You get knocked down, they keep kicking you; you turn your cheek, they slap the other one. As I look into the window of a random family eating dinner like a normal family should, I think about what I used to have, what we used to have—togetherness. But like I said, we used to have it. As quickly as it comes, it can be taken away from you just like that.
Sunday May 6
The wind is blowing my dead brown hair into my face. I put up my hood and crank the volume up on my Ipod and stop thinking. I walk away with my eyes shut, feeling my heart pound.
Suddenly I’m on the ground with a big thud and I feel no pain. I was knocked over by a giant. I look up and see an outstretched hand which I ignore and get up myself. The giant who I am now realizing is only a few inches taller than me, grabs my bag from the ground.
“Sorry. Are you okay? I didn’t see you there,” nobody ever sees me.
“I’m fine” I say forcefully as I grab my bag from his hands and impulsively butt around him. I can see his face in my head. He looks stunned and stupid. I guarantee he thinks I’m a bitch and he’s right, whoever he is.
I try and avoid going home for as long as I can, but I can’t stay out all night. Greg will be mad. I approach the door and hear him yelling something intelligible. Probably about me. Everything goes ominous and I know they know I’m outside waiting. I turn the knob and slowly enter the house. My mom is hiding her tears and Greg is furious, I know he’s going to yell at me.
“Where the hell have you been? It’s 10:30!” He yells, “You have no respect for me, or your mother. Look at her Tammy, her eyes are red. She’s either high or drunk. Knowing her, probably both!” I breath, I know getting mad will only make it worse.
“I’m not high, or drunk,” I kick off my shoes and storm upstairs. I’m so glad I convinced mom to put a lock on my door. I open my closet and see the water bottle that conveniently doesn’t have water in it. I grab the bottle and take a big swig. A warm, tingly feeling engulfs my body. I want more. I finish off the bottle and my body feels happy. I fall asleep feeling happy and worry free. But it doesn’t last long.
I’m wretched awake and run to the bathroom. The only downside to drinking: my stomach doesn’t agree with it. The taste in my mouth is foul and I brush my teeth three times to get rid of it.
Monday May 7
“I heard you throwing up last night, not drunk eh?” Greg says condescendingly. his ears are too big for his head and his hair is god awful. He stares at me with his beady little eyes that match his rat face. I don’t see why my mother fell for him in the first place.
“Actually Greg, I threw up the dinner I ate, it had canola oil in it and you know I’m allergic to it,” Greg scowls at me, and I stare him down. Until mom comes in.
“Well I’m sorry you didn’t feel well and I hope you feel better,” He puts on a completely fake smile that only my mother, blind as a bat in love, believes.
“Daelyn, you don’t feel good?” my mother asks. Mornings are always better for her.
“She threw up last night, says it was the canola oil in dinner, but I know that she’s allergic and would never even consider making food that would hurt her, I wonder what could have possibly made her sick?” He talks like I’m not here. My mother thinks he’s so nice and kind. What a load of bullshit!
“Honey, please tell me you didn’t lie to us last night,” my mother pleads.
“I didn’t lie to you mom,” you never asked. And besides, I wasn’t drinking when I was out.
Mom kept me home today. Not sure why, at least Greg isn’t here.
“Why do you like Greg?” the question slips out before I can stop myself from speaking. My mother looks bewildered.
“Excuse me? That is extremely rude! Greg is a very sweet, kind-hearted man,”
“To you,” I say under my breath.
“He helped us when we were in need,” she says matter-of-factually.
“But were not in need anymore so he shouldn’t needto be around,” I know my mother will be pissed at this but I had to say it.
“Daelyn May!” She only uses my middle name when she’s either mad, disappointed or when she knows I’m right. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom, especially in the mornings. At night she changes into someone else, someone she’s not and it’s hisfault.
Greg used to be nice, at the beginning, probably just to make a good first impression. And it worked, me and mom both loved him around. Then one night I saw the real him for a split second, and now, usually—but not always— when mom’s not around, I see it more and more. It changed everything.
I go to my room and lock my door. I put my headphones in and turn the volume up all the way. I open my laptop that only a master hacker could get into, and I begin to type.
Each day is getting worse and worse. It’s so hard to get up in the morning. I just don’t want to be here. I want to leave, but I don’t want to leave mom alone. I know she’s not strong enough, mentally and physically to handle herself. But I’m running out of patience. Nothing matters to me anymore. I want to die.
I delete the file. Nobody needs to knows I’m so depressed. And they can’t. I will hide all the evidence until it’s too late, and I’m gone.
I close my eyes and feel the darkness. Death seems so peaceful, so calm. I can’t wait. I can feel myself drifting and I imagine that I’m dying.
We are at the park. It’s early afternoon and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. He’s pushing me on the swing. I’m laughing and having fun. He runs out around in front of me and tells me to jump, that he’ll catch me. I take two more pumps and let go. I’m soaring through the air. I feel like I’m flying, the wind runs through my hair and I outstretch my arms. I land in his arms and we fall over. He hugs me tightly, my tiny body fitting perfectly into his, and we just lay there. I feel so comfortable in his arms, the smell of him intoxicates my senses. I fall asleep in his arms on the grass at the park. I am only woken up by the beginnings of rain. I quickly get up and run for cover as it starts to pour. I’m soaked and my makeup is smudged. We stand huddled together under the jungle gym. He looks at me and lifts my chin with his hand. He tells me I’m the most beautiful person he’s ever met and he kisses me. A passionate, warm and deep kiss. It’s not our first kiss, but it’s the best kiss we ever had.
I wake up with hot tears on my face. I trusted Scott with everything I had. We were together for almost a year, I told him everything. He was the only person who knew about my dad, about the guilt and depression that came along with it, about everything. He said he loved me, and I loved him back, or so I thought. He was sleeping around with random women throughout our relationship, Jenna being one of them, and didn’t have the decency to end things with me.
At 7, moms pokes her head in. She’s forgiven me for this morning. She looks good, healthy. The past few years, have been rough on her, since dad died. The first month after, I didn’t see her out of bed. My grandma took care of me, she was going to call Family and Children Services, but when she confronted my mom about it, she snapped out of it, for a few months. But the depression came back and she got worse. That’s when she met Greg, at a support group, of all places. They were just friends for the first year or so, or that’s what they told me. Meeting Greg was good for her, she got back into her life, but the drinking never stopped, it has decreased a lot, but some nights she gets really bad.
“I’m going to work now, I’ll be back around two, please don’t wait up. You have school tomorrow and I want you get a good nights sleep,” I just stare at her, “Daelyn? I love you, don’t ever forget that,” I nod. I know deep down it’s true but when she’s like this I don’t believe a word she says.
Tuesday May 8
I’m awoken by keys in the door knob, I assume it’s mom checking if I’m sleeping. The clock says two. Maybe she got sent home early. Maybe they fired her for being drunk on the job. Maybe she bailed work. Maybe she wanted to quit drinking. Maybe she would rather be with her daughter than at work. Or maybe I’m just crazy.
I close my eyes and pretend to be sleeping so we won’t have ‘a chat’. The door opens slowly and there’s no footsteps, my breathing is slow and I can’t hear any movements.
Her footsteps are heavy and uneven. She must be smashed. She hugs me and kisses me on the cheek. Her lips are cracked and don’t feel much like hers.
Suddenly I realize it’s not her. It’s him.
His breath travels down my neck and I shudder. I get shivers all over, my whole body is trembling. He climbs in the bed and hugs me from behind. His hands are freezing cold. He lifts up my shirt and is feeling my stomach, my stomach starts burning. All over hurts. He slowly moves his hands upwards. He takes my shirt off. Followed by my sweat pants. I try and squirm away but he’s holding me tight. I know screaming will do no good because no one will hear it. I try kicking and biting but he’s too strong.
“Shh, be quiet!” he hisses. He holds my mouth shut and there is a sudden pain in my stomach. The room goes foggy and it’s spinning. The baby blue walls are turning tie-dye and all the furniture in my room disappears. My head feels like it just got bashed in with a hammer and I black out.
Everything is dark. I don’t know where I am. My head is pounding and my nose burns. I sit up and realize that my whole body aches. Especially between my legs. I slowly get out of bed and walk to the light switch. When the light turns on my eyes go out of focus, I get really dizzy, but it passes. It must be four in the morning, or close to that.
My bed has blood spots on it. Much larger than that of leakage. My stomach churns as I see the mess. A sharp pain in my stomach reveals the long cut. He must of cut me when I was squirming, that would explain the jolting pain. I know not all the blood is from my stomach. I want to throw-up. I see a note on my nightstand. My hands shake as I pick it up.
If you say anything I will kill you.
The note flutters to the ground. My heartbeat accelerates and again it feels as though it is trying to escape. The next thing I know I’m in the bathroom. The cold water feels good on my face. I pull my underwear and toss it in the tub. I’ll have to soak it in bleach to get the blood stains out. Good thing I have my own bathroom. I grab the cloth and press it to my wound. It hurts to wipe off all the dried on blood but I know that sanitizing it with rubbing alcohol will hurt so much more.
I grab my shirt and pants and throw them in the tub as well.
I’m standing in my bathroom naked and I look at the reflection of myself in the full-length mirror. I feel dirty and nasty. I’m no longer pure and innocent. I hate him and I hate myself. My fists clench, I can feel them pulsing, the anger welling inside me; building and building. I punch my reflection as hard as I can and the mirror shatters. I grab the sharpest shard I can find and engrave the word “NASTY” on my arm. A calming feeling of relief washes over me as the warm blood travels down my arm and my hand and drips to the floor. I smear the blood that’s on my hand on the sink mirror. I turn the water on in the shower and get in. The boiling water relaxes my muscles but the disgusting feeling doesn’t go away. I use what was left of my body wash trying to scrub away the filth. I’d have to scrub away myself to get rid of the filth that I am.
I throw the underwear in the trash. I could never wear them again.
I’m cleaning up the blood on the floor when my mom comes in.
“What happened here?” She mumbles as she points in circles at the floor.
“Oh... uhm, well the mirror feel last night and shattered when I was sleeping and I woke up to pee and I didn’t see the glass because my eyes were closed and I stepped on a piece of glass and cut my foot open and it was bleeding pretty bad and I didn’t want to make you or Greg mad so that’s why I’m cleaning it up,” I know I’m rambling but I can’t help it. And besides, she’s too drunk to care.
“Oh okay,” and with that she stumbles away.
I rush back into my room, change out of the towel and into some new pajamas and rummage through my closet until I find a lighter. I set fire to the note. I keep burning it until it’s nothing more than dust in my hand. Kind of like me. Nothing. I drink until I pass out and wait for morning to evade me.
Wednesday May 9
I walk down the stairs and hear the distinct slapping noise. I instantly think that mom found out and is ending it with Greg. I run into the room to see mom cowering in fear, hand on her face, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Mom!” I yell. I run to the middle of the kitchen and stand in between mom and Greg. Greg has his fist up ready to punch. I’m hunched over in a pouncing position.
“Get. Out. Of. The. Way!” He snarls. I don’t budge, “If you don’t move you will get hurt,” the way he says ‘will’ implies something of a threat.
“Is that a threat, or a promise?” I stare him down, I’m not giving up. Not this time. Besides, I don’t have anything to lose.
“Daelyn, I’m serious, leave. Let your mother and I discuss this ourselves,” his arm has dropped by now, but his fist is still clenched.
“It doesn’t sound like you were discussing anything to me,”
“What you think doesn’t matter,”
“Daelyn, go to your room. Please,” She pleads through the tears. I ignore mom and keep staring at Greg.
“Do it Greg. Hit me. I dare you,” I pause and wait for him to say something, when he remains silent I continue, “That’s what I thought. You’re not man enough to do it!” I glare, his nostrils flare.
“Don’t tempt me,” he growls. I scoff.
“Do. It!” I taunt. The next thing I know his fist is coming full force towards my face. His knuckles meet my eye and nose. I fall to the ground, my head hitting the hard linoleum floor, I just lay there, I know if I get up, he’ll hit me again.
“Now, you both listen to me! You do what I say, when I say it, or you will be sorry! And don’t think of calling the cops, because I will inform them of your little money situation, and we wouldn’t want that, now would we Tammy?”
When my mother was depressed, she stopped going to work and she stopped getting paid, so she stopped paying the bills. Greg works at a sort of IRS bank and he changed her account information so it said she paid all her charges.
I can only assume he grabbed her wrist or hair and yanked her up because right after he said it she yelped, I hear him spit and then footsteps, followed by the slam of the door. As soon as the door slams shut mom bursts into tears. She begins mumbling things about money, and her fault and the likes of that.
I finally peel my eyes open. When I look around, mom is trying to act as normal as possible. I see a clump of hair on the floor and her hand is on her head.
By the time she turns around, I’m standing—more like leaning on the table.
“Oh good, you’re okay,” she croaks and rushes away.
Then I notice the hand shaped purple-brown bruise on my wrist. I guess he grabbed me, I don’t remember it though.
When I get to school I tune everything out.
“Excuse me? I’m new here, can you tell me how to get to the main office?” I look up from the ground to see if they were talking to me. It’s him. The giant boy. I shake my head and keep walking, He turns around and grabs my shoulder. I turn around so he’ll let go, and I shiver.
“Aren’t you that girl I knocked over on Friday?” I shake my head but he continues, “yeah it’s you, I remember because you’re wearing the same sweater,” Oh look at that, I am. Terrific.
The bell rings and I run to my class. He looks around not sure where to go and continues to roam the halls.
The next few weeks are a blur. I’ve basically shut down, I’m not talking at home. Greg has mom whipped, I guess I would be too if it were me he said those things to. He told her he caught me doing drugs and that’s the reason I’ve cut out. Of course she believes him. Greg has been hitting and grabbing us both a lot. I’ve had to buy a lot of foundation to cover up the bruises. Sunglasses help the black eyes. Mom has started drinking the hard liquor. As for me, I got sent home for being drunk at school, Greg hit me, so I drank more. It’s really become a routine. As the cuts on my arm tries to heal, I keep reopening the wound. I will never heal, and neither will it. I like the feeling of the metal on my wrists, the feeling of the blood seeping through the cuts, the feeling of control it brings. It seems to be the only thing I have control over anymore.
Wednesday June 6
I get up early today. Before mom or Greg are awake. I use up all the hot water for my shower. When I get out I hear Greg yelling, go figure.
I leave early, make up some excuse about extra help. But really I just wanted to get out of there. I decide to go to school, I
have nowhere else to go. When I get there, not even all of the teachers are here yet.
“Mr. Wilson? Are you free to talk?” I knock lightly on my art teachers door. It is the only class I pay attention in, and the only class I’m passing. Mr. Wilson is pretty cool—for a teacher.
“Not really, but fine. Come in,” that’s what I like about him; he says what’s on his mind and he’s blunt about it. He has a gift with his bluntness though; he is able to get most people to say what they really want to.
“I was wondering what my mark is at,” I could really care less, but I have nothing better to do. His eyes go wide when he looks up from his computer and sees me standing in the doorway and I see the faintest smirk appear on his face.
“Daelyn Emery, you are the last person I’d expect to see. But strangely, you’re the first person I’d want to see,” he stares at me for some time, both of us not moving, not saying anything, just holding each others stare.
“So are you gonna tell me my grade or just stare at me awkwardly?” I try being blunt with him. Hoping I’ll be able to use it like he does, but he just laughs at me.
“I know you don’t care about your grades, otherwise you would stop showing up to class drunk,” it’s never his class I want to be drunk in, but I gotta start somewhere, “and I’m glad to see your sobered up today. At least I hope you are,” he gives me the ‘raised eyebrow’
look, “but then again, being drunk would explain why you’re here,” he always does that. Gives you the long end of the stick, then hits you with it.
“I’m not drunk, and I’m here because I have nowhere else to go,” I roll my eyes.
“Ah, now the honesty comes out. Have a seat. We’re starting a partner project today and for this one, I chose the partners. You are with Easton,” His phone vibrates and his attention is off of me.
“Who is Easton?” I ask. I’m answered with the ‘one moment, I’m busy’ finger. So I walk over to the art display case. For some reason my painting of the smeared hand is in here.
“Why is my picture in here!” I freak. I hate other people seeing my artwork, it’s personal and usually taken from events that happen.
“Calm down, one question at a time. Easton is the new kid. He started last Month. And your painting is in the display case because I like it. It’s different and real,” I can feel my face getting hot, so I turn away, “when you paint, it’s so fluent, like you’ve lived it. It’s just so pure,” I cringe at the word. He touches my arm and I jerk it away. He looks at me confused, but before he can say anything I run out of the room.
When the last warning bell rings, I enter art. I slip into my seat at the back without anybody seeing me. Except the guy sitting in the supposed to be empty seat beside mine.
“Who are you and why are you sitting there?” I whisper, he lifts his head and flips his brown hair out of his eyes. His dark intense eyes bore into mine, “oh great, it’s you,” I mumble to myself..
“Uhm, I’m Easton, I’ve been sitting here for the last month? Where the hell have you been? I can move if it’s really that big of a deal
“I know who you are dumb ass, ” I say mockingly. His face goes red.
“Oh,” he mumbles, looking at his desk.
“Sorry, I’m in a pissy mood today,” I say, I don’t mean it but if we're going to have to work on a project together, I don’t want him to be afraid of me.
“I see that. I didn’t catch your name, what was it?” I like that.Was.I wasDaelyn. It implies that I am no longer. No longer me. No longer innocent. No longer daddy's little girl. No longer alive.
“I didn’t tell you my name. Call me “That Girl”. As in ‘remember That Girl?’” he stares at me, horror fills his face. His mouth opens but no sound comes out. I burst out laughing and the whole class looks at me. So much for staying under the radar. I give my best ‘yeah I’m that girl’ smile. Most of them roll their eyes and turn away, or whisper something to their friends about what a psycho I am.
“You’ve got a sick sense of humor,” he shakes his head and looks away. The sickest part is I was laughing at his face, I was serious about the name.
“Sorry,” I mumble. We spend the rest of the class in silence. Good thing we’re not starting the project until tomorrow.
The next three classes go by uneventful. Turns out Easton is in all of my classes. Art, English, Math and Tech. It’s like they took my schedule and gave it to him.
I take my dear sweet time walking home. The longer I can avoid home, Greg and mom, the better.
“Hey, you, that girl!” I hear someone behind me yell. I turn around to see Easton running towards me. He’s fast, and quick on his feet too.
“Careful, my sick sense of humor might infect you,” I mock. He slows as he gets near me; he stops a few steps away from me.
“Look sorry about today, I guessIwas the one in the pissy mood. I was thinking, since we’re partners for the art project, want to get a coffee or something and discuss ideas?” he asks nervously. Hm, lets see. I don’t want to get a coffee with him, but I really don’t want to be home with him.
“Fine,” I sigh. We walk in silence for a while.
“Tell me about yourself,” he says looking at me.
“Why’s it matter?”
“I don’t know. I just prefer to know the people I’m working with, is that okay with you?”
“I could care less, but Iprefer to work alone, so I guess we’re both shit out of luck,” he groans. We stop talking again until he starts up with twenty questions.
“So, what’s your name?” he says. I look at him and grin.
“Daelyn May Marie Emery,” I smile as big as I can. I might as well have some fun while he’s interrogating me, “what’s yours?” I ask twirling my hair like a preppy girl, he just looks at me like I’ve gone insane, “you were the one who said you like to get to know the people you work with, so it’s gonna go both ways,” I give a cheeky smile, and he rolls his eyes. Perfect.
“Easton James Hayes,” I nod, not sure what to say.
“Why don’t you give me a summary of yourself instead of us doing this awkward twenty questions?” I wasn’t really asking, more like telling, but either way he agrees.
“My name is Easton, I lived in Guelph all my life, until now. I play hockey. I listen to all sorts of music, my favourite movie is either “The Perfect Storm” or “The Green Mile”. My mom is a waitress and my dad is a lawyer. My older sister, Beth, just left this September for University, she wants to be a nurse. My younger sister, Tora, she’s one, is pretty cute. My favourite food are tacos, and I love Art and English because I’ve always loved the deeper meaning of things. Your turn,” he points to me and I think about what to say. I could tell him everything and completely freak him out or I could lie through my teeth.
“My name is Daelyn, I’ve lived here all my life, I’m an only child, I used to dance but I had to quit. I listen to whatever music suits my mood. My mom is a part-time bartender, and Greg does something. My favourite movie is “The Little Mermaid Two”. I don’t have a favourite food and my favourite class is art. I can’t think of anything else,” I trail out my sentence because I notice he’s deep in thought, “what are you thinking about?” I ask.
“Two things in particular. Why on earth you like “Little Mermaid Two” and why you call your father by his first name... and not know his occupation?”
“First of all, I don’t know why, it just is. Second of all he's notmy father and third of all, I don’t know what he does because I don’t give a damn about him,” he looks at me. His stare is so strong, it’s like his eyes are peering into my soul.
“Aweh, daddy and daddy's little princess are in a fight,” he says in a mocking tone. I stop dead in my tracks.
“Fuck you!” I start to turn around and walk away. I can feel the tears behind my eyes as my throat constricts. He stops me before I can get away. The tears are streaming down my face now.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know your dad was such a touchy topic. I’ll never bring it up again. Please stop crying. Please?” He looks into my eyes and I notice he has really breathtaking eyes. I can’t do this. I turn around and run as fast as I can.
When I get home, I push through mom and Greg and lock myself in my room. I sneak into mom’s room and grab a bottle of whiskey. I keep drinking until I can’t feel. I grab the shard I keep in my closet and re-open the scab. I cut deeper, and deeper.
I watch the traffic blur past our vehicle. I’m sitting in the passenger seat and my mom in the driver seat. The sun is setting behind us. Were driving home from the cottage. Dad in the car behind us. He came up earlier since he had Friday off. He comes driving up beside us and I get his attention and wave at him. He waves at me and makes a funny face. Then Horror. Slow motion. Fear. Screams.
I wake up with a jolt. My forehead wet with sweat. Tears pouring down my face. I grab another bottle and drink until I pass out. I never want to remember.
The rest of the week is spent at home, doing the same routine; drinking, cutting and crying, followed by more drinking and
cutting. I don’t want to feel anymore. It brings nothing but pain. The nightmares come every night. I don’t sleep anymore. Just pass out.
Monday June 11
“Waste of space!” I hear as I’m jolted awake by a punch to the face. He grabs my hair and pulls me out of bed. How’d he get in my room? Wasn’t it locked? I feel cold water on me face, which quickly turns to boiling hot. I try and squirm away from the water but when I move my head hurts. I open my eyes to see him standing over me, water still running.
“I’m up, I’m up!” I say panicking. He lets go of my hair as he pushes my face into the tub.
“You’re going to school today! We don’t need your fat ass eating us out of house and home again this week!” I didn’t eat anything! He slaps me hard. I can feel it bruising already. He spits on me and leaves.
I get out of the house as soon as possible. When I get there I go to art and see Easton sitting there working on something.
“Hi,” I whisper, he looks up and surprise strikes his face. He quickly covers up a sheet of paper that says my name on it in beautiful cursive.
“You’re alive?” He jokes. I roll my eyes.
“Very funny,” I say, “how’s the project coming along?”
“Not so great, I was hoping you’d have some ideas. I don’t know how to draw something, then draw what it is really, it confuses me,” he admits.
“Give me that pencil and a piece of paper,” I say. He hands me a scrap piece of paper and the paper he was working on and I sketch a flower. I show him, then on the back I draw the same flower, making it look dead.
“Whoa! For a first attempt that is really good!” he adds shading here and there.
“I know you’re wondering where I was and what I was doing. I was at home, drinking,” I say, he sets down the pencil and looks at me.
“Look, I am really sorry... what’s that on your face?” The bruise I forgot to put on makeup!
“Oh uhm nothing,” I say quickly. He puts his hand on the bruise and it fits. His eyes go wide with horror.
“Who hit you?” He looks at me, pain in his eyes. I look down at the
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