I could no longer control the shaking throughout my body.
Like a possession my body was no longer mine. Like a possession she was no longer herself…….or was she? Was this really her? The real her who I kept trying to be in denial of, making excuses for. Her blue eyes that made strangers do a double take everywhere we went because they seemed unreal, gorgeous, piercing, wolflike, now looked sinister, pitch black, soulless. she looked at me with anger that I didn’t cause. But that didn’t matter. I was the one here. I was the one who chose to stay. Of the many who came before me I chose to stay. her beauty and PUBLIC persona pulled so many in but just as quickly ran them all away. The other side she couldn’t hide for long would always come out at the smallest things. “It’s the stress of her demanding job, the drugs and the alcohol that caused the extreme mood swings,” I’d tell everyone, “its really not who she really is, don't worry.” The smashing of glass dishes and expensive rare art pieces she’d splurge on often became her throw toys in her fits of rage. I finally spoke up. “Stop ruining these things you’ve spent all your hard earned money on, this makes no sense! You’re mad at ME, not the $10,000 vase!” I shrieked over the sound of glass hitting another wall. She stopped and looked at me, sweat dripping down her face, neck. She looked at me like she had forgotten I was there. Her bouts of rage were so intense once I yelled it was like she was startled by my presence since she had been so engulfed in that dark world her mind often went to. She kept staring at me breathing heavy, her chest rising and falling fast. It was like I could feel her adrenaline, like a static in the air when the television was on, even on mute, you could feel it. The same adrenaline that she had when making her legendary hits that everyone idolized. The legendary hits that were a perfect distraction for everyone around us. She began twisting her hip length hair and pinned it on top her head. “You’re right, these things have value,” she said monotonously with a cold chuckle. She walked towards me. At this time we had only been in verbal fights in the past so the voice in my head telling me to run was foreign, so foreign that I didn’t listen. I stood there as the first punch hit my face. The force of it made me fall to the ground. I sat there with all of the voices of her exes in my head laughing telling me they told me so, telling me that I’d been warned for years about what she’s capable of. “They’re just jealous,” she’d reassure me. “They were there before my success and you’re here after it so of course they’d be envious of you and try to break us up, don’t be so naïve,” she’d tell me all the time. “Don't call us when the demon everyone says she is finally appears,” I could hear my friends repeatedly saying after I blew them off and cancelled plans yet again with them for her. Or when they’d see the holes in the walls she had made with her fists in the mansion or another gossip blog posting of her ruining yet another hotel room. That first punch was the first of many to come over the next 5 years. The rumors in the blogs of our "troubles in paradise" were always laughed off as "two girls crazy in love," the rumors of her going into jealous fits of rage were romanticized. The consistent music hits and awards and broken records were so much of a distraction that no one paid attention to the gravity of the situation. Yes our physical statures weren't much of a big difference but it was the mental that kept me imprisoned.
Before the first punch she had beat me up and down so much mentally that there was no escape in my mind. My self esteem and view of self was so warped that the idea of standing up for myself or leaving was almost impossible. 5 years into the beatings along with my newly acquired vodka habit and overall not taking care of myself and my health, my body was so weak. I began losing a lot of weight. The night of the last gut punch I knew this was the end. I had no more fight in me. As the usual disarray of objects in the room around me faded I prayed that others in my current predicament would see my death and it would scare them enough to leave IMMEDIATELY.
Raven Hardley is 29 years old, born in New Brunswick, New Jersey by a Guatemalan mother. She was raised in the next town over in North Brunswick where she attended an Arts Highschool for Advanced Creative Writers. She attended Rutgers University and graduated with her Bachelors in Criminal Justice in 2016. This is her first published piece of work.