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From Grey to Free
I don’t know what made me write this story. I guess I always find it sad when a man abuses a woman or vice versa. I have never been in a situation like this before so I could never fully understand the emotions or feelings of the party involved, but sometimes I wish they could take control of their lives back. Maybe not the way my character does but hopefully before it gets to that point.
They fought again last night. She hated when they fought. She sat in the kitchen looking out into the grey morning holding a warm coffee cup. She felt the way the weather looked: grey.
She brought the mug to her lips and winced. She had almost forgotten about the cut on her lip; the physical evidence of their fight. She held back tears when she thought about how many busted lips and bruised faces she had endured over the years. The pain of the initial hit began to feel numb. She could no longer feel the stinging shock of his hand hitting her face. She no longer cried at the surprise of the attack. It was no longer a surprise. It had come to be expected. She barely even flinched.
He was sweet at first. They met at a museum; her museum. The one she used to work at before he made her quit. She was on her way to becoming head-researcher for the anthropological section when he told her that he was all she ever needed.
And she believed him. She, who never before let anyone get between her and her work, whose previous fiancé left her because she worked too much, let a man convince her to leave everything that she had worked so hard to achieve.
She snorted at her stupidity. She had been too vulnerable, too eager when they met. Her fiancé had just left her a few months before and she was feeling alone, incomplete.
And there he was with his incandescent smile and sparkling eyes like he had just walked out of a dream. And she fell for him, face first.
Two months later they were engaged and on their way to Vegas, convinced that they were going to be the happiest couple in the world. And they were for a few months.
It all started when she came home from work later than usual. She had gotten caught up on examining a two thousand year old mummy that was to go on display the following year. She had been so excited about it that she lost all track of time. When she got home he was already a six pack deep into angry. She apologized just before he back handed her across the face.
The lies were shaky at first. Saying that you fell or walked into a wall awarded you with strange sympathetic looks. She knew that they knew. A month later he convinced her to quit.
He had an excuse for everything. It was never his fault that he hit her. Her head was filled with bullshit excuses ranging from “I was drunk” to “You know how crazy you make me”. After a few years he stopped apologizing altogether. No more forgive-me flowers, or justification chocolates. Nothing. Just more drinking. Just more pain.
She had almost forgotten what it was like to be happy. It seemed so long ago that it didn’t even feel real. Numb. Grey. She no longer seemed to care for her own safety. Family and friends all tried to help, but she pushed them away, too embarrassed.
She kept telling herself that things will get better. But they never did. She gently placed a hand on the slight rise in her belly. She gripped the mug in her hand so tightly her knuckles turned white. She furred her brow.
Things will get better because she is going to make them better.
She gently placed her mug on the counter and walked over to the knife rack. She pulled out the largest knife and slowly made her way up the stairs. He drank so much last night she knew he wouldn’t hear her open up the door. He wouldn’t hear her creep over to his side of the bed.
But he did feel the blade of the knife as she stuck it deep into his chest. And he did see his blood stain the sheets. And knew it was her.
She stepped back from the bed and watched as the life escaped from him. She saw the whites of his eyes riddled with fear as he gasped for air. She waited for his gurgling to cease before she called the police.
No more lies. No more hiding. What jury would convict a pregnant woman for killing her alcoholic, wife-beating husband?
She laughed, a sound she hadn’t heard in years.
She was free.