Domestic Violence Short Story by Holly

by Holly
(Canada)

The VHS


By Holly Smith


Cecilia was only four. Far too young to be exposed to such a cruel, angry, bitter man. She was playing with her dolls, in the living room which was full of laundry that needed to be folded, a sofa that her mom had gotten from the Salvation Army and chipped red wall paint that needed badly to be repainted. Her mother was in the kitchen baking cookies, and she could smell them and everything on the outside seemed normal. In her own little world, she could relate to her dolls and make them live the life she so desperately wanted. To be a princess, and to have a loving family who loved one another.

She was also watching her favorite movie, The Little Mermaid, which she also immersed herself into and pretended she was a beautiful mermaid, safe and far away under the sea, and desperately longed to belong there and not be stuck on land where people were mean to her. She must have watched that movie every single day for a year before the terrible thing happened.

While she was pretending and in her own reality, her stepfather suddenly walked in and slammed the door, which she knew, was a bad sign. That meant Jacob was angry. And when Jacob was angry, she got very scared. He walked in; slurring his words, saw the mess of dolls and toys all over the floor, and became enraged. “Cecilia, pick up your god damn mess, now! I’m so sick and tired of living in a pigsty.” Cecilia became scared, and turned away from Jacob, not knowing what to do. When she didn’t listen, Jacob ran over and started throwing her dolls and precious toys that meant the world to her all across the room. “Pick them up, NOW!” he yelled furiously. Cecilia cowered, holding onto her remaining doll for dear life. Her mother heard the noise and came out, always the peacemaker, and attempted to calm Jacob down. “Jacob, honey, it’s okay, and I’ll pick up the toys. You’re scaring Cecilia” she pleaded. “I could care less! I’m so sick and tired of living like this! You’re lazy, retarded daughter never listens! I never even wanted her in the first place! I married you for you, not for her” he spit out “her” like it was a bad word he couldn’t stand. “She can’t help it, and you know that.” Cecilia’s mother said quietly. Cecilia put her hands over her ears, wishing it would all just stop. She wished words were like the little toy guns her and her cousin played. That it was just a game that they were playing, and no one got hurt and the words didn’t sting.

Somewhere off in the distance, she heard Jacob yelling louder at her and ripping her hands off of her tiny ears, and forced her to look in his icy, blue cold eyes. She could hear Ariel singing Part of your World in the background, which was her favorite part and he was ruining it. She always wondered why Ariel wanted to be part of her world. Her world wasn’t very nice; she would give anything to trade places with Ariel. He noticed her looking longingly at the movie that she adored so much and his cruel eyes sparked with an idea. He walked over, ripped the VHS out of the player, ignoring Cecilia’s pleas and desperately saying “I’ll be good, I’ll be good! Please daddy!” Her mother held her, because that’s all she could do. Jacob forced her to watch as he dismantled, stomped on and then finally threw the mangled VHS out the window. “That will teach you now, you pathetic little girl. I’m your father and you listen to me or this happens again, except it won’t be your precious movie, it’ll be you.” And then proceeded to walk out and slam the door to drink some more, like what he did had no impact or consequences.

Cecilia and her mother where left there, her mother trying to desperately calm her down but without success. Her world had just been shattered. Her fairy tale escape, her favorite thing in the whole world had just been taken from her. Later she would learn to realize that it wasn’t the smashing of The Little Mermaid that hurt her so much; it was the fact that in that moment, she knew her stepdad would and never had loved her. That’s the day Cecilia grew up way too fast and realized that the world and people could be an awful, cruel place.

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