The sun shone bright into Janay’s room. Stretching and squinting I sat up. It was roughly 9am. Rolling up the sleeping bag and blankets I thanked Janay for letting me sleep on her floor, I felt safe on her floor.
The dorm was quiet, it was Sunday after all. The brown carpet squeaked as I walked down the hall as quietly as I could. I didn’t want to awaken Devon when I walked past his room and into my own room. Luckily the door was unlocked already, as I opened the door to my room and Carry was awake reading. She smiled when she saw me. “Aime, are you okay?” Carry who had long brownish hair and was taller than me, came over and hugged me, which was strange as she wasn’t that much of a hugger.
“I slept over at Janay’s room last night. Devon really freaked me out last night and scared me, I didn’t feel safe sleeping in my own bed.” Biting my lip, I glanced up at Carry. “Devon was being possessive it seemed to me last night. He had this look in his eye.”
Shocked Carry exclaimed “Oh Aime! Last night when I went to bed I left the door unlocked I was wondering if you had your keys. At some point, late into the night the door opened and someone stuck their head in our room! Are you sure you are okay?”
“Oh wow! I’m sorry Carry, did you feel safe leaving the door open?! I’ll ask Devon about it. Maybe he did. And yes, I think so. What were you up to last night? Did you go out?” I wanted to change the conversation and talk about her, not dwell on what I was going through.
I washed up in the communal bathroom on our floor and changed into new clothes for the day. It was Easter, and I knew the cafeteria was having a special brunch. I didn’t want to see Devon really. Yet I knew if I ignored him, he would get madder still. I was getting confused. Was this love? What is love? He tells me he loves me a lot, over and over again.
I put on a smile and knocked on Devon’s door. The brown door was open and when I knocked. Devon had is back to the door, he was sitting at his desk staring at a book. “Good morning Devon, Happy Easter.” He huffed and didn’t look up to greet me.
Slowly I went over to him and kissed his head. Weakly smiling I handed Devon an Easter card. He took the card and tossed it onto the desk. Still not looking at me.
“Hi, I don’t know if I should be happy to see you, or angry to see you.” Devon glared at me. “We need to communicate, I need to know where you are, who you are with, and what you’re doing. I love you. I don’t want anything to happen to you. What if you got into some sort of trouble when you are out with the girls? You need to tell me where you’re going.”
I could feel my cheeks going red. Doing my best to remain calm I replied “Devon, sweetie, you’re not my Mum, you don’t have to know. I’m an adult. As I’ve said before I put my door pin sign to around campus, that’s all you need to know.
“Did Janay tell you to say that?” Derek was getting mad. “I bet she did tell you to say that. You’re my girl friend. I deserve to know where you are at all times, I’m like a part of your family. And family looks out for each other, and knows where each are.”
“My parents are my family, and they know I’m here in Thunder Bay, they don’t know where I am exactly every moment of the day. And they don’t need too.” My voice was shaking, I was tired, frustrated and scared.
I could tell however we were staring another circle of going no where fast, so I changed the subject. “Devon, let’s go get food. Have you eaten yet?”
Later in the afternoon both Paula and Shelley individually came by my room. “Hey, how are you doing today?” Paula was at my door. Leaning up against the door frame she smiled at me.
“Hi Paula, not sure. Still a little scared/worried. But feeling better than last night.” I shyly smiled at her.
“Good! You shouldn’t be worried or scared to live here. You should feel safe to be on campus where ever that may be, and you are your own person, an adult.” She hugged me and left.
Taking some deep breathes I felt a tear run down my face. I put my attention back to what I was reading and got lost in my reading, doing my best to concentrate on my studies.
“Aime, I hope that’s a happy tear.”
Startled I looked up, I recognized the voice, it was a safe voice Shelley was now at my door now. “Hi Shelley, not totally.”
“Take a breath, you’re okay. Don’t be upset. You have the right to feel safe living on campus. What do you have going on today?” Shelley did her best to change my mood.
“I’m being picked up by a friend from class in a while. I’m sleeping over at her house. Then tomorrow we’re going to volunteer at a homeless shelter for extra credit.” Smiling at Shelley.
“Good! Take your mind off this.” She smiled back at me.
Later in the early evening as I was packing my backpack for the over night Devon came into my room. “What are you doing? Where are, you going?”
Stammering out my words weakly “I’m going over to Mary’s house, we’re going to be volunteering tomorrow at a homeless shelter for extra credit. We are there really early and Mary drives so I’m sleeping over there as she can drive us to the shelter in the morning.”
“I don’t want you to go. But it’s for extra credit for school, so I guess it’s okay. When will you be home?” Frowning Devon glare at me.
“Not sure when I’ll be home. We’re volunteering till about 2pm, so after that?”
Devon kissed me hard. “I love you and I worry about you.”
Devon waited with me until Mary arrived. He didn’t want me to go.
Mary arrived a little while after dinner and we went to her house. I was happy to spend the night at her place. “How are you and Devon doing Aime?” I looked at Mary and smiled. “We’re okay, having some communication issues right now. I am happy to be sleeping over here tonight through, to take my mind off of it. I wonder what we’ll be doing tomorrow at the shelter?” I didn’t really want to get into it with Mary about Devon and I. I was ashamed to tell her what was really going on. We are in the Social Work program at Lakehead University! We are going to school to help women in situations just like I was living, to feel safe in relationships. I didn’t want to be another case study for us to deconstruct.
Volunteering the next day was fun. It was neat talking to the folks at the shelter, and helping where needed.
Mary drove me back to campus. As we pulled into the circle round-a-bout driveway for my residence I looked over at Mary “Thank you so much for driving Mary, it was fun volunteering for the shelter. I think we both learned lots of things. It was fun spending the time with you too. Thanks for this! Have a great rest of your day!”
“You’re welcome Aime. I agree it was fun to see the shelter and meet some of the folks who live there. You have a great rest of your day too, see you in class in a day or two! Stay safe!”
I opened the main door to my residence, and then the hallway door I unlocked too. It was nice to be back to my room where it should be my safe space. I was happy to have been off campus and taking my mind off of the problems I was having in my relationship with Devon.
Devon heard me opening my door and saying hi to Carry. I put my backpack on my bed and started to tell Carry about my day at the Shelter. Devon raced out of his room and into my room. “You’re home! You didn’t tell me when you’d be back with a set time.”
All my happy energy left my body. Shyly smiling back at Devon “Hello. Yes I am. I guessed after 2pm yesterday, and I know it’s after 2pm for sure.” I looked at the clock on my desk. It said 3:30pm.
“Aime is an adult, Devon, she doesn’t have to report to you all the time. You’re not her Mum.” Carry said to Devon in a tone as if she was reprimanding a student. She was studying education at university. Carry was upset at Devon too.
I turned back to my bed to unload my backpack. Devon turned me around and kissed me. “You need to tell me when you’re coming and going. I must know what you’re doing.” Devon started pacing again. “You’re my girlfriend and it’s my responsibility to take care of you.” He kissed me again hard and left the room.
Carry looked at me. “I see why you slept on the floor at Janay’s the other night.”