Sitting on her bed she rubbed her arm gently. She could feel the bruising coming to the surface. At least it was her arm, not her face. It was never her face. He was careful of that. She had always thought of herself as a strong person. An independent woman. Now, she felt like she was stepping on egg shells and constantly checking herself, in case… just in case.
She looked back on her life and knew it wasn’t just down to her choices. Those wrong choices being made. She sometimes had things happen which she couldn’t stop, couldn’t change, couldn’t prevent. She couldn’t make decisions for other people but she had to start to make more positive decisions for herself.
She felt the vibration of someone – him – thudding up the stairs. She felt her body start to tremble. He didn’t seem to be in a positive mood. She knew that she would feel the repercussions of his day. That sweet smell, the combination of drugs and alcohol, mixed with a strong odour of tobacco hit her before he even stormed into the room.
He moved straight towards her. He was mumbling, swearing, cursing her under his breath. As he got nearer, she took a sharp intake of breath – the smell which he was omitting was so strong, it almost took her breath away. He went to grab at her, as she moved along the wall. He managed to catch her top and pulled aggressively at it. It slowly ripped as she pulled away from him. She felt the fear shudder through her body. She wanted to scream, to shout, but nothing would come out. She tried to move further along the wall, to escape from the bedroom. He was still pulling on her top, restricting her movements – the distance that she could get between them.
Stop! That’s all she wanted to say – and yet, nothing would come out. With one final pull she managed to escape the grasp, the connection, which he had between them. Her top was ripped. He fell forward. Unsteady. This was her chance.
She moved towards the door, holding her top around her to prevent any more exposure than she already felt. The handle felt hot in her hands as she pulled at it. She didn’t want to look around. She didn’t want to see him. She could feel him. She could smell him. She had to get out.
Pulling the door open, she could taste her opportunity to escape. She hadn’t been out of the house for weeks. He had kept her locked in. Locking the door whenever he went out. She didn’t know where he went, nor did she care. She felt a fear, no a hatred, of him that went through to her very core. He made her question her reason for existing. Her reason for struggling to get out of bed each morning.
As she literally fell down the stairs, she could feel the roar of anger growing behind her. He was much bigger and stronger than her, despite his addictions – or perhaps, even because of them. She knew that if she got to the door and it was locked that would be it. Game over. No escape. Ever.
The dark corridor, the distance from the bottom of the stairs to the front door seemed like a marathon. The light of the door seemed that it was leading her to heaven. To a safe haven. To a place where people didn’t hurt one another. Where love was shared in abundance…
Then the glint of light caught her eye. A shudder flowed through her body. He pulled her back, threw her against the wall. She dropped her tattered top and as she felt the cold metal gently slither over her neck, she tensed. Then she just let go… it was time… the inevitable was going to happen and she was no longer in a place where she could make any decisions.