my boyfriend hit me.
I was home from college and living in that uncomfortable twilight zone space between the girl I was in high school (shy, clingy, desperate, afraid to be alone) and the woman I was on my way to becoming (outgoing, confident, fun and fearless).
That summer I was whip-lashing between the two and I want to tell you that the night my boyfriend hit me, I broke up with him.
But I didn't. (Because he didn't hit me that hard and it was really nothing but a quick smack, unexpected, and he'd never done that before; although, we did argue a lot and had dramatic break ups filled with lying (him) and tears (me), and anyway the slap didn't even leave a mark. It only stung a little. Really.)
We were hanging out at my house with his friends, because I'd cut all ties with my high school friends, listening to music, drinking, no parents at home, but my little brother off somewhere, probably barricaded up in his room.
And then it was late and my boyfriend was getting ready to leave and I knew he'd been drinking too much to drive and I took his car keys and hid them and flash forward to
the two of us in the front yard, him yelling at me to give him his keys, him throwing my purse across the lawn, spilling out the contents, him shaking me by the shoulders so my teeth rattled together, him hitting me
until I gave him his keys, threw them at him actually, and he drove off down the dark street, a squeal of tires as he swerved around the corner.
I want to tell you that I didn't cry
as I picked up all of the crap that had fallen out of my purse. I want to tell you that my little brother wasn't watching in the window, calling down to me, Are you okay? I want to tell you that I didn't yell at him to shut up and leave me alone.
The woman I was to be, the one who zipped up her battered purse and paced around the front lawn, enraged and embarrassed and defiant, who thought, over and over, he hit me, he hit me, who would break up with this troubled boy-- eventually-- hadn't fully emerged.
The girl I still was trudged into the house, picked up the phone, called her boyfriend in tears, told him: