A two-year-old narrative

Two years ago tonight I took a backhander, right across the face. I’d taken my glasses off for bed, and I remember, in those flickering points of lucidity which spark in crisis, thinking that it was just as well, or they’d have been broken. The night before, there’d been a knife at my throat – me balanced precariously on one knee, rough hands twisted through my hair, and the cold point of a blade riding just above my right clavicle.

Two years ago tonight I went to bed despairing, defeated, completely without plan or hope. I went to bed knowing how close I’d come, the night before, to losing my life: an inch of movement, an unbalanced stumble, could very well have caused blade to penetrate skin, and his parting words that night – “I should have killed you when I had the chance” – still rang in the back of my mind. And part of me didn’t care. There was fear there, yes, but there was also despair – which, it turns out, is a very effective anaesthetic.

It was different in the morning, though, because something happened in my mind overnight. Somehow, on that Saturday night two years ago, something clicked in my brain: some bright, diamond-hard determination to live, to seize freedom, to escape. I woke with a plan, as though I’d spent years working on it, and no blueprint conceived in military headquarters has ever been so well-executed. I woke at five, in the pre-dawn darkness of a Sunday morning, and I packed a bag in the sleeping-it-off silence of our bedroom. I put the bag in the car – I even remembered to pack my phone charger – and put my wedding and engagement ring in their little bowl on the kitchen windowsill, where I used to leave them while I was doing the cooking and washing up. Then, carrying only my keys, I went to tell my husband that I was leaving.

My abiding memory – other than the burning determination in his face that I wasn’t going anywhere, he’d kill me before I left him – was of him, standing in the street outside our house, in his marled grey shirt and pyjama bottoms, ashen-faced with the disbelieving horror of what was happening to him. His wife was leaving him. His world was shattered.

Mine, at twenty to seven on a Sunday morning, with a the beginnings of a black eye and a suitcase full of stuff, and seven hundred dollars to my name, was just beginning.


2 thoughts on “A two-year-old narrative

  1. Thank God he didn’t kill you or hurt you any more than he already had, but just as importantly, that you had the courage and wisdom to take that first step into your new life. May each day of your new life be better, brighter and filled with joy, peace and love.

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