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Dave: So you lived two different lives at the same time. In one of them, you were happy and free.

Me: Yes…dating Alessio, doing my volunteer work, studying, going to school…

Dave: And the other one?

Me: The other one…just running, escaping any way i could. Afraid to be with Matteo, afraid to break up with him. And he…he was nothing of the amazing person and friend he used to be.

Dave: How do you explain this? The change in his behavior? 

Me: When masks are falling down…what need do i have to explain his behavior, when i barely can explain mine?

“He grabbed her purse, searching for her cellphone. She tried to take it back but there was no chance to reach to his hands. In a few seconds all of her things were on the floor and she tried desperate to put them back, but her hands were shaking and she couldn’t see because of her tears. His mother came to help her, starring at Matteo with a worried look in her eyes.

-There was really no need to do this, Matteo! Cari told you the truth, she lost her cellphone. Big deal! We’re gonna buy another. Look at her, you made her cry…is this the way i educated you? Is this how you’re supposed to treat a young lady like Cari?

She helped her stand and gave her the purse. She was still crying and Luisa took her in her arms. Mario looked at his son with a severe expression.

-Matteo…i’m waiting for a explanation! We don’t tolerate violence here and you know it! Your mother and i are civilized people and Cari is here as a guest. If you have a problem with her, you should discuss politely and in private.

She felt grateful for the presence of his parents. Lately, she was trying to spend as much time as she could with Mario and Luisa. She felt protected with them and she was afraid of being alone with Matteo. His voice was angry and resentful.

-If i have a problem…She has a big problem! You know, mother…she’s a liar and a cheater. She told me that she’s with Padre Antonio the whole evening. And guess what? I checked…Padre Antonio wasn’t even in town! So…where were you, Carissa? And with who? I want the truth now!

Luisa starred at her.

-Is it true, figlia? You know we don’t accept lies…lying is the first step to hell. Now you really have to explain to your boyfriend…and to us.

She started to cry again. The feeling of shame…having to explain not only to Matteo, but to his parents also…And what could she say? What truth? All of her truths were unspeakable…She chose the most innocent of all of them.

-I…don’t want you to be upset, Luisa…

-No, figlia…you know i love you like you were my own child…

-I’m volunteering at the hospital! Every Friday i’m helping at the oncology…it’s not a big deal…there are children…some are orphans, some are with their parents, but parents need an hour to rest too…so, i’m there. I took a class and i’m using protection clothes and a mask when it is the case. I’m sorry…i was afraid to tell, cause Matteo said i’m not allowed around sick people…

Luisa hugged her.

-Oh, figlia mia…God bless your beautiful heart! I’m worried, but if you say that doctors said you can…I understand the torment of those parents and the desperation…i know it too well. And the children…if you can make them smile, even for one minute…Come here, little angel! We’re going right now to buy you another cell!

Matteo stepped in grabbing her by the arm. He seemed more calm but his voice was still harsh.

-Not so fast! I’m going to check this story and if is not true…Carissa…Now we’re going to my apartment, i need to talk to you in private.

His parents smiled as their mission was finally over. She tried to say something but he just pushed her trough the door and drove to his apartment. She wondered if he’s gonna yell at her, if he’s gonna hit her. The silence between them was making her tremble. She just grabbed a pillow and stood there, waiting.

-Alright…finally alone…i called to the hospital, it seems that your story is true. I apologize. I’m still upset because you’re hiding things from me…Carissa, stop crying. I said…stop crying! Why in the hell are you crying every time i’m trying to have a serious conversation with you? I asked something!

-You…humiliated me…in front of your parents…it was horrible…And now, now you’re like this again…and i’m afraid…no, don’t…

She wanted to say “don’t touch me” but it was too late. He stopped her with a kiss…while his hands were holding her close to his body. Pressing her, feeling her heartbeats.

-How am i, sweetie? Like what? Treating you like a princess and is still not enough…You’re lucky that you’re so sweet and beautiful…You’re making me so angry and at the same time…it’s exciting. You’re crying all frightened like i’m some bad guy here…You know what’s your problem? You don’t follow orders…But i’m going to change this right now. I think i waited enough, don’t you think?


-Come on…stop acting, sweetie…All the teasing, all the sexual tension between us…Now, take off your clothes. Slowly…i wanna see you…

She blushed feeling more desperate than ever before. Looking in his eyes, trying to find the man she used to love. But she could only see a stranger…a cruel, harsh stranger, someone who didn’t even cared about her. She whispered no.

-No? I don’t remember asking you. I told you something, you do it! Alright, i wanted to be gentle…but there’s always another way…

He push her and she felt on the bed. She suddenly realize what’s going to happen and she froze. He started to kiss her, immobilizing her hands, even if she wasn’t struggling. The feeling of losing…everything…was overwhelming and she couldn’t even cry anymore. She just closed her eyes, wishing she could die. Searching for something, somewhere…a place in her mind where she could escape. The hurt, the pain inside her body and the devastation in her heart. Seeing flashes from her past…thinking that all the pain will be over and than she’ll be brave enough to end with this pointless life. Because Hell must be better than the hurt she was feeling. And when all stopped, she remained there…trapped in her own hell…

He said something but she didn’t understood the words. She wondered why is he so ravished and why is he repeating meaningless words. Like “i’m sorry” and “i didn’t knew” and “if you had just told me”. Phrases she couldn’t understand. At first, she couldn’t focus, her eyes were starring somewhere at the empty space, but he took her face making her look at him, asking her if she’s feeling fine. She said yes and asked him “who are you”. Her mind was lost somewhere and she stopped reacting. Colors, words, memories, all mixed together in her mind. But she felt free, because there was no way him or anybody else could reach to her there…

She saw him very agitated and scared and she heard him talking to someone on the phone. He was writing something, the name of a street, a number…He took her to the shower and told her that everything will be alright. That he loves her. Then he drove very fast. She didn’t protested, in fact she said nothing. Someone was smiling at her, telling her that she’s safe. She heard the words “private clinic” and “psychiatric unit” and she said “i wanna go home”. A steaming pain in her arm, but she didn’t cared this time. Someone was caressing her hair and then all turned black…”.

Dave: I’m sorry, Cari…it’s terrible to go trough something like that…And he’s free.

Me: Of course he’s free…I’m not free! The memory of that night is still keeping me trapped sometimes. In my nightmares…