I had fully expected the sun to be gone the next morning. The world would be gray and mute; everything would be in faded values of black-and-white, like an old photograph that has spent too much time in the sun. I guess I was surprised when it wasn’t. The sun was still there, hell it was shining brighter than it had in months. Of course the one day I didn’t want it to be there, when I wanted clouds and rain and cool dampness, the world performed the opposite. It was at that moment that I broke down.
Hours spent numbly curled up on a mattress in a claustrophobic dorm room staring brokenly and blindly at the ceiling, finally made me crack.
I sprinted to my room. 100 meters away, just 100 meters away. Why was it so close?
Over time we develop a connection with our rooms, a feeling of purpose and security that creates the ‘homey-ness’ all humans crave. My room at that time was only temporary, two weeks and I’d be done with it. I purposefully had not developed a connection with it. The windows were clouded, the mattress was vile, the lighting dim; I spent as little time there as possible. I don’t know what I had expected when I burst through my door. My dog? My friends with open arms? Help? I don’t know, but I didn’t get any of them, just a pile of books, an unmade bed, and dirty clothes heaped on the floor. I guess I had expected my room to change as well.
One of my best friends in high school was abused by her boyfriend; she stayed with him for three years, never reported him to the police. She finally left him after he knocked up different girl. I’ll never find another guy like him… She’d said reminiscently after she ended it.
Sometimes bitches get slapped ‘round, long ‘s nobodies ‘s dead ‘s ‘lright. That’s what we’d always been told. That was reality. As a kid you get the belt or sapling branch to the knees for punishment, as woman you’ll get punches and kicks in your life. It happens. You just have to pray that you don’t end up on the local news. Ending up on the local news means you’re dead.
Four miles from my parent’s house, on a property that I used to run by every day, lived a young couple. I’d see them every now and then, they looked happy, and they looked like everyone else. About 10 months ago she ended up on the local news. He had shot her in the head. Dinner wasn’t on the table when he got home.
Last April, a man locked himself and his girlfriend in their doublewide, he had enough firepower to feed an African warlord. He was threatening to kill her and attack the elementary school down the road. A SWAT team was called in; after 6 hours of negotiating they got her out. She was beaten, bruised, and terrified. This didn’t end up on the local news.
Then I was back in the room with the bed and the white ceiling that were identical to the bed that I had been raped in and the ceiling that I had pleaded with. I am not on the news, I should be happy that I’m so lucky…I didn’t tell anyone, I closed my eyes, put on a forced smile, and headed to work. As I left I looked back into my room. The sun was still shining, my clothes were still strewn about, and my books were still neatly stacked…But I’m not lucky.