She said she was leaving and that I couldn't change her mind. She was tired of all the shit and she wasn't going to stand around and watch things crumple all the time. She wasn't going to try and fix things, it wasn't her fault and it only made things worse and turned him on her, she was missing half an eyebrow from the last bottle he'd thrown at her. She said mother or no mother, the woman wouldn't leave and she wouldn't stay to be there when he finally killed her.

I said she was right to be leaving and I didn't know what I was saying but she was so tired determined and tiny and I wasn't going to change her mind. I promised to let her know how things were, she didn't want to know what was happening, she didn't make sense but she was clutching her backpack and she grinned at me. She didn't want to think about black eyes and bruises, she was thinking of a boy in California who had a couch and a job, she was thinking of somewhere far away.

She said that the only way to hurt him was to leave. She said the only way to fight back was to survive, and she said that her mother would never leave unless he killed her but godamnit she was young and she was gonna make it. I was seventeen and scared and the bus driver revved the engine and I hugged her and she tripped her way up the steps and I watched her small face disappear.

She was young and she was gonna make it.