Starting Over


As Jessie walked along the beach in Sonoma with Julie in tow, she pondered her situation. Julie just looked up at her mother sensing something was wrong and this wasn’t a time to bother her.

Jessie’s thoughts tumbled over each other like clowns at a circus, and following a single thread of thought still seemed impossible. It had only been three days ago, that she took Julie and told her husband of six years she was going to the grocery store. The packed no bags, they took no toys, and they started driving straight for California. She prayed her husband, Harry would not find them here. It was the one state she had refused to visit because of earthquakes. Right now an earthquake seemed a lesser adversary than Harry.

She wanted a divorce, but the last discussion of one put her in the emergency room with two broken ribs and a sprained wrist. It was another of her “clumsy” moments, where she “fell” and bruised herself. Or so the excuses always went. Divorce had been in America since 1620 and the Puritans, but it wasn’t an option for her. She wondered how long the cheap blonde dye would last in her hair. In the middle east, your ideal mate is a first cousin. What on Earth made her choose Harry.

Harry wasn’t an alchoholic. Harry wasn’t a drug addict. Harry was just plain mean. He liked to hurt things. Most of all he like to hurt me. I’d left him before, but always kept going back. Somehow he convinced me it was my fault, and he’d never hit me again, no matter what I did. I felt lost without him, because he took care of everything. I’d left my family when I was only seventeen to marry him, and I frankly didn’t know my way around life.

It was when I saw him starting to play his control games with Julie, that I realized I had to make a break for it. He had never hit her, but his punishements were becoming more twisted and absurd, when she was bad. No matter what I had put up with myself, I couldn’t let my daughter pay that price as well.

It was right at that moment I heard a panicked, “MOM!”, and felt a small hand pulling me back. I looked up to see a car barreling down the road right at me. I had been so lost in thought, I just walked out into the road. Suddenly I realized the car was of the same make and color as Harry’s car. My heart started to pound out of my chest as I grabbed Julie and ran to some rocks near by. I fell behind them with Julie still cradled in my arms. Thank God the sand was soft, and even though there were tears, I could tell she wasn’t hurt. I peeked out from our hiding place to see the car go by with three young guys in it.

The car hadn’t been Harry’s. My panic was for nothing. I had almost hurt my daughter by running from a perceived threat. Is this what my new life was going to be?