Everything happened in a blur, as if my entire life passed by before my eyes when I least expected it, reminding me to forget about what I would do tomorrow and, instead, focus on what could be happening now and what I could do. Making me think ‘what did I do wrong to deserve this shit’ or ‘I always fuck things up’.
But before that, my day had been one for the books. It was 16th September, exactly six months since Agustina and I had seen each other for the first time after a few years that felt like an eternity –long story short, after that reunion at La Cafeteria de La Paz, we had been spending much time together and, eventually, our old feelings for each other started claiming their place. As a gift or celebration for our new monthiversary, my parents had decided to close their pizzeria, just for the two of us to have a private and very romantic dinner. We were having a really good time, eating the best pizzas in the world, laughing, telling embarrassing stories, talking about plans for the future, enjoying each other’s company...
“This is how I want nights to be in the future” she said, squeezing my hands softly. “Only your company.”
“Well, we’ll definitely have this kind of nights quite on a daily basis after moving in together, won’t we?” I answered while slowly bringing her hand to my face. “I hope you don’t get tired of me quickly.”
We burst into laughter. God, even in the cheesiest moments we’d never lose our one-of-a-kind sense of humour.
“And miss your crazy stunts?” It looked like the round of laughter had left her breathless. “Never in my life.”
Quickly, I stole a glance at Agus’ outfit. It was a simple choice, but her red shirt, leather jacket and knee-long black tight skirt would really make her stand out in a crowd. I found it very dazzling… Found her dazzling.
“What?” she asked, obviously aware that I was checking her out.
“Just that you look lovely and daring tonight, Agus.”
And there it was, her smile lighting up the whole room. How could I’ve survived for so long without seeing it?
“What?” she repeated. “If you want to kiss me, just do it.”
Say what? She got me there.
“Uhm...” was everything I could say. She was enjoying it.
And that’s when she was the one who pulled me close for a kiss that I had been longing for all the evening. It was a mixture of gentleness, intensity, desire and love.
“See? It wasn’t that difficult” she says, giggling.
“All right, point taken” I answer. “You win.”
She laughed harder and harder. And I was happy to see her enjoying herself. That moment with her, it was simply lovely.
"I love you" she said in a lower voice, as if she intended for me only to hear it. "You know that?"
I reached out for her hands across the table. Hers met mine halfway.
"I know it, mo chuisle" I answered, never letting go off her hands and her gaze. "Rest assured that I love you too."
And so we spent the next twenty -or thirty- minutes talking nonsense, laughing, listening to some romantic songs my parents would play on YouTube…
Until it was time for the monthiversary presents.
"So I got this little thing for you." After she gave me her present, I opened it faster than when in my birthday. It was a MIY bracelet with my name in small letter cubes and small coloured balls
around the nylon string.
"Oh, Agus." I was speechless. It was just the most genuine and simple gesture represented in a present. "It's so beautiful. Just like you."
She smiled at me again.
"I have something for you too, min skatt" I said.
She smiled like a kid told to open their Christmas presents. My heart was melting at her enthusiasm while I was looking on my purse for my gift for her.
But I couldn’t find it. And somehow, she noticed that.
“Hey, don’t worry about it” she tried to reassure me. But how could I not worry when I knew this day was so important for us and yet I hadn’t remembered to put the present on my purse? God, she was much hyped a few seconds ago, and I didn’t want to break it to her like that.
“Look, I’m coming back in five or seven” I said, almost breathlessly. And then, a quick kiss on her cheek. “I’m sorry.”
I knew she was looking at me in discomfort, but then she realised my sudden departure was for a good cause: saving the monthiversary.
As soon as I got home, I rushed to my bedroom. After taking a look in my room for my present for what seemed like three minutes, I found what I had been looking for. It was something elegant yet simple, just like our relationship. “In my way back to you, elskede” I said to myself before stepping out of my house.
But as I was heading back to the pizzeria, I sensed some footsteps right behind me. And before I could’ve realised, someone took me by behind my back a block away from home, tied my hands, covered my mouth with adhesive tape and forced me to get into a car. By the smell of his scent, I knew who he was, and fear embraced and suffocated me, because I knew things would go in the wrong direction for me. And it had had to happen on a 16th.
“We’re gonna spend a very good night, Valentina” Javier said in an unusually soft voice. “Soon you’ll forget about that chick Agustina.”
Long story short, Javier and I dated for almost a year back when I was living in Santa Fe City, but as he became more possessive and violent towards me, I decided to leave the city and, eventually, come back to La Paz, Entre Rios, my home. For me, it was the safest option... Little did I know I’d be wrong, again.
As he mentioned her name disparagingly, as he used to, my blood started boiling hot. And then, it hit me: she was still in the pizzeria, waiting for me to come back, and now that I couldn’t let her know what was happening or where I was, knowing that she would eventually ask herself those questions and worry about me... It slowly was breaking my heart into millions of small pieces, and I couldn’t do or say anything, not when it comes to this man.
“Aw, you want to cry because your little girlfriend can’t come to rescue you?” he said as he saw me holding back my tears. “Hombre, this is better than expected.”
Before I could hardly take a deep breath, the car stopped, and my head hit against the rear right door. Then, a pair of hands landed on my waist, pulling me out of the rusty old vehicle. As I opened my eyes, I wondered where I was, if it was near the city or far away, in the middle of nowhere... My mind was racing faster than light, and I couldn’t help but think of Agustina. What would she be doing now that she had probably noticed my long absence there? What about my parents? My friends?
‘Don’t worry too much, Val’ my inner voice said. ‘They’ll come for you. And you know what? This man doesn’t stand a chance against you. You got this.’
And so, before Javier violently pushed me into an abandoned building, I made peace with my mind and went along with whatever was in store for me, putting on a true brave face. Maybe he could be a living nightmare for me, but not anymore after tonight, whether I left this building alive or I died trying to break away.
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