“You stupid woman! What do you think you are going to do without me?” my father’s voice vibrated through the freshly painted walls. The pristine house, which was meant to mark a new beginning, became his newly renovated dungeon. Huddling into the corner, I heard his words, as intensely as the force of his fist striking harshly against anything he could wreck. I should try to stop the fight. I should defend my mother and prevent any harm. However, fear encumbered me to the floor like glue and I banefully watched his fury increase. His hands rose and I shut my eyes tightly. Soon, I opened them to the reverberation of our glass cups that splashed in front of me. In absolute dismay, I ran through the backdoor to find the nearest public phone. I picked up the phone. The trembling of my fingers successfully dialed the police. “Hello, what is your emergency?” Here was the call I urgently needed to make, and I held the phone in silence. I became mute to protect the oppression I was immersed in.

I cleared my throat and swallowed my craven manner. Feeling uneasy due to the operator’s interrogation that impeded help for my younger sisters and mother I had left behind, I pleaded to her. “Please hurry! He’s very violent and my little sisters are in danger,” I cried. “You said he has no weapons, is that correct?” the operator responded. Were his hands and words not considered a weapon? The operator underestimated the power of the world’s very first instruments of destruction. Wrathfully slamming the receiver to its designated holder, I ran to look for help myself. Pacing through the uneven stoned sidewalks, I searched for assistance. None could be found. Walking to the next corner, in relief, I spotted the police car turning a corner at the traffic light. I ran as fast as I could to catch up to it. Yet it soon became clear that they were driving to my home. Parked with two other identical automobiles, officers and neighbors crowded my corner to listen to my father’s bombastic threats. My head hung low as I walked to my house in shame. Everyone was familiar with my father’s ways, but we chose to disregard his actions as a form of abuse. But I knew that I would not be able to peacefully sleep tonight unless this cycle was ended.

The clock struck three in the morning, and I watched my father fight in handcuffs as the uniformed men escorted him into the blue-stripped vehicle. The officer asked me once again, “Are you sure you want to do this? He’s your only father, you know.” I knew that I was risking the chance of never seeing him again. Thoughts of regret fluttered my mind as the ink of my pen weakened on the white and pink documentation. I waited for a new pen and wondered if I may have acted in an ill-judged manner. The sound of my father’s head banging against the car window he was confined in disturbed my contemplation. “Watch when I get out of here!” he threatened. I signed the order of protection. It did not mark an end to the hardships of my life, but it was a representation of the power of my voice. The shell of diffidence within me had finally broken.

I sat on the cold, brick steps of my house and watched the police vehicle drive off into the mist of daybreak. My arm held my head up as my mind fluttered with worries. I was no longer aware of my surroundings. Soon, short arms embraced me and rocked me back and forth until I gave her my attention. I turned around and looked straight into the large, yet innocuous eyes of my little sister who smiled without any understanding of what had happened. “Let’s Play, Shery!” Her vibrant smile became contagious and reminded me of the future that still awaited me.

Shery Arce
Age 17, Grade 12
Baccalaureate School for Global Education
Silver Key

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