I was scared this time, more than ever. My mother had just gotten into another argument with her boyfriend, his name doesn’t matter. Things had been physical before, but not like this. This time, my mother could not assure her 10 year old son that things were going to be okay. She had been “strong” in the past, but not this time. As I watch each fist land on my mother’s body, I get more and more emotional. The combination of anger and fear running through me, at that moment, creates a sort of out of body experience that I haven’t felt since. Thank god. Then, as I thought it was about to end, he grabbed my mother by her long blonde hair, spun her around, throwing her against the wall. My mother laid crumpled on the ground, silent. I run out the door. I run through our field and into our neighbors yard. He yells from the porch, “You better run!”, why, I don’t know. He had never actually hit me. I yell back, from across the field, “I’m calling the cops”. “Good, do it! Don’t ever come back!”, he yells back to me. He knows that I won’t call anybody. I was a coward. At least I felt that way. He knows that the assurance of a roof over my head and food on the table was greater than the unknown. He counted on that, plus my mother loved him. He retreats inside. I stay standing, unmoved, crying. I didn’t know whether my mother was alive or dead. I was paralyzed with fear. Finally, after maybe fifteen minutes, my mother makes her way to the porch. I hang my head, relieved, embarrassed, and still afraid of what will come. I move back towards the house. When I get to the porch, she embraces me and says, “It’s okay”, as we walk back inside. She wasn’t, I wasn’t, and it wasn’t.
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