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I am in the kitchen scrubbing the silverware, plates, and pan clean of the dried lasagna that we had for supper, when my boyfriend calls for me. I jump out of fright, the cause of the unexpected call from my boyfriend, Jaxon.

I walk through the kitchen’s doorway into the living area, “Yes, sir?”

“Don’t ‘yes sir’ me!” Jaxon yells with his deep voice as he throws a beer bottle onto the floor, making me jump with and. “You forgot to go to the store. I need more beers.”

Jaxon walks over to me and the sound of skin hitting skin sounds throughout the small apartment. The slap did not bother me that much since I am so used to it, but it still hurts.

I hold my cheek and look at Jaxon’s dark brown eyes with disbelief, “Wh-what--?”

“Shut up,” he growls deep in his throat and punches me in the eye, causing me to fall onto the ground with a thud. “You are a worthless piece of trash. Go and get my beer.”

While Jaxon is talking - well, yelling - he was throwing blow after blow to my abdomen. I can’t help but wince at the metallic taste of blood in my mouth and the pain from the blows to my body. I curl into a ball as I try to collect any remaining strength that I have to get up. Jaxo throws a twenty dollar bill at me.

I sigh and let a few tears fall down my face as I think about the hateful look in his eyes. I don’t know what had happened to him; he used to be kind and caring; he always made sure I was happy, and that our relationship was as strong as ever. Then one day he started drinking; a couple of weeks after that, he started to abuse me verbally, and finally one months rolled around, that is when Jaxon started to physically abuse me.

I get up while groaning in pain. I grab my dark blue hoodie and walk out the door. I look back, remembering all of the good memories that we had shared in this very same apartment. I sniff and walk out and slowly make my way to the store.

I walk in, and the smells of pizza, hamburgers, fries, and hot dogs bombard my nose and cause me to take a step back. I regain my senses and walk in, the vintage styled deli to my right and the usual gas station store to my left. I walk to the counter of the deli and climb onto one of the stools at the bar.

A worker turns around, sees me sitting there, and walks toward me, “Hello, I am Jet and welcome to Retro Deli. May I take your order?”

He is maybe a few inches taller than I am, muscular. He has blonde hair and brown eyes. His name tag reads Luca in neat, cursive handwriting.

“Um, no thank you,” I say softly.

Suddenly Luca or “Jet” gasps and covers his mouth,”Oh my, what happened to your eye?”

I quickly look down,”Nothing. I just ran into a tree branch.”

Luca shakes his head, “Can that tree move, then.”

I chuckle and shake my head, “The branch, not the tree, Jet. It was a low-hanging branch.”

Jet blushes a light shade of pink, his green eyes look into my own smokey gray eyes.

“You sure that it was a tree branch?” he questions.”It looks a little severe to be caused by a branch.”

I look down, suddenly finding the red and black checkered countertop interesting. The bell chimes, signaling that someone has walked in. I get up and look through the aisles, slowly making my way toward the beer. I see a selection of journals; one of reading ‘You can do it’ journal and I remember how Jaxon used to always tell me that in an attempt to hype up for like a contest or a game. I remember that I used to always write and enter writing contests. Anytime that I would start to doubt myself, Jaxon was there to encourage me. As I start to begin thinking about those memories, everything fades to silence.

“I don’t know, Jaxon,” I say softly, looking down at the floor. “There are other contestants who are way better than me.”

“Hey, look at  me,” Jaxon says as he gently pulls my face to look up at him, “you are going to win, ok? You will win and I will be right here by side your cheering you on.”

I smile softly at the memory as a tear slides down my face. I wipe the tear away and continue on to where I am supposed to be going. I suppose I could get Jaxon some Corona since it doesn’t have a high alcohol percentage, and he would be less likely to get drunk. I grab a six pack of Corona. I head up to the counter to pay, and as I do, I see an average height brunette sitting at the counter, talking to Jet. Both Jet and the girl start laughing, and I smile softly at the sight and reach the counter.

“Is that all for you, sir?” the short cashier asks.

I nod my head, “Yes, that’s all.”

I take out my driver’s license card and give to the cashier, “That is one interesting branch,” she comments.

I look up, “What?”

The cashier points to my eye, “I heard you say that you got hit by a tree branch. It must’ve had some beef with you.”

“Yeah must have,” I say as I look down while getting the money out of my wallet. “How much?”

“Ten dollars and fifty cents,” the blonde girl said. I pay and grab the six pack before heading out of the door. “You don’t have to deal with that y’know.”

I stop and look back at her, “What?”

“You don’t have to deal with being abused,” she says softly, her green eyes full of pity. “Trust me, I know. I used to be in an abusive relationship myself.”

I walk up to the counter, “I ran into a-”

“Tree branch, I know,” she interrupts quickly. “I’ve used the same excuse for my ex’s behavior. It is no way to live.”

“Do not tell me how to live,” I say as I grab the six pack and tramp out the door.

I get out my phone, see the time, and gasp when I realize that I have been gone for more than ten minutes. Jaxon is going to kill me.


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