Unspoken Endings

By: Gabbie S. Duran

To my mother, Rosa. I love you.

I CAN’T BREATHE. He’s literally stealing the breath from me as his fingers tighten around my throat, his body pinning me down. His hand squeezes harder. My heart accelerates to a dangerous level, feeling as if it will burst from my chest, but I refuse to give up. I can’t. It would mean he wins. With all the strength I have left, I keep trying to push his body off. My hands claw at his face and somehow I manage to gouge his eyes with my fingernails. With a wail, he rises off my body and loosens his grip around my neck.

With all my might, I swing my arm up and my fist makes contact with his face; it shocks him momentarily, allowing me to push him off enough to wiggle my way from under him. I’m still breathless, barely able to move, but my only thought is escape.

“Get back here, you bitch!” he shouts as he grabs onto my ankle, my body pulled to a stop. Turning around, I kick him with my other foot and manage to break free once more.

I don’t have the strength yet to stand up, but I manage to frantically crawl from his grasp to keep him from pulling me down again. My fear and determination is what keeps me moving. Sucking in a deep breath of air, I force myself up to my feet and start to run.

I’m running for my life at this point. My feet are moving on instinct, doing what they know best as they attempt to put distance between us. I can hear him chasing me; his panting breathes mere steps behind me, but I keep running, never looking back.

“You think you can get away from me, Abigail?”

His words fuel my fear, causing my legs to pump harder and my body to move faster, the air swooshing by me, the world passing in a blur. I know he’s no longer behind me, but I can still hear his panicked shouts.

“You belong to me! I’ll find you and you’ll regret ever leaving me!”

I rapidly sit up, escaping the nightmare of Bill. My lungs are gasping for air while my eyes adjust to the darkness of the room. My body is damp with sweat, while my chest still heavily rises and falls to catch up with my rapidly beating heart. Tears are threatening to break free as I sit wondering why I suddenly had the dream. The tears are still rising, but I refuse to cry because I know I’m stronger than my weakness. But, I cannot deny the fear still lingering in my blood. Even in my dreams, I can’t escape him, and I hate it.

Sleep eludes me at this point, forcing me to hug my knees while I push the still lingering fear away. Instead, I keep asking myself: Have I made the right decision by coming here? A question I’ve been asking myself since the moment I stepped onto the plane and left Matt behind. With him, I always feel safe. Rarely fearing Bill would risk approaching me after that first time, but now I’m an open target.

With time, I come to the same conclusion as before. If I ever plan to find myself, I have to follow my own dreams. I refuse to let the fear of failing, or being held captive in a controlling relationship, stop me from finding myself. I am Abigail Adams, and although I didn’t know who I was six month ago, I know who I am now… I am a fighter, and I will reach that finish line, one way or another.

IT’S ONLY BEEN a couple of days since I’d left Portland, but New York is a wakeup call I didn’t expect. The moment I stepped onto the plane and left the only past I’d known behind, was the moment I realized how much I’d grown to depend on Matt for stability. He’d been the one I’d gone running to in the beginning. He helped me discover love for the first time all over again. He was the rock I knew I would always be able to depend on.

The loneliness immediately began the moment after I checked into what would be my new home for the next couple of weeks. It was technically still a hotel, but you can equally compare it to a small apartment with all its equivalent similarities. I stood rooted to the spot at the entrance for the next couple of minutes, taking in its kitchen, dining room, and small living room, followed by two bedrooms, one on each side.

Julio had immediately gone into the first bedroom to my right, returning a minute later with a nod of approval. “It’s clear.” Two words I’m starting to believe I’m going to become accustomed to hearing during this trip now that he’s in full bodyguard mode.

With permission now granted, I enter soon after and toss myself on the bed, staring straight up into the ceiling. Missing Matt since this morning, I immediately call him hoping his soothing voice will help take the tension of the trip away. He immediately answers, but from the surrounding noise, I can already tell he isn’t at home.

“Hey, beautiful,” he says into the phone, tugging a smile on my lips.

“Hi,” I reply, feeling a pang of disappointment that I’m not with him. “How did your trip go?” he asks as the noise slowly starts to tone down.

“Good. Where are you?”

“We decided to grab a drink at the Brewhouse. It isn’t the same without you here, though,” he tells me, making a smile creep up my lips.

“You’re not serenading anyone else while I’m gone, are you?” I tease him with the smile still on my lips as I think back to the last time I was there.

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