Author: Margaret McHeyzer
Release Date: October 26, 2015
If I were dead, I wouldn't be able to see.
If I were dead, I wouldn't be able to feel.
If I were dead, he'd never raise his hand to me again.
If I were dead, his words wouldn't cut as deep as they do.
If I were dead, I'd be beautiful and I wouldn't be so...ugly.
I'm not dead...but I wish I was.
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It’s days like today I wish I was dead.
“Lily Anderson, you get your ugly ass out here right this minute. Don’t make me come after you,” Daddy screams.
He’s so angry. I knew the moment I heard him come home from work I was in for it. I was in my bedroom, lying on the floor trying to do my math. He slammed the front door so hard the windows in my room shook.
And then I knew, I knew I was in for it.
“Lily Anderson!” he yells again.
As soon as I heard him yell I ran to my hiding spot. I’m inside the closet in the hallway, wedged as far into the corner as I can get. Mom’s old coat hangs in front of me and I can still smell a faint waft of the perfume she used to wear.
“Lily Anderson!” he shouts. I can hear the anger in his voice and I can already feel the pain he’s going to inflict on me when he opens the closet door. I know what’s coming.
I close my eyes tight, scrunching them up so no light can seep through. I put my hands over my ears so I can’t hear him.
“I swear to God; if I have to find you, you will not sit for a month.”
My knees are folded into my chest. I’m trying to make myself small, invisible, so he forgets I’m here. I’m rocking myself, trying to block out what he’s saying.
School is safe. School is safe. School is safe. I keep repeating the mantra because in a few short hours I’ll be back at school. Maybe tomorrow I can go to the library after school, stay there until it closes and then sneak in after Dad’s passed out, because he’s had too much to drink.
It was never like this before. Ever.
I’m twelve years old and I can remember when Mom, Dad, and I were all happy. But that was years ago. It’s been a long time since there’s been any happiness in this house.
Well, before Mom died anyway, and not a day since.
Mom died when I was nine. I don’t remember much about her, except I remember her telling me how ugly I am. How life would be better if I was taken away from them. How I’ll never be anything, because I’m stupid and ugly.
Sometimes I dream happy things. Like me, Mom, Dad and a little blond-haired boy all going for a picnic. The sun beamed down on us as we played outside and laughed. We’d eat yummy sandwiches Mom made for us, and we’d drink homemade lemonade. We’d spend hours outside, laughing and talking and just having fun. Mom would tell me how pretty I am, and how much she loved me. She would play with my hair, braid it, and then we’d go and pick bright flowers to take home and put in a vase. Dad would smile and call us “his girls”, always kissing Mom and hugging me. Dad would put the little boy on his shoulders and run around the park, trying to catch the clouds.
I love those dreams, and I hold onto them; wishing they were real. But I’ve never had a mom like that, and my dad doesn’t talk much unless it’s with his fists, or to tell me how ugly and useless I am.
I feel him walking around the house. The floorboards creak and the vibrations from his footsteps come through the floor to where my bottom is. I close my eyes tighter and try and breathe as quietly as I can.
Please go away, Daddy. Please go away.
My heart is beating so fast. My hands are shaking and I’m trying really hard not to think about what’s going to happen the minute he opens the closet door.
Shhh, it’s so quiet. The only sound is my heart thrumming in my ears. Nothing else. Not a whisper, not a rattle…nothing.
Maybe Daddy’s left. Maybe he’s gone to the pub to have a few drinks. Maybe, just maybe, he’s left...forever.
I take a deep breath and just relax for a moment. My shoulders drop and I finally stop rocking.
Slowly I take my hands down from my ears, and I’m so happy because I can’t hear him yelling at me. I can’t hear him at all.
Gradually, I begin to unscrunch my eyes from the way I’ve tightly closed them. But something’s not right. There’s light coming into the closet.
I don’t even get a chance to open them fully before a rough hand reaches in, latches onto my ponytail and yanks.
“I told you it’d be worse for you if I had to find you,” Dad says, as he drags me out of the closet by my hair.
I’m desperately trying to hold onto my head so he doesn’t rip my hair out. My feet are trying to find traction on the dirty floorboards.
“Please, Daddy. Please. You’re hurting me,” I begin sobbing as I plead with him.
“Then your ugly ass should’ve come when I called you, you stupid bitch. You’re fucking worthless, you ugly idiot,” he says. But now his voice is calm as he continues to drag me toward the family room.
That’s when he’s most scary. When his voice is low and his eyes are filled with hate.
He throws me against the side of the sofa and takes a step back to look at me.
I look up and can see he’s the angriest I’ve ever seen him. “You dumb, ugly piece of shit,” he says, as he paces back and forth in front of me.
“Sorry, Daddy. Whatever I did, I’m so sorry.” I cower into myself, trying to make myself as small as possible.
“You’re just too fucking stupid, aren’t you?” he spits toward me as he brings his hand up to scratch at his chin.
“I’m sorry,” I say again. Tears are falling hot and fast down my cheeks. My head hurts from where he was pulling my hair, but I don’t dare try to rub the spot.
“You ugly fuck.” He kicks a boot into my leg.
The pain is instant and my leg feels like it’s shattered. “Please, Daddy,” I beg again, burying my face into my hands.
But ‘please’ never seems to work.
I’ve just got to take the beatings, because that’s what stupid, ugly girls do.
Lily doesn't know what it is to live in a home where you have a loving caring family. Her mom passed away years ago and she is being raised by her father, if that's what you want to call it. He's horrible! He's atrocious! He's an absolutely deplorable human being. He not only hurts her physically but emotionally as well. Lily has no one to turn to, she does everything to be invisible to her teachers and peers at school and it's been working, until one day a boy smiles at her. Soon that boy is not only smiling but trying to speak to her as well. At first she wants nothing to do with it at the risk of being caught by her dad, but she eventually relents. It's nice having someone to converse with who actually shows an interest in her. When she needs Trent he comes to the rescue. He takes her away from her miserable father and to his home with his family. Finally things are looking up for this poor girl who has only been tortured for years, or so she thinks. Soon she realizes that things are not as they seem. She may have just walked from a bad dream into a straight up nightmare, but when you've lived your life being told that you're worthless, you don't know what else to believe. Luckily she makes some amazing friends along the way who no matter what or who get in the way won't let her completely drown.
From the very first sentence I knew I was in for an intense read. I tried to steel myself for this story but nothing could have prepared my for the emotional roller coaster this story was going to take me on. Lily has spent years hearing how she's no good and believes it. I cried for her from the very first chapter. They say it's always easier to believe the bad things about yourself than the good, and I definitely say that's the case with Lily. She is so smart and sweet but absolutely doesn't see. She comes from a broken home so I guess to some extend she was more susceptible to a bad relationship because that was all she has ever experienced. It started so gradually that at first she didn't see it until she was elbows deep. Her relationship with Trent left me so angry. I just didn't understand her tolerance of this games and slowly but surely I was losing hope that she would ever have a chance to change things around. I'm so glad she made some friends along the way. Shayne, Liam, and Max were a godsend! Sometimes all that is needed is a friend who is willing to be by your side in your time of need. They were the family she always needed and never had. When Lily was finally able to start living her life, Max was there to show her some of the simple things. He showed her that love can be given without expectations or conditions.
The story was very well written. I always love a story that take place over the span of several years like this one did. I love getting to see the characters grow past their struggles. I love seeing where they come out in the end, always for the better I hope.
This story was full of pain, torment, and suffering! That being said it was also full of hope, determination, and healing. There is such a powerful message here. Abuse is not acceptable in any form. There are so many heroes in this story but the biggest hero of all was Lily.
'I may fall, I may stumble, I may even ask for help. But I am not weak. I am the strongest I've ever been.'
I was provided this book in exchange for an honest review.
**Bound by custom or unique by choice.**
There's something about the written word that's pure magic.
Possibly it's the fact that there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, and they can create something so beautiful or so empowering that they're able to change our lives.
How important is it that we break suit and stretch our minds?
I like to think of myself as 'unique'. My stories aren't for everyone, and sometimes I may push what you believe to be 'normal'.
Normal is subjective.
I prefer to be known as a person who's never been 'bound by custom' but is 'unique by choice'.
Until next time