TW: Domestic Abuse
My knees shook as I stared into the looming eyes of the Judge.
“Was there physical abuse?”
The words came off her tongue with such an uninterested disdain.
“No, your honor.”
“Did he threaten to kill you or harm you in any way?”
“No,” I said.
I wiped my sweaty palms against my pants.
She flicked through the file before releasing a deep breath.
“Honestly, I don’t see any present danger here. I am going to have to deny your file for protection.”
With something as simple as a stamp on a page, my PFA was denied and I was being escorted out of the courtroom.
“I am so sorry ma’am,” the officer said, putting a reassuring hand on my shoulder. “I hope things work out for you.”
I nodded my head as the color started to return to my face. I didn’t turn my phone back on until I reached the car. As soon as it came back to life, the screen was flooded with text messages.
Mom: How’d it go, dear?
April & Stephanie: How was it? We are here for you! :) You’re a queen
Past those, however, was another chain that I was hesitant to open. I didn’t think much of it, knowing that he’s been quiet these days, but not this time.
Bryan: Fuck u slut
Bryan: I hope u get hit by a car and die
Bryan: U r nothing but a piece of shit and Im gonna make ur son know.
Tears plummeted from my face as I stuffed my phone in my back pocket leaving them all on read. I knew I shouldn’t have looked at it. I knew better. I just wanted my bed. Within my car, it continued to vibrate. I turned up the radio trying to drown it out. Normally, the ride to and from the courthouse was quick and uninterrupted, but today, it was full of unpleasant thoughts. By the time I made it home, the sun was in twilight leaving nothing but the cool summer breeze. I shuffled through the contents of my purse in search for my keys.
I stared at the corner window where the light shined through the curtains. Trying to reach my roommate, four missed calls and ten new messages from him covered my phone screen. I tried not to look but my eyes caught the previews of the texts. I was stuck.
Bryan: Ur crazy if u think hell say goodnight to you
Bryan: Grow up learn 2 communicate
Bryan: Maybe if u answered me I would leave u alone
Bryan: Ur a selfish cunt.
The words left me breathless. The letters started to blend together one after another, the time was meaningless. My hand couldn’t pull up the phone. It wasn’t until the sound of a car horn made me jump. I only had to turn around to make my heart thump for the last time.
“Why aren’t you answering my calls, bitch?”
His voice was a siren. He got out of the vehicle with purpose. More sirens. A streetlight caught the glisten of my son’s pupils in the back seat.
“I told you I am just going to find you if you ignore me.”
By the time I came to, his breath was on my skin, burning like all the times before.
Jenna Faccenda is a Philadelphia-native who enjoys writing twisted tales while cuddled up on the couch with her black cat and 4-year-old son. Determined to read books for a living, Jenna is the Co-Founder of Writely Me and the Publicity Manager for Running Wild Press. Her works have been featured in The Literary Hatchet and her debut chapbook, The Phoenix From the Ashes (2018). Follow her on Twitter @faccenda_jenna.