Dating Violence

As domestic violence tends to take place in the home, behind closed doors, we are often hesitant to interfere. By doing so, we allow certain abuses to continue because we don't wish to invade other people's personal space. The tragedy is that victims of domestic abuse often blame themselves. This piece was written to remind everybody that we have a responsibility to speak out about the injustices we witness.

I saw her, walking down the side walk as if the side walk was a gift and as cliché as it may seem, I fell in love. I fell in love with the way her hair fell in front of one of her eyes, as if she had something to hide.

And I fell in love with the way she wore her sweater to big for her so that the sleeves covered her hands and the collar hid her face right up until the bridge of her nose.
And I loved the way she walked.

Each step she took went deeper and deeper into my chest as if she was a doctor. And I her patient. And I was getting a heart transplant going from the one I had to the one that she made for me. Out of her past present and what ever her future may be. And the way she dared not too look up to afraid that someone would look in her eyes and see who she really was. I loved that, because as much as I wanted to know who she was right away, she just wanted someone to ask.

So I did.

"Excuse me miss, I couldn't help but notice you walking alone and I thought that I might come over here and offer some company, and all I want in return is to get to know you, and if you want me to leave I will, but I will keep asking you every time I see you until you show me who you are, who you were, and who you want to be."

And she stood there silently. As she raised her gaze from the sidewalk her hair fell to the side and revealed a black eye. She began to cry as she said, "Believe me, you don't want to know me." So I said, don't judge me, and just show me.

Then she pulled down her collar.And as I gazed at the scratches on her neck, her swollen lip began to talk.

"My name is Jen. and I met him in the elevator of my apartment. We were both young, I think we were ten. And we became friends. And as we got older the relationship grew, until we started dating. And he told me he loved me. And now… he beats me."

And I noticed that the tears had disappeared from her cheeks as she kept telling me who she thought she was. That she thought because he was stronger she couldn't do anything so she kept telling herself they were in love. And when she had finished telling me about the fists like hammers, the fingers around her neck like chains, she said, "I hope you are happy now," and she began to walk away.

So I stopped her. I said. "I am in love with the way your hair falls in front of one of your eyes, and now I know it is because you have something to hide. I fell in love with the way you wear your sweater too big for you so that the sleeves cover your hands and the collar hides your face right up until the bridge of her nose. And now I know that wasn't a style choice.

"But now the way you walk bothers me because you've taken steps deep into my chest and you think because of who he is, that you are going to walk right out but love doesn't work that way. Because you stole my heart and now you are trying to run away… and that's not okay. Because now that you finally raised your gaze and let someone see through your eyes to who you really are, you have no choice but to know that your not alone.

"And what you are going through ends now.

"Because what he does, does not make you who you are, and if your beauty is any representation of your personality then that personality will take you far."
And as I told her what I was going to do and how, she said, "I know you said you are in love with me, but its my turn now.

"I met this boy on the sidewalk near my apartment. He came over to me and asked if I wanted some company… and I hope that one day our relationship will grow strong, because if he does what he says he will do... then he has saved me."

And as I walked her back to her apartment, I began to admire her walk again.
Walking down the side walk as if the side walk was a gift, because to her it was.. to her the sidewalk meant she finally had something solid to walk on. And she knew that with me, that sidewalk would never fall through.

And if it did, and she could not longer walk. Then I would do my best to teach her to fly.

Artist: Ihsan Aksel
Age: 17-24