A PATH TO FREEDOM.
There she lay, writhing in pain in a pool of blood that was slowly matting on the wooden floor. She didn’t know how long she had lain in the exact spot he had left her. She was lucky this time. Her guardian angel must have really forgotten one of his numerous ongoing issues. She smiled unwittingly in the midst of her misery. Part of her shoulder-length wavy brown hair was matted with blood.
He did worse than this occasionally she thought. A few broken ribs, dislocated arm and a few bruises were nothing far too serious she couldn’t handle. She struggled to get on her wobbly feet. The concussion left her with a throbbing headache and sent her back to the wooden floor. It was only a matter of an hour before Kyrie came back from school and she had to go pick him up. “I can’t let him see me like this. I have to be strong for him,” she hissed in pain as she gave it a go again this time not falling despite the tremendous twinge.
The walk down the hall to the washroom was sprinkled with cursing and rustling expectedly. It felt like a million years in the Sahara. She cleaned her hair inadvertently leading to wishful thinking of cutting it despite Jack’s disapproval. It’s mine, after all, she thought out loud.
For someone who got beaten to a pulp, she sure could pass a cover-up test. The turtle necks, cardigans, long skirts and boots completely concealed the manifold scars. Soon she was ready to go although one couldn’t pass the trivial limp in her walk. An untold story for a miserable day, she sighed. She hopped on her old Chevrolet truck igniting it as she sped off to school. Only a couple of hours before he came back and the same old routine once again.
Parking at her usual spot, she could unambiguously spot him at his usual spot waiting patiently for her. Her heart skipped in contentment as a smile crept its way up her long face. “My precious baby,” she sighed. His innocent, calm and happy face made her defensive of him and her heart overflowed with irrefutable love. She couldn’t let his father do any harm to him without going through her.
As soon as he set his eyes on her, his baby face with chubby cheeks and one missing tooth lit up like the sun. He couldn’t wait to wrap his little arms around her neck for a good day’s hug. He’d been a good lad at school. Hopping from the truck her legs were engulfed by little arms unexpectedly. She couldn’t help but smile as she picked him up.
“Mommy I missed you,” he whispered as he snuggled more closer to her. “I missed you too kiddo,” she whispered back whilst kissing his head. He clung to her shoulder tighter more than expected sending a jolt of pain down her shoulder blade. She silently groaned but she couldn’t let him see the plastered look of pain. It’s better that way. She hugged him back dishevelling his short black hair gaining a cackle of giggles resounding from his cute mouth. “Let’s get you out of here buddy,” she said heading to the passenger’s side of the truck. She placed him on the seat locking the seat belt in place.
Soon she was over her side hoping he cast a blind eye and a deaf ear to her continuous cursing and grumbling of how she really needed a new truck. “Want to go for ice cream?” she inquired. “You know I can’t say no to that,” he grinned like a Cheshire cat sending her heart to somersault in excitement. “Hoo-ha! Here we come ice cream,” she shouted. She roared the truck to life and sped off in the opposite direction of whence she came from leaving a cloud of smoke.
“Make sure you do your homework,” she bawled behind him as his little legs carried him past the flight of stairs. He was a smart kid sometimes too mature for his age. She shut the heavy double doors behind her placing the keys at the usual spot next to the massive yet enticing entrance. Silence once in a while was good, she thought. Dinner was something she enjoyed preparing but when it came to Jack, one was never too sure. He shunned the things she loved. Although he gave her the best gift in her life, she had her regrets.
Pasta and meatballs were Kyrie’s favorite. Jack will claim to be full having been fed whatever it was that his mistress offered. She never expected anything from him and neither did he. It was a lesson learned the hard way. A mistake she dreaded a repeat of. He merely acknowledged their son’s presence.
Retrieving the pasta from the oven, she sensed a pair of eyes following her every move closely. She swore not to have heard an echo of the front door shutting or a creak of its opening. Well, don’t blame her. A time back her eardrum was slightly damaged deterring her sense of hearing.
Wishfully, she prayed her son was behind the exceedingly disturbing intense gaze but she knew better than that. Mastering the courage to look up she said, “Welcome home,” a statement she didn’t mean. “I was starting to wonder when you’d look up,” he sneered making calculated yet slow steps toward her rooted position. She didn’t dare make a sound. He hated it.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there,” she said barely audible lowering her gaze to the counter. “Oh! I know you did,” he said accusingly with a malicious smile creeping up his once handsome face. He basked in the ripples of joy brought about by her terrified face. It gave him a sense of being in charge. He owned her. Body and soul. At least that is what he believed.
He closed the gap between them towering over her and blocking her from her only escape route. She silently prayed Kyrie was in his room busy with his toys and not bearing witness to what was yet to unfold.
Grabbing her chin and lifting her face rather roughly he gritted beneath his perfectly shaped white teeth, “Sometimes I wonder what I saw in you. All you’ve done is turn my life upside down.” His face displayed no ounce of emotion. Only rage and immeasurable spurn for her. She didn’t do anything wrong or so she thought. “I apologize for my wrong doings,” she whispered underneath his intense gaze.
“What did you say?” He inquired throwing her backward almost landing on the boiling cooker. He was drunk. A low growl came from him as he roughened his hair fervently taking a few steps back. “Only a dumb b***ch like you would think saying sorry would change anything. You stole my life and my future and you’re going to pay for it dearly.”
He’d lost his patience and she knew what followed would land her in the same position as earlier. Before she knew it, a smack landed on her cheek echoing through the house. The beast was back and she couldn’t tame it no matter how hard she tried. She caressed her now sore cheek as tears cascaded. He couldn’t see them. Her hair blocked his view. Smoothly and silently, she wiped her tears and ganged up her strength.
In the spur of the moment, it suddenly hit her how long she had faithfully endured his actions. The beatings, the insults, the late-night arrivals. It all unraveled so clearly what needed to be done. No one in this lifetime or the next was going to fight for her. Maybe Kyrie. But he wasn’t of age. Yet. She was her only hope. An oasis in a desert. And so she made a decision that would alter her life forever.
She wasn’t going to back down easily this time. She was fed up of the false accusations and constant beatings. Enough was enough. “You blame me for everything that has ever gone wrong in your miserable life. What did I ever do to you?” she asked with a shrill voice. “Enough with the hypocrisy Jada. Don’t ask questions you know the answers to. The damsel in distress role doesn’t suit you,” he warned whilst pointing at her.
“No! I want to know. Look me in the eyes and repeat all my supposed wrongdoings,” she yelled with menace beaming in her eyes. She’d never been so livid before in her wretched life, “My friends have deserted me. My own family doesn’t want to see me all because of your ardent accusations. You certified I had no one left to turn to. And for what? To be your punching bag? The least you could do is enlighten me. I know I deserve that.”
She was trembling. Not that she had any clue why but she felt different. Different in a good way. A flicker of light she could spot at the end of the dark tunnel. Power. It surged through her cunningly. Waiting to be released from its cage. For the first time in a long time, she stood up for the truth. It gave a sense of triumph and trepidation. “You dare call me a coward?” He hissed though surprisingly she didn’t back down. It petrified him. Nevertheless, he didn’t hesitate to corner her rendering her destitute. “I made no implication in that and you know it. Don’t you dare turn this on me,” she screamed. “Oh! I didn’t. You have no fault. Miss goody two shoes. As always. But guess what, it all ends today.”
A second didn’t falter before she retorted with a reprisal so great. It never occurred to him that someone he looked down upon could finally equalize him. “How? How’re you going to end it? Kicking me out to the streets? Divorcing me? Better yet, wipe my miserable existence from the face of this earth? That’s very unoriginal. On second thought you’d be doing us both a favour. But let’s be crystal on one thing, the reason behind our fallout is not me. It’s because you’re a coward. You gave up on us before we even gave it a thumbs up. Furthermore, I just realised it’s not my job to make you feel like a man. I can’t turn you into something you’re not.”
Hurling her across the room, he couldn’t let her insult and disgrace him more. She’d pressed the wrong buttons and she had to pay dearly for it. It was too late now to saunter into a run from him. He towered over her. Kicking her furiously and mercilessly without giving a damn care about anything. Not even their son. He wanted nothing to do with the both of them. She was better off dead than alive anyway. Then perhaps he could’ve married the girl of his dreams. He felt nothing.
Empathy was a foreign lingo he didn’t want to perceive. His judgment was clouded and neither his allies nor family could convince him otherwise. It was an opportune time and an impromptu occurrence to let out his life frustrations and disappointments over the years on her.
Her feeble cries of distress made no notable difference and soon she felt darkness beckoning her. Acquiescence was a trait she highly ostracised. A fighter and a strong one, she was indeed. Learning and hardening through the pain was her area of expertise. Although the pain felt like a truckload of fireworks bolting through her frail physique, she was resolute.
Countless times she tried to stand up but it proved futile. Breathing became another horrendous mishap. There was no doubt internal bleeding was due. Her vocal cords were damaged too. She couldn’t make a sound let alone a whimper. As she slowly and unwillingly sank into the engulfing darkness, only one thought constantly rung in her head. Keep him safe. She finally relinquished control of her welfare to the forces of nature and let them resolve her fate together with supreme beings that she barely believed.
“Mummy, mummy wake up!” It was distant but clear as the day. Reality was indeed a blink away. Someone was calling her in dire need. A distressed voice sprinkled with sniffles now and then. It took a couple of minutes before her mind could actually register what was really happening around her. Like a memory, it occurred. Everything came rushing back like mighty waters finally released after a long period of captivity in a dam. Right from the point where it all started. Surfacing of her strong-mindedness, the merciless fight, her passing out and her last constant thought. Her son. Was he safe? Did his monster of a father get to him? Did he witness the unfolding of their endless arguments which spare no second to convert into a bloody fight? “Mummy wake up!” This time it sounded more distressed than before. She had to stumble into reality if only her eyes could comply. Her efforts didn’t prove vain after struggling. Well, her right eye was pretty much swollen and her body was covered by bruises that seemed to scream scars. She felt a million glasses shattered over her body and the pieces pierced deep inside her once joyful soul. “Ky, are you okay? Did he lay a finger on you? Tell me. Did he do anything to you?” She was desperate. She cared less about her voice which sounded foreign to her own ears. He’d done a ‘commendable’ job on her vocal cords. “No mummy. Am okay. We have to get out of here before he finds us.” “Where is he baby? Where is he?” She inquired trying to get up on her feet. “We have to go. Hurry!” “Okay.” It wasn’t the right time for her feet to give up on her. She needed their full cooperation in this despicable situation. Safety was her first priority for herself but most of all, her son. She didn’t fail to note to ask of Jack’s whereabouts later. Grabbing her car keys rather hastily, she couldn’t quite decipher what she should bring along. Soon they were out of the apartment which was once their home. Nevertheless, she turned for a quick glance, a goodbye, to the hell hole before speeding off in the opposite direction. A somewhat new life waited for them if Jack never found them. As life would have it, you don’t always get what you desire. Little did they fathom, fate had once again cheated the game.