The car - a little red sporty number - was going about 50 when his fist sent dozens of fine cracks spiderwebbing across the windshield.
He yanked the wheel in the opposite direction of the curve and we spun, spun, spun, off the road and through the trees. I waited for a branch to pierce the window and then my skin.
He hadn't liked that question. Not at all.
I was 18. I'd asked him if he would mind if I took the airbrushed front license plate with our names on it off the front of my blue Chevy Cavalier because it looked childish at college.
I suppose I provoked him. I'd known he wouldn't like the question. I asked it anyway, and for a few seconds, I thought I was going to die.
So when the car came to a stop, I jumped out, right? I ran screaming to the nearest house - couldn't have been more than a few miles in either direction - and called my daddy, my daddy who loved me more than life, to come get me. Right?
I sat there. Silent. The car was still running. He put it in gear, and we drove to his house.
He didn't have any money, so that wasn't why. He wasn't a star football player, so that wasn't why. He didn't have fame and glory and other tempting things to offer me, so none of that was why. I can't explain why. And I don't fucking have to.
I didn't do anything wrong.
Janay Palmer Rice didn't do anything wrong. I don't care what she said. I don't care if she did "hit" him.
When Ray Rice rounded on her, when he cocked his fist and sent it hurtling toward her jaw, she must have thought she was going to die.
I know how that feels.
I'm willing to wager every woman in this motherfucking world knows how that feels.
That's not the empowered feminist thing to admit. But it's the inconvenient truth.
So I don't want to hear speculation on her motives, or denigration of her character. If you insist on voicing it, defriend me, erase me, forget me.
I probably sound sanctimonious. Don't really care.
I finally screwed my courage to the sticking place and broke up with the driver of the little red sports car. It didn't go well. He screamed at me until my daddy came onto the porch and talked, talked, talked to him, until he went away.
Where was Janay's daddy? I don't know. Abusers isolate their victims, heighten their dependency, decrease their resources. Did Janay's daddy not know to care? Or did he just not? Either way, how is that supposed to make it anything but sadder?
Not long after I broke up with the driver, he got a new girlfriend. She had a little girl, about two or three.
I don't know the little girl's name. But one day, he shook her to death.