I punched the wall. I threw things. I ripped posters off my wall. Gasping for breath, I collapsed on the floor crying. How could he do this to me?

It was not the first time.

It would not be the last.

So why, after all the shit I put up with, was I still here?

Lying in a puddle of tears and wasted anger I shook my head. Why was I here? What was I thinking? Why did I care? Each thought became louder; each thought chased angrily after the next.

A loud pounding shook me from my enraged musings.

"Jayne, what's going on in there."

"Nothing mother."

"Nothing my ass Jayne. Now you open this door."

I glared at the door, hoping my stare would pierce the wood and send my mother flying backwards down the stairs. When I didn't hear her thumping downward, crying in shock I stood with my fists balled at my sides. "Mom, I'm fine."

"Open the door."

It didn't matter how many times I told her I was ok. My mother was eighty times more stubborn than I was and wasting my energy on tearing apart my Clash posters had sapped my willpower to disobey her.

She had her hands on her hips and that distinctly disapproving look on her face.

"Steve again?"

"Fuck Steve."


"Fuck him."

I smiled at her sweetly. She picked up a torn edge of one of my posters and twiddled it in her fingers as she sat down on my bed. The comforter let out a soft woosh when she sat down. It was that gorgeous goose-down that made you feel like you were floating on a huge mountain of cotton balls when you sat in the very middle.

She wasn't leaving. She wanted to talk this out.

It wouldn't be the first time that my mother wanted to help me. It wouldn't be the first time that I just wanted to be alone. I tried huffing and kicking at the sneaker scuffed floor with the toes of my Doc Martens. She wasn't taking the hint. I was either going to have to spill it or tell her to get out and mind her own damn business.

It wasn't as if she hadn't heard this a thousand times before.

Steve hurt me. Real bad this time, mommy. He makes me feel like there's no one else and then all of a sudden there is. He treats me like a princess and then he won't return my calls for three weeks. He tells me we're finished and then two days later he was just joking. I don't understand, mommy, aren't I deserving of love?

No. I didn't want to re-hash old business.

"Mom, I need some time alone."

"You aren't going to tear up any more posters, are you?"

"No mom. I'm not."

She stood gingerly and kissed my forehead, hardly having to bend over. "Be nice to yourself Jaynie."

I sighed as she closed the door behind her. I pounded my head quietly against the cool wooden frame, paint chipped from years of temper tantrums. What was the use? I was going to go back to him. It was that battered woman's syndrome and I was an eighteen-year-old head case living with my mother and wrestling with the future.

I hoped the future didn't hold much more of this garbage. I couldn't afford to buy new posters, or even plaster to repair the bloodied holes I had punched in the walls. Maybe this time, said a tiny voice in the back of my head as I nursed my bruised knuckles. Maybe this time you will have the strength to leave him. I wanted to punch the tiny voice in the back of my head for being so much braver than I. I wanted to rip it out and have it explain to me exactly where the strength to leave him was supposed to come from.

I slid down the door frame until my body was a molten pile at the bottom. My mind floated above the dull aches of my own design. It soared towards a cliff and I saw myself standing there, at the very edge. The cliff was situated near a river and the river was cascading over the side, rivulets of water chasing one another over the edge and plummeting in a mass suicide towards the craggy rocks below.

My toes were at the edge of the cliff, in the middle of the river, and below was the future. I could see it clearly laid out before me. The future was Steveless. It was beautiful. The spray from the waterfall was misting my cheeks like tears and my heart felt like it could burst it was so full of the beauty surrounding me.

All I had to do was jump.

I had to let go.

I had to give in.

I had to say no.

All I needed was for Steve to be there, at this very moment. I needed him to be there on the edge of the cliff with me, looking down on the beautiful future. I wanted him to watch as I dove over the edge, kissing him and my former life goodbye.

I had to be willing to take that leap and I had to be willing to do it without him.

Perhaps, the tiny voice said, perhaps the strength has been there all along and you were too scared to look into yourself and find it. Perhaps, I answered the tiny voice, perhaps you're right.