Chapter One – The hit
Every time he hits me it’s not the impact of cold hands against my skin, not the pattern of carefully placed purple and red, not even the ripple of pain that makes waves in my head. No, the most spectacular thing about it is the knowledge that I could leave, I could stand up and walk out of that house at any moment and tell him that I can’t do it anymore, yet here I stand. Bruises and all I take what he gives and then I accept it for what it is. I’m not my friends who are so strong and admirable, and I’m not my mother who demands respect, she tells me to never let a man lay a hand on me; instead I’m weak, too selfless for my own good, and obsessed with the distant fantasy of a perfect man who I believe I can fix.
That’s the problem because it seems like every time I realise that my dreams are nothing more than dreams, and my feet just touch the doorstep, he drags me back. Pleas of forgiveness and reused promises of change; they draw me deeper into the palms of his calloused hands, and there I stay until the next time I get too scared. Becoming afraid for myself, for my future and for my social standing. That’s when my mind once again wanders towards the door. I know he’s a good man because he’s my man, he doesn’t mean to hurt me like this but he’s just frustrated and he needs support, to which I will always give. I know that other people wouldn’t see it that way though because they could only see the bad, the marks on my body which I try so hard to hide will tell them a story control and abuse, rather than also show them all the good times and sacrifices we have made just to be together.
A light which has made its way through the thin curtains of the bedroom showers his features, bringing his face to life. It’s times like these that I wonder how a man this beautiful and kind could lay his fists on me, but I know that answer to that. “It’s not his fault” has become a mantra and one that I must practise regularly to avoid thoughts of a doubt because it is there. I can’t pretend like it’s not; I’m successful in my work and I know that I could find another decent man if wanted to, but I don’t want to, I just want my man to be decent.
The night swept over my confused mind, luring the heat from my tired muscles; the night gives me a temporary escape from all other thoughts. Unsure of why he wasn’t laying beside me yet, I send him a message; “Where u at? x” but to no reply. My eyes grow heavy and vision of a small room begins to fade. Distinct heavy footsteps quickly snap me out of my haze, must be him but he seems in a hurry. Bursting through the doorframe his tall figure makes his presence known very clearly; carrying something with him in his hand he makes his way over to me. I don’t like this at all, it’s not like the other times. This time I can see the pure rage in his eyes, and as I reach for my phone just in case, he grabs my arm, digging his blunt fingers into my cold flesh, my heart skips a beat and I don’t even want to look at him. The next thing that takes me a couple seconds to comprehend is a stiff metal barrel against the temple of my skull.
“So who is your new toy boy Cam?” Confusion and terror rushed over me; I begin to stutter but I know I can’t, he will think I’m lying.
“I don’t know who you are talking about I promise you I would never be a-un-unfaithful.”
He examines my expressions, reading my face, analysing my every move.
“I looked through your purse today, found a little piece of paper with the name ‘Cam’ and a phone number, so I called it and the voice that picked up certainly wasn’t a woman.”
Fuck. Cam from the gym, it must have been her husband who picked up, how was I so stupid. Now I’m left to realise that I might be fighting for my own life because of a number of a girl I got at the gym and left to think if this is all worth it if this is the life I want to live; where a single mix up could cost me everything. I take a second to glance back down at my thighs, painted in bruises; a canvas now being washed away by the tears that just keep flowing. Now I know that I can’t do this, not now, not ever again. I can’t heal someone when I myself need to be healed, I’m done.