The Other Side of Fear: Reclaiming My Life after Domestic Violence.

Arleen C. Mccann
7 min readFeb 15, 2022

The Other Side of Fear

In 1997, I was trying to reclaim my life after a horrible divorce. Trust was not something that came easy to me. When I met John, it came as quite a shock to feel such trust from the very beginning. We were like two souls that seemed to mesh together effortlessly. I now had a friend and companion in John. Laughter filled not only the lonely rooms of my apartment but my heart as well.

For years, John struggled with addiction. When we met, he was clean and sober for over a year. John was creative with an immense talent for woodworking. He could craft beautiful pieces of artwork out of scraps of wood. He called me often, typically at the end of a hard workday. Our relationship deepened with time. John became someone I felt I could rely upon in life. That is why what happened on September 19, 1998, was all the more of a surprise.

It was a Saturday. I went about my chores. You know the typical things you do on your day off; laundry, grocery shopping, cooking meals for the week. I began trying to contact him when I started dinner. I got the message machine. I kept trying every ten or twenty minutes. Still no answer. I began to get that feeling when you know something is wrong. Years before I met him, John had a car wreck that left him blind in his left† eye with occasional seizures. I was worried that he was ill. I called a couple of his friends, no one had seen him. I turned off my cooking and got in the car to check on him.

When I arrived at his apartment, I could hear his stereo blaring from the street. I climbed the stairs that went uphill to his apartment. The door was cracked open about an inch. It was pitch dark, except for the blue light that illuminated the dial of the stereo system. I pushed the door open, calling for John. He didn’t answer; I saw him lying motionless on the sofa. My heart sank as I ran to put down my purse on the floor; I turned down the radio. As I turned on the lamp, I saw beside him an almost empty half-gallon bottle of Jack Daniels. I knew he was drunk.

Hindsight tells me I should have picked up my purse and left. That very moment I should have walked away. Instead, I raged at the situation with shocked disbelief and anger. My anger got the best of me. I…

Arleen C. Mccann

Artist/Writer/Illustrator. Creatively rearranging twenty-six letters into thought-provoking prose.