Things that break on earth don’t reach the clouds above us. Burning villages don’t change the schedule of sunsets. And stars remain stars, no matter how much land we destroy.
But when the sky loses all of its lights and unleashes a thunderstorm, everything drowns.
Erin was a vibrant, happy, and joyful woman. To her many boyfriends, all of whom mistreated her verbally and physically, she was patient. To Sufi, she was a great human being and an even better friend.
To herself, Erin was unfair.
She grew up believing she only deserved the kind of love that did nothing but hurt her. And Sufi watched her pick partner after partner that mentally burned her out and repeatedly destroyed her heart.
Still, Erin’s aspirations, inspiration, imagination, wonder, dreams, pursuits, creative brilliance, her magic, remained bright as stars on a cloudless evening, always. Until they didn’t.
Abuse is not at all clear cut. But Sufi remembered with perfect clarity when her best friend lost the sparkle in her eyes.
First, the silence. Even though marrying the love of your life should be a nervous, excited, rambunctious affair.
Then, the realization of her colleagues that Erin was living with a man who was comfortable with sending his wife to work with bruises and a black eye.
And the dark understanding of the weight of Erin having a son, and nowhere to go that felt safe enough to risk her husband following them and breaking them worse than he would if they stayed put.
Sufi suffered watching her, but all everyone that genuinely loved Erin could do was love her until she began loving herself enough to see that she too was deserving of better treatment.
It took years, and all their support, and the kind of bravery you only learn while trying to fight through a thunderstorm, but Erin gained the self-respect she needed to leave the one that was drowning her light.
Coming home should be the safest thing we ever do in this life. Where we lay our heads at night should be where monsters will not reach us. And yet, so many find themselves making homes with monsters instead.
You can read more of true and inspiring stories of abuse and violence from my book “After Rain Skies”, available via KOBO.COM