When she left him, it wasn’t a moment too soon. She had stayed for far too long but couldn’t imagine her life any other way. She felt stuck. Stuck where she lived. Stuck in this situation. Stuck with him. She needed to get away, but where would she go?
Five years together was a long time. A lifetime. An eternity when you didn’t want to be there. Five years was never something to brag about. Five years meant nothing except for five years of insults, five years of assault, five years of beatings. He raised his hand to her four days after they were married. Four whole days. But of course he didn’t mean it. He was a passionate man, and she had upset him so much when she wore that short skirt and too much makeup for his liking. She was told she was married and didn’t need to dress and look like that anymore. She was told that if she ever did it again, she would have more than a busted lip.
When stitches were needed the first time, it was because she was a half hour late getting home from work. A half hour. She stayed late to earn some more money to pay for a nice birthday gift for her husband. She did it for him. And how was she repaid? With a gash three inches long splitting her eyebrow. She told her friend she tripped and ran into the open front door. She smiled and tried to joke about her clumsiness. She was anything but clumsy. Didn’t she used to be a graceful dancer? Her friend knew she was lying. This was the first of may lies.
She lost the baby when he kicked her so hard in the stomach after she decided she wasn’t cooking dinner that night. She felt so sick all day and had no appetite to eat. Maybe a few crackers later if she was up to it. She had plenty of leftovers to serve him, but leftovers were never good enough. How dare she feed him “food that shouldn’t be served to animals!” She ran when she saw the rage in his eyes and balled fists that were never going to relax. The running made him more angry. She didn’t want to make him angry. She realized that too late as she was running from him. Running to save herself. Running to save the baby.
The baby was not saved. But she was. That night, filled will adrenaline and more courage than she had ever possessed in her entire life, she told the doctor in the ER how many times he had hurt her. She knew it was the last time. That night, her mom and friend packed up all of her belongings. She would never return to him. She was ready to leave town, if only for a short time. But she knew she had to leave. She would create distance. So goodbyes were said and tears were shed. There was no other way.