Tears are streaming down her cheeks as she’s running up the stairs. Taking two steps at a time in her desperation to get to the safety of her bed, the possibility to hide in her pillow a welcoming thought. He can’t hurt her there. She’ll be able to hide and pretend to be asleep. Be able to hide from his harsh words, words that keep cutting through her heart, her self-esteem, her very being. Tearing her apart every single time.
The door slams shut behind her as she enters the bedroom and she flops down on the bed, wrapping herself in the warm cocoon of the comforter, burying her face in the pillow. She just starts sobbing, losing herself in her tears, her sobs, her pain. Feeling like she’s losing consciousness as she gasps for air.
For the past couple of years living with him has been like this. Him blaming her for ruining his life, telling her he’s had better, telling her she’s worth nothing. That whatever she does it’s nothing, never good enough. Him lying to her, him treating her like a servant, a housekeeper, a cook, a hooker. There for him to use whenever he wants.
She’s accepted it, all these years. For the sake of the children; she doesn’t want them to come from a broken home. She accepts him telling their therapist that it’s her. While deep down she knows it’s him, purposefully tearing her down.
Today he dared to try and ruin her bond with the children. Today he took it a couple miles too far. She lives for her kids, everything she has done for the past years has been for her kids. Every penny she spent, every move she made, every fight she fought, every time she stayed, every time she gave in. Everything for her kids.
“You have no bond with your children. You are not their mother, they don’t see you that way. They don’t love you. They don’t care for you. You are no good for them. You’ll ruin them too.”
The words echo through her head. Is it true? Don’t they love her? Don’t they care? Is that the reason they behave so differently with her than they do with him? Deep down she knows it’s because of his zero tolerance towards any behaviour he finds unacceptable. His perpetual shouting, his force feeding, his punishments. She doesn’t want to be that kind of parent.
But after enduring it all these years it now takes very little for her to believe anything he says. To believe she is a worthless person. The lack of self esteem causing her to lose all common sense, not allowing her to see her true self, to neglect his words.
She breaks down again, believing that, indeed she brings nothing to this world, to this life. That she will not be missed once she’s gone. That the world will be a better place without her.
Worthless is all she feels.
It’s that moment she vows to herself that she will never allow this to happen again, that this was the last time he hurt her like this, that life hurt her like this. This is the last time she has been torn apart. After years, this has to come to an end. She can’t cope anymore and takes a heart-wrenching decision. She takes the last couple of steps and reaches the roof of the their building.
The image of her children crying next to her casket pops in to her head, too young to understand what’s happening. Too young to understand that their mother will never return to them. Being kept away from comfort of her family. Raised to be like their father by the very people who created that monster in the first place. It stops her from taking the last steps towards the edge of the roof. She can’t allow that to happen.
They need her.
She steps down and tries to contain her breathing. She reaches for her suitcase once she returns to her room and starts packing her life. Even though she doesn’t know where to go, she knows things will be alright. Once she leaves the house she’ll begin by making phone calls. As she lugs her suitcase down the stairs, she hears the oldest ask him why she’s not their mother anymore. She’s too stunned to contradict this and just leaves the house. She’ll be back for the children later.
Once outside she takes out her phone and calls the first person that comes to mind. The phone is picked up after the second ring and once again she starts crying all over again. After many hiccups her friend finally understands what she’s trying to say and tells her that of course she’s welcome to stay at their place.
As she walks to the nearest bus stop, she catches her reflection in a shop window. All she sees is a shadow of her former self, the rain washing away the tears.
“This is where my new life starts,” she whispers to herself. She tips up her chin, inhales deeply and marches on. Into her new life.