The first time I left my abuser, I left right after school.  I just didn't come home.

After third period the following day I found him at my locker.  My apology letter was already written.  I left school with him on the spot, and I was never able to explain to my friends what had happened.

The second time I left, I didn't leave at all.  I never believed that he would kill himself that night, but it's hard to turn your back on someone with a fistfull of poison in his mouth, even if you hate him.

Those were the early days, when I thought, "I can go another day."

I didn't storm out the door.  I didn't sneak away in the night either.   Instead, I waited.  

I waited for the interrogations to slow down.  I waited for him to stop following me to work.  I waited for him to make a mistake.

I waited weeks, months, more than a year.

Weeks and months of watching my step.  Months and months of biting my tongue.  Of cleaning up broken glass.

Finally, finally, he cheated.  

I could have jumped for joy.  I could have laughed with relief.  

Instead, I gave him all that he wanted.  I cried.  I told him he had broken my heart. I packed my things, slowly.   I took the dog, and I looked back, sadly, over my shoulder.  He let me go.  As if it were a normal breakup.  

If I had screamed the words that were burning my heart, his hands would have been around my throat in an instant.

The breakup is the most dangerous part.