Tuesday, February 9, 2010


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.


Anonymous said...

This was written beautifully, Kat.

I was holding my breath to see what happened next. A great, albeit sad story.

Awareness is essential... thank you.

Anonymous said...

OH Kat! This is wonderfully written and with such a great message to women who might be in this situation.

And the picture is so interesting, it caught my eye at once.

I wish you the best of luck placing it! =D

Glynn said...

It's not just a short story, Kathy. It's also an extended poem. And it comes right from the heart.

Janet Oberholtzer said...

Excellent, excellent writing!

Though the content of the story makes me sad and anger ... wishing I could help every woman in a situation like this.

Janet Oberholtzer said...

Another thought ... This is also a good reminder that there are two sides to every coin ... most times waiting patiently is a good thing - but not in this scenario!

Kelly Sauer said...

Powerful. And kinda scary. I am really blessed.

Annie K said...

Wow, excellent story Kat. I wish every woman had the courage to get themselves and their kids out of this situation. I've seen way too many kids incredibly affected by this.

Corinne Cunningham said...

Wonderful job, lady. You've got a talent for bringing multiple powerful messages together.

Russell Holloway said...

Thank you for that story. If only it were rare. Unfortunately it is not.

HisFireFly said...

I'm left without breath. This was beautifully written.

You are so much more than an encourager of other writers.. but a true artist yourself!

Jeff Selph said...

I'm not sure if I liked this. It was really interesting and well written, but it made me feel sad. I guess I'll have a love-hate relationship with this post.

Bonnie Gray said...

Powerful, Kathy.

"Empty Promises. Patiently." That was the loudest line... on top of the clap and burn of the abuse.

I love how you deliver a hand straight to those hurting at the close of the story.

Nick the Geek said...

I have a very hard time reading stories like this because I know they are not fiction.

This is the kind of thing that is my biggest failure in patience. I see broken people in broken situations and I want to fix the problem, but God is calling me to relationship with people not to fixing the problems. The difference is that relationship allows for reaching the core issues while problem solving on deals with surface issues so the root keeps coming back.

Maureen said...

Kathy, this is like a page from the notes on calls to domestic violence hotlines. It is a story but it is not fiction. You've given us an excellent post.

At least three of us addressed the same issue in different ways. The first in my 4-part poem is on this topic, and Louise's post (I twittered it) is, too. Nice bit of unintended synchronicity.

Here's the link to Louise's post:

Anonymous said...

the ones in these situations i think might feel that this is normal, or that there is no help for them.

yet, as much as it happens, it is not a good situation, and there is help.

you have written this very well. you should continue to write and share your writing.
and well done on adding the places for people to contact help.

jasonS said...

So sad, but it does indeed happen every single day. Lord, help us...

Lorrie said...

Unfortunately, very common. Good job of sad story :-)

S. Etole said...

expectantly written ... hope and patience

Doug Spurling said...

All too true Kat. Where did it come from??? You're in my prayers.

Kathleen Overby said...

Your post is the different one in the carnival. As you used patiently, it looked benign but was actually quite malignant. A place for the cancer to grow unhindered.
Quite a sad twist-the fear shadow. A post like this rips away the hand trying to silence her. Brilliant & succinct. {Eyes wide]

Louise Gallagher said...

Powerful story Kat. And while mine has a happy ending (it is my ending), the reality of your ending is unfortunately true for most women. Of the women killed by their significant other, 75% of them are murdered in the act of leaving.

Leaving is scary -- and we intuitively know it.

I told a counsellor after I got free that I was most angry about the fact that I didn't get up and leave.

She said that is probably what saved me.

Keep writing Kat.


Bina said...

My mouth is hanging open and my mind is void of words.

Absolutely amazing...and oh so true.

katdish said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I struggle to understand how and why women (and some men) find themselves in these situations and why they don't just leave. Louise, your comment was very sobering. I'm so glad that you survived and you are helping others.

It's easy for me to say that I would never tolerate being subjected to violence at the hands of someone who claims to love me. And if I'm being honest, it just make me ANGRY at the abusers. But the reality is, I've never been in this situation, so I'm trying very hard not to judge. Instead, I'm praying for protection and courage.

"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in times of crisis preferred to remain neutral." ~ Dante

tsholo said...

awesome writing!

richd said...

Please let me never confuse patience and complacency.

How many times do I see something I know to be wrong, but find an excuse to settle? The message about domestic violence is haunting, but your story touches at so many other lavels. Thanks.

richd said...

Please let me never confuse patience and complacency.

How many times do I see something I know to be wrong, but find an excuse to settle? The message about domestic violence is haunting, but your story touches at so many other lavels. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. What an simple yet amazingly poignant story. Fiction that is non-fiction. Well written!