Warning that this speaks about domestic violence not only that but the love that your best friend has for you and what it feels to watch you go through it. There is help. This was writing on behalf of the #womenslives initiative and the love for my best friend. She gave me permission to post this in hopes that it will help someone else going through domestic violence and realize that you are not alone and you do not need to keep it hidden.
I met her in sixth grade, nothing really stood out about her being unique and we actually found each other annoying for the first few weeks of school. Then out of nowhere we attracted to each other like magnets. Finishing each other’s sentences, making inside jokes and getting in enough trouble the first year that her mother barred her from seeing me. We had become best friends, she my sun and I her moon.
I’ve seen her go through her share of crappy relationships, same goes for me. There was never a time when I felt that I had to fear for her safety, and then I found out how naïve I was and how great she was at holding secrets. Being years into a relationship with the man she bore a child to I never thought she would casually tell me about his abuse. I was apparently the last one to know.
Hearing her describe the things he had done and said to her sent my blood boiling. How could someone do this to my best friend? She’s funny, intelligent a great artist, the improvised songs and plays we would come up with as children would have made a great TV show if only someone like Simon Cowell was around us. I was looking at her as the same sixth grader who made crude jokes, how could you lay your hands on someone so delicate?
It wasn’t until she told me he had threatened her life that I knew why she kept it from me. She called the cops after he spoke those words and raised his weapon. He wouldn’t really do it, she said. After that phone call I cried. I cried like a baby getting shots. I cried like a Mother finding out her child was. I cried like my best friend’s life was threatened, and even now I’m crying writing this.
Those words he spoke I took seriously, I did the only thing I knew to do and that was walk the anger off to my mother’s and speak with her and help clean. Once I get to her house I’ll stop crying I said. False. I cried every step to her house and harder after that. Arriving to her house at 8pm I wondered if my phone was going to ring and the police or worse my best friend’s mother tell me she was dead. The only phone calls I kept expecting in my head were hearing bad news that she passed at is hands, in front of their daughter.
After the sadness settled the anger came back in full force. I wanted to send people over there who would make sure he wouldn’t lay a hand on her or raise his voice again. I wanted to hurt him like I hurt when she told me told me what he did. She is my best friend, no one can bring her down but me and it’s only in a joking way as I raise her back up. You cannot hurt the other half of my heart and not expect me to want to retaliate. But alas I didn’t.
I did the only thing I could think of as a best friend, I listened. Yes I had given her advice but I told her the truth: I cannot tell you what to do, I know you will choose your own way and as much as I may hate it I love you more than to walk away. She did stay, for a few years after and as much as I hated it I was there. I was there rooting her on when no one else would because I wanted to see and hear from her. Getting phone calls, text messages and visiting her was the only way I could make sure that she was safe not hurt and alive.
This past month she finally called it quits. I was the first to cheer her on, congratulate her and prepare for her and her child to move on. I am giving advice, knowing that she does not need to follow it and I’m doing the best thing I can, listening. I often think if I had truly told her how afraid I was for her life if she would have left earlier, or would she have disconnected ties. She is my air and without her my breath wouldn’t be as deep and loud and full of life.
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline
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