I leaned against the bathroom door and pushed with all my might as mother, on the other side, battled to unlock it with a kitchen knife. The bathroom had been my only safe haven in my parents small home; no other room could be locked. Quickly, however, after a few jabs with the knife the door gave way, crushing me between it and the wall. Mother then grabbed hold of my long straight hair and pulled it with such force that some came out. Then, still grabbing hold of my hair she dragged me to the bathtub and crouched me there, pushing my head hard against my legs forcing my neck to crack.

“Mom please stop; you’re hurting me!” I cried.

“This is what you get for lying,” mother sputtered with rage. “Don’t even think for a second that you are going to fool me.”

Scared and angry I struggled to get loose. I grabbed mother’s shirt and scratched her as I pulled it. Mother would not relent.

“This is the last night I spend here,” I declared.

“Oh yeah? Well it doesn’t matter where you go, I’ll drag you out of there by the hair,” mother exclaimed as she thrust me away from her and into the shower wall.

I stared at her with enmity as she walked away. Slowly I got up from the bathtub where I lay and looked at myself in the mirror, blood on my upper lip. My eyes looked empty and glazed over, no tears ran down my cheeks. I don’t need this, I thought, I’m leaving tonight. I wanted to leave right then but knew my hair was a tangled mess and I had blood on my face; I didn’t want to go to Derrick, my boyfriend, looking like this. I have to take a shower and pack some things, I thought, then I’ll go.

I undressed and hopped into the tub where I had fought with Mother moments earlier. Turning the water to cold, I showered all the while replaying the song “LAST RESORT” over and over again in my head. Once finished I went to my room, put some clothes in a small backpack, and grabbed some change. Then I walked down the hall and to the back door, I could hear my family in the living room watching TV as if nothing had happened. Unconscious of my own actions I suddenly threw the back door open without hesitation and began to run as fast as I could into the darkness. Time was of essence, I knew my family had likely heard me leaving and would soon be out looking for me. Stopping once to catch my breath I sped down O— Street to the closest liquor store. I wasted no time and immediately went to the pay phones where I began to nervously put change into the machine. I started dialing my Derrick’s phone number when I felt mother’s hands on my shoulders.

“Get in the car,” she ordered.

“No, no I don’t want to.”

My father got out of the car.

“Somebody help me!” I yelled. “Help!”

But nobody did anything, everyone just stood there staring, shocked to see this grown girl being carried off by two adults. My parents opened the back of their green Toyota Camry and threw me in. Mother sat in the back and pushed me down. I was terrified of what my parents would do to me now that I had tried to run away.

“Mom, you’re choking me, I can’t breathe,” I said panicked.

“Shut up!” Mother shouted pushing me down further into the space between the front and back seat. Father began to drive home. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity Mother stopped pushing me down. I came up hyperventilating. A car pulled up beside ours.

“Is everything alright, do we need to call the police?” asked the stranger.

“Yes everything is fine,” father answered and drove off into an unknown neighborhood in an attempt to lose the other car.

“We should send her to Mexico,” mother suggested, “That way she wont be able to finish school and maybe then she’ll learn her lesson.”

Terrified I continued to cry incessantly.

“Shut up!” mother yelled at me as she punched me in the eye.

After several minutes of aimlessly driving around we finally arrived back home.

“Lucero!” I begged my sister as I entered the house, “call 911.”

But twelve year old Lucero didn’t dare, she knew better.

“So where did you think you were going?” Mother interrogated. “Probably with that stupid boy, right?”

I didn’t respond, just sat on the kitchen chair sobbing. Mother seized the backpack I had taken with me and began ripping everything inside of it. I couldn’t believe how bad things had gotten in such a short period of time.


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