So you have had it. You are tired of living in fear. Last night he threatened you with a knife. His hunting knife. It felt huge when he held it up against your throat. You hate being called names such as bitch, whore and ugly. It should have been all right but your daughter called from a friend’s house and asked if she could stay a while and study together. Your son came home from school with an F on a test. But dinner was ready and he, your abuser, came home and was upset with his supervisor. He yelled at you when he got home. But he was calmer when you told him dinner was ready. He tells you that there is a party next week his boss is giving. He tells you you had better look good and not embarrass him because you are slutty and stupid.
You sat down at the table and you brought out the food. He doesn’t want cold food. You can hear the baby crying so you get up to go and get the baby. As you walk past him to get the baby, he grabs your upper arm and it hurts. He is asking why you are leaving the table and you say because the baby is crying. Actually, he is now screaming. He gives you a shove and tells you the baby wouldn’t be crying if you weren’t such a lazy slob. Oh, where is our daughter? At a friend’s, studying. He then declares he wants you to call and get her home. He asks your son a question as you run upstairs to grab up the baby. But from there you can hear a slap flesh upon flesh. You are standing in the nursery listening to him screaming at your son and you are shaking with fear.
You make the call, and walk downstairs with the baby and he tells you to hurry up. You grab the high chair and slide the baby in. You give the baby a sippy cup full of milk and some mashed potatoes. As you get the beer your abuser demands, the baby pours milk into potatoes and begins finger-painting with it. Your husband screams at the child and the child begins to cry hard. He throws mashed potatoes at the center of the table. Your son laughs because he thought it was really funny. Your husband grabs your son and begins to punch him. This has never happened before. You are surprised. Your son runs upstairs. You reach to pick up the baby and your husband reaches for you and punches you. Your first thought is how you will cover the bruise. Then he shoves you against the room and you end up against the stove and the handle of the oven stabs you. He stares at you, picking the baby up and putting him on the floor to toddle quickly away. You begin to leave the room also and he grabs your hair and pulls you close to him. He slaps you across the face. And then he pushes you down into a chair and tells you to eat the swill you made for dinner.
Tonight it feels worse and you are terrified. Then he punches your face again and a tooth cuts your lip. He sees your fear and he thinks it is funny that he can control you with such little effort. Your daughter quietly comes in and runs to room. Your husband picks up a bowl of steamed vegetables and throws it. The crash sounds loud. He then reaches for his plate and pushes the plate into your face and spreads it around. You are now crying and hurting and then he punches you in the stomach. You slide to the floor and he begins to kick you over and over again. You scream for him to stop and he kicks harder. Your kidneys, your stomach and your head. There is blood everywhere. Then he picks you up and begins to choke you while telling you he is thinking of killing you tonight. Your son comes down and begs your husband to stop hurting you. Then he pounds on your husband’s back with his fists, tears sliding down his face. Your husband shakes off your son and grabs a jacket and stalks out the door.
You are crying hysterically, you are in terrible pain. Your children are all crying now. You finally think that you can’t stay because of everything he screamed at you, that he wanted to kill you, is what you know will happen. You clean up the kitchen and gently wipe little faces and your own. You look into the mirror and wonder what has happened to that pretty young girl that used to look back at you. You put the children to bed and they have cried themselves to sleep. You sit down on the couch and think about all that the hotline counselor told you. Because you have to get out, He will kill you.
The counselor told you to take your information off of the computer. You haven’t emailed anyone except to pass on a joke or a cartoon. You get up and change your username and passwords. You change the password on your secret bank account. It has your escape money. He knows nothing about it. But you know you will be raising three children alone. You never use the house phone because a corded phone is easier to tap. The counselor told you to get a burner phone and have one hidden in the tank of the toilet. You pack up clothes and toys and medications and hide the bags in the attic. You take a shower and go to bed. At sometime during the night he comes home and you can feel the mattress sink as he gets into bed. You are pretending to be asleep. But what you are really doing is praying that he has not killed you before dawn. At some time during the night, you fall asleep. He is gone when the baby’s cries awaken you. You turn over in the bed and feel so sore and then you remember last night. You know you have to get out and stay out.
You get the children up, dressed and they are eating breakfast. While they eat you get ready; going over the mental list the hotline counselor gave you. You begin checking things off as you do them. You know in your heart, you will get a restraining order as soon as possible. You had thought you would never do that. You had left before and gone to your mom’s but he came and brought you roses and candy. He cried. He swore to your parents it would never happen again. You know this time you won’t believe him. You call a cab and one arrives and the driver is very nice and helps the kids into the vehicle. He puts all of your bagged up possessions into the trunk. He is going to take you to the domestic violence shelter. You get into the cab and get a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. The bruising is really getting bad. You wonder if your ribs are broken. But you sigh and the cab driver pulls the cab into traffic. You are starting a new life for yourself and your children. You are scared but staying is scarier. You just want to be safe.