The Night's End
He's breaking up with me. I know it. I’m through with this though. I’m through with feeling this every time I think I’ve found the right guy.
"Sophie, I'm sorry..." he trailed off.
. And I'm done with this. I just want it to happen this one last time and then never again.
"It's okay, I understand, Jason. I'm gonna go now, okay?"
"No, wait. I don't want you getting the wrong ide-"
"Don't worry, Jason. No one's getting the wrong idea of you."
“I just want you to know I’ve always loved you. I’m just not feeling the same about us anymore.”
I wouldn’t believe you even if that made sense. Yes, Jason. Sure you’ve always loved me. That’s why you’re breaking up. It adds up. But I don’t feel like arguing. This is all said and done. I shook my head, looked down and smiled to the ground.
“No, Jason. I don’t think any of that. I think I know you well enough to understand why you’re doing this. It’s your decision, and I respect it.”
I waited. I didn't go even though I had said I would. He stared at me with the most apologetic eyes I'd ever seen. I turned away, knowing that if I looked at them a second longer, he'd know how I was feeling. Don’t cry now, Sophie. Hold yourself together. You are so better than this.
“I love you, Sophie”
Whatever. That’s the last thing you say to a grown woman when you’re dumping her after 9 months of a great relationship. I feel like arguing now. I deserve to know what makes him think he can say that when he’s freezing my ass off in the rain and breaking my heart.
“That doesn’t make sense. Break up with me, but don’t lie to me even after you do it. You’re very stupid if you think I’ll believe you.”
I didn’t want an answer. I just wanted to tell him off and leave. So I started walking away and I didn’t hear him walking behind me. He’d leave it alone. We won’t see each other and we’ll keep on going, and we won’t be “just friends”. I didn’t want that.
Suddenly I felt him grab my arm violently from behind, which shocked me tremendously since he’d never shown signs of being aggressive. And I hadn’t heard his footsteps behind me. His fingers were digging down on my skin. I could already imagine the red finger mark that was going to leave. I kind of moaned but I was too shaken and cold to do anything else.
“Don’t you ever walk away from me like that! Do you understand?!”
“Jason, what the hell are you doing? Let go of me!”
I realized that as I spoke, he gathered more strength to grip me harder. He shook me twice and knocked me to the wet cement. By now it was literally pouring outside and I landed on one elbow. I felt the bleeding sensation in my knee and a scraped elbow. I had proof. I stayed quiet, silently crying tears of rage and fear. Sophie, run. Don’t let him get you.
I tried getting up but as soon as I did he got hold of me somehow and clumsily shoved me into the passenger seat of his car. I almost felt like a criminal. And he locked the door. He got in and I struggled to get to the lock. I did, and as I opened the door I let myself drop to the ground. I figured it would take him longer to get me since he had put on his seatbelt and had the engine running already. He’d get me, but not without a fight. I realized I was in my fight or flight state, and I decided to run. I scrambled to my feet, nearly tripping on my own weight, but I regained balance. I ran to the opposite direction of which his car was parked. That way he would have to make an illegal U-turn to reach me, but by that time I would have out run him.
Thoughts were running through my head like crazy. They were mostly questions. When had he become so fierce? Had he always been this way? If that was the case, it was one more reason why I was no longer heart broken. I had to think fast. Where was I? I was in a long stretch of a lonely avenue which was one reason why no one saw what happened. I was running, I had left my purse on the ground, but I had my cell phone in the pocket of my long coat. Come on, Sophie, he’s probably behind you. Hurry.
Angela’s house was the closest to here. I could briefly explain to her the situation and have her pick me up at the nearest drug store. Yeah, that’s what I would do. I had her on speed dial, thank God, and so I was able to put most of my concentration on running. The phone rang. Once. Twice.
“Please, Angela. I need you. Answer!” I whispered to the phone.
It rang twice before she actually picked up the phone.
“Hey, Angela, I need you to do me a favor. Are you busy?”
“Hey, sure, what’s wrong, sweetie?”
“Ok, I’m in a little trouble. Jason took me on a walk. We were talking and he got angry. He tried pushing me into his car but I got out, right now I’m running toward that little pharmacy on the corner of Harrison and Kindle, can you get there as soon as you can and pick me up?”
“Oh, my God! Sophie, are you alright? Did he hurt you? Oh my God…of course, sweetheart! I’ll be there right away. Don’t move when you get there”
“Okay, thank you so much Angela. I’ll tell you the details on the way to your house.”
The conversation was an accompanied by a lot of panting, and pauses. I’m sure she heard me clearly, and I was so glad she was the person nearest to me in this situation. I knew she wouldn’t turn me down. Because sadly, I actually knew people that would have.
Finally after what seemed to my body like hours of running I got to the drug store. I knew I looked very bad; my hair was messed up, my clothes were dirty, I was panting uncontrollably, and I was soaking wet. So, knowing this, as soon as the door dinged open I went to the back of the pharmacy, toward the ladies’ restroom. There I examined myself in the mirror. Slowly I washed my hands, trying to calm down and think carefully. I looked at my cell phone and the time said it was 4:37 P.M. That meant that it had been around an hour ago that Jason and I had been strolling along the pretty houses. I wondered how long he’d been planning to do this, or if he had planned it at all. Knowing him, he probably had. Jason was a clever guy, and he had his sneaky ways to him. It’s just that I was too foolishly in love with him to imagine that he’d ever use that against me. I grabbed a couple of tissues to clean myself. I threw water on my face and dried off. I didn’t look perfect, but I didn’t look as I’d just been physically abused by an ex-boyfriend. Technically. I walked slowly toward the door and peeked out. He hadn’t followed me. And somehow that didn’t register. I had expected him to hunt me down like the action movies I recently had been watching on HBO and kill me.
I came fully out of the restroom, hands in my pocket, attempting to look like a non-panicked, normal customer. I looked around for a bit at Advil boxes and M&M’s, and a nice shade of some kind of pink nail polish. Then I heard a car door slam out in the nearby parking lot. Paranoid, I looked up, thinking it was Jason who had seen me through the huge window. Instead, I saw Angela’s pleasant face with a mask of concern for me. She came in while she craned her neck looking for me across the shopping aisles.
I made myself visible to her and when she saw me safe and sound, a smile ran through her now almost- wrinkled face. I ran to her like a little girl would to her mom after a long camping trip. I hugged her tight, smelling her clean hair and thanking God for having her with me. Angela and I had met when I had just moved to this city. For some time she was my co-worker at a school I worked in and when she retired, she became simply my sincere friend. I never thought I’d grow close to someone her age, because honestly all my friends had been my own age. But I grew a friendship with her like I hadn’t with anyone else for a long time. She drew me close like her own daughter; she didn’t have any children of her own. For three years she was there for me in any kind of weather and circumstance. And I loved her for it.
Angela took my face in her hands and kissed my forehead. If I ever got to her age, I wanted to be and look just like her. She was my idea of growing old gracefully.
“I’m so glad you’re okay, Sophie”
“Thank you, Angela. I’m sorry if I made you worry too much”.
“Aw, no hon. You’re my only little girl and I’ll do anything to keep you. Let’s go now, I need to get you in dry clothes and drinking some good hot chocolate”
We got in the car quickly and locked the doors. Patiently I explained word for word what had happened with Jason. We got to her house and she told me that I could take a shower and she’d give me some clothes to change into.
“Meanwhile, I’ll be making the hot chocolate and getting the cookies out of the oven. Take your time”, she said.
I hurriedly got in the shower, turning the on the hot water for a good massage. Yet, I was eager to talk over hot chocolate and cookies about the situation and what I should do next.
When I was finished I dressed in the clothes Angela had left in her guest room for me and walked over to the cozy kitchen.
“Oh, good, you’re all done. That was fast.”
I tied my hair up in a bun and took a plate of cookies.
“Was it? It felt long.”
“That’s because you’re tired. I bet you can’t wait to go to sleep.”
”Not, really”, I said. “I want you to help me decide what I should do from here.”
“Well, here’s what you shouldn’t do. You shouldn’t go back to your apartment until you know what he’s up to,” she said pensively.
“Which is extremely hard to do. Angela, I lost him. There is no way I can track him down without me going through danger or him finding out.”
Angela looked at me. But she wasn’t really looking at me, she was thinking. She was thinking hard about my answer and the possible solution to the problem.
“What if you call him?” she finally said after a long pause.
“I can’t. He’s going to threaten me, or else try to fool me. Angela, you’re forgetting I dated this man for 9 months. I know him inside out.”
It was true. I knew very much about him. And now that I thought about it, most of it could and would be used against me. This situation sucks.
”Sophie, you are much smarter than him. You can use all you know against him. And trust me; he will try to do the same. But you have to be the better and smarter person. This is what it’s all about now,” she said.
“You’re right. But do you really think he’ll never give up on this? I don’t even know what he wants with me anymore. We broke up.”
“Look, you shouldn’t worry about it tonight. Think it over and sleep on this. Tomorrow we’ll talk more”, she said.
I followed Angela’s advice. We said goodnight quickly and went off to our own rooms. In bed, I felt safe. I felt safe enough to think about the situation without feeling stalked by Jason. So that’s what I did. I thought long and hard and tried to come up with answers to many of my questions. Why did he break up with me in the first place? A million reasons popped in my mind, but I never came to a real conclusion. It didn’t matter anymore. The good thing is that it was over. What was bothering me isn’t that he ended our relationship. I was actually relieved after the show he put on for me this afternoon. But, what had he really intended to do when he shoved me in his car? Had he wanted to take me somewhere and knock me unconscious? Then rape me? Everything I could’ve thought of as a possibility seemed too outrageous for Jason. Never in a million years would I have pictured him doing any thing like that. But then again, I would’ve never imagined him pushing me to the ground and forcing me into his car, either.
I started remembering when I knew him in high school. Jason had never come close to showing that kind of behavior at school. Not even with his guy friends. So now, 6 years after leaving high school, could anything have changed? Maybe. And that is as closest to an answer as I could get that night.
I’m guessing I fell asleep thinking around 11:30. I tossed and turned for a while. And then I fell into a dreamless, pitch black sleep.
I hadn’t set the alarm to wake up in the morning, but my cell phone was ringing. My eyes were shut completely but I kind of touched around the end table and grabbed the phone. After a minute I was able to open my eyes and see clearly. But my head was pounding. I looked at the cell phone and it only said NEW TEXT MESSAGE. I wondered who it was at this time. Jason had my cell phone number but I was sure if he used it, it would be to call me, not to send me a text message.
I opened the message. I was very wrong.
Message: I know where you are.
That’s all it said. He didn’t even say he’d be coming to get me. My heart beat one hundred times faster than the speed of light. It probably just felt like it. I didn’t allow myself to panic, because it wouldn’t allow me to think. You have to get out of here, Sophie. Now!
No, I couldn’t just leave without telling Angela. If she didn’t know I wasn’t here, she wouldn’t be able to help me if I got in trouble. Was he going to break in and kill us both? I sat up, and said a long and sincere prayer to God.
“First of all, I thank you for keeping me safe after what happened today. And I ask you to keep me and Angela okay until someone gets Jason some help. Really, help him. I’m sorry if I put Angela in this dangerous situation. It wasn’t my intention, I promise. Thank you for giving me protection, shelter, and a wonderful woman who is kind as she is wise. I am freaking out right now, but I ask you to please keep me calm. I say this prayer in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Wow. My prayer did help me keep myself together.
Since I couldn’t sleep anymore after that horrible text message, I climbed out bed. I silently tip-toed over to Angela’s room and caught her sound asleep. I climbed in to her own bed and faced her sideways.
“Thank you”, I whispered.
She obviously didn’t hear me, which was okay, cause I was saying it more for myself.