The following is my first attempt at a short story and is part of the One Word Blog Carnival: Patience hosted by Bridget Chumbley at One Word at a Time.
image courtesy of photobucket.com
She was 17, just a few months away from graduation and looking for a fast way out of a bad situation. She’d heard her dad promise her mother he would stop hitting her; had been hearing it for years. And her mom waited for him to make good on all those promises. Patiently.
She’d seen so much hurt in her young life that when she saw the “health care professionals” booth during the career day at school, she thought being a nurse would be a good fit. She wanted to help some of the hurting stop. So she filled out the necessary paperwork to enroll in nursing school, mailed it off and waited to hear back. Patiently.
Five years later, she’d made a good life for herself. She loved being an ER nurse. The money was enough to get her a place of her own. A good life in many ways, but also a little lonely. So when the handsome EMT took more than a professional interest in her, she agreed to dinner and a movie. When dinner and a movie turned into a something more, she wasn’t so lonely anymore. Sure, he drank a bit more than what she would have liked, but he worked long hours and needed a way to unwind. Besides, he promised her he would quit after he got the promotion he was working so hard to get. So she waited for the promotion to come and the drinking to stop. Patiently.
A year later, the promotion still hadn’t come and the drinking hadn’t stopped. She got up the courage to tell him she was leaving one night, but instead she said yes to him as he took her hand on bended knee and placed a ring on her finger. He must really love her, and she knew she could love him back.
She paced the floor of their tiny kitchen, waiting for him to arrive home from a late shift. The pregnancy test had confirmed what she already knew – they were going to be parents. Surely the added responsibilities of fatherhood would make him stop drinking. He said he never wanted to be a drunk like his dad.
When he finally arrived home much later than expected, he smelled of bourbon and sweat. She was angry and probably shouldn’t have told him he was going to be a drunken dad just like his father. That was the last thing she remembers before she saw his fist coming towards her face. Then everything went black.
She woke up the next day in the hospital with her husband by her side. When the doctor started asking questions about her multiple injuries, her husband's cold stare and the tightening grip on her hand drained any courage she had left out of her. He had already convinced the police it was an accident. Surely he could convince the doctor as well.
Twenty years and two children later, the drinking and the beatings continue. So do the empty promises. And just like her mother, she still waits for her husband to make good on all those empty promises. Patiently.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
85% of domestic violence victims are women.
Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline website features a "quick escape" button that will immediately redirect you to an unregistered site in case you think your computer may be monitored, or you can call them toll free, 24/7 at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).
If you are being abused, there is help out there, and no one has the right to raise a hand to you. This story is a work of fiction, but sadly, all too real for many women. You can find other, real life stories here: Love Fraud dot com
To read a story with a much better ending, please visit Recover Your Joy.