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The Power of Music

 

 

The crowd was on its feet and the music hall reverberated with the roar of applause, whistles and screams of adoring fans. The sound was deafening, as it echoed from wall to wall, which seemed to encourage everyone to get louder.

 

Devyn had just finished an incredible rendition of “Imagine”, with the utmost respect to John Lennon. 

 

The band motioned for the audience to maintain their excitement and smiled along with the rest, while Devyn wiped away a steady stream of tears.

 

While doing her best to take in the recognition, a thin white cloud materialized, obscuring her vision. However, Devyn could still hear, and each clap felt like a blow and the screams were her own. Then, a flashback began to play out on the imaginary screen.

 

 

“No more Rick! Please stop!” Devyn hollered, as he grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the floor.

 

“You’re not worth any more of my time!” Rick snarled back as he slammed the door behind him.

 

Devyn lay still, feeling the blood drip from her nose and pain radiate from the bruise on her head.

 

She thought, I’ve got to get out of here. How many more years can I live like this, accept his repeated apologies and limp through an abusive life? Rick always said that if I ever tried to leave, I’d end up homeless and worthless. I was paralyzed by fear, so I stayed. Damn it! Not anymore!

 

Devyn got up, stuffed a few important items into a pillowcase, grabbed her precious guitar and left for good. 

 

Devyn would have sworn she heard cheers in support of her decision, but it was hard to tell. Then, she became light headed and did her best to remain upright. When she started to sway, the bass player moved to her side and gently placed his arm around her shoulders. Devyn flinched and began to pull away before becoming aware of her surroundings. The comforting hug was from her bandmate, and she leaned back onto his chest.

 

It didn’t take long before things came back into focus. Devyn recognized where she was, who she had become and what she needed to do. The persistent adulation surged through her body, filling her with overwhelming inspiration and strength.

 

With her composure restored, Devyn stepped toward the front of the stage and brought the mic to her lips. She calmly asked for quiet, and within moments a hush fell over the room.

 

“First, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for being here. We love performing and always appreciate our audience, especially tonight. It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the proceeds from the show will be donated to our local women’s shelter,” announced Devyn.

 

“What you don’t know,” Devyn began.… “is that I’m a survivor of a long history of physical abuse and it’s time I admitted it. I suffered in silence for eight years, before I came to the realization I had to escape before my boyfriend killed me. It doesn’t take long to quickly become a reluctant expert on violent relationships, when you find yourself stranded in one. It’s not a title anyone strives to achieve.”

 

Devyn’s honesty took everyone by surprise, especially those who had known her for a long time. The crowd applauded, as band members took turns sharing a hug and whispering words of support.

 

Looking out over the room, Devyn proudly said, “I found the courage to leave my abuser, my home and my life as I knew it. Of course, it wasn’t easy, but I had my music to help keep me balanced and I was determined to succeed on my own. Before long, I landed on my feet, and then decided to volunteer at the women’s shelter. I never told anyone I had been in an abusive relationship because it was still too hard to reveal the secret I was repeatedly threatened to keep. However, I was very open to share my music, believing that if it helped me, it might help others. As much as I loved singing, the women and children trying to relax in the living room seemed to enjoy listening, and sometimes they joined in. I watched anxiety melt from tense shoulders and happiness return to the faces of those who were finally free. I hoped my guitar and I were making a positive difference in someone else’s life, and I came to believe it was true.”

 

 “You can’t begin to know how much you helped me!” hollered someone from the crowd, which was followed by similar expressions of praise.

 

Feeling grateful and humbled, Devyn said, “I wrote this song recently, and I’d like to dedicate it to the brave women who have already saved themselves and their children and to all those needing encouragement to do the same.”

 

In a solemn voice, Devyn said, “It’s called, ‘Hang On’.

 

The first chord resonating from her acoustic guitar was sharp, purposely played to capture everyone’s attention. After a short pause, Devyn began to sing:

 

 

               I was afraid of the dark and afraid of him

               But hiding in the closet let safety in

               At least until the front door slammed

               Desperately running to greet my man

 

               There was no way out

               He made sure I knew

               But I never stopped hoping

               For a miracle or two

 

               Bruises were easy to explain away

               Or kept inside to allow them to fade

               Blood splatter can’t stain if cleaned up at once

               And small bones will heal

               Without need for a cast

 

               There was no way out

               He made sure I knew

               But I never stopped hoping

              For a miracle or two

 

               Thank God for “Me Too”

               And “Time’s Up” as well

               Which got me to thinking

               Domestic violence must end

 

               There was a way out

               And I had the power

               To leave all that Hell

               And start my life over

 

 

 

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, and the music hall again reverberated with an explosion of applause. 

November 16, 2019 03:08

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2 comments

Rachel Frankki
04:37 Nov 21, 2019

Oh my gosh this story was absolutely powerful! I just wanted to give Devyn a hug because I've been in the same position as her, and just want to thank you for writing this. I loved it.

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Sue M
05:54 Nov 21, 2019

I can't thank you enough for reading and commenting on my story Rachel. I've found receiving feedback from others does not happen often. I especially appreciate that you were able to feel the emotion I tried to impart. I'm also very happy to hear you're no longer in an abusive situation and have learned you have the power to plan and control your future. I'm excited for you! Sue

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