Dr. James Hepworth
February 10, 2009
When Jessica was younger, the summer months were her favorite. She would lie in the green grass and make the clouds look like silly shapes with her imagination. She would race her brothers on the hot cement. If she ever tripped and fell, her daddy was always there to pick her up and kiss her skinned knee. That would make everything better.
She had the most loving family. Her parents loved each other and their kids. Her brothers, although they teased her, loved her infinitely. The only care Jessica ever had to deal with was if she would wake up in time to watch Saturday morning cartoons.
Her childhood was just like anyone else’s. She played at the park, and tried hard to be better than the other neighborhood kids at sports. No matter how much she loved playing games, she loved school tenfold. Her favorite subject was science.
As she grew older and eventually went to high school, science got harder for her. She had to stay up until almost one in the morning every night just to finish her homework. She always did it because getting into a great college and having a great family like her own was always most important to her.
One night, when she was deep in her studies for a mid-term test, a ghastly sound met her ears. Her father and mother were fighting. She thought to herself that her mom probably forgot to pay a bill or something. What happened next made Jessica’s stomach flip-flop.
Screaming. More screaming. The screams escalated into the sound of a dish hitting the wall. Yelling. More yelling. Then she heard a final scream from her mother and all was silent. What happened? She wondered, possible scenarios ran through her mind. She didn’t know what to do.
The front door slammed. She walked out of her room, down the hallway, and into the kitchen. Her mother lay in a heap on the floor. She ran over, asphyxiated at the sight. She saw her mother had a black eye and was extremely incoherent.
“MOM!” She frantically cried. If only her brothers were awake, she kept thinking to herself.
Her mom awoke and groaned. Jessica stared in awe at her mother’s battered figure.
“J-… Jessica?” Her mother wheezed out with immense effort. “Go back to bed honey, you have school in the morning.” Jessica stared into her mother’s eyes. She asked herself how she could leave, with her mother in so much pain.
“Go… Go now!” Her mothers said in a firmer voice, bringing herself to her feet. Jessica didn’t know what to do. She obeyed her mother’s orders, on her way back to her room she glanced at her mother one last time before shutting the door.
The next day at school she tried to remember everything she had studied the night before. But when she searched her memory all she saw was the vision of her mother lying on the floor. She wanted to know everything that had happened, and why it had happened.
Jessica was so mad at herself! She had been so preoccupied with school, and her friends that she hadn’t noticed her parent’s relationship falling apart. How could she have been so ignorant? Where had they gone wrong?
Later on at dinner she began to notice things about her family she hadn’t noticed before. Her mother would never look her father in the eyes when they talked. His tone was always harsh and condescending. Her brother’s never wanted to be at the house. How could this have happened? How could she have missed the fact that her family was crumbling around her? The more she thought about it, she realized her parent’s conversations were not as positive as they once were.
It was a somber thought, knowing that her mother was trapped in such an abusive relationship. Jessica was so angry with herself. She tried to get a word in with her mother. She acted as if she was preoccupied, and continued to chop vegetables. Jessica tried to look at her mother’s eyes, but she continued to covert them sheepishly. Why? Jessica wondered.
“What’s the matter kiddo? You didn’t do so well on your science test?” Her father asked her over dinner.
“Well she-“ her mother started.
“Well nobody asked you,” her father snapped back with a glare.
Jessica tried to speak but no words came out. She looked at her mother, who was now staring at her plate of potatoes. Then she looked at her father. Her eyes welled up with tears and she ran from the table. She slammed her bedroom door and buried her face in the pillow.
If only her father had been the man he used to be. She wished so bad that he could come in and take all the pain she felt away. But how could he when we was the main source of it? She thought back to the man who had picked her up off the pavement.
Her father knocked on the door, one… two… three times. Jessica searched for the words to answer him with. She couldn’t speak. It was only then that she realized that skinned knees hurt far less then a broken heart.