“I think like human nature we get stuck really easily and things that are beautiful versus things that are painful, it doesn’t matter, we want to cling to them, we don’t want to let go of feelings.”
By Elsa Kennedy
“Damaged but that’s okay”
Fiction. Based on a true abuser who damaged us.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
“He told me I was a whore,” she says in tears. I hug her. I feel her tears wetting my shirt. It’s okay though. I let her cry and cry because I don’t know what else I can do. Multiple times I’ve told her she needs to find help, she needs to talk to a professional, she needs to leave that house. She never listens.
“Am I a whore?” she asks me in a whisper.
“What?” I grab her by the shoulders and make her look at me. “Don’t ever believe a word that comes out of his mouth. You are not a whore,” I say looking into her eyes. I see so much sadness. She used to be so strong and independent and now all I see is a broken soul.
She sobs. She stops looking at me and looks at the floor.
“You have to do something, you can’t keep living like this,” I sigh. I’ve said these same words about twenty times already.
“I can’t. I love him, he’s the one who makes the money, I have nothing without him,” she’s said those exact words twenty times too. “At least he doesn’t hit me.”
“He doesn’t hit you but he’s making you think you’re nothing,” I grab her hand and squeeze it. “You are stronger than this. My sister would never let a man treat her like this.”
She stays quiet looking at nothing, her stare is lost. She shrugs. “It’s weird seeing this side of him, he was so sweet to me. He always had little details for me. The man I know would never say those things to me.”
“That isn’t him anymore.”
“I have to go, he’ll be wondering where I am.”
“Don’t go back, stay here, at least for today,” I squeeze her hand harder.
She shakes her head and pulls her arm back. I see her walking out the door. I stay there a while, picking up but there’s really nothing to pick up, I’m just moving things around. I’m waiting to hear from her again. I know she won’t call or text but I just need to know she’s okay.
I text her but get no response. I shower to try and let the tension go down the drain but it doesn’t work. I’ve been in the water for fifteen minutes and tears are falling. I wish she would get the courage to leave him. I think of all the things he’s told her.
Slut. Bitch. Trainwreck. Worthless. Useless. Annoying. Disgusting. Fat. Whore.
There are so many I can’t remember them all.
I will never understand why she stays. The hardest part is I can’t meddle. As much as I want too, it’s her life. All I can do in this situation and be there for her. I could report it but for what? She’d make excuses for him. She has to leave by herself.
I get out of the shower and still no response from her.
I lay in bed, I know I won’t sleep. What if it gets worse and he hits her?
I wake up and feel the aftermath of last night. A throbbing headache and blurry vision. I take my phone but still nothing from her. I should get ready for the day. I start making breakfast when my phone rings. I run to it and it’s her, finally.
“Hello,” I say.
“I’m on my way to mom and dads’,” she says breathless.
“Are you okay?” I ask her.
“Yeah, I’m leaving him. Last night one of his friends told me that he had another girl. So he can torture the other one, I’m done,” she says and I take a huge breath.
“Are you going to be okay?” I ask because I know I’m not. I feel like I need to heal from all this, she should too.
“I think so.”
“Okay. We’ll grab dinner tonight then, I’ll go over there,” I say and smile a little.
“Yes, I’ll see you then,” she says and I hear the change in her voice. She feels better. She’s free.
I sit there and wonder why I don’t feel free. I feel like something is going to go wrong. He won’t like her leaving and it’ll be a big mess. I start getting the number of lawyers and sending them to her so she has legal help.
I spiral a little and start looking up everything about domestic violence and how bad it could get. While I read, I cry.
It kind of feels like before a storm. You know something is coming and you prepare for it but you don’t know what to expect. I don’t know what to expect now. I don’t know how to feel calm. I don’t know how to feel at all.
My cry turns into screams. He hurt us. He continues to hurt us. He hurt her, but when she hurt, I hurt. When he would chase her away she would run to me. I had to be her savior. I was there for her. As much as I tried to save her, I was also being broken down and I couldn’t help myself because I was busy helping her.
I stop everything I was doing and head to my parents’ house.
I arrive before her. I get out of my car and my mother looks through the window. She smiles in surprise. She opens the door, “Hi honey, what are you doing here?”
“Just wanted to be here when sis arrives,” I admit.
She hugs me. “Everything is going to be fine,” she says but I don’t feel it. I still don’t feel like it’s okay. I feel tears trying to come out but I stop them. I can’t be crying now.
My sister finally arrives when we’re inside eating lunch. She enters with a smile, “Hey girl, what are you doing here?”
I get up from the chair and open my arms to her. She hugs me. I think this is the first time we hug without crying in months. “Just wanted to be here for you,” I say.
“You always are,” she says and lets me go. She smiles at me. “Help me get my stuff out of the car?”
A couple of suitcases later we’re sitting on the couch watching cartoons. Just like old times. I look at her. There’s something different about her. There’s still that sadness but there’s something else too. Maybe hope, I don’t know.
She looks at me, “What are you looking at?”
“You. You seem different.”
“I feel different. I feel like myself again,” she says and laughs.
“What are you laughing at?” I laugh too. I can’t help it, her laugh is contagious and it’s been months since I’ve heard it. It feels good to laugh with her.
She shrugs. “I never thought I’d be in this position. I’m kind of scared of what’s next,” she says and her lips quiver.
“Don’t worry about it,” I say and grab her hand. “Whatever comes next, we’ll get through it too,” I lay on her shoulder. I can see she’s holding back tears. I am too. It’s inevitable.
“Thank you, for always being here,” she says.
“That’s what sisters are for,” I say and keep watching the television. I know that if I look at her my tears will fall. I feel so much for her it’s overwhelming.
In a matter of minutes I doze off.
I awaken with the smell of pizza. I open my eyes and see my parents and sister around the table.
“You’re going to eat and didn’t bother to wake me up huh,” I get up.
They laugh. I join them on the table. I grab a piece and move it towards my mouth.
“Uh-no,” mom says making me stop moving, “First we pray,” she gives me a hand and my father the other.
We grab each others’ hands and thank God for the food and our family.
And in this moment, I do feel okay. Everything is going to be okay. Whatever happens now, whatever we have to go through, we have each other. That’s all that matters.