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Dave: I’m proud of you, Cari! The way you faced your fear of pain…Tell me something…so many people are saying that physical pains are nothing compared to the sadness and anxiety of their hearts.

Me: In my case, i’d rather endure any pain in my heart than to ever face again the physical pain…

Dave: Please, explain this to me. Is the heartbreak easier to bare than a visit to your dentist?

Me: I know i may seem shallow, but every time when i was heartbroken…someone was there, ready to pick up the pieces. To give me his strength. Today…i faced pain by myself…And when i looked for strength…it was buried so deep inside me…i had a hard time finding it…

“He laid her very gentle on the back seat of his car. Ignoring her protests, he drove half hour to get to his apartment. The radio was playing “Bohemian Rhapsody” and she was biting her lips trying to stay brave. To play brave…and not to cry. He warned her…in this world and in this life there are pains much more agonizing than a swollen ankle. She knew he’s capable to make her feel them…

He opened the door to his apartment holding her tight in his arms. It was warm and it smelled like ceder and lavender. She wondered if she’ll ever be capable to trust him again…to look into his eyes without seeing a monster. He seemed more preoccupied by her ankle than by her broken heart. And it was working. The painkiller, the bag of ice, his hands…she was denying to herself but it felt good to have someone taking care of her. Suddenly, he looked into her eyes.

-Sweetie…i know you don’t wanna be here. I know i gave you no choice. But you’re hurt and i’m responsible. You’re hurt here (he caressed her ankle) but the real pain is here (he touched her chest, making her heart race). You need to understand that what i did was partly for us. And partly because i’m very protective when it comes to people i care about. Anyway…you’re here and i don’t want you to be scared. I wont hurt you…i will forgive the painful things you said.

-I said the truth.

-Your truth…but i have another truth to tell you. The truth is that you’re alone and defenseless. Abandoned by your own parents, abused by the man you called the love of your life. Another truth is that i saved your life, so many times…Even tonight…you’re here because i love you, i want you to be safe and protected.

-Safe? Protected? Oh…Matteo…i saw you hitting a pregnant woman. Till she was bleeding…i saw the blood on your shirt. And it was your child…How could you? And me…i’m afraid of you. I’m not your girlfriend anymore…i’m an eyewitness to a crime…

She couldn’t play brave anymore and she burst into tears. He had a frozen expression on his face. Grabbing her by her hair, pulling it to expose her neck.

-Alright…time to establish some ground rules. Carissa…You’ll never talk to me this way. You’ll learn to show gratitude for the nice things i do for you. And you’ll learn to make me happy, cause i’m sick and tired to be the only one who’s trying. Another thing…

He caressed her neck line, than placed his fingers on her neck. She felt like her life is in his hands and the thought made her tremble.

-Another thing…what did you saw today?

-I…saw…you…hitting Ariana…

-Wrong!

He pressed her neck and she panicked. She started to remember…all the warnings, all the people that told her to stay away…

-Again. What did you saw?

-Nothing. I saw nothing.

-Good girl.

He released her neck and she took a deep breath. He kissed her and she just laid still, afraid to move, afraid to feel. Trembling, agonizing inside.

-See, sweetie? Now you’re making me happy. As long as you’re being nice and sweet…we will be OK…and you’re safe.

-Matteo…please don’t hurt me. Please don’t force me to…to be with you…i can’t stand the pain…

He kissed her cheeks, caressing her hair, smiling and talking in a soft tone.

-You know i’ll never force you to do anything you’re not ready for. It was a hard day for me and i need you. To feel your soft skin, to sense this amazing perfume in your hair, to hear your sweet voice. I’ll never hurt you, Carissa…as long as you’re committed to me, to us. As long as you’re mine. Tell me, how do you feel now?

She wanted to cry and to tell him that she’s devastated and frightened. That she has no feeling inside her heart…only confusion and regrets. But she knew that her truth is not something he would wanna hear. She tried to sound reassuring.

-I feel…i’m in love with you. I trust you…i know you’re never gonna hit me. I was confused…before…but my heart belongs to you. And i wanna make you happy…i’m just very tired and my ankle still hurts a little. That’s why…i acted so silly before. I was nervous…because of the pain. Forgive me please…

He didn’t (or pretended not seeing) saw the tears in her eyes. Or the tremble in her voice. He didn’t noticed how afraid she was to move…He only saw what he wanted to see.

-Of course i forgive you. It must be overwhelming to you…but i’m right here…close your eyes and forget every single bad thing that happened today. Just forget…today will pass but we…we’re forever. A new life is waiting for you, sweetie…and i’m here to guide your every step…to make you the woman i know you can be..”.

Me: A golden cage…that’s where he guided my steps. I never became the woman he dreamed i’ll be. Because the woman of his dreams had her wings cut…

Dave: The woman he dreamed…was an abused woman. You escaped your golden cage…remember, Cari, how heavy was the price you paid. That’s why it breaks my heart to see you building a new cage…to hide within. And i know you’ll die inside that cage…

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