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Column: The night that ended my childhood

'I was running on adrenaline and fear, wishing I could run away from the nightmare that kept me awake for so long.'

%22I+laid+there+all+night+wondering+if+this+was+the+last+time.+I+checked+the+clock+after+laying+in+my+bed+for+hours.+It+was+3+a.m.%22

"I laid there all night wondering if this was the last time. I checked the clock after laying in my bed for hours. It was 3 a.m."

Photo by Alexandra Canizales

Photo by Alexandra Canizales

"I laid there all night wondering if this was the last time. I checked the clock after laying in my bed for hours. It was 3 a.m."

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My heart wasn’t racing, but he kept yelling. Neither of us knew what we were going to do next. This had never happened before; I had never seen him like this.

He was waiting for her at the door. It was 10 p.m. and he was yelling at her for not picking up her phone when he called. He called about 20 times. I sat helplessly on the bed watching his anger unfold all over her. I remember praying, asking God to make it to all stop as he held her by her blouse.

She told me every family had arguments and to not worry as she wiped the tears from my innocent eyes. I didn’t believe her when she said every family goes through issues like this. I wondered if my friends had ever experienced what was happening right in front of me.

I didn’t go to sleep until 3 in the morning that Sunday. Five hours after watching him yell and grab her, knowing I hadn’t done anything about it, I finally closed my eyes. I was running on adrenaline and fear, wishing I could run away from the nightmare that kept me awake for so long.

The next day at school I kept wishing I didn’t have to go home. I didn’t want to go back to the place that reminded me so much of what I had the witnessed the night before. I didn’t want to face him again.

 


 

I was 10 then.

We were watching the football game on the television like every Sunday night. It was near the end of the game and everyone already said their goodbyes. It was just us now.

And it happened again. This time my heart was racing, I was reliving the night I wished I never had. I could see him grabbing her every time I closed my eyes, but when it was happening right in front of me, I had no choice but to close my eyes.

I went to bed that night after he left and I didn’t sleep. I laid there all night wondering if this was the last time. I checked the clock after laying in my bed for hours. It was 3 a.m.

I was 14.

Four years and 212 Sundays, the anger stayed the same.

 


 

I imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t seen her suffer the way she did, if I hadn’t experienced it myself, but I can’t. I can’t erase the images of him. They are permanently stuck in my head like lyrics from my favorite songs. My childhood ended the night I saw her in his arms, begging him to stop.

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Column: The night that ended my childhood