By: Ryan Michele

To my daddy, who always believed in me—even when I didn’t believe in myself.

“This is it Sadie, you’re going. No excuses this time.” I heard my mom’s voice screeching like nails on a chalkboard slithering down my spine. I knew she was right, but I couldn’t leave just because of him. He already had so much power over me that I didn’t want to give him anymore.

“And don’t argue with me. I don’t want to hear it. This ends now!”

“Mom, stop yelling,” I groaned. Does she not understand that my head is going to blow into a million pieces at any moment? As if the hundred sledgehammers beating the hell out of it wasn’t enough ...

“I’m gonna yell ‘til you get it in that thick, stubborn ass head of yours that this is over … right here … right now. You’re done.”

Mom’s rant continued for what felt like an eternity. All I could hear from her was whaa … whaa … whaa... She sounded like that teacher from that one cartoon. My mom had always had my best interests at heart, but packing up everything I’d ever known was not an easy thing to do. Then, to top it off, to run away because of him pissed me off.

My heart ached at the thought of not seeing my mom or my best friend Macy. I mean, shit, I’d handled this for three years now. I could continue, right?

“Mom, please stop.” My voice was barely audible, but I knew she heard me. I closed my eyes, trying to drown out the florescent lights of the hospital room that began inflicting more pain on my head; it wasn’t helping much.

“No Sadie. I’m dead serious this time.” She pulled my head to the side and guided her fingers under my chin. I looked into her eyes. “You keep coming up with these excuses of why you’re hurt. You fell, you were in a car accident, and someone broke in your house and beat the shit out of you. I’m not buying them anymore, not that I entirely bought them the first go around. So, I’m putting my foot down this time. You’re going, and you’ll leave in a week. You cannot continue this for any reason.”

The solo tear that fell down her face made my chest ache worse.

“Mom, seriously. I’m a grown adult and have been for quite some time. You can’t just tell me that I’m going and expect me to pack up and leave everything behind.” I knew this would set her off, but having her mad and not crying was better. Call me selfish, but one thing I couldn’t handle was my mom crying.

“To hell I can’t! You’re acting as if something here isn’t seriously wrong. There is no way a woman can have this many accidents in the course of three years. Do you think I haven’t noticed the bruises on you? Or notice the continued claims that nothing happened or that you bumped into the wall? Even though you won’t tell me exactly what’s going on, I’m not stupid, Sadie Grace. The common factor here in the past three years is Rob. If you want to defend him, stick up for him and protect him, I can’t stop you. But I am going to step in and protect you if you’re not going to do it for yourself. I can’t handle another phone call saying you’re hurt. You are going out … of town … indefinitely! No more!”

I wanted to laugh. I didn’t want to protect Rob. I could care less about him. In a perfect world, he would disappear from it, and I could be me again—happy. I loved Mom, Seth, and Macy, and that’s the only reason why I put up with his shit for so long. I had to keep him away from them.

“Mom you can’t force me to go. It won’t change anything anyway. I’m not leaving everything I’ve ever known behind. I can handle this.” In actuality, I knew I couldn’t handle it any more than I could control the weather. As always, Mom knew better, and she was right, I was a stubborn ass.

I’d been trying for years now to figure out how to deal with this mess I got myself in. I was failing miserably. With no one to talk to, I was at a loss—empty, alone. This dark hole was suffocating me. With Rob’s many connections, it was even harder for me to figure out a plan to keep everyone safe.

I wished I could just disappear from the earth, then he would leave all those I loved alone. But those thoughts had long left in the realization that I would miss them too much.