Things bouncing off the wall, screaming, glass shattering and loud thumps are what I woke up to.  Most children would be scared and worried that maybe a monster or burglar was in their home. Not me, I knew exactly what all those sounds were around me all too well.

In those moments I would always run to my mother’s protection no matter how young or little I was. I ran out of my room and stood in front of her in hopes that my stepfather would not hit her again. I really cannot explain the adrenaline that goes through you in that situation. My mother reeking of vodka would swiftly push me to the side or they would both scold me to go to my room.

I would usually walk to my doorway, out of site. I would play the scenarios out in my head over and over. The worst case first, one of them was going to end up dead, the cops were going to come and someone was going to jail, or they would eventually get tired and pass out.

This night was a first for me of unthought of scenarios. They fought for what seemed to be like hours. I remember seeing my stepfather push my mother out the door which was followed by a couple stairs. She sat on the stairs yelling back at him and she must have been doing it with her hands (we are Italian). She placed her hand on the top stair and I watched him stomp on it with his black biker boot.

The scream of pain could not have been any more real. I ran out to check on her and Dale walked away mumbling something. She whispered to me to go get my shoes and a coat. I ran to my room and grabbed a coat and put my shoes on. She grabbed my hand and guided me down the stairs.

When we got outside I was curious to see what the next move would be. She was ducking, bobbing and weaving around and behind bushes. My mom would continuously keep looking behind her towards me, but I could see she was looking beyond me. This immediately triggered me to start to look behind me as well. What were we looking for? Was he chasing us? I don’t even think he realizes we left yet I thought.

A cop drove by us. We stopped and kind of just kneeled there for a minute.  She apparently did not want this cop to see us. I imagined that was exactly what we wanted. Whether we wanted it or not didn’t matter as he lit his lights and turned back around. He asked my mother what we were looking for? Why we were out walking and hiding at in the late hours of the night.

My mother opened her mouth and I knew that everything after that point was going to be an excuse or a lie. She told the cop she got into an argument with her boyfriend and she just wanted to leave. He was asking how he could help because she could not keep running through yards and streets with a young child in the middle of the night. She asked him to just bring her to get her car so that she could go to a friend’s house for the night while everyone cools down. The officer obliged.

We pulled in the driveway and she went in to get her keys. I was not nervous because I knew that Dale would not do anything with a cop right outside. The cop began to ask me if everything was ok, does this happen often? Did he hurt her? How about you?  Following suit of my mother I quickly responded with a bunch of no’s and said we were both fine. My mother came back, thanked the officer and grabbed me out of the cop car to put me in her car.

We start driving, my heart is racing, I have questions but know that it is not the right time to ask. I quietly ask her where we are really going. She responded that she wasn’t sure yet but to try to get some sleep. Like getting sleep was possible after this night. I see the lights from the hospital building, up ahead and assume that we are headed there for her hand as it looks swollen and a tinted purple.

We pull into the parking lot and she sits there crying. The car is still running, and she is still telling me to try to get some sleep. I am wondering why we are not going into the hospital for her hand. Time just kept passing by and I started to settle in and fell asleep. We woke up the next morning still in the hospital parking lot and head back to the house.

When we return home, I go in and get ready for school. I am nervous to go, not sure if they will start fighting again and I will not be there for her. Everything seems calm. They are walking around not speaking but seem to be acting as nothing happened. So off to school, I go anxiety-ridden and ready to be in a calm environment for the next 7 hours.


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