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The Other Side of Love

Donovan was in his room, listening to music while studying for his upcoming math exam. He
was on his first year of college, eighteen, and he had always been an honor-roll student. He was
one of few to graduate high school with a 4.0 final average. Now his first year of college was
almost over, thus he graduated at seventeen. He wasn’t a genius or anything of that sort. He just
studied really hard, but he was strange in a way compared to other students because rather than
distracting him, music would help him study better. It would transmit him to a zone unknown
and set him apart from everything else, where he could only think about what he was studying
because it was classical music with no lyrics, and he would play it on a low volume. Unbeknown
to him, he had studied for three hours now, and he was really tired. Therefore, he closed his
textbook and his three-ring binder with his notes, went out of his room and into the bathroom,
took a quick shower, and changed into his pajamas. Minutes later, he went to sleep in his bed,
but he forgot to turn the music off. The radio was battery powered now and when the battery
would die, it would go off by itself, no problem. Most of his devices were battery-powered for
him to save a little energy. He lived in a two-room apartment that, had it been a hotel, it
would’ve been considered four-star. His rent was really expensive. He worked as a secretary for
a powerful attorney since age sixteen because he’d always been more than a computer freak, and
there was nothing about computers he didn’t know. He even knew how to remove malware
without the help of any computer programs, take computers apart, repair them, replace
parts—everything. He’d been kind of forced to become a computer technician without a license
because every time his father would buy a computer, he would destroy it in a matter of months,
and tired of watching his father waste his money on computers every six to eight months, when
his father was on his third computer in less than a year and a half, Donovan spent his allowance
on all sorts of computer manuals to do everything under the sun and he started repairing his
father’s computer for him at age ten, and because of that, it had been almost eight years and that
damned computer, although old, was still up and running. It was a desktop and Donovan would
help his father Daniel upgrade all of his computer’s hardware and software every time that
Daniel felt it needed an upgrade, about every two years or so. Donovan didn’t mind spending his
money on hardware all in one blow. It was preferable than buying computer after computer every
time Father, as he would call Daniel, needed an upgrade. After all, computers weren’t made to
last forever, but they sure were meant to last more than two years. Daniel’s computer was old on
the outside but new on the inside, and Daniel was thrilled. He had the latest of everything. Every
time he told someone how old his computer really was, no one would believe him, unless they
saw that same model of computer on eBay. Daniel would keep his computer crisp clean and
there were no scratch marks or dents on any of the parts, at all. Even the keyboard was clean as
fresh linen.

The phone rang that night. Although Donovan was dead tired, he picked it up. He wasn’t
the kind to cut a call or reject it because he was sleeping, and he would always pick up and talk
as long as necessary even if it were his dorky best friend, Scott, drunken as a cat, talking utter
nonsense. After all, Donovan was always the only one that would listen. But it wasn’t Scott. It
was his older sister, twenty-three-year-old Diana. Her husband of three years had just beaten her
to a pulp for the zillionth time because she was talking to her cousin, Tony, and stupidly,
Langston thought that even though this was her first cousin, with whom she’d grown up and
spent most of her days, she was cheating on him with Tony. Diana would never cheat with
anyone, much less with kin. That was flat out disgusting, but Langston was so whacked out he
just couldn’t see things the way they really were most of the time and there was a good reason for
this—Langston was a heavy meth user for many years. Diana thought that by being by his side
she could help him rehabilitate. After all, she had helped many people, even total strangers, pull
through from the worst life-situations. She just learned the hard way that her husband was
literally a lost case. He couldn’t be rehabilitated because he didn’t want to be, and if his parents
couldn’t help him get better, what in the world made her think that she could?
“Donovan, oh, God…”
“Let me guess. He beat you up again.”
Hyperventilating, she said, “Yep!”
“What was it this time?”
“He saw me talking to my cousin Tony and he thought I was starting something with him.
He thinks that I am having an affair with my cousin, Donovan. That’s not cool. He’s crazy.”
“And you’ve figured that out just now. I know I was only thirteen at the time, but I’ve
always told you not to marry him, not to even have a relationship with him. I told you that he
was bad news from the start. I guess you were thinking with your heart and not with your head.”
“Donovan you’ve never really fallen in love, and by that, I mean you’ve never had a
relationship, not even a fling, so you don’t understand.”
“Oh, my dear, I do understand. I understand that if I saw one sign of my girlfriend being
physically abusive, I would dump her. If I notice that she is possessive, jealous, sees me talking
to a woman, just talking, like I would one of my friends or a relative, and she’s jealous about that,
I would dump her quicker than it would take you to say my name.”
“You don’t know what it’s like to be in love.”
“And that’s why you accept this nonsense, because you’re ‘in love’. Nice. If I help you out,
promise me that you’re going to leave his ass. I can’t stand this crap anymore.”

“Fine, I promise I will walk out of here to never come back. Now, please come get me and take
me to the hospital.”
“I’ll do better than that. I will just call 911. I’m afraid that when he comes back and sees you
there he’s going to finish you off. If he damaged your lungs this time rather than just slapping you, this
time he means business. He is going to kill you, my dear. I am hanging up and calling 911 before he
can even get there.”
Donovan did as promised and a few minutes later, the ambulance arrived at Langston and
Diana’s house. Just then, Langston got back home because he’d snapped out of his meth-induced
madness and he came back to apologize and try to provide his wife with the medical attention
that she needed. This time, he made a promise to himself, he would stop using meth. He noticed,
having flashbacks of all the times he’d attacked Diana, that he would only put his hands on her
when he was high on meth, and when he was not under the influence of the drug he was normal
and he behaved the way he was supposed to. Perhaps this was the reason why Diana wouldn’t
leave him no matter how many times he would slap her or punch her in the face. She understood
his situation. She loved him. He had to do something, otherwise he would lose her forever. One
good thing about Langston was that when he would promise something to himself or someone
else, he would keep that promise, no matter what. That’s why so many people in town loved him
and trusted him. They didn’t know about his problem. When he would go to work as the
PRESIDENT of a preeminent computer company, he would be cheerful and positive. His
employees always referred to him as the best boss ever, and not even the ones with the lowest
positions in that company would quit their jobs. They thought they wouldn’t find a better boss
than Langston. When they would ask for an advance, he would give it to them and not get it back
until three months after giving it. He would deduct one third of the advance every month until it
was paid in full. He would always compliment his employees just for being there. He would
never penalize those who came to work late. He would never even ask them why they came to
work late, he would just let them work like nothing, and to compensate for this, they would stay
and work for the time that they were late. Everything was good everywhere Langston went
except home. The reason why Langston would binge on meth was because his mother died seven
years before, they’d never gotten along, and she had a heart attack after an argument they had.
He felt guilty for his mother’s death and he wanted to punish himself in some way. He had no
idea that he had put his foot down and decided not to use any more meth just in time. A few
more hits would’ve killed him, and he wouldn’t have had the chance to try to fix everything he’d
done wrong and be a good husband and father to the child he and Diana were expecting.
Thinking that Diana had lost her child, he went up to the paramedics as they were putting her on
the gurney and connecting her to the respirator, without saying anything to the paramedic, he
checked Diana’s pants to see if there was any blood between her legs. As crazy as he was, he
didn’t strike her in the belly or in the back, which would’ve caused the miscarriage. Then he said,
to the paramedics, shocking them, “I know my brother in law only sent the ambulance here, but I
need the police here. I need to report myself for domestic violence and aggravated assault. I
almost killed my wife and I deserve to be locked up. Maybe then I will learn my lesson. It’s been
going on all throughout our marriage, and it’s got to stop.”

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