This is the week I hide from the world every year. I always realize it's coming. Somehow it blindsides him.

A few days before the first Sunday before the Fourth of July the flags start going up on one of the main streets in our city. They line the parade route. I get quieter and quieter each time I drive past. He doesn't notice them.

The day of the parade he doesn't notice the glares until he tries driving somewhere and realizes roads are blocked. When he seems all surprised that it's this time of year I want to yell and scream at him. How nice for him that he didn't notice.


This year he realized when we were running an errand. He tried suggesting we turn around because he didn't want me upset. Too late by then. I was already upset and just wanted to finish the errand.

As soon as the errand was finished he took me to a bar in a neighboring city to get me out of town. Evidently I put a serious dent in the bottle of 151 at the bar we went to.

Last night we went back to that same city for a friend's birthday. I should have just stayed home. That's when I found out how much I drank. Someone at the party was there the day before. I'm definitely not the life of the party this week. I sat quietly against the wall until we left.

The rest of the week until the 4th will consist of me going out and drinking too much then me hiding in my house. I never have figured out how to hide from fireworks on the fourth. Even if you're someplace you can't hear them everyone still asks why you aren't at fireworks.

Why do I hide this week? I hide because it's the anniversary of the worst of the abuse. Two of the worst days were the day of the parade and the night of fireworks.

It's bad enough living in the same house. The house where I was raped, beat, almost died. The rest of the year I can mostly pretend. The week of the fourth I can't.

I used to have so much fun this week. Now I'm angry. I'm angry that I lost this holiday.