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“You worthless piece of crap!” Those words sting. “You were looking at that girl in the crowd!”

“Sara, there’s five thousand girls in the crowd, of course I’m looking at a few of them. I can’t just close my eyes through the whole show, or look at you. You’re back stage.”

“Shut up Pansy! What did I tell you about talking back to me. I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to you!” I sigh. It’s really not worth getting into an argument because I’ll be the one sleeping on the couch of our shared apartment. I think back to the years before Sara. We had our big fame in 1997, followed by a Christmas album, an album of old demo stuff, a live album, then three more studio albums. None of the achieved the same fame as Middle of Nowhere did. Then Sara came along. She seemed to be just what I needed. She was stunningly beautiful, smart, and talented. We dated for about a year and then moved in together in a small apartment in San Francisco. After about a month of living together the true side of Sara was revealed. She became verbally and physically abusive towards me, but for some reason I couldn’t leave. So here I am now, putting up with this kind of stuff for over three years. I turn my attention back to the crisis at hand. “Are you even listening to me?” I pray none of my family can hear this. I can see the inevitable coming. SLAP. Her hand stings my cheek and I’m sure there’s a handprint. “Great” I think to myself. Now I can’t leave the dressing room for at least 15 minutes because my cheek is going to be all swollen and I’ll have to put ice and foundation on it before I go to dinner with my parents. I pray she won’t make a scene in the restaurant.

“Sara honey.” I say, trying to mask the pain I’m feeling. “Why don’t you go get ready for dinner and I’ll come get you from your dressing room in about a half an hour and we’ll get a taxi to the restaurant.”

“Fine, but don’t expect me to forgive you too easily.” She leaves and I sigh in relief. I really should leave her. Every day it’s all the same, I go onstage, I come off stage, she yells at me for looking at girls in the crowd. What does she expect? I mean, there are at least four thousand really attractive, if not hot girls in the audience, and she expects me to pretend that I’m not male, and ignore all of them. I walk over to my dressing table where I have a bucket of ice. I had it brought up earlier under the pretense that I was going to have a drink after the show. I am 22 you know. I take a towel and wrap a few ice cubes in it, and press them to my cheek. The cold is a welcomed relief from the burning pain that I still feel, five minutes after the assault. I wait until the swelling goes down a bit, then I apply some cover up to the red mark on my cheek. I’m not sure if it’s going to cover everything, but I’m going to have to hope, for my dignity’s sake. I change out of my sweaty stage clothes, and into some looser, more comfortable cotton clothing. I grab my keys off the table and head out to my car. Then I realize that I have to get Sara.

I walk back into the small venue and to her dressing room. As I knock on the door, I wonder how much more of this I can take.

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