As the end of the school year began to grow closer, Summer started to peak around the corner. Mom and Ian were distant. Barely speaking and sleeping apart while tension constantly suffocated the air. It was around that time I began reading a book in my literature class that became most interesting and valuable to me; The Breakable Vow.
As we moved through a new chapter each day in class, the content became strikingly familiar. It felt as if I was walking alongside the main character through her journey of violence, fear and fight to survive. I related much of her experience to my own as well as to Mom’s. It came as complete surprise to me to find a book that discussed, what I believed was, such a secretive topic. I was amazed to hear there were nearly identical stories out there happening to other people. It felt like a switch had turned on all the lights to a room that had long been dark and dormant. For the first time, I was explained the cycles of violence; The Tension building phase, The Battering phase and the Honeymoon Phase. There it was, all the pieces of my life put together like a child’s puzzle. All describing Ian with incredible precision. It was dead on.
Why had I never known this? How could I have never known this? I sat in my seat with my jaw on the floor listening to my teacher finally make sense of my entire life’s story and answering all the questions that made me believe I was crazy for even thinking. Did Mom know this? My teacher was the first to explain what I had questioned for so long and although in a class of 25, it seemed like she was speaking to me.
Up until that point, I didn’t believe this was something anyone could make sense of. If you could, you had magical powers from faraway lands. My thoughts began to race. I replayed every memory of tension, every memory of hurt and pain that, no longer coincidentally, was always followed with sweet, apologetic lies. All these years, I thought I was alone in dealing with this terrible monstrosity. With the limited knowledge I had prior to this class, I had tried to make sense of this life, but never could. At last, I had the answers.
I finished the book ahead of schedule and reread the chapters along with my class. Days after we finished the novel, we sat in the lecture hall greeted by a guest speaker with a personal story to tell on dating violence. My class as well as others, flooded into the lecture hall searching for a seat; I went straight to the front.
When all where quiet, he began. He told us of a story about his daughter, a boy she had met and all the horror that consumed his life thereafter. A young teenager, about my age, who was trapped by the same cycle of violence we had just learned about. He became tearful as he spoke to us of the pain this boy had caused his daughter and how eventually, he caused her death. A terribly difficult story to tell, but he urged us never to fall victim to such evil and to help others who may be blinded by this illusion of love.
By the end his personal, heart gripping story, I was in tears and never did I think for a single moment Mom’s situation would ever go as far as his daughter’s.