We pushed through the doors of the bar and the cold night air filled my lungs, replacing the stale smell of cigarettes and liquor. His arm stayed firmly around my waist and I couldn’t protest since it was the only thing keeping me upright. We walked to the parking lot, his car I presumed since I was in no condition to drive. I hated to depend on him right now. I thought about turning and hailing a cab but he ushered me into the passenger’s seat before I had time to think.

I sat fuming while he slid into the driver’s seat and turned over the engine. Staring straight ahead, I refused to give him any recognition. We drove in silence, the air turning thicker with each mile that passed. When we finally reached home, was it really home anymore, I quickly opened the car door and rushed up the walkway, eager to reach the comfort of my bedroom where I could nest underneath the warm, cozy comforter and fend off the outside world.

He had other ideas. “Kara, we need to talk about this.” I brushed his hand off my shoulder, reaching for the doorknob before realizing I had no key. “Just let me inside.” My voice came out half indignant and half defeated. He opened the door and let me in. My mind, previously weighed down with inebriation was suddenly laser focused. I had to get out of this relationship with minimal heartbreak. If he wanted to leave, I was determined that my heart would be intact.

I rushed up the stairs and slammed the bedroom door shut, clicking the lock in place. Juvenile, yes. He had followed me up the stairs. I heard a knocking at the door. “Kara, let me in.” I went to the bathroom and splashed water on my face. Looking at my reflection in the mirror was like staring at a stranger. I felt disjointed and fractured from myself. A single tear escaped my eye. Dammit. I was a strong woman. How could he make me feel so needy and dependent? More knocking at the door. “Go away Luke!” I yelled as loud as I could, feeling a little release. The knocking stopped and his footsteps retreated down the stairs. I had won the fight. For now.