Chapter 1: The Beginning of It All

I always looked up to him. Even though he wasn’t the greatest role model, he was still my Dad. Good memories of my Dad were simply erased with one horrible night, but I will get to that later…

When my parents were together, they were constantly fighting. I remember crying countless times, because it was the only thing I knew how to do to get them to stop. I remember walking in a straight line behind my father in the store, no elbows on the table and a loosely enforced, “Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to” mentality. There were the times when I had to hold on to the dresser with my pants pulled down, and he would be beating me, my sister, or both of us with the belt or his hand. He only did this when Mommy was gone, and it was always for something stupid like talking back. My sister got the worst of it though. She was very shy, but outspoken when it came to taking up for herself or someone she loved; she made sure she had the last word. My father didn’t like that about her, so he would take her to the room and make her hold on to the dresser with her pants down while he beat her. I would try to go away as far as I could, cover my ears and try to fade out her screams, while I sat there in the fetal position, crying. When my Mom had finally had enough, she took us to live with Grandma, and they got a divorce. I couldn’t understand it all. I was only 10, and my sister was 12. For my sister, it was a sense of relief to finally get away, but for me, I felt that I was loosing my family. I thought the way we were living was normal. After all, we were a church-going family.

Daddy was a different person behind closed doors. I was soon to find out who my father really was. I went alone to visit him one summer in Houston when I was 12, and we had a great time. Then another summer when I was 14. By this time, he had a live-in girlfriend, and they spoiled me, taking me shopping and camping. On the way home from the camping trip, I wasn’t feeling too well, and his girlfriend suggested it was my period. I was infuriated; it couldn’t be my period, I hadn’t even started my period yet. When I arrived home, I was surprised, scared and mad to see that she was right. My Dad stayed in touch for a while, but slowly pulled away completely.

Well, the hormones set in, and I became boy crazy. I had my first kiss at 14 at a local, Christian-owned hangout for youth. I got kicked out several times for kissing my new boyfriend, Kris. He was two years older than me, and the first boy I had told that I loved. Our relationship ended after three months, when he broke up with me. I was heartbroken, but not for long.

Later that year, I met and started dating Bryce. He lived two hours away, so I didn’t get to see him often, but I was in love. We would talk for hours on the phone and sometimes fall asleep talking. He was so romantic. He would send me letters with poetry on a weekly basis. He was very artistic and could draw the most beautiful pictures to include with his letters. Then there were the nights we snuck out to the park, just so we could spend time together. I loved the rush of  it all! He proposed when I turned 16 and I said yes, but later that year, his family planned to move to Mississippi. I was so upset. We had to decide at such a young age if we could keep a long-distance relationship and decided to give it a try. He knew he would be leaving soon. I know now that he decided to use this to his advantage. We walked to the cemetery one day, which we had done several times before, but things went further this time. I wasn’t ready, so when he asked, I told him no. He pulled my pants down anyway and pushed himself up against me, holding my hands back. Painfully, my virginity had been broken.

I was so upset with him, and as we walked down the road, there was a big gap between us. He was blabbing on and on about how he felt so much like a man now, completely oblivious to my feelings. All I could think about was the pain. He left that week, and summer was soon to come. My Mom decided to let me and my sister go visit Bryce’s family for a week during the summer. I still was in love with him and was willing to forgive him for what had happened. I wasn’t about to let a year and a half go down the drain.

That summer was the first time I drank. I don’t know if I was drunk or if he put something in my drink, but something happened that night. We went to the bathroom, and all I remember is waking up on the shower floor naked, and he was gone. I still don’t know exactly what happened that night.

Things started to go sour. We were swimming at the local pool, and Bryce attempted to drown me. I had to kick him in the balls so he would let go of me. I thought, “Was this just his sick idea of a joke?” I didn’t want to wait around to find out, so I left. This girl who was a little younger than me decided to follow me. I didn’t want her to come, but she wanted to get away, and I was her way out. We began walking for miles along the railroad tracks, so we would be harder to find, but we finally decided to get on the main road after my sandals broke. It was dark when a police car finally drove up and asked our names. We hopped in the car, and the officer began lecturing us about walking around on the side of the road in just a swimming suit. By the time we got back, it was time for me and my sister to go home, so Bryce’s family drove us to the bus station. I kissed Bryce for the last time, and that was goodbye. I called him after arriving to Texas and told him it was over.

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