Wednesday, April 06, 2005


"The man who promised to keep me safe was the one who tried to kill me."

The young latina woman stood next to me, her arms wrapped around the little boy riding on her hip.

"He had me convinced at first, that it was me...that I was too friendly with his friends. He would swear at me, call me whore. Then apologize. I would forgive him...he didn't know what he was doing...he was drinking. Then the pushing began,, the slapping, the punching. The accusations of cheating, and lying were devastating, but I always forgave him ... We are taught to forgive. Yes?"

I nodded

"I was beginning to believe jealousy was a part of love. The pain was just part of a passionate relationship. I was so stupid..."

"No, not stupid...naive." I smiled remembering myself at her age. "We want to beleive the best in people, especially those we love. We want to beleive it so much we blind ourselves to reality."

"Reality.." She shook her her head of dark curls. "Reality attacked me while I lay in bed with my son. He had been out, I had been home. He came in accusing me, again, of cheating on him. He pushed the baby off the bed, and grabbed my hair. He tried to choke me. I fought back. He had a knife. I hit him hard, where it hurts, picked up the baby and ran to my friends house and called the police."

"How was the baby?"

"My son was fine. His father was convicted of attempted murder. He is in prison now. He got 5 years. I'm afraid he may get an early release, so I am moving away. I wanted to say goodbye before I left."

"Where are you going?"

"Puerto Rico. I have family there. I have already applied to the university in San Juan. I want to get my degree. I would like to stay in touch with you."

"Please!" I quickly wrote down my phone number and e-mail adress on a slip of paper. "I think about you so often. I always wonder how you are doing."

"I promise to write, and I will visit again when I come back"

Why do so many of us endure things that are destructive, in the name of love? We hope and pray for change, expecting it to come from the other person, when the change really needs to come from within ourselves.

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