Just a small drab woman in a small drab room.
He only hit her once. The roundhouse knocked her off the kitchen chair on which she was trying to make herself as small and unobtrusive as she possibly could. She grabbed at something as she tumbled to the floor and that pulled the other kitchen chair toward her. It broke as it didn’t really break her fall.
Her head was spinning and all she could see was his shoes in front of her face. She hoped he wouldn’t kick her face with those dirty shoes. She didn’t know what she had done to annoy him so much.
The shouting, swearing, raving had been bad, and the threats worse. She didn’t think he would strike her, smash his hand into the side of her face, pummel her with all the power in that stocky body. In that instant she had seen the exultant look in his eyes as he expressed his total mastery. She did not know where she had gone wrong.
They had promised to love, honour, and cherish one another. Then came his need for drink, gambling, soft drugs, other women. Then came the lost apartments because he took all the money she had earned for their food and rent. The repossessed car, the unpaid credit card bills, the times he wouldn’t come home for days on end. The shouting and swearing were not as bad as the indifference and abandonment.
Once again she thanked whatever God there was that there were no children. She didn’t know if she could bear it if there were children to see her total degradation before his vicious domination.
Tears ran sideways down her face and mingled with the blood from her busted lip, a small stain on the dirty carpet.
She heard the cheap screen door slam as he left, the way he’d left her so many times before, debased, humiliated, hurt. She was glad he hadn’t wanted fast meaningless sex before he deserted her again.
He had only hit her once. Back there, in the dark recesses of what was left of her mind, she knew that one blow was only the beginning. The abuse would continue, he would go on using her as a whipped bitch, nothing but a degraded shadow married to a beast. Nobody would care if he eventually killed her.
She was just a small empty woman in a small empty room.