My mom always told me I could talk to you. She said to me, "Evie, if anythin' ever get real bad, you talk to God. He always listen." By then she could only speak like that. I don't know why; it wasn't a symptom of the various illnesses she had. But she always did, reverting back to her southern slang even though it had been decades since she had been back home.

I'm sorry I've never talked to you before. I've always been too scared that you wouldn't listen. Or maybe I was too scared you wouldn't be able to understand the read-between-the-lines. And after Mom died, I didn't want to talk to you. I think you understand, God. You understand, right? She told me you understand everything.

No one I've told understands. I don't think they try. They all tell me to run away, to get far away, but, God, I love him. He doesn't hurt me too bad. He hits me every so often, but when he's not mad he's amazing. He hugs me and kisses me and, God, I never want to be away from him. Ever.

He has these Jekyll-Hide moments, see. Everything about him changes when he's angry. Sassie is usually so friendly to him when he's happy, but when he's mad she cowers in the corner. Once, she barked. But she'll never do it again.

Once he bruised my jaw and I ended up at the hospital. They wouldn't let James in to see me. No one came to see me; he was the only one that tried. They sent me to so many different types of professionals. They all had the same type of questions.

The doctor looks down at me over the rim of his glasses, "Tell me about your father, Evie."

What does he want to say? That Daddy abused me and called me a whore? That I spent nights with him panting on top of me? I refuse to slander my father like that. Why would my situation so much more fathomable if I was abused?

I squirm in the seat like an impatient child. "We get along well."

He tells me I need to be honest because otherwise I won't get any help. So I tell him exactly where he can go to.

God, they ask me how I can stay with James after all this. They figure he tells me that I'm a "gud-fur-nothin slut" and I "can't live without him." But he's hardly ever snaps at me; he doesn't yell. The meanest thing he's ever said was, "Shut the fuck up, I'm sleeping," and I don't think he was completely lucid then.

It's so confusing, God. Because it's not James that calls me a hoe. He doesn't threaten my life or verbally abuse me. They do that. All of them.

They call me stupid for staying with him. They call me a slut, a tramp, a hoe. They tell me I'm good for nothing. They tell me I'm unhealthy. They say it over and over again until I scream at them. I raise my voice and shout that the bruises from James heal so much faster then the scars they leave in the places eyes can't see.

And it's James that comes after they leave. It's him that picks me up and cradles me and tells me that I, Evie Loper, am worthwhile. He kisses me and makes it better. He helps me through whatever hell I'm going through, and no one else can say that. And a few bruises are such a trivial price to pay for someone who is willing to go through hell with you.

God, I was just wondering if you could maybe…be the one who understands this?