But I Never Listened (Part One)
Content Warning/Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse- If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
When I was younger, you told me I could do anything. I didn’t listen. I didn’t feel like I was capable of believing that. There was no way I could do anything. You always tried to tell me, but I didn’t listen. I was a little girl and could have accomplished so much, but it never felt like it. I never felt like that was the truth. If only I would have listened.
As I got older, people told me I could do more and more. I never listened. Being told that I wasn’t working up to my capabilities, that I wasn’t doing as well as I could. Why would I listen? There didn’t seem like a point to listening. I saw people on the TV, in the magazines, they looked happier, so I didn’t listen. There’s no way I could accomplish the things they did. I couldn’t be something to remember, so I didn’t listen.
I started dating him, and you all told me it wasn’t a good situation, so I didn’t listen. The bruises would fade, and you tried to tell me they weren’t normal. This wasn’t what a relationship is. It’s what a relationship is to me, so of course, I didn’t listen. You weren’t there; none of you were there. The bruises appeared when I angered him. It got easier and easier to anger him lately, but the bruises were nothing but bruises. They could fade away. I’m still here, right? You told me I needed to leave, but I didn’t listen.
There were bruises around my throat one day, and I tried to hide them. Everyone was in a panic, and I didn’t know why. It was one time, and he promised me it wouldn’t happen again. He told me it was a one time thing. He lost control of himself, and I listened. For the first time, he told me he loved me. There was a promise it would only be that one time. How could he let himself do it again? I don’t know why I listened.
I walked out of my house that day and never came home. Everyone heard people calling for me. I followed them around, trying to talk to them. I visited my mother, visited my father, my grandparents, my friends, and other family. No one was listening to me. Police were going after him. They kept saying he was bad, he was wrong, but I still didn’t listen. No one was listening to me, were they?
I don’t know why they weren’t listening to me. I tried to reach out, tried to tell them I was fine and didn’t understand why they were going after him. I’m missing? How can they say I’m missing? I’ve been right here. I’ve been around here, and you’ve all been ignoring me. You say I’m missing. You say that he’s responsible, but you’re the ones that aren’t listening to me.
None of you are bothering to pay attention to me, so that I won’t listen. How can you keep saying he’s the one in the wrong? Why aren’t you listening to me? I don’t understand why you’re all saying I’m missing. A search party is out looking for me. I’ve been standing along with all of you. I’m here. You say I’m not, but I’m not listening.
He’s getting questioned more. I don’t understand. I’ve been sitting next to him. You say I’m still missing, and he’s saying he doesn’t know where I am. I’m sitting right here. I’m right next to him. But he’s not listening, either. They’re accusing him of being violent with me. I don’t understand. I told all of you that he’s not abusive. There were a couple of times, but they were my fault, right? I told you that already.
He stands up to leave, and I stand along with him. I look in the mirror, and I look at him, but I don’t see myself. I don’t know why. We went out to the woods that day, and we sat and talked, we smoked some cigarettes, we argued, but then what happened? Why can’t I see my reflection in the mirror? It’s almost as if I am missing.
I am really missing. My mother never answers me anymore. The school called her and said I never showed up. So my friends can’t see me, the people talking to him can’t see me, my family can’t see me. I can’t even see myself.
What happened that day? It was an argument. He lost control again. But why would they say I’m missing? He lost control. It was the last time. He cried and kissed my forehead before he walked away from me in those woods. I told him everything was okay. He stood over me and said goodbye. I wasn’t ready to break up. I didn’t understand.
I understand now. It was the last time. The last time he lost control on me and the last breath I took. I remember going through the motions, going through everyone telling me he was wrong, that he was going to kill me, but I didn’t listen. My mother told me to leave him, my father told me it wasn’t right, but I didn’t listen. The security guards and police questioned me about my bruises, but I didn’t listen. I know I didn’t listen.
Now, I see him with her. He’s crying over me being missing. He’s telling her he doesn’t know where I am. I see myself now, and I’m still lying in those woods. All I can say now is that I hope that she listens. I hope she pays attention. There’s hope her friends push. It’s safe to hope her family pushes. I hope she listens. I’m lonely out here, but someone will find me. If only I would have listened. I should have listened. I need to make her listen.
Featured image courtesy of Arun Clarke via Unsplash