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Authors: Hope Riverbank

Counting the Days

BOOK: Counting the Days
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Counting the Days
By Hope Riverbank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Lulu.com

 

Copyright © 1999 by Esperanza Rivera

All rights reserved.

 

ISBN 978-0-557-54415-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each and every day, women around the world experience spousal abuse on different levels. Spousal abuse was at one time taboo, but in recent years it has caught the attention of many and now has us listening. This book is dedicated to the untold number of women who everyday believe that things will get better. It’s for the women that are too afraid or too beat down to seek help for fear he will find out. It’s for the women who have sought help and were let down by the system.

 

On a more intimate level, this book is dedicated to my friends Marjorie, Jeannie and Linda who, with blood and tears, fought and lived, so that the generations to follow could have a chance at lives filled with love, happiness, security and, most of all freedom.

 

And to Kelly…one day I will see you again in paradise.

 
65 Days Left
 


You’re not even the prettiest girl I’ve ever had. In fact, you’re the ugliest. The only reason I keep you around is because you can cook and clean. And you’re not even good at that.”

 

Even though Danny said those words to me over three days ago, they still ran through my head over and over throughout the weekend. They stung me deep down into my heart. As a matter of fact, his words hurt my heart as much as and maybe even more than the plate he broke over my head hurt. My head would heal, but to ease the pain these words caused me, I convinced myself that Danny didn’t really mean what he said. He was just blowing off hot air. Of course, with all my heart I knew that he meant every hateful word, but denial made me feel better.

 

Was he always this hurtful and hateful? Well, when I first met Daniel Monroe Jr. four years ago, he was such the charmer. He was so handsome, with those gorgeous green eyes, and his light brown wavy hair. As far as I was concerned, he was a god, and out of all the beautiful girls this god could have with the snap of his fingers, I couldn’t believe that he picked me…scrawny little Marilyn. It wasn’t that I was a bad looking girl. I was just a little on the skinny side. I was very exotic looking with my mane of beautiful brown curly hair, my big brown eyes, my full lips and my golden brown skin. I remember the days when Danny used to play with my curly hair. He’d gently wrap my curls around his fingers. I thought that he was so sweet back then. He’d brag to his buddies that his girl had gorgeous big brown sparkling eyes and full lips. When we got married, I became Marilyn Monroe. Every one of our friends thought that my new name was too cool. What a tragedy!

 

Today, my eyes no longer sparkle. Danny has filled them with pain and sorrow. I wish I knew then, what I know now about him. Maybe I would have kept my head on straight and wouldn’t have allowed myself to be blindsided.

 

Who am I kidding? All along the signs were there. I should have seen what he really was the day we met. He was a monster inspired of the devil. Over the years, Danny’s drinking has gotten progressively worse, but his temper hasn’t changed one bit. He’s still the same rotten so and so today that he was back then. All these years, I’ve had on rose colored glasses and fooled myself into thinking that he wasn’t always mean, convincing myself that he’s changed for the worse, but he hasn’t. I lied to myself and to everyone around me. Since the day I met him, he’s been malicious and cruel. He hasn’t changed, not one bit.

 

I, on the other hand, have changed into a totally different person. Voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school means little to nothing to me today and I have the black and blue bruises to prove it.

 

My maiden name was Marilyn Paige Martinez and I grew up in the wealthy town of Huntington, Long Island. Growing up, our neighborhood was filled with lots of happy children. Regardless of age differences, it didn’t matter whether you were a boy or a girl, black, Puerto Rican, white, Jewish, anything, we all knew each other well and we all played and got along great together. In those days, I was such a good little girl. I always wanted to make my mother proud, so I always obeyed her and brought home good grades so that she could hold her head up high. You’d think that having excellent grades would give a child self-confidence. Maybe it would have if my mother would have noticed, but she was too busy working. I blame my father for that.

 

We always had plenty of money, but I was starved for attention. I lacked self-confidence so badly that when I entered into my teenage years, I slowly eased into an angry self-destructive teen. I decided that I knew best and my mother knew nothing. Not that she’d notice anyway. I don’t know why, but one day I just snapped and decided to stop playing by my mother’s rules and started living by my own. I put all my childhood silliness into a file deep in the recesses of my mind, never to be opened again. I wore all the bad things that I did as a badge of honor. This helped me to keep that chip on my shoulders at all times. Everything became about me and only me.

 

I can’t pinpoint when exactly or what happened that made me change from a cute little girl into a defiant teen. But I do, however, remember when it all started to go downhill. I believe that I was around fifteen years old and in the ninth grade. It was late spring, I was with Tina and Jenny, my two closest friends in the world, and we decided to cut class one day. We walked over to the pizza place around the corner and played pinball all afternoon. On the way back to school, Tina pulled out a joint, lit it up and passed it on. I took a puff and passed it on to Jenny. I know that I shouldn’t have smoked it with them, but I had to…for fear of looking un-cool. Back then being cool was more important than being smart or doing the right thing. That day was the beginning of the end.

 

The rest of my high school years were spent being a real cool fool. Even though I maintained a 4.0 GPA, I was known as one of the girls who hung out on The Hill. The Hill was pothead heaven and was located behind the school football field. All the potheads hung out there during school hours. I didn’t like the way marijuana made me feel so I didn’t smoke all the time, but all my friends hung out up there, so I hung out with them. Guilt by association, I guess. The funny thing is that all the teachers knew that we were up there, but they never bothered with us. I wish they had busted us a few times. Maybe things would have been different for me.

 

For a girl who grew up in Long Island and had it all, at 23 years old, I sure have hit rock bottom. These last four years have made me look and feel old. I really showed them all…didn’t I? They all tried to warn me, but I didn’t want to hear them. Oh if only I had listened. Growing up, my mother always told me that you reap what you sow. I was definitely reaping for all the havoc I’ve sown.

 

That’s enough of the ‘poor me’ thing. Okay Marilyn, you’ve had three days to lick your wounds and Danny will be back any day now, so start thinking clearly and focus. Get it together because your mind is racing in a hundred different directions at a hundred miles per minute. All you have to do is make a plan and set it in motion.

 

I have to make my move soon…for my little girl’s sake. Yes, for Samantha I need to get brave and do something. If I don’t, I’m afraid that one of us will die very soon.

 

So many things to do…where do I even start? Who do I call? Who can I call? I’ve burnt so many bridges I don’t know who I can go to for help.

 

If ever there was a day I wished I could talk to you Mom, today is it. But that won’t happen…we haven’t spoken to each other since that awful day in the hospital three years ago.

 

Mom, where are you? I wish you were here.

 

I need you.

 
1547 Days Left
 

After graduation, my girlfriends and I decided to spend the summer blowing off steam. Classes at the local university started in a few months, so we spent most of our time on the beaches of Fire Island. One afternoon we were all doing a little sunbathing and a little drinking out on the beach. We thought we were all that in our string bikinis parading ourselves up and down the beach in front of everyone.

 

There were so many nice looking guys on the beach and we all were enjoying the view immensely. Earlier in the day, Tina pointed out this fine looking guy playing Frisbee with his friends. Man, was he a cutie. I could see that he was definitely older than I was; maybe he was around twenty-two, twenty-three. He was golden brown and built quite beautifully. He was a bronze god. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He had a body that screamed HOT and a smile that made you melt. At the time, I didn’t realize that this fine specimen of a man was going to ruin my life.

 


He’s looking over here, so don’t look,” Tina said. “Girl, he is so cute and he’s got his eyes on you.”

 

Immediately my heart began to race and I could feel my ears flush. “Can I look up now?” I asked impatiently. I’ve had boyfriends in the past, but none as good looking as this guy. This was going to be a great summer. Definitely a summer to remember.

 


Yeah, he’s back to the game with his friends.” Tina sounded disappointed. “For a moment there, I thought he was going to come over and chat a little. Girl, if you can snag a guy that looks like that; you will be the envy of the whole group.”

 


Honey, I plan on having him all to myself and eating out of the palm of my hand by the end of the day.” I said those words with such conviction, not that I would know what to do with him if I actually had time alone with him. Even though I was the model rebellious teen, I always prided myself on being a virgin. I was a major tease, but I planned on waiting until my wedding night. “Can you pass me another beer?” I asked watching him toss around the Frisbee. His every move was amazing. The suntan oil made every flex of his muscles a work of art.

 

I watched a little while more and then I decided that it was time to turn up the heat and pull out all the stops. I put my hair up in a ponytail, gingerly making sure that some of my curls sexily hung down along my face. Then I stood up and after bending over a few times, I decided to walk down to the water. The waves were breaking pretty hard so I only walked in up to my knees. My plan was working like a charm, because that boy was watching my every move. Tina eventually joined me and we frolicked like two little kids splashing around in the water. I have to admit that it was a pretty sexy scene. By the time we left the water, all the guys were drooling.

 

When we got back to the blankets, I decided to pull out the big guns…it was oil up time. I remained standing and provocatively rubbed the suntan oil onto every exposed inch of my already tan body. I laid belly down on my blanket and proceeded to unstring my top. As Tina oiled my back, she informed me of every move and glance this god made. It didn’t take too long before he and his friends were soon entertaining us.

 


Hi…I’m Danny,” said this bronze god. I couldn’t help watching his lips. They were so smooth and soft looking. Definitely kissable.

 


I’m Marilyn,” I said coyly. I could feel that scared excitement stirring within me.

 


My friends and I never talk to anyone on the beach, but you girls seem like you could use a little company,” he said smoothly. I couldn’t help giggling, he was so cute. “So, Marilyn, what do you do?” he asked without making eye contact.

 


Right now I’m just into relaxing and blowing off a little steam with my friends. In the fall I begin my pre-medical courses at Stonybrook University in Brookhaven. Hopefully, if I bust my butt hard enough, one day I’ll be a pediatrician.” I waited for a response, but he seemed distracted.

BOOK: Counting the Days
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