liberal arts studio.montserrat
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by Laura Bowman

His eyes sprayed an awful colored hate at her as they sat down for dinner. His mouth slightly opened, allowed his wreaking teeth to growl when her eyes met his. Jamie had always been a happy girl up until now but she is still perceived the same way as always. Tonight they were having spaghetti slobbered with blood thin sauce; it's been one of her family's regular meals for years. Jamie unsurely looked around at her family each member enjoying and slurping up the long noodles from their plates. She quickly glanced at her boyfriend through her long shaggy bangs. So desperately she wondered. What could I have done? She scanned everything she had that had happened during the day and tried to remember all of the moves she made as she felt him pounding on her with his snarling stare. She knew what would happen, it was inevitable. But still she wanted to find a way to prevent it.

Her mom offered Phil some of the grated cheese that was set beside her. He gently replied with a calm "yes, please". Jamie knew his obnoxious tone of voice and how he used it to creep sweetly into her mother's ears. Her mom was pretty, her blue eyes were offset by her long brown hair which made them pop. She smiled as the cheese was passed through the hands of Jamie's father and into Phil's. Her father was oblivious. He always found a way to look past what was right before his eyes and get along great with Phil. "Here's the cheese Phil, how was your day today?" Phil responds, "thanks, my day was good but oh am I tired." Jamie couldn't stand how he acted, he always had something to complain about and he invited people into a pity party for himself. The relationship her father had created with him was almost son-like. In the beginning it was lovely, but soon she Jamie realized he was wrapping her whole family around his finger so that he could be anyone he wanted around her and no one would know.

Jamie looked on as her father and boyfriend bonded so wonderfully at the dinner table. She saw her younger brother hold an idolizing stare at Phil. He had grown to look up to Phil during the two years he and Jamie had been together. Phil made him feel important and cool; fourteen-year-old Scott was going through the point in life where it is essential to have someone to look up to. Unfortunately for Scott that person was Phil. She felt like she was alone. No one knew how Phil really was. Where could she go to feel like herself again? How did she get into this situation? She tried to stop thinking about it.

Jamie asked Phil, "How did you do on your history test?"

"Not too bad, how about you?" he replied seeming concerned.

She thought she was making progress when she said, "I think I did good thanks to you helping me study."

Phil wasn't too smart but at this point Jamie would say anything to make Phil stop being angry with her. But he knew her better than that and knew how she would try to escape from his anger.

"Anytime you need my help Jamie you know I'm here," Phil told her. His harmless and fake persona didn't trick Jamie for a second. She knew. Her family was still clueless.

Trying to concentrate on eating through the pain of her wound up, nauseous stomach, she heard her dad tapping his fingers on the table. She watched. His boney fingers made a pattering pattern sound that took her to another world. She wanted to go there, it was so far out of reach. She looked up her dads wrinkle sleeved mossy green sweatshirt to his neck. His pulse, so slow compared to hers. It was in sync with the tapping of his fingers. It was a melody. She looked at his rounded face; he chewed with a grin and kept his eyes on the prize, spaghetti. He looked up and saw me staring at him and asked me how the food was. "It delicious dad you know how much I love spaghetti." He continued eating.

Phil was sitting and eating quietly. He was popular at school. She figured he had everyone in his love bubble. The hallways celebrated when he walked through and he soaked it all selfishly and foolishly in. Jamie had forgotten why she was interested in him in the first place. Before they began dating she knew he had a bad reputation for being a crazy and an unpredictable troublemaker. She drank a sip of milk and let the cold run down her throat to cool her off as she tried to remember the beginning. She remembered how they met. Her goose bumps each held a piece of regret, she was covered in it. She was sitting at the table in a world where she felt trapped. Her hands were thin and her stomach was tiny. The pair of jeans she was wearing had a rip in them from a few nights before. He had her fooled in the beginning.

She hated thinking about that. She hated him for the tricks he played but wondered whether or not that part of him really existed. Not only had he ruined what she thought of him but he ruined a part of her as well. Her innocence secretly began to vanish as she followed his wicked lifestyle into a world she would have otherwise never ventured into. Sitting in her uncomfortable wooden chair she could feel her backbone sticking into the wood behind her, pushing her to the table, the table of mysterious chatter. She knew that she allowed all of this to happen to her. She wanted to blame it on everyone sitting at the table with her for not helping or realizing and for chatting about nothings, always nothings. There was something going on though, secretly something. She wanted to blame it on Phil most of all for who she had become. The regrets were too overwhelming. Deep inside she hated herself for this whole thing. She hated herself for what would happen after dinner up in her room when Phil would finally have the chance to be alone with her. She hated herself for the way he yelled at her and blamed everything on her. She hated herself because deep down she knew she had to escape but thought it was already too late.

"Let me help you with that." Phil politely said to Jamie's mother who had begun to clean up. Jamie rolled her eyes and left a discouraged look on her face. She wanted someone to ask her what was wrong, but her obvious frown was looked past. Everyone pitched in, cleaning up the somewhat messy kitchen. To Jamie's despair they finished pretty quickly. She decided to sit back down at the table and with her joined her father and Phil. why do they get along so well? she thought. She always kept the negative things about Phil a secret. She wasn't sure why, she just did. Even when she hated him most she wouldn't say a word.

Her father left the table. She wished the day would end. The room was hollow, nothing was there anymore, she was nothing. No one. Just nothing. She let down her tight ponytail; her hair was greasy and uncombed. She and Phil were alone now. Here it comes. "Do you have to tell me anything Jamie?" Phil asked. She said nothing. Then she chose to say, "I don't have a clue what you're talking about." "TELL ME JAMIE" she looked away from his scrunched up face she made sure she couldn't see it from the corner of her eye. Phil didn't believe her and would do anything to get more out of her. Grabbing her face, he jolted her jaw line towards his she stared through him. She was scared, but she knew. Jamie didn't know what else to say. Phil took her hand and said, "you can tell me what really happened, I won't get mad," as he squeezed her tiny hand with all his might. She could feel her knuckles collapsing into one another. Trembling, she answered, "I don't know what you're talking about, I'm being honest with you." That wasn't good enough for Phil. He wasn't satisfied. He had the constant thought the Jamie was lying to him.

He got up from his seat and said, "We're going out". She didn't want to get in that car. She was scared and knew how he acted when the two of them were alone. She didn't think that he would get this angry, no not this time. Usually he would take Jamie up into her room and tell her what a piece of shit she was and how he can't associate with little sluts like her. No, tonight was different. Her skinny legs could barely get her out of her seat. Her weakness had taken over. Eating became a chore; it was too much for her mouth, her stomach. Her stomach held too much in it already.

She yelled goodbye to her mother as she did what Phil told her; she knew the consequences would be worse if she didn't listen. She felt a tear slip away from her and it burned her cheek as it fell down to her mouth. Quickly she wiped it away. They walked out the door and over the crunchy snow covered lawn. She watched Phil's cloudy breadth disappear into the night's sky and listened to him grunt as he opened the car door. She thought to herself "maybe I can go back inside, he won't follow me. Maybe this can all just end right here right now. But it can't. I'm trapped. I see him every day. He will never let me leave him." She walked around the front of his grimy beat up car and slid herself into the passenger seat. She listened to Phil as he said, "Now really tell me what happened, and tell me the truth you bitch. I don't have all night." He started driving. Jamie looked down at her hands so gently folded together. Her eyes were flooded as she murmured, "nothing happened". He was pissed, he floored it. They stopped at a nearby parking lot and he looked at her with fists for eyes. She began crying. Nothing, she couldn't stop. There was nothing she could do. She knew she couldn't say anything to stop him. She listened to the wind whipping snow around outside of the car and looked at the window. She watched how it elegantly glided through the air with no worries. No sense of direction. The beauty took her for the moment.

She was no longer Jamie. Her mind had been stirred up and her body was trampled on. She couldn't figure herself out. She ran her fingers through her sticky snarly hair to the ends of it where she kept them. They sat in the mess as she did. They couldn't go any further the snarls were too thick. She missed the time where she could have got out safe she thought. She was sitting alone with Phil breathing down her neck as she realized she was drowning. His breath was rotten. All that she was had all disappeared. In that moment, she closed her eyes and sighed as her tears fell, she took in a breath and held it as his rugged hand crept up her body moving slowly. He followed the zipper of her jacket to her neck. She let go. He had nothing. He was nothing. He grabbed her neck. She listened to what had become nothing outside the window.

Creative Writing, Spring '08