Emma stumbled trying to get up from the floor, she knew she had to get to the front door, her cheekbone was throbbing with pain, but fear drove her. She ran to the front door grabbing the handle opening the door just slightly. But she was to late Russell was right behind her, just as she pulled the door open he slammed it shut. Emma looked up at Russell, six foot two inches tall and one hundred and eighty pounds. Emma was no match for him she didn't even weight 110 pounds soaking wet.
Russell stood over her blocking the door. Emma broke down sliding down the wall sobbing and holding the left side of her face. She glanced up again, Russell had a strange smirk on his face, like he had just won some kind of contest but had cheated. He started to move toward her; instinctively Emma put her hands up to protect herself and waited for the next blow. All she could think was "this time, this time he is going to beat me beyond recognition."
It was only a year and half ago that Emma met Russell for the first time. She was a bit shy, but that was about to change she was now going to start her junior year of high school at the new "Senior High". This was the only school in the area just for juniors and seniors only. It was more like a small college with over 3000 students. She felt grown up for the first time in her life. Her older brothers had left home to go to college and her parents were busy with their own lives, their own problems. Emma mainly tried to stay out of the way at home, it wasn't to hard for her between work and school, she could always find an excuse to leave the house as soon as her parents began to argue she hated the screaming, but, she had long accepted her family situation. What she didn't realize was how vulnerable it made her how much she wanted to be part of a family, to have someone ask her how her day went at school when she got home.
The very first day of school she noticed Russell. He was a popular boy, tall, blonde, and muscular and he noticed Emma right away too. He didn't waste any time and began pursing her. At first Emma kept Russell at arms length. "Why would such a good looking popular guy be interested in me?" She thought. Something just didn't seem right. Emma's indifference toward Russell only seemed to fuel his determination to win her over.
Emma had recently been baptized, one of the very few events in her life her parents attended. She wanted to live her life for God, but with little direction from her family and attending a church that was filled with wealthy people who had no problems and talked about the text of the Bible like it was a dictionary; left her confused and uncertain about her relationships and what she meant to God. She found herself on the outside looking in, trying to live a Christ filled life, but it felt like she was doing it in the dark.
It didn't take long between Emma's friends telling her how lucky she was to have Russell in pursuit of her heart, his constant calls, and waiting for her after each class at school. She soon began to accept his presence in her life, even though it felt smothering to her. Emma kept telling herself that he was just so caring and attentive and she wasn't use to that much attention. Within three months Russell had isolated her from her friends and family as much as he could. He was completely demanding of all her free time. In her heart Emma knew this relationship was not what God would want for her, but she continued to talk herself into believing Russell loved her so much, she couldn't leave him; but deep within her a fear was growing. She decided to ask Russell to go to church with her; his answer was quick and harsh. He didn't care if she went, but he wasn't going, he worked to hard all week and Sundays were his day to do what he wanted. Soon Emma wasn't going to church on Sundays either, she was on Russell's schedule now. She felt he was jealous of God, it seemed Russell was trying to push God out of her life, along with everyone else. As soon as she stopped going to church things became worse. Russell would fly into a rage at the smallest thing. One time during a minor argument Russell punched the windshield of his car so hard that the glass shattered everywhere. The few friends Emma still had left her after that incident.
By the time Emma was Senior, Russell had graduated and she began to feel some freedom from him. But he started showing up at school at all hours, trying to catch her talking to another boy. Screaming at her in the hallways until security escorted him off the school campus.
Emma knew she had to get away from Russell, but she just couldn't seem to make herself leave him, she was scared about what Russell would do. He began threatening her, but still part of her felt he would never really her hurt her, he loved her too much. But, Russell had tried to hurt her. Just because Emma was fast enough to move when Russell threw a punch and hit the wall instead of her Emma denied he was really trying to hit her at all. Or the time when he burned her wrist with his cigarette, she knew he did it on purpose even though he said it was her fault, he was just kidding around and when she moved that caused him to burn her, so it really was her fault.
Still Emma stayed, in fact, in the middle of her senior year; she agreed to marry Russell at the first May since she was graduating early. Russell wanted to start a family right away. Emma parents had no interest in the whole marriage; they thought she was too young, so they just bowed out. Russell's mother took Emma dress shopping and helped her plan the wedding with hand written invitations to only a few friends and family. The date was set, May 4th. Emma felt like her life was a train rushing toward a dark tunnel and she didn't know how to stop it, she felt like she was disappearing and on the 4th of May at 7:00pm she would be gone.
She couldn't tell her soon to be mother-in-law that her son was abusive, and besides, she reasoned, he hadn't actually hit her, yet. But married and a mother at 18 years old was not what she wanted. In fact, since Russell came into her life, she couldn't see her future anymore, she couldn't see anything, she only knew that Russell didn't love her like she thought a man should love a women he was going to marry in just three weeks time. She knew she was about to step off a cliff, she just didn't know who to reach for to help her.
Now, she was laying on the floor of Russell's apartment bracing for the beating she knew he was going to give her. She had pushed Russell to far, she thought. Just two days until their wedding and she just told him she couldn't go through with it. In that moment things seemed to be moving in slow motion. Emma straighten out her arms pushing her self up, she looked down at the green carpet, smelling of cigarette smoke and beer, her face throbbing in pain and the tears running down her chin falling onto the carpet. It was almost as if all this was happening to someone else, like she was watching someone else, not so much being a part of it. Just as Russell was about to strike again, she called out in a voice that didn't even sound like herself, so much so, it startled her. "Jesus, Stop Him!" She said it just once, loud and clear. Immediately Russell stopped and walked away from her and sat down on the couch, propping up his feet on the coffee table and lighting up a cigarette. Emma looked at him; for the first time she saw Russell through different eyes. He was an emotionless, empty, cruel person. Emma stood up straight and whipped her tears away; she pushed her hair back off her face revealing the black and blue mark under her eye. She stood there looking at Russell, she didn't say a word, he just looked back at her and shook his head, unwilling to acknowledge that he had hit her so hard it threw her backward off her feet and into the kitchen wall. Emma started to say all the things she wanted to about how much he had hurt her, how he was a no good worthless man, but the only thing she could say as she picked up her purse and started toward the front door was "Good Bye Russell, I forgive you because Jesus has forgiven me." "I hope you find Him someday." She stepped through the front door; the sun was out, and the sky was clear. She closed the door behind her and stepped one foot in front of the other into her future.
I have been writing all my life, I just didn't realize it until I was my late 40's. I hope my experiences can help other who have gone through similar trials.