How could doing all the right things turn out so wrong?
Sean was the dream guy. He was the star High School athlete, tall and handsome, with a smile that could melt ice. And those eyes, pools of ice blue that you wanted to dive into. I was the lucky one that caught the attention of those blue eyes. I was the lucky one, I married the star athlete. Sean, following his father and his grandfather, joined the police force. The dark blue uniform added to his charisma and made him even more irresistible. We were on the road to the American Dream.
I ignored all the warning signs, the harsh words that slashed like knives. Withering stares that reduced me to tears. I was in shock after he hit me the first time. I was too eager to believe it wouldn’t happen again. Then I got pregnant. Things changed. When was pregnant with Jimmy, Sean treated me like a princess. Soon the past transgressions were forgotten, we had turned a corner. We were back on the right road.
Time wore on, Jimmy started walking, Sean started drinking. I did not dare ask him why. I focused on keeping Jimmy sheltered from the violent storms that tore through our little dream house. I don’t remember why he threw me down the stairs. I just remember the embarrassed faces of his colleagues when they came to investigate my screams.
I did the only thing I could do. I ran. I packed a few clothes and some toys for Jimmy. At the shelter they swore I would be safe. Words I needed to believe. Words that were true, for two weeks. A drunken Sean, burst threw the door, shattering the night’s silence. Shattering my new life.
Once out of the hospital, in the dark cloak of night, Jimmy and I ran again. This time it took six months for Sean to break the door of the new shelter, and my arm. Like a convicted felon, I served my time, but refused to give in to a life sentence with Sean. Undeterred Jimmy and I fled once more.
I have lost track of the number of broken doors and limbs through the years. I’m feeling safe, for now. Jimmy is now twelve. Although he had never been the focus of Sean’s abuse, he walks through life a battered soul. He has withdrawn from the world, showing no interest in making friends or exploring the ever-changing world around him. His ice blue eyes are shuttered closed. It lifts my spirits a little when I see he has found some peace when quietly sitting on the front steps of our latest refuge.
As summer draws near, my heart soars when I realize that Jimmy has made a friend in the little man across the street. Although a quiet reserved man, he is quick to smile when he spy’s Jimmy on the step. Long term residents tell me Jimmy’s friend is Mr. Pauley. Mr Pauley and his wife raised six sons in the large impressive home across from our rooming house. The Pauley house is neatly kept, the crowning glory the lush lawn that hugs it’s front. The sons are grown and there are whispers and speculation on why they have not returned for years. I smile thinking Jimmy and Mr. Pauley were destined to find each other.
Sitting in the warmth of the afternoon sun, I dare to think positively about our new life. It is a strange feeling. As I nestle into the chair, I wait to hear the familiar drone of Mr. Pauley’s lawn mower and Jimmy’s footsteps as he joins his friend.