The Ballad of Billy Joe

Billy Joe had always believed in love
Until her husband Brian beat her beliefs out of her
She would tremble with fear
Hoping that he would not come home drunk
Because if he did,
His fists would come raining down on her like a hail of bullets
Their son would see this
And beat on kids in school
Using the same words that Brian used
Like father like son
Billy Joe loved her son dearly
And hated Brian
His constant abuse had left her broken
But one day Billy Joe found the resolve to fight back
Her end to the abuse was simple
She did it without even realizing what she had done
The prosecutor called Brian's murder a crime of passion
Billy Joe always maintained that it was self-defense
Through the trial
And into the sentencing
When she stood before the judge,
He gave her life in prison without the possibility of parole
Simply because she wanted to have a life free from abuse
And a free life she had in her jail cell
Her friends abandoned her
And her son refused to see her
Billy Joe spent many years in prison
Until one of the guards found her
She was hanging from the ceiling by her belt
At her feet was a small note addressed to her son
It said simply: I love you
Her funeral was very small
It was only attended by her son and his wife and daughter
All her son could think about was the lesson he had learned
Love has nothing to do with control or fear or denigration
Love is commitment and respect and devotion

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