Sunday, December 16, 2012

XIII

As we drove up to the house, I was relieved. I was never going back, and just the thought of never seeing him again brought tears of joy to my eyes. I greeted my sisters, and my youngest sister Summer gave me a hug, telling me how much she’d missed me. The dogs still recognized me, a welcome relief since the oldest of the two, Rex, was getting up there in age. Gus was still a puppy but had grown much since I’d left. Because I still had a few dollars that Theo had given me before I went to work, I took Summer for a walk down to the gas station below our house, meeting up with my friend Chris, the person that had been the source of so many arguments with Theo. He hadn’t even realized I’d left, but was glad I was back once I’d given him just a brief summary of what had transpired. While sitting in the gas station, enjoying our drinks, we arranged to go see Def Leppard the next month at USANA Amphitheater. I didn’t have a job but had promised myself to check back with my first employer at a fast food restaurant next to the gas station.


The next day, I did just that. I got my job back, to my boss’ relief. I’d left for another job because I wasn’t getting very many hours, but unfortunately had not given my second employer advance notice when I’d picked up and left for Bellingham. Without even going back, I knew I would never work there again. So I settled. My boss promised me more hours than I’d originally received, which was a step up, and gave me my old pay rate as well as a raise, a sure sign that he’d appreciated my service. I was glad to be back, doing something and earning money. But with everything going well with work, things were still out of order at home. Theo still hadn't stopped texting and was apologizing--not for anything specific--and he still was pushing his claims that I had been unfaithful to him. My mom wasn't sure how to block his number, and even though I'd blocked him on Facebook, there were many of his friends who revealed that their loyalty to him was stronger than their loyalty to me. As soon as I realized my "friends" had chosen Theo over me, I started not only unfriending them but blocking them as well, completely restricting access to me. Things started to calm down after I cut ties with the mutual friends Theo and I had on Facebook. He stopped texting--whether it had to do with blocking his informants or physically going to the police and asking them to intervene, I don't know. I was relieved either way. 

Soon after getting my old job back, I registered for the summer semester at the community college. I'd seen how dropping out of school could affect my life--it wasn't pretty. So, with my parents' help, I paid for classes and books and restarted my education. One good thing had come of my experience with Theo: I now knew for sure that I wanted to pursue a path in the legal system, beyond any doubt. I wanted to see men like him get caught and locked away, to never again harm anyone. It was the same reason I'd started blogging. A lesson had been learned, one I'd never forget.

I refuse to become nothing more than a statistic, a number in the system, faceless and lost among others that have strayed down the same path, because I know staying silent would be the worst thing I could do. We all have a choice. We fall because we need to learn to pick ourselves up, to heal our wounds and become stronger. The scars I have may not be physical, but they still exist and they're a sign that I survived, that what didn't kill me has really made me stronger.



 

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