In this first chapter, I wanted to show how trusting people who don’t value us can put us in compromising positions, and how hard it can be to break free from these unhealthy patterns.
An angry dark sky invades the bay and forces the rusty orange sunset to disappear into the horizon. Now that night has set in, I don't have much time. I grab anything I can to defend myself, a dull bread knife from the kitchen drawer, the heavy metal poker from the fireplace and a small wooden handled spade from the pantry. Setting everything down but the knife, I hurry through the cabin shutting lights off in every room. When I get to the kitchen, I start to `walk across the floor when I hear a creaking sound coming from the old wooden balcony. Instantly, a wave of terror creeps over me. They're here, I can feel them. I force a shallow breath into my lungs and slowly move toward the balcony. With each step, I try to silence the sound of my feet on the floor. Straining to see through the glass, but the darkness outside has turned the windows into mirrors and all I see is my reflection. My hand shakes as I grasp the wooden handle of the knife. The closer I get to the glass, the more I feel them watching, waiting.
* * *
After days of no sleep, I’m finally drifting off when a hard rap on the door jerks me back to consciousness. I lie motionless in hopes that the pest goes away. No such luck. A sequence of raps repeats followed by the sound of paper being slid under the door. No doubt it’s the landlord gifting me with a final eviction notice. A few seconds later, I hear footsteps walking away. I lie for a few minutes before succumbing to the growing worries in my head, where will I go? How will I feed myself? My job was a shitty one at best, working the night shift at a gas station, but it was a job and considering I have minimal education, I was grateful to have it. About a month ago, Johnny Savage, my brother, or the closest thing I have to one, decided to get hopped up on a cocktail of booze and drugs before stumbling into my work. I left him to watch the front while I quickly ran to the bathroom. Unbeknownst to me, he swiped cash from the till and filled his pockets with cigarettes and anything else 4 he could get his hands on. After viewing the surveillance tape, my boss said nothing, he just pointed at me and then to the front door. My anxiety gains momentum and I concede to the fact that I’ll be adding another evening to my sleep deprivation. Defeated, I get up and walk to the kitchen to make coffee. Just as I’m filling the machine with water, my cell rings. It’s Johnny. I know if I don’t answer, he’ll inundate me with calls and seeing as I’ve been applying for jobs all over Calgary, I can’t afford to turn the phone off. “I’m still pissed at you, Johnny.” “Freedom, I need to see you. It’s urgent.” His breathing is shallow and erratic. “Urgent? Like paying rent or buying food?” “I know, I know. I’m sorry about all that. But I have cash for you. You just have to come and meet me. I’m in big shit, sis and I need you.” Oh great, another rescue mission where I have to drop everything and run to him. Nine times out of ten, by the time I get there, he’s either passed out or he’s forgotten why he called me in the first place. This emergency, I fear, will result with the same outcome and right now, I’m not in the mood. “Johnny, I love you, but I can’t do this anymore. Just go to bed and sleep it off. As for the cash you said you’d give me for rent, I’m tired of waiting.” “Freedom, please. I’m dead serious. I swear I’m on the up and up. Please come,” he pleads with desperation.
Here, Freedom has come to a fork in the road. She can succumb to Johnny’s plea’s and keep the vortex of co-dependency going, or she can make a stand and break free from his emotional blackmail.