Off in the distance, I heard a door open. Oscar had finally gotten home. He worked in a warehouse, so his job was to just move boxes around, usually off of shelves and into trucks. Sometimes he moves them from one shelf to another, when he wants to spice things up.
“Hey, Persy. Do you know if we have a socket wrench?” Oscar asked.
“No idea. I haven’t used our tools in a few months, at least. You checked the garage and the shed thoroughly, right?” I replied.
“Yeah, about as thoroughly as I could manage without lying down and crying. I’ll go check the attic next, maybe it’s up there. Damn it, man.” With that, Oscar walked away from me.
I returned to simply reading. I had to write a report for a local paper, and I needed it down fast. They hadn’t given me a very good time frame, but they thought that I’d be perfect for it. My study was on how to properly handle domestic abuse and abusive relationships of various sorts. I’ve only ever had one such relationship, so I really wasn’t a font of knowledge in that field. But alas.
A few minutes later, Oscar came back downstairs. “Hey Persy, did you know that we had a to scale model of medieval armor? It’s tiny as all hell, but it’s all the dimensions are perfect. I think.”
“I’m pretty sure that armor is yours. I’ve never cared about the dark ages past childhood.”
Oscar squinted at me. “Fair point. I’m putting it in my room.” Oscar walked away once more.
I kept at my project. An abusive relationship can often be seen by the victim attempting to isolate themselves from others, or they’ll have signs of physical abuse. They may attempt to avoid eye contact. At times when they are confronted about their abuser, they will get defensive and angry about it, or they will try to avoid the topic altogether. There are many ways to tell if someone is in an abusive relationship, but most of them are incredibly subtle and can easily be missed by-
“Persy, you know that old news article you were trying to find, from when you were in the high school marching band? I found it!” Oscar proudly held up a newspaper, and waved it around.
“Good for you, Oscar. But I’m busy. I really need you to leave me be for a while so I can keep reading. This project has to be written by Thursday of next week, and I don’t even have a first draft,” I calmly spoke. Oscar placed the newspaper on the kitchen table across from me.
“Right. Sorry about that. I’ll let you be now, and I won’t bother you unless it’s important.” Oscar left me alone again. I hoped he’d keep up on his word.
A little while longer went by, before I decided to stop reading and cook dinner. As much as I wanted to keep reading and get things done, I wanted even more to just take a damned break. I had been sitting around and reading all day, and dinner time was time to stop. Finally.
I had taken out some chicken and some frozen vegetables, and I put them into pans to fry them both. I also set the table while I was at it. This went on for only a few minutes before Oscar came back down. He had let me be for at least an hour.
“Hey, Persy, what’s up with this photo?” Oscar asked me, holding out a photo for me.
I took it from him, and examined it. It was a photo of my dad holding a shotgun. He stared at the camera intensely. I didn’t remember the man for his smile.
“Where did you get this? What were you doing going through my shit?” I stuffed the photo in my pocket.
“You didn’t get mad about the newspaper. Look, it doesn’t matter. Seriously, this photo is kind of weird. Why do you have it?” Oscar took a seat at our kitchen table.
“It doesn’t matter. Just don’t go through my shit again, you get it? Things are put away for good reason,” I turned back to the stove and the dinner I was cooking.
“Sure dude. Usually that’s because you don’t have space for it but don’t want to throw it away. Like, for memories or something. You don’t seem to like that photo. Why didn’t you throw it away?” Oscar absently scraped a fork against a plate.
“I- it- why does it matter to you so much?” I flipped a chicken breast over in the pan.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to pry so much. I was just confused as to why you’d even keep something you hate around.”
“Whatever, man. Didn’t you need some tools to fix a thing?” I gave him a glance.
“I did, but I couldn’t find what I needed. I’ll have to just buy it tomorrow.” Oscar tapped a beat out on the table. “I found some other things up there, too. That wasn’t the only photo in the box, it was just the first really weird one I found.”
“I’ll go mark which boxes are mine, and then you can leave them alone. Some things don’t need to be remembered.” I threw some seasonings into the pan.
“Hey man, I’ll throw the stuff away for you if your conscious can’t handle the stress. You know, as a favor from one friend to another.” Oscar changed the beat he was tapping to one that was simpler and easier to follow. 1, 2, ah-3 and 4. 1, 2, ah-3 and 4.
“Don’t throw it away. It’s my stuff. I wouldn’t throw away your stuff.” I stirred the pan with fried vegetables around.
“Well, unless I asked you to. At least, I would hope you would. As a friend.” Oscar leaned back in his seat, tossing and catching his fork.
“Okay, fine, except in that case. Why are you pushing this so hard? Can’t we just change the topic?” I turned down the stove.
“Yeah, we can. That was just where the conversation was. Sorry to bother you so much.” Oscar may seem like a dick, but he did have good intentions.
“Look, I know that you’re trying to be nice in the best way you know how, but fuck off about it. It doesn’t matter, let’s just forget about it.” I sighed, and brought the pans to the table.
“I’m sorry, man, but this isn’t something you should brush past. I will, because I care about you, but this is just getting to me, man.” Oscar motioned for me to serve myself first. I did.
“It’s fine. How was work today for you, Oscar?” I sat down with my plate, and began to eat.
“Eh, same old bland stuff. I just moved boxes and listened to some podcasts and music and stuff. You?”
“I had today off, so I just cleaned and worked on my report. Cleaning’s gotta get done sometime.”
Oscar coughed and leaned forward. “Shit, right, I forgot it was my turn. Damn it, man. Well, thanks for that. I’ll have to cover you some other time.” He mumbled a few more expletives under his breath before stuffing a bite of food into his face.
“It’s fine, Oscar,” I smiled a shit-eating grin, “I’ll just go through your shit while you’re sleeping.” I started guffawing.
“Fuck, hell. Whatever, man, that’s fair. You win.” Oscar laughed, and we continued with our meal.
The next day, I got up and found an old journal out on the kitchen table. Oscar was asleep in the chair in front of it. I went to the table, quietly. There was a page that he had dog-eared. I picked up the journal and opened it.
I took a secret photo of dad today. He was smiling for just a moment before I took the photo, and I was hoping to capture it. He noticed, though, just before the flash. All I got from him was an intense glare. And I got in big trouble. My back really hurts now, and I can’t go to sleep very well. I guess that means I shouldn’t try taking any more photos of him. I don’t get it, though. It’s like he wants me to forget him. Or maybe he wants me to remember him from pain. I don’t know, I guess it’s just who he is. I shouldn’t take anymore photos of him.
I stopped reading and closed the book. Oscar. He had gone through more of my stuff while I was asleep. I’m going to have his head when he gets home today.
I took the journal and put it back in the attic. This time I took my box with all of those old photos and journals and I placed them underneath other boxes, more recent ones that had been packed. Oscar wouldn’t go through boxes that had been put away by himself only a couple of weeks prior.
Either way, Oscar wouldn’t be home for a few hours, so I had time to keep reading and getting things done. I needed information for this report, and I think I was finally getting to a decent point to begin writing. I just wanted to read one more chapter of my book before going forward. Thus, I went to my office to do just that.
There are many warning signs for whether or not someone is abusive or not. One of the most telling signs I’ve found tends to be if someone was abused in their childhood. Children tend to pick up the behaviors of their parents/parent, and thus might go into adulthood believing that the behavior is proper, even if it really isn’t.
Now, while that might be one of the most common causes in my studies, it does not make it the only sign. Some other signs are: Cruelty to children/animals, jealousy, isolates others, blames others for their problems/feelings, and sudden mood swings. Commonly, these are some of the swiftest signs that a person is abusive.
The rest of this chapter will detail warning signs in greater detail, and a greater amount of them from here. However, you must remember that every circumstance is different and not every abusive individual will show these warning signs. However, they very likely will, and so you must watch out for them.
I continued reading that chapter until the very end. After about an hour and thirty sticky notes later, I was ready to begin a draft. Just the rough draft, though. It would still need refining after the fact. I wasn’t looking forward to that.
Either way, I took to it. It needed to get done, and I didn’t have all the time in the world to get this done.
I wrote for a few more hours, before Oscar finally returned. I heard the front door open off in the distance. I finished my sentence, then went out to greet Oscar. “Good to see you’re back, Oscar. I couldn’t help but notice that you still went through my stuff last night. You left an old journal on the kitchen table.”
Oscar swore. “Yeah, I did leave it there. I was reading it this morning, actually. I should’ve just taken it with me. Fuck.” He stepped inside, and put his stuff down in his room. He came back out. “Look, I’m really sorry, but you had me super worried. I couldn’t just let you keep hidden away like this. I’m not here to let you keep sitting on terrible memories like that. I’m here for you, and I just want to help.” Oscar’s arms were at his sides, palms facing towards me.
“Oscar. I did NOT ask for your help. I don’t need you help and I don’t need you to keep acting like you’re my keeper! Fuck off about this already! Jesus christ, it’s almost like you don’t fucking listen! If you think I’m emotionally compromised, it’s because YOU keep running around and fucking with me!” I shouted at Oscar. He took a step back from me.
“Alright, I’ll stop. Look, you have the notebook. I can’t do anything else. I read the journal, and that’s all I know. You probably saw the page I bookmarked. I didn’t read anything past that.” Oscar’s eyes darted away for a second, before returning to me. “You just keep working on your project. I’m going to order some food in about an hour, and we can eat. No harm, no foul, right?”
I shook my head. “Get out of here, Oscar. I find you in my shit one more time, you’ll be homeless. You understand?” I turned my back towards Oscar, and walked away. He didn’t say anything else as he walked away.
I went into my office. I could try to keep writing, but I was too furious to do so. Instead, I picked the book back up and continued to read.
My advice to you, if you find yourself to be a victim in an abusive relationship, is to get help and get out. Talk to someone who you know can help you. If you don’t know of anyone who can do so, then contact the police. They are guaranteed to help you out and they will ensure that you can get back to a safe and healthy place, to their best ability.
If you have found yourself to be an abuser in an abusive relationship, then you should also get help. There is a solid chance that the person you are abusing still loves you, and you still love them. I doubt you want to cut the relationship off, but that might be the best option for both of you. I highly recommend you see a counselor to help you through these issues, and I would hope that your future holds more joy than it does now.
I continued the read the closing statements of the book. It was mostly just advice for how to get out and get help, along with some closing statements that made it known that nobody enjoys an abusive relationship.
Only moments later, I heard a scream. From below me. I leapt out of my seat, and rushed to the backyard. There was a hole dug in the ground. Fucking damn it.
Furious, I raced back into the house. I ran into my own bedroom, and tore my da- my shotgun out of its case. I placed one shot into each of its barrels. I took a few extra shells and pocketed them.
I then walked back outside and clambered into the hole. Inside, I saw a flashlight shining over a skeleton. Oscar held the light tightly in his hands. I couldn’t see his face, but he was staring at that skeleton for longer than I would have given him credit.
“I see you’ve found him, Oscar. It seems you skipped to the end of the notebook. I’m going to regret this,” I said.
Oscar spun around to face me. “PERSY!” He saw my shotgun. “Persy, you don’t have to do this. Please, Persy. Just think this through.”
I cocked the shotgun.
“Is that your dad, Persy? Did you shoot him and bury him in this crawlspace?” Oscar eyed my gun, but shook his head and looked up at me. He kept eye contact.
“Yes. It is. I didn’t think it had to be said.”
“Look, Persy, he was one of the worst people in your life. I get it. I know why you did it. I-” He faltered, “I still want to help you. Please, just put the gun away, and let’s get some food.” Oscar held one his hands out to me. He still kept his gaze in mine.
I said nothing.
“Look, I’ve learned my lesson. My curiosity is sated. We don’t have to talk about this again. Please, Persy.”
I raised the gun, and pointed it at him.
“Oh. This is happening, isn’t it. Oh god.”
Oscar fell to his knees and covered his face.
“Get up. Let’s go.”
Oscar pulled his hands off of his faces. His eyes were red and moist.
“You’re buying dinner. Come on, let’s go.”