Losing illusion

Losing illusion

 Catarina Marreiros

In a summer night in Lisbon, like every year, university students come out to have fun. They went to Sky, the largest and the most famous bar in Lisbon. Érica was 19 years old and she was there to enjoy herself dancing with her friends.

She was a very cheerful girl, loved to dance and, as many used to say she liked to enjoy life to the fullest.

She had such a dark brown hair that it could be mistaken with the night. She danced like there was no tomorrow. Women were jealous of her, and men by contrast, felt fascinated and desire for her.

As she danced, someone came from behind and hugged her. She tried to pull away, but the man did not want to let her go. He had been drinking as she felt the smell of alcohol. Suddenly a stranger appeared and helped her by sending the man away.

Erica thanked the stranger and they started a conversation that went on for hours. When the night was over, they decided to exchange their phone numbers and meet again.

After this incident Érica and Samuel (the stranger’s name) met several times. And soon they were dating and after a short time they were married. 

After 17 years of marriage, Érica and Samuel had already had two sons, Nuno, 16 years old, and Sofia, 14. They were 2 adolescents well educated and good students. They were the perfect family, but everything was merely an illusion! As Samuel was a very well succeeded businessman, he was supposed to have a perfect family to be accepted in the business world.

However only those who lived in that house knew the hell that was having that life. 

Erica lived in hell. In the beginning of their marriage everything was very pleasant but then Samuel started to forbidden her from doing certain things, wearing some clothes and even working out of the house.  Erica thought that this was just a phase her husband was going through and things would be better soon. However, this didn’t happen and even got worse.

 When Sofia was born, Samuel became more aggressive and physically violent with Erica. He blamed her and accused her for this and for that and even from sexual misbehavior. Erica accepted this, because she loved her husband and because of the children. She believed he was going to change.

Nuno knew his father was violent to his mother, because he had already witnessed one of those aggressions. He had already felt the fury of his father in his own skin and he was warned that if he dared to tell anyone about that, his mother would be the only one to suffer the consequences. Knowing he was being serious, he remained in silence. 

Nuno was a16-year-old silent boy who would rather keep away from people. His sister was completely the opposite. She was an extroverted teenager, very playful and enjoyed being with other people. Although different, they were very attached to each other.

Sofia had a boyfriend named Lucas. Nuno was not very fond of Lucas. He had already told her that but she was so into Lucas that she didn’t pay attention to his brother’s warnings.  

But one day Nuno’s suspicions became a reality: Sofia saw that Lucas was betraying her with another girl. She couldn’t believe that Lucas was capable of betraying her but that was a fact and so she decided to end their relationship.

She sent Lucas a text message asking him to meet her to talk about their situation. Lucas invited her to his house. When she got there, Lucas opened the door and guided her to the living room.   

– Lucas, we must finish our relationship – Erica said.

– But I do not want to end up – Lucas replied. He standed up.

– You don’t have the right to say that! You were cheating on me, Lucas! I’m not an idiot! – she said loudly – I would find out sooner or later! I’m not going to date with a person who I can’t trust in! I told you I couldn’t stand a treason. This ends here for good! – and turned away towards the door way.

– This relationship only ends when I say so! – Lucas said grabbing violently her arm – You are not going to leave me! You are mine! You belong to me!

– Let me go, Lucas! You are hurting me! – Erica said trying to free herself – AND you don’t own me to force me to do what I do not want to.

– You better shut up! – he cried

– I won’t! – she yield

He slapped on her face violently.

Erica was shocked! She touched her face feeling the pain.

– I told you to shut up!

– You never touch me again – She said in anger.

If I were you I would be really quite or I’m going to slap you again. – he threatened her.

Sofia said anything because she was afraid of Lucas.

– Our relationship is not going to end ever! See if you put this in your silly little head! Now, go home! – he said stepping aside to let her through.

Sofia went home, looked for her brother, and hugged him crying.

– What’s wrong, Sofia? –he was concerned with her – Who did this? – he questioned, furious.

– Lucas did! I found out he was betraying me and decided to end up but he said “No!” and slapped me! – she said crying  

– Everything’s going to be OK, sis. – he said kissing her on her forehead.   

Nuno decided to look for Lucas. He wanted to beat him because he was really furious with him but he controlled himself and gave Lucas just a warning.

Why have you hurt my sister? – he wanted to know

She deserved it! She wanted to split up! – Lucas said 

Stay away from her! Don’t get closer again! Ever!

Lucas tried to punch him but he defended himself and punched Lucas back. “If you come closer to Erica again, you’ll have serious problems with me!”

When he arrived home, his father was waiting for him. 

– Where have you been, you bummer? – he asked aggressively – Who allowed to leave the house? –he asked coming towards the boy and pushing him with violence. – It seems that I have to teach you again to ask for permission before leaving the house. – He grabbed Nuno’s arm with brutality leading him to a room.

He began to punch and kick the boy. Nuno shrunk over to try to protect himself. His father only stopped when Nuno’s mother arrived and began to discuss with him. 

Stop! You have no right to harm my child! Beat me instead!

Furious, Samuel slapped her and threatened her.

But this time Erica decided not to feel or show fear. She stood there, next to her son, in silence. That was the moment when she swore to herself that she wouldn’t allow anyone to hurt her children or herself ever again. She made up her mind: she was going to leave the house. She would take her children and would go straight to the Police – that was her plan!

When the husband was asleep, she packed their suitcases and went to police to complain from the maltreatment suffered. She asked the police for a removal order against her husband. 

They went to a hotel and the next day someone knocked at the door. When Érica opened it Samuel was at the entrance with an angry countenance. He began to discuss with her. Nuno, who had woken up, phoned immediately to the police.

Samuel even tried to attack Érica, but he was prevented and arrested by the police.  

Three days after, he was released. He had enough money to pay the best lawyers to let him out.

Erica, with fear that Samuel would chase them again, took her family to a city by the coast and bought a house. Then she began the look for a job in the field of administration. She had managed to finish university and even went to work but as Samuel didn’t like, she had to stop. 

Erica sent her curriculum for several companies during a month but there was no calls. She was about to feel hopeless when the phone rang. They set up the interview for the next day.

She felt so alive! Finally back to work!

Erica told her children the great news and they were radiant.

Erica was 36 years, she was still a young woman with a lot of energy, so the possibility of working again was wonderful.

When she arrived at the company, she was welcomed by the receptionist who asked her to wait until she was called.

She waited for about 15 minutes.

The receptionist led her to a room where there was a man seated behind a desk with some papers. He had black hair and should be around his 38. He was elegant and with a dominant posture. When he lifted up his head, Erica could see his bright blue eyes that could be confused with the sky. He was a beautiful man.

Rui was a friendly person. In the beginning he seemed to be a bit arrogant, but after a brief conversation one could see he was a good person. 

Erica’s life was getting better: She had already spoken with a lawyer to discuss about the divorce and to solve the situation with her ex-husband. 

She knew nothing about Samuel for months. Now Erica and the children had a new life in that city by the sea. She even decided to date Rui. Life was going on.

But one day when she was returning home, she found Samuel waiting for her by her door. When he saw her he pointed her a gun. She tried to talk with Samuel calling him to reality but that was no good.

He was really upset and out of control. He said that he was going to kill her and if she didn’t want to be his wife then she wouldn’t be no one’s.

Rui, who had decided to surprise Érica, faced with this scene when he arrived to her house. He immediately called the police.

He also tried to calm things down, but it only got worse. Samuel felt mad because he realized Érica found someone to take care of her. Out of control, he shot his wife and run away.  

The police launched an arrest warrant, and after a few hours, Samuel was arrested at Faro airport trying to escape out of the country. 

Meanwhile Erica had left the operation room, where she almost lost his life, and was already in the hospital room recovering.

Today Érica is married with Rui and now has her third son. She lives with someone who respects and cares for her and their children with love. 

Samuel is stuck with a penalty of 20 years in prison for attempted murder and assault. 

Never let anyone to offend you either verbally or physically, because today it can be a yell or a push, but tomorrow you may no longer be here to tell the story.

Never stand in silence in front of the violence!

Because everybody hurts.” REM