As she walked down St. Louis Park, Annie looked at the divorce papers in her hands; she let out a breath of emotional and physical exhaustion, hoping Alex would agree to sign the papers without a fight. As she turned her gaze the other way, her first sight greeted her with a pair of teenage lovers cuddling to stay warm. She shook her head in pitiful motion, all too aware that she’s had her own share of that mischief.
“How did I arrive here,” she asked herself, as she recalled her time as a teenage girl. She lived the teenage dream well enough! Her parents were quite comfortable and overly loving to her. So, she could have whatever she wanted, as long as she made good grades. Being an only child, nothing mattered more to her then than being smart, making good grades, having fun and enjoying friends who were ready to hang out with her.
She decided to sit in the park for a while to relish some of those fun moments; unfortunately, her mind could only display pictures of her wrong decisions and actions, the very ones that had led up to this moment of regret and great discontent. She knew she would have had a better life, if only she had acted on time.
It all started when she met Alex in the university. She fell in love with him instantly without really giving much thought to it. He seemed like the perfect guy at the time: funny, loving, caring and very supportive, especially when she lost her parents. And, of course, the sex thing was great!
Not for long though, Alex changed! He’d rather they sit out and have a drink than allow her attend her lectures. Then, he would always drag her to parties, preventing her from adequately preparing for her exams.
Suddenly, her life was neither about being smart nor making good grades, but about pleasing the man she loved. Not only that, her man had become a big bully; always almost hitting her each time an argument ensued between them. But she loved him, or so she thought. She couldn’t even refuse him an outing for fear of having his fury released on her.
From one party or outing to another, she no longer had the time to come back to her books or assignments and procrastination became her incessant habit. Her friends kept begging her to breakup with Alex and focus on her studies. She knew it was the right thing to do, but lacked the courage to do it. Moreover, she was afraid of loosing him and felt that no one else will pay her bills and take care of her the way he did.
She eventually failed her final exams! Alex passed because he could easily afford to pay his way through. He convinced her she didn’t need the certificate and promised he was going to take care of her, if only she agrees to marry him.
Annie had always been apprehensive of the kind of a husband Alex would be to her. She knew it was the right moment to say no and break up with him, but she couldn’t do it, the same way she couldn’t stop him from making her lavish the last of what her father had left for her, the same way she couldn’t stand her grounds when Alex stopped her from taking up a job that would have allowed her work and school conveniently. She said yes to him because she didn’t have the guts to say no.
She married him, hoping things will get better with them being man and wife. A few years passed and she couldn’t return to school. Alex wouldn’t hear of it, not to talk of discussing or allowing it. Her life had been a daily routine of regrets, because a day wouldn’t go by without Alex hitting her or beating her up at the slightest provocation. She’d had a number of miscarriages due to his brutality and her pride had been wounded severely.
It was these series of life threatening events that finally led to the moment of truth at the park, where she sat looking at the divorce papers in her hands. Her major regret was that despite the fact that she saw the handwriting boldly written on the wall, she’d failed to act on time because she lacked the courage.
At the moment, she’s still not sure if life would give her a second chance. But she’s ready to, at least, try again.