Contest #153 winner 🏆

77 comments

Drama Fiction

TW: This story alludes to sexual abuse, and contains some violence.


It has been ten years since you told me to leave and never come back. I think about that night sometimes. I replay it in my mind. It was mostly my fault. I took my anger out on you, because I couldn’t take it out on him. I think I blamed you, for not noticing, for not stopping it. Eventually, you kicked him to the curb, but that didn’t quiet my anger. It continued to explode. That was the night I shattered plate after plate against the side of your house. You screamed at me then. For a long time you simply put up with my outbursts, but that was the end of it. You’d reached the end of your tether I suppose. I’d finally done something to make you reject me. You should have. I was tainted, dirty, gross. You should have discarded me long before that. Or perhaps you should have protected me. I can never decide which.

I think about that night sometimes. How I shattered those plates so that they resembled what was left of my soul. How pieces of them jumped out and bit me as I smashed them against the wall. How you grabbed my arm and I yanked it away. You hollered for me to stop, but I threw you off and kept going. I didn’t clean up my mess when I left. I suppose you cleaned it up. Either that, or the pieces of broken glass still lay in your flowerbeds, grown over now. If I could repair those plates today, if that would heal what’s broken between us, I would.

It has been ten years since I left this house and I sit in my car in front of it. I wonder what you would say if I walked up to the front door and knocked. Would you bring me into a hug and ask how I’ve been? Would you scold me for coming back when you told me I was no longer welcome? Would you call the police? So many scenarios run through my mind. I have not spoken to you since that night. My therapist tells me I need to mend the rift that has opened between us. I don’t know how.

The best I can do right now is to sit in my car across the street from that house. The house that holds some of my worst memories. Did you hear that he was finally caught? Did you wonder about his time with you and what he might have been doing to me? Did it even cross your mind? I know that you were innocent. You couldn’t have known what he was doing because he was so careful. He made sure to never get caught. My chest tightens when I think of him. My eyes sting. I want to move past being his victim. I want to let go of the anger and the hurt and betrayal I felt towards you for so very long. I really want to.

Why do you still live here? I see you come outside to check the mail. You are wearing your favorite pink ruffled bathrobe. It has faded. Those pajamas cannot be the same ones you used to wear. They’d have worn out by this time. The robe almost has. Your hair is twisted up away from your face in a clip. I duck down so that you don’t notice me. Now would be the time to approach, but I haven’t the nerve. You stand there for a moment as you sort through your mail. Are you hoping for a letter from me? I suppose not. Perhaps you have forgotten about me. Maybe you never wanted me to begin with.

That isn’t fair. My anger abates into melancholy as I remember you wiping tears off my face as I awoke from a nightmare. I had so many of them after he came to live with us. You never understood what was causing it. You took me to doctors, who talked about domestic violence and other forms of abuse. I did not tell them what was happening. I should have. I worried that you would choose him over me. And then, I blamed you. Every time he came to my room while you were at work, I blamed you for not being there. You didn’t notice that I started wanting to spend the night at my friend’s house as often as possible. Maybe you thought that’s just what teenagers do. You felt me pulling away, you recognized my defiance, but you never asked yourself why I was doing it. Even on that night ten years ago. I wanted to tell you. He was gone, you couldn’t choose him over me anymore, but I felt dirty. I felt wrong. I thought you’d tell me I deserved it.

You are walking back into the house. Your posture has gotten worse. Your shoulders slump in a way they never used to. I wonder if you’ve looked for me these past ten years. The day that I left, when I became a runaway, you could have called the police. I expected to see my picture at the post office or on the news. I wanted to, because it meant that you were sorry for what you said. It would have meant that you wanted me to come home. Every day I would look for my picture, telling myself that it was just to make sure I was aware.

It wasn’t hard to find work. All I had to do was let other men do the things he used to do to me. At least they paid me. I even got good at acting like it didn't make me sick. Once I came of age, I was able to get my own documents without your help. Now I have a real job, I don't have to let the men touch me anymore. Dropping out of high school hurt me the most, but I’ve recovered. I got my GED and went to community college. If I’d stayed at home, I suppose I would have graduated high school and gone right off to college. I suppose. I don’t think I could have. I was too full of anger then. Life on the street helped me work through things. I am afraid to tell you what my life has been. I know you wouldn't approve of the things I've done. Even if you wouldn't blame me for what happened while I was living here.

I have been coming here for a week now. Each day I get a little closer to approaching you. Today isn’t the first time I’ve seen you, but you haven’t noticed me. At least, I don’t think you have. I sometimes wonder if you’ve seen my car and thought I was here to visit your neighbor across the street. I haven’t seen a man. I wonder if you’ve spent all this time alone. I wonder if you’re lonely. If you are, would you welcome me home? I think I will be able to reach out. Someday. Maybe even some day soon. Just not now. Not yet.

July 03, 2022 04:36

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

77 comments

K.J. Dyer
17:29 Jul 15, 2022

Powerful story telling. This does hit home for me, I was the rescue for a young person going through abuse, and it was horrifying. It was a long time ago, and wounds can be healed. Congrats on the Win.

Reply

L. E. Scott
04:35 Jul 16, 2022

Thank you for reading.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ananya Ojha
19:21 Jul 20, 2022

I loved the way you presented this story, the flow was really brief and perfectly written.....the plot was heart clenching and that's what hooked me to this....

Reply

Show 0 replies
Terra Wertz
16:37 Jul 20, 2022

I teach middle school, and I've known some young people with stories similar to this. You seem to have captured the essence of the pain and neglect. It was tough to read (and that's a complement).

Reply

Show 0 replies
Youssef Khouili
14:40 Jul 20, 2022

it was a poignant story! congrats on the win

Reply

Show 0 replies
Kevin Broccoli
17:23 Jul 19, 2022

I think using the "You" format for this was such a smart idea. It allowed for you to bring in a lot of great language while maintaining the intensity surrounding the themes. Great job.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Lily Finch
01:59 Aug 11, 2022

Tough topic but covered well. Congratulations! LF6

Reply

Show 0 replies
13:04 Aug 03, 2022

Wow! I love how you put a lot of thought into this story, it really shows!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Andrea Magee
09:40 Aug 03, 2022

Sad

Reply

Show 0 replies
Raluca .
13:20 Aug 01, 2022

It felt like a fragment from the middle of a book when we, as readers, get to step into the character's mind and hear their thoughts as they come and go. It was a fluid walkthrough the story of becoming of your character - I enjoyed the way you've built the journey of "I want to move past being his victim."

Reply

Show 0 replies
02:34 Aug 01, 2022

A compelling kind of narration and just like speaking the heart out. Congrats on your win!

Reply

Show 0 replies
S Gabriel
18:23 Jul 31, 2022

The first-person narrative of your character, who seems to be trying to weave the pieces of her previously tormented life to her 'recovered' and stronger life, is very impactful. I thought you handled the elusion to her trauma very tastefully. I could feel her yearning for reconciliation and acceptance through your writing. Well done.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Zana Jones
09:01 Jul 23, 2022

Powerful story! I don't know if this was intentional or not, but I noticed you use shorter syntax more often, which aligns really well with the character's emotions/experiences. The shorter syntax gives off a choppy feel, which mirrors how broken the character is. Great work and congratulations!

Reply

L. E. Scott
09:03 Jul 23, 2022

That was unintentional, but I will make a note of it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Aeris Walker
15:38 Jul 22, 2022

A belated congratulations, but nevertheless, congratulations on your win! I love the clipped simplicity in your prose, which feels like a tight lipped smile the narrator wears as she tells her story. Very powerful. Well done.

Reply

L. E. Scott
15:47 Jul 22, 2022

Thank you.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mateo Devine
05:11 Jul 19, 2022

wwww

Reply

Show 0 replies
M. M.
22:22 Jul 18, 2022

This such a powerful topic to write about and you pulled it off in such a raw and real way. Beautifully written, sad for someone young to go through it, congrats on the courage to write this story, I really enjoyed reading it.

Reply

Larissa K
14:22 Jul 19, 2022

i agree

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Riyad Ghabashi
13:28 Jul 18, 2022

Wow! I mean it's intriguing how their relationship unveil throughout the story.. Impressive.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Michele Duess
16:21 Jul 17, 2022

Great story. I'm left hoping she (or it could be a man. I like that you don't say) will reconcile with the mom. That one day she'll see the car and go over. Hopefully...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Dorine Lester
16:15 Jul 17, 2022

When I read your story I felt it was almost poetic at the beginning. This story is a touchy subject. I lived with a single mother and her family, whose youngest child was going through it. Good thing they caught it in time, and kick him out. She was only 3 at the time. One of the things I got out of reading this story is; The shattered plates are such a strong representation of the shattered heart.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Philip Ebuluofor
15:18 Jul 17, 2022

Fine rendition. Sometimes, after writing in this narration form, I wonder if it would look like story at all without dialogue.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Tony Coppo
14:09 Jul 17, 2022

Congratulations, this story is like a curtain that slowly opens and reveals bit by bit a full world through the window. Beautifully crafted, very moving.

Reply

Show 0 replies