This story is by Natalie Simon and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Elizabeth was in the kitchen preparing chili, grill steak, and lentil stew. The day was Friday and as always that was the menu for dinner. She was calm. Outside was cloudy, yet Elizabeth remained humbled. As she was cutting the meat, her hands started to tremble. Then she stops and looked at the knife. Suddenly, her mind flashes back to that horrific moment. It was two months ago and Elizabeth and her boyfriend were vacationing in Miami. They were staying at one of her boyfriend’s family beach house. Elizabeth would never forget that day. The day was Saturday and they went to the beach. While they were soaking up the sun, Elizabeth saw one of her old classmates. At first, she thought that she could be mistaken. So, she decided to go and look for the person. Her boyfriend wasn’t with her.
Her instincts were correct. It was her old friend Dominic. “Dominic,” she said. he turned around and was surprised. “Elizabeth,” he said smilingly. He hugged and kissed her. They talked for a long while. Meanwhile, her boyfriend came to where to their spot and noticed that she wasn’t there. His anger started to boil. He went out and searched for her. After ten minutes, he found her. He saw her talking to another man. This time his anger was waxed hot. She didn’t notice that her boyfriend was there and saw the both together. Well, she went back to her spot and her boyfriend wasn’t there. She started panicking. Then, her boyfriend came. He looked at her and smile. “Where were you?” she asked him. He cracks a smile and said, “I was just taking a walk.” He held her hand and asked her, “Would like to take a swim?”
They went for swim and after spending four hours, they went home. Elizabeth got a hard slap across the face. She fell to the ground. “What the hell were you doing talking to another man?” he yelled. “I was just talking to one of my old classmates,” she sobbed. “Look, shut up!” he shouted. He grabbed hold of her neck and in an angry tone said, “I don’t want to see you with another man, you hear me.” The sound of the door brought her back. He came home and didn’t say a word. He sat down on the recliner. Fear gripped inside of her. After ten minutes, he came into the kitchen and smacked her. Afterwards, he got physically aggressive. Later that night, she went to the bathroom. The scars, punch marks were visible. It was like she got stuck in a cage of thorns. She looked at herself in the mirror and decided.
While her boyfriend was asleep, she quietly and quickly grabbed her shirt, coat, and an extra pair of pants and left. The time was 11:30 p.m. She ran as fast as she could. When she couldn’t stop running, she stopped at a restaurant. The place was close and Elizabeth went around the back of the building to look for a spot where she can rest. She fell asleep right next to a very large dumpster. All she had was her extra clothing and a large pink blanket. The next morning, Elizabeth was still asleep. The sounds of car horns and police sirens woke her up. The sun was shining. Confused, scared, she had no idea where to go or what to do next. Moments later, one of the cooks came outside to throw away some garbage. As he approached the dumpster, he noticed a pink cloth. He got closer and saw Elizabeth lying there shivering cold and starving.
The young man touched her on the shoulder and asked, “Mom, are you alright? And what are you doing out here like this?” Elizabeth looked at him and begged him to help her. She told him how she and her boyfriend got into a confrontation and how he physically abused her. The man who saw her was very handsome, well-mannered, well-spoken, taller and a few years older than her. Upon hearing her plea, he felt sorry for her. So, he told her to stay while he went back to get his coat. Once again fear started engraving in her heart. The only thing she can think about in that moment is what if her boyfriend is out there looking for her. The young man came back with his coat and he put it on her. He then took her inside and sat her down by one of the single tables. By profession, he is a cook. He prepared her a large breakfast.
She ate as if she has never eaten for a long time. Meanwhile back at her boyfriend’s place. He woke up and turned to his clock. The clock was saying 9:15 a.m. He realized that he overslept. Moreover, Elizabeth wasn’t there. He searched all over the place even outside. She wasn’t there. He got furious. Back at the restaurant, Elizabeth had finished her meal. Even though her stomach was full, but her fears were still increasing. Suddenly, an old woman came and sat next to her. The old lady was singing merrily. Elizabeth took a glimpse of her and somehow deep down, she had this strange feeling. The first thing that came to her mind was to make a move. “Are you going somewhere, my dear?” she asked in a gentle voice. Elizabeth stuttered. She tried to make an excuse, but the old lady can see right through her.
“Oh nothing,” she smiled. She told her, “I know that you’re hurt. Tell me what’s wrong?” Elizabeth slowly answered, “Well, it’s my boyfriend. We had a fight. And because of that, I left.” Tears rolled down her face. Elizabeth wept bitterly while the old woman sat there and listen. Her story reminded her of a relationship that she once had. At the end, she told her about her experience when she was her age. How she got married when she was nineteen and was in an abusive marriage for twelve years. “How did you escape?” she asked her. The old lady laughed. She replied, “One day, I told my husband that I was going out to do some shopping and as fast as I can, I took a cab, told the driver to drop me to the nearest train station, and I took the train and never look back.
Moments later, the young man who rescued her came. He thought that was interrupting. He looked at the old lady and asked, “Can I get anything?” She smiled and said, “Just a glass of water.” They continued talking and she left. Elizabeth sat there thinking about what she said. The young man came and told her, “I’ll be finishing within the next thirty minutes. How about if you can come to my place.” The young man’s name is Dominic. Dominic wasn’t living far from the restaurant. It was twenty minutes away from the restaurant. There, they sat and talk for a long time. She told him everything about the boyfriend and the things he did to her. Dominic felt pity. He allowed her to stay at his place until he can figure out what to do. A few blocks from where Elizabeth was staying, her boyfriend was there.
He went around showing a picture of her and asking if they have seen her. No one hasn’t. Angry and depressed, he went to the police and filed a missing person’s report. The next morning, Dominic was in the kitchen preparing breakfast. While he was preparing breakfast, he heard on the news on T.V. that police were searching for Elizabeth. He rushed to give her the bad news. “What shall we do?” she asked panickily. “My family has a cabin high up in the woods. We can’t go there now. We’ll leave tonight. Promise me that you won’t go anywhere.” “What about you?” she worried. He answered, “I’ll have to think about something else, but don’t worry I’ll be fine.” The time was eleven and Dominic and Elizabeth was in his family’s cabin.
“We have to go to the police,” he told her. Elizabeth was shocked. Dominic convinced her that if she goes to the police then she can tell them about the abuse. She finally agreed. Dominic was with her. In fact, he was her strength. The next morning, he went to the police station. Elizabeth told them why she went away. She showed them her bruises and scars. Immediately, the police went out looking for him. They caught him and arrested him. As for Dominic and Elizabeth, they started a relationship. He took her to Malibu. There, he cared for her and managed to get her counseling. He never let her out of his sight. Since then their relationship got deeper. A year later, Dominic graduated from University and he and Elizabeth moved to Los Angeles. Dominic got a job as a Project Manager Assistant. Meanwhile, Elizabeth, she got a job at the bank.