She walked out the door, the breeze catching her long dark hair and blowing it slightly off her back. The window shook as the screen closed behind her. One final look back showed the fury in her eyes. Clutching her suitcase tight, she stormed to her car. With one easy movement she flung her suitcase into the back seat.
The tears slid down her cheeks, she wiped them away furiously as if they were betraying her. Sliding into the drivers seat, she slammed the door and drove away from the house. Going down the road, unsure of where she was headed, she swerved, almost hitting a mailbox on the corner.
“That would have been really fucking stupid,” she cursed, looking in the rear view mirror as she passed it.
The road blurred in front of her, seeming to dull her mind. Not wanting to fall asleep she turned on the radio. Her favorite song came on so she turned it up. It fit her mood exactly, the anger raced through her, feelings of betrayal.
The music filled the car, the pounding in her chest matched it perfectly. The singer's voice flooded the speakers as if he were speaking just to her. She hummed along with the lyrics until she was screaming. It didn't ease her like it usually did, this time was different. This time... there was no going back.
Again she looked in the mirror. Her eyes red and swollen not only from the tears, but from the bruises that were slowly forming. It took everything she had to be able to leave, now if she was just strong enough to stay gone. That was going to be the hard part.
She turned onto the highway as the song ended and another filled the air. Her thoughts raced almost as fast as the music she was listening to. Today was the worst it had ever been, things were completely out of control and nothing could have prepared her for it.
Now she was driving down the busy highway; away from her life, away from the man she thought loved her. With every mile she went her heart felt like it was breaking into another piece.
How had things gotten so confusing? When did I get so lost? she wondered. If she was going to be honest about it she would have to go back to where it all started. The question she had to ask herself was... could she relive it?
She tried as hard as she could to push the events of today to the back of her mind, but it wasn't working. Memories filled her, no matter what she did. Driving faster wasn't working, counting how many of the other cars passed her wasn't working, the music wasn't even working.
She passed under highway signs, each telling of the next exit. The words all blurred in front of her, making it difficult to figure out where she was going. It didn't help that the pain in her face was distracting her either.
Looking down, she reached for her purse. A couple pain killers should help. They always did before, she thought. She pulled the prescription bottle free, knocking some of her make up onto the seat. Just one thing to go right today, just one thing to make me not give up completely.
She looked down at the gauges on her dash, and saw that she was getting low on gas. Heading toward the next off ramp, she felt certain she would find a gas station. Even though she had been driving for hours, she felt it was still too close to home.
Home, she thought, ruefully. That hasn't been home for a long time. Then again, was it really and I was just fooling myself?
At the end of the ramp there was a stop light. Left or right? she wondered, looking in both directions. There were no cars coming. Doesn't really matter, I suppose.
Turning the wheel to the right she headed down the road. Most of what she drove by were beautiful, upscale homes, with lawns that seemed to stretch for miles. The scenery seemed to pull her mind from her memories and for the moment she was able to enjoy what she saw.
Part of her was afraid her car would die on the side of the road before she found one. Finally seeing a gas station she pulled in. Opening the door, she stepped out. Her long, slender legs quickly attracting the attention of the attendant.
Telling him to fill it up, she walked into the station in search of something to eat and drink.
He always took care of these things, why didn't I pay more attention? She began berating herself for not knowing what to do with her car. Maybe he was right, maybe I am no good for anyone.
Fresh tears filled her eyes and she blinked them back furiously. Taking a look out the window, she was glad that the attendant was still outside. He appeared to be checking under the hood. Is there something else I've forgotten? she wondered.
When he came in he quoted her a price for the gas and let her know that he had put in a quart of oil. She paid for her gas, oil and the food, then she left.
Feeling him watching her, she quickened her pace. Once she was safely back inside the car, she started it and pulled out of the station.
She headed back to the highway. The driving let her mind roam but she didn't feel that she was far enough away, at least not yet. Continuing North, she drove as if on auto pilot. Where she was going or why, she didn't really care. It was the distance she wanted... no needed. It was pushing her farther than the pain in her heart was.
After several more hours, she found a motel and pulled in. Mental exhaustion had overtaken her and she wanted nothing more than a hot shower to make her feel 'normal' again.
She walked into the office with her suitcase in hand and paid for a room. Flipping the key chain absently over in her hand, she headed to room 17. Opening the door, she could easily see that the room hadn't been updated since the mid 70's. The pattern of the curtains were faded, random stars on a maroon fabric, she was thankful she couldn't see them from the outside or she probably would have kept driving.
She dropped her suitcase casually on the bed and headed for the washroom. A shower would relax her tense muscles and perhaps let her unwind enough to get some sleep. Rearranging everything in the bathroom took only moments, but everything had to be right. Taking off her clothes and folding them neatly, she placed them on the lid of the toilet so they wouldn't get wet. When she stood naked in front of the mirror, she could see the way she had placed everything.
"No! Not anymore, he can't make you do this anymore!" she screamed . "This is not 'His' house. He can't touch you here."
She quickly replaced everything and leaned against the door, shaking. She collapsed to the floor, unable to hold back the tears anymore.
The tears finally eased and she gathered herself up, supporting her weight against the wall. She chastised herself for losing control like she did.
As she was making her way to the shower there was a bang on the door.
“Is everything alright in there?” screamed an angry voice from outside the room.
She froze, unsure of what to say. Go away! Just leave me be! Her mind screamed back.
“Hello? I asked if everything was alright... I heard a crash, as if something broke,” came the voice again.
She didn't remember hearing a crash, but with the walls being so thin... perhaps when she collapsed it was louder than she had thought. Finding her voice she replied, “Yes, everything is fine. Sorry for bothering you.”
“Fine,” came the voice, sounding less angry. “Fair warning though, if you break anything it'll be added to your bill.”
“I understand, but nothings broken,” she said. Now go away and leave me alone!
When there was no response she climbed into the shower. With no clothing to cover herself she had to come face to face with reality. Her arms and stomach were showing the beginnings of the new bruises. There were some that were healing but most of what held her attention were the newest ones.
She knew she should probably be in the hospital, but with what's happened she was more afraid of what they would say if she did go. Worse... what could she tell them?
The bruising on her stomach was bad, the worst it had ever been. What she was most worried about though was the ones he had left on her back. His favorite place to hit her was her kidneys.
One time she was cooking his dinner and he had come home from playing golf with his buddies. When he saw dinner wasn't ready he took one of the clubs and hit her so hard in the back that she fell to the floor and pulled the pot of boiling water off the stove. It sprayed over her legs, scalding them badly. She still had the scars.
“How could you forget?” she heard his voice ringing through her head. “Are you capable of remembering anything?” Then came the fists. Never to the face, at least not before today. This time was different. This time... this time he was going to kill her and she knew it.
Her body shook as she turned the water on, hoping that it would drown out the memories. As the spray hit her, the pressure fell against the bruises and seemed to intensify everything. There wasn't anyway to outrun them.
She new what they'd say 'why did you stay so long?' or 'How could you believe the empty promises?' They were right. She should have left a long time ago, but she didn't. She believed him when he said he'd get help, that it was always the last time. After the next bout of anger, she'd believe him again. How could she not? He loved her... or so he claimed. Eight years... eight years of fear, hurt, bruises and more.
'Why did she stay?' she asked herself over and over. Nothing changed, he was always sorry... after. This time it was too late for sorry. This time it was too late for a lot of things.
The water sprayed down over her, beating against her skin but she barely felt it. The noisy pipes were even pulling her back farther into her memories. How the taps in the kitchen would rattle whenever you tried to run the disposal and water at the same time. How he would get angry about it but wouldn't fix it or hire a plumber.
Cheap bastard, she thought venomously. He would bitch if the windows were open too wide in the summer but wouldn't get off his ass to do anything about it. I don't have to worry about that at all anymore. I never have to worry about him again. I got away, that's what counts now.
She wasn't sure why she felt the need to reassure herself so badly but she did.
The water was turning cold, so she decided to climb out. Wrapping the towel around her, she walked into the other room and dropped on the bed. Even though the comforter looked like it was most likely older than she was, the bed itself was quite comfortable.
She let herself fall back, resting her head on the pillows. Not long after, she fell asleep, exhaustion from the day got the better of her. That's when the nightmares started... as they always did.
to be continued...