
“Lacey baby, if you want this to work, you have got to be better. I’m not asking for much.” He looked so horribly dull and oblivious, so ignorant and uncanny. I swallowed and said “Of course, I’ll try better. I promise,” I managed a weak smile, and he enveloped me in an awkward hug.  After that, I ran home, never stopping for a breath.

I stared at the pile of clean folded laundry on my bed, waiting to be put in it’s place. And I did, I put them where they needed to be. Across from my room, there was a body mirror. I looked in it gingerly, sucking in my stomach, petting my brown hair to the side. I am slim, and I have big brown eyes and a killer smile, I know I’m pretty. Mother always says so, and all the boys stare at me in lust, and all the girls glare at me in jealousy. I used to think that telling myself I’m pretty was selfish, but now it’s I know it’s just the truth. Mother told me always be confident, but never be self-absorbed for both can get very mixed up. Mother used to tell me all these things, guide me to a happier place of mind whenever I was feeling down. Now, she doesn’t even know who I am. Not that I let her see my pain. I go to her for a hug now and then- to get some comfort. But she only sees a hug, not that her daughter is at the pit of despair and needs to know she’s safe. But she has noticed my descending list of friends.
What happened to Veronica? She’ll ask. Veronica didn’t like that I was busy all the time, and she thought that spending more time studying than paying attention to her problems was a waste of time. Nothing mom, I think we just drifted apart, I’ll answer dishonestly. Cathy was a nice girl, how come you stopped hanging out? She’ll wonder out loud. Cathy thought I called her a bitch, (which I didn’t) and punched me. That’s where the bruise on my lip came from, but of course I told mother I just ran into something. You don’t see much of Riley anymore, Mom would say sadly. Riley was my best friend. Our hips were glued together, inseparable. She didn’t like Jimmy. A month ago, I had cried to her about all the awful fights I and Jimmy were having. She wasn’t too understanding, and stopped talking to me because she had complained that I was making too many bad choices for her to keep up with. I don’t know mom, she got really busy with school. She wanted some space, I guess. My mother was never good at seeing lies. She says that she sees the best in people- which makes me even more regretful of the lies I tell.
When I was little, I wouldn’t be able to go a day without confessing the truth on anything slightly untrue. Now, I am able to lie so well, that I can get away with lying to myself and I wouldn’t be able to tell. That’s the thing- once you turn 13, your innocence vanishes like magic. Maybe not immediately, but soon enough you’ll be telling white lies- little lies, before they grow bigger and bigger. Now I’m 17, with a filthy, infected conscience. I’m supposed to go to college soon, really soon. Jimmy’s trying his hardest to get in so that he can “watch over me” and so that I don’t “make an ass out of myself”, so that he knows I’m not cheating on him. He tells me it’s because he cares… He tells me it’s because he loves me. Same old, same old. I probably couldn’t get someone better than him anyway. He used to be so nice. My mother was obsessed with him when she met him. He was such a gentleman, kissing her hand and telling her how lucky he was to be with me, that my mother raised me right. He’d pull me in and kiss me on the head, showing off how proud he was of me. “My girl, oh how you are my girl,” He’d say lovingly. Soon I found out he meant it literally. My mother couldn’t ever see him being the person he is now. I guess I can’t either. “You’re becoming a woman, and women don’t let just anybody step all over them. They are ambitious and fierce, remember that. You can’t just let anybody tell you what to do or how to act,” my mother would say. Mother used to say all kinds of things, but she always made sure to tell me to be my own person, that I was going to go far in life. Ha. If she could see me now. She’d be so disappointed…

 

 

“Lace! Get down here.” My mother belted from downstairs. I swung my legs off of my bed reluctantly, wondering what she wanted now.
“Yeah mom?” I yelled back, peeking my head outside of my door. No answer. I sighed. “What do you need?” I yelled again. No answer. I grunted and went downstairs.
“Why does she call me and then give me no answer? Maybe I was busy,” I complained to myself, muttering as I made my way to the living room.
“Yeah, mom?” I said upon entering. My stomach hit the floor and my heart seemed to be lodged in my throat. Jimmy stood, making light banter with mother. I forced a smile.
“Hi, what are you doing here? Did…Did I miss your call?” I said, laughing nervously, trying to sound pleasantly surprised. My mother was blushing, laughing heartily while my boyfriend had a confident grin plastered on his face.
“He’s so funny, Lace. I haven’t laughed like this in awhile!” Mother went on. Something I couldn’t reach shattered within me; I imagined a huge city deep inside of me-- and so many buildings had already been torn down and ruined, but another one just crashed.
“No, no Lacey, you didn’t miss my call. I thought I would just take you out for lunch.” He smiled, bringing me in a tight hug. He smelled nice. He is also wearing the maroon sweater I love on him. He usually doesn’t come around by the house... Then it hit me, and I sighed of relief. Today won’t be one of his bad days.

“You okay?” He asked sweetly, pulling away from the hug.
“Yeah. I’m perfect! I’m so happy that you’re here! It’s a nice surprise.” I grin, hugging him again.
“Lacey you’re not wearing that, are you?” My mother pouted at my clothes. Before I could

defend myself, saying that they were just pajamas, Jimmy nodded and said “Yeah. I agree, I almost didn’t recognize you wearing no makeup!” He laughed. I touched my face quickly, embarrassed of my naked and bare face. Jimmy rarely sees me without makeup and in a pair of sweatpants.
“Right, right. If I would’ve known you were coming--” They both stared at me, looking clueless of what I was saying. It didn’t matter much what I said, I realized. Feeling flushed, I nodded, and went upstairs to change clothes for my very much dreaded lunch date with Jimmy.

 

Jimmy does this. It’s like a routine, a pattern. Jimmy does things to make up for his behavior. Last night was a rotten night, and seeing him come to the house was a big deal. “It’s not my responsibility to pick you up. As a guy, that’s offensive, so don’t expect that from me. You know how to drive, why don’t you do the driving? I get tired of doing all the work in the relationship. It’s not because I don’t care, you know that, Lace,” He once told me. It was one of the first bombs to cause a building in my city within to go crashing. But I ignored it. I shouldn’t of ignored it.

Last time it was a nice necklace after he had shoved me against a wall. The time before that, I recall it being him buying all the albums to my favorite band, Noah and the Whale, because he punched me in the arm and told me that if I weren’t alive, he would have less to worry about. Another time, he took me shopping at the mall where we first met because he called me a bitch for not having sex with him, and then forcing me to have sex with him anyway. Today, it was picking me up and taking me to lunch because last night I said I wanted some space so he flipped a mattress on me, calling me various names, and threatening to cut me.

 

The car ride to the restaurant was silent and there was peace. Once, Jimmy asked, “Do you like this song? I like it, but whatever. You can change it if you like. There’s only about 3 shitty stations because my fucking truck is a piece of shit, as you probably already think.” I leave the song on anyway. I like his truck, too. It’s a vintage, red 1967 Chevy; it’s a little beat up but I like it that way. I find that it gives the truck character and the bumps and dents show for how many years it’s had to chug through.

We arrive at the restaurant. It was one of the local sushi restaurants that only this town has, and online it only has a two and a half star rating, which I find to be quite agreeable with. Their soup is like chicken-flavored water.

Jimmy walks in first, letting the door swing for me to catch, but before I could walk in, I notice the flyer pasted to the front window, exclaiming: THIS SHOP WILL BE GOING TO THE MARKET! IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN BUYING, PLEASE CALL 304-558-1700!

My mind raced, and I whipped my phone out to take a picture of the flyer.
“You coming?” Jimmy called from inside. I nodded and smiled, fumbling as I hastily shoved my phone into my pocket.

“This is nice, Lacey. I like this time with you.” Jimmy said genuinely, swallowing a bite of sushi and taking another.
“I do too,” I say ambivalently. I continue to stare down at my food, thinking about the flyer in the front window. My mom has always wanted to be an owner of a restaurant. She once ranted to me, saying, “Oh Lace, I used to have the wildest dream of owning my own restaurant someday.. It’s quite silly now that I think about it. Once we moved out here, there was just no chance,” and then she’d laugh, as if it were all some big joke. But I saw in her eyes, the way they glimmered when she spoke of it. “Is it about the money?” I had asked. For a long moment, she shook her head, and then when she finally spoke she sounded irritated, saying,  “Nothing like that. It’s a lot cheaper than you think. It’s just that this town is so small, there ain’t going to be a shop open. It’s real tight-knit over here, I’ll be luckier seeing a horse shit rainbows than owning a restaurant in this town.” And then she laughed, brushing the subject off. I must have only been 14 at the time, but I never forgot the way her eyes shined and how big her smile was when she spoke of it; and then how sadness and doubt washed away her gleaming ambitions when she called it silly. My thoughts faded as the sound of Jimmy’s voice pulled me back to awareness.

“I’m so sorry, Lacey. I’ve hurt you,” He said softly, almost sincerely. I shrugged. “I’ve got a problem, and I… I don’t know how to fix it,” He went on. I looked him in the eyes, and I saw his pain.
“Don’t worry about it,” I croaked, barely audible.
“I’m going to worry about it. I never stop thinking about you, Lacey. I never stop thinking about how,” He paused, reaching over the table to stroke my arm with his pretty hand, running across a fading bruise. “How I caused that. I never stop thinking about how I caused the sadness in your eyes. My girl, oh how you are my girl… I love you so much.” Jimmy told me, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. I stared at him for a long moment. My eyes traced his nose, and his hairline, and his jaw. He’s such a pretty boy. Such a broken soul lay trapped in this boy’s body. I see his pain.

“I love you too,” I whisper, the words staining the air, burning my tongue. My chest squeezed. I swear, my heart must be physically going through some form of trauma.

“I know you do,” He smirked. I smiled in return, and he leaned over to kiss me on the forehead. For one second, all felt right in the world. The birds chirped outside and people laughed from the table over, and the sun shined brightly. But the feeling only lasted for a second, and my stomach twisted and clenched: for I knew, that the last bruise he caused, would not be the last bruise he’d make.

Jimmy arrives at my house to drop me off, but neither one of us say anything. The feeling of our date lingers in my chest. When he’s in a good place, I can never help falling in love with him all over again. I hate myself for it.
“I’m sorry, Lace.” Jimmy says, cutting the silence. I look at him, his face dulled with guilt and a tiredness far deeper than just lethargy. I feel my tear-ducts swelling, but I think I’ve run out of tears to shed. I’d like not to cry in front of him anyway.

“What am I supposed to say to that?” I question.
“I don’t know… But I know I hurt you. I know you love me, and I’m a piece of shit that doesn’t deserve your love. But you can’t leave me, Lace. I wouldn’t survive without you.” His last sentence is the reason I stay. The reason I die every day to be with him. I blink, and a tear rolls down my cheek. I guess my tear ducts do still work.
“You keep hurting me,” I croak out. My voice is breaking. No. Where is your strength, Lacey? Gone, a voice within me says.
“Fuck! I KNOW I DO! Okay? I’m a fuck-up. I know I hurt you all the damned time, I love you though. Just know that. Know that I love you. Okay? Please? Please know I love you,” His voice grew soft at the end of his sentence, and a tear falls down his cheek.
“I know that you love me, you tell me all the time,” I sigh. “ My mom is probably wondering why we’ve been out here for long, I should go inside.” Silence falls. Then he he cups my face and kisses my lips passionately, the wetness of our cheeks collide and I can taste the salt of his tears and mine mingling.
“Fine. Don’t make plans without checking in with me, I might have you over tonight. I’ll text you.” He says, pulling away away from my face. I nod and grab my bag, stepping out of the car slamming the door behind me. He drives off immediately, and I kneel to the ground and sob. I sob, and sob, and sob.


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