Yesterday was the first time I saw him get angry. The first time he hit her. The first time she cried in front of me. The last time I had respect for him. The last time I’ll look at him. The last time I’ll see her. Yesterday was the day everything changed. The last time I’ll call that place “home”. The last time I’ll go back. Today is the last time. Today is a new day. A new start. A new life. A new me.
I packed my clothes and headed to the door. I had to make it quick. If he saw me fleeing the house with a suitcase, he would violently stop me. I heard him in the dining room. He was still yelling at her. I heard her scream; he hit her. Once, twice, three more times; as if the first hit wasn’t enough to get his point across.
I tiptoed down the stairs and into the kitchen. I slowly walked to the back door. I had eleven more steps until I got to the garage. I noticed he stopped yelling, and she stopped crying. I hoped he didn’t hear me. A few more steps for me to reach the keys on the kitchen counter. I heard her scream and him call her a worthless white trash whore. I clinched my fist and grabbed the keys. I guess he heard me that time because he started running towards the kitchen.
“Hey, you little bitch! Where do you think you’re going?”
“Billy, leave her alone!”
“Shut up, you cunt!” he hit her one more time, then shouted to me. “Little pussy bitch, get your ass back here and let daddy get that ass! Little pussy bitch, come watch your mama suck my big cock while I drill your ass with my fist.”
I ran to the garage as fast as I could. I pressed the button for the garage door to open. The driver’s side was already unlocked. I threw my stuff in the car and turned the key. I looked up and saw him at the door. I put the gears in reverse and sped off. I didn’t look back or slow down. I just kept driving.
I approached a gas station a few towns over and quickly parked my car at the fifth pump and walked inside the convenient store to purchase gasoline and a new outfit. I couldn’t stay in my high school track team sweatshirt. I saw the rack with camo camping pants and tank-tops with a “40% OFF” sign on the shelf next to the postal and greeting cards. I grabbed whatever my hands touched, not checking the size, and sprung to the cashier. I reached inside my shorts and slammed a twenty down.
“Ten on pump five.” I ran out with the clothes in my hands.
I ran to my car and reached for my phone then took the battery out. I placed it to my ear and pretended to have a conversation. It made a few people look away and others continued to stare. I looked at the clock on my phone and told the person (I was supposedly talking to) that I would call him back because I was about to start driving. I tossed my phone in the car and continued to fill up my tank. When the machine begun to slow down, I jiggled the nozzle and placed it back up, and I closed the top to my gas tank. I got in my car and drove to the park.
It was eight o’clock on a Saturday night; no one was there. I took my hoodie and shorts off, so I could put on my new outfit. Nightfall was approaching, and I was still on the road. I drove to the next exit and made my way to a motel. It was a quarter till nine and I was starving. I asked the bellhop boy if the motel did room service. He shook his head no as we walked towards the end of the strip. He took me to room 12 and unlocked the door. I walked in expecting to be in disgust, but the room was decently clean and odorless.
“If you need anything, I’ll be downstairs in the office.”
He smiled, placed the key on the bed, and closed the door. I flopped on the bed and turned on the TV; flipping through channels until it landed on the local news station. I ran to the bathroom and turned on the shower. There were towels on the counter. I peeped my head out hoping to see a missing girl story with a picture of me on it. My eyes began to water. I wiped my eyes then turned around to step into the shower. I took the soap and rubbed the rag with it. I began washing my face and arms. I heard the volume from the TV get lower. I rinsed my face with the water coming from the shower head then stood still. I wasn’t sure if I should call out or keep quiet. I heard a squeak near the door and panicked. There was someone in my hotel room. I looked out the curtain and saw shadows at the bottom of the door. Billy found me.
A thousand questions popped up in my head. How did he find me? What was he going to do to me? Was mama with him? What did he do with mama? I then remembered seeing a window above the toilet. I slowly slid the curtain to the left and stepped onto the rug, leaving the water running. Luckily, my clothes were on the toilet, which was right beside the tub, and my towel was hanging on the wall hook. I wrapped myself with it and grabbed my clothes. The shadow was still by the door. I could tell he was pacing back and forth. I stepped on the toilet and knelt on the counter. Then I gently unlocked and opened the window. I pushed it open and threw my clothes down on the ground. I stood up on the counter to climb out the window. My feet touched the ground before I stood up. I reached for my clothes and put them on. I left the towel and headed to my car.
“Shit.” I whispered. “My keys.”
I heard loud shuffling sounds from my motel room. He probably noticed that there wasn’t any noise coming from the bathroom. I ran to the office. I tapped the bell about ten times before I heard footsteps from outside. How the hell did he hear the bell from up there? I took the second set of keys and hid under the desk. The footsteps grew closer. I covered my mouth and tried to breathe slowly. He walked over to the back door. Just when I thought he was about to open the door, the bell dinged. A woman began talking.
“Hello sir, do you know how to get to Harold Avenue? I lost my map at a gas station a few hours ago.”
“Yes ma’am, I do. If you go back to the highway and keep straight for about six or seven miles, there will be an exit right after called Kingston Road, then take the first right at the traffic light, and you’ll be on Harold Ave.”
“Thank you. Have a great night.”
His voice, it wasn’t Billy’s. It was the bellhop boy. Why was he in my room? How did he get in if the other set of keys are in my hands? The man walked back to the door, then paused. He walked back over towards the desk and stopped in front of it.
“I can smell the soap from the bathroom. Citrus punch.”
I held my breath. He continued walking then giggled. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do, so I decided to bolt out of there and hope I make it to my room. He pulled my legs and turned me over.
“Now, now. Screaming will only tire you out. Shhh, everything is going to be okay. We’re going to go back to the room, and you’re going to behave for me.”
He picked me up and put me on his back. I tried to fight back, but he was really strong for a scrawny dude. He told me not to resist or I’ll regret it. I stopped fighting and closed my eyes.
“That’s a good girl.”
He turned off the lights and locked up the office. He put the keys in his pocket and headed to my room. I heard the door close and the lock latch. He threw me on the bed and fell on the bed with me. I rolled over and headed to the door. He quickly took my hands and duck taped them above my head.
“I thought you was going to be a good girl. Guess you was that bad kid who had to learn the hard way.” He slapped me then smiled. “I was that way too. Then my father taught me how to be a good boy.”
What the hell was wrong with this guy? He seemed so normal. What did his dad do that was so traumatizing for him not to know what he was doing was bad, not good?