THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO BE – Short Story

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Unhappy by TooLate_’s found on PhotoBucket
“She doesn’t want to leave, she just wonders if there’s life out there…” Amber sang along with Reba McIntire song on the radio as the words called out like the story of her life.
What did she want? She had been married for so long, there had been no time to remember anything outside of her step-kids, little baby and husband that was constantly unemployed and in legal trouble.
“I’m done taking care of you,” she said to him through the glass for the last time. “I met you in prison, I married you in prison and I’m saying goodbye to you in prison.”
“So you’re just going to abandon me?” He was leaning into the glass, trying to keep his voice down. “You’re just going to abandon your family?”
“Abandon my ass, Marco. I was just a kid going after the bad boy when I met you and I’ve been paying for it ever since,” she hissed. “Since then it’s been a full-time job to learn the laws in order to defend you, get you out of trouble and not only get some partial custody of your kids but also deal with a strung-out baby-mama. I’ve financially supported the whole family with extremely little help from you, dealt with your constant crap of bringing in drugs and low-life people into the house I’ve paid for, been heart-breakingly lonely as you ignore me unless you want something, sat alone with the kids as you disappear for entire nights at a time and then accusing me of not holding up my responsibilities. What’s the point of me working so hard to put myself through college when I was pregnant and work my ass off to get promoted so many times into a great job if you’re the so-called partner to share it with? You’ve never been supportive, never been a man and definitely never been a husband. At least, not a good one.”
“All couples go through hard times, Amber. Are you really going to bail on me when I need you the most?”
“I’m not bailing on you. Just like always, I put up the money and did the research to get you out of this shit again.”
“Fine. Be the fucking bitch you always are. Just fucking leave then. Go whore around with all of your slutty friends, get drunk and be a bad mom. You’ve always been an ice-cold selfish cunt.”
“Wow. You certainly make this easy,” she said, standing up with a smile.
“I’m sorry,” he said in a desperate effort to backpedal. “I’m just upset. You’re a great mom and you do everything for us. I love you, Amber. Please don’t leave me.”
“I’m done getting you out of prison. It’s time for me to finally get myself out, too.”
“You fucking whore…”
The last word trailed off as she put the phone down into the receiver from her end. She walked away for the last time as he banged on the protective barrier glass and was restrained by the guards.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It had been six months since she walked away from him. She thought it would be difficult to get the divorce, but he only knew how to fight dirty, which meant that he was helpless when it came to defending himself court. If he wanted something, he had always relied on manipulating through her compassion. He hadn’t had the first clue when it came to the law.
There were times she had been scared of him. There had even been times her friends were afraid. In the end he hadn’t done anything, but no one was foolish enough to think they were safe. Without her, he had turned into a pathetic shell of person, begging for any crumb of her love and then constantly burning the bridge right back down when she gave him an inch. Desperate people do desperate things, and no one was foolish enough to think he still couldn’t snap at any given moment.
Amber knew this was her new reality, but she wasn’t going to let it stop her from starting a new life. For the first time, everything was settling down. For the first time, she wasn’t letting him crash at her house or be involved in her life. It had been a whirlwind and consumed her until this point.
At first, she went out for months on end to not only numb the pain but also to celebrate her independence. Now that it all was calming down, she didn’t know what to do with herself. She was so used to fighting like hell to make her family survive, she was lost when it came to thinking about herself. She had a great job, but it was a lack-luster position in an industry that left her feeling nothing.
She was smart and had not only struggled to get herself through school while pregnant and working full time, but had also done it while taking care of her family and all of her husband’s problems. Those moments of doing such an impressive job of gathering the research that had continuously saved her now ex-husband had been one of the only outlets she had over the last few years to be happy with herself.
Now she had to think about how to be happy for herself, and the idea left her in a panic. Day after day, she was forced to look at herself a little more. She never had a chance to think about what was in her life before and now that’s all there was…time to think. What did she believe in? What did she want? What was she going to do with her life?
Those questions wouldn’t stop tormenting her. They whispered to her through the night and haunted her whenever she could hear her own thoughts. The more she tried to get lost in her career, the more unsatisfied she became with it. She had worked too hard to be working as someone else’s assistant in an industry she didn’t believe in. But what could she do? She hadn’t given much thought to her dreams she had been a little girl that wanted to own a dance studio. She didn’t want that anymore, but there had to be something.
“Amber – I need your help,” Marco said, interrupting the circle of thoughts with his phone call. “She’s accusing me of hitting Maria when I wasn’t even here!”
“Go get a notarized witness statement from everyone you were with and the people you talked to at the car show you were at during that time. The reputable ones, Marco. Gather any paperwork, tickets, receipts, pictures, anything you can think of from that weekend that helps to prove you weren’t anywhere near her or your daughter. Write out a detailed letter that’s as short as possible and label everything along with it to make it easy it court. Also remember to include a note that she refused to drug test the day before that.”
It was the most simple part of what she was used to doing for him. Constant research, learning laws and legal procedures. It wasn’t until that moment that she realized part of the reason she did she do so much for him was because she liked it. She was damn good at it, too.
She opened the internet and Googled “becoming a Paralegal”. A week later she was walking into offices of family law in a new suit and offering free help after business hours as an intern for three months in exchange for a position if she could prove herself. Less than a month and a half later, she was offered a permanent position that increased her previous salary by ten thousand a year and had begun studies to become a Certified Legal Assistant.
She was fighting for people again, but this time she fought for them to get away from all of the toxic garbage that had victimized her for so long. She felt powerful, like she was making a difference, successful and happy. She liked herself and what she did. It was the first time she had ever felt that way. Her life, career and dreams had finally become the same thing. Yes. She was finally a real person that had figured out what made her happy. Finally, she was really living.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

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