Short story inspired by real events
Retold By Mira Khatib
I braced myself as another slap landed on my face; it was not so much the pain that terrified me, or dragging me across the room from my hair, because at this point I was numb, even the kicking and cursing didn’t really register. What truly terrified me was the thought that my daughter would see this aggression towards me.
But it was my fault after all; who could blame him? As I provoked him, I knew very well that he preferred one small spoon of sugar in his tea, but I was absent minded when I added an extra one. All hell broke loose; something I grew accustomed to although I never had gotten quite used to. I did my best not to upset him, especially after the birth of my daughter, but there are those times where I slip and I see his rage build up in an instant. He doesn’t become just a man, but more like an animal filled with rage. This time I got away easy; no whipping with the belt, or broken ribs, just a few bruises, and a cut lip. The taste of my blood lingered in my throat, how I detested the taste.
I am not sure how long I sat there, not even aware of my tears, but like every time, he reminded me of how lucky I am to have found someone to marry and accepted such a stupid, and ugly woman as me, that without him, I am worthless, I am nothing, I am no one. The funny thing is even as his wife; I still feel worthless, nothing, no one… I am just empty.
If it wasn’t for my daughter, I believe I would have ended this a long time ago; if I wasn’t such a coward. Many times I wished that his beatings would take me to the place of no return, but just when I would think that the end was close and I would gain my freedom by dying, he would stop; as if not wanting to even give me the pleasure of escaping to death.
I hear him calling “come here bitch!” that is the name I answer to most of the time. Now he wants to make amends, would I dare refuse? I lay on his bed and he has his way with me, I see I am no different than him as I too feel like an animal … accepting this cannot be humane.
Finally he rolls off of me, and falls asleep, into a deep slumber sleep, his snores pierce my ears, I wish he never wakes up, but again how would I survive in this world without him? I bathe myself and try hard to scrub away the stench of disgrace, but the harder I scrub the more disgusted I am with myself, the more ashamed…I almost cause myself to bleed.
I try to avoid my reflection in the mirror, appalled at everything I have become; I do not even recognize the empty soul staring back at me. I hear my daughter stir in her crib, and just like that I have to pick up my broken self and tend to her, because my daughter although unaware of it, she gave me reason to live, for if I didn’t become a mother I would have remained as nothing.
I look at her delicate innocent face and wonder how much longer before he decides to inflict the same fate on her. Will I ever allow the time to come? I stare at the door, and look back at those sweet gentle eyes unaware of the unjust and ugly world that awaits.
I do not believe what I am doing, as if my body has a will of its own. I pick up my daughter and step after another; I’m at the door, turning the handle ever so quietly. Bare foot, dripping hair, bruised and sore, yet the moment I step out of that dark place I feel I could breathe again. With my daughter in my arms, I just keep walking and never look back. There has to be a way, there has to be. I will make a way, for her sake. She is worth it, and you know what? I think…maybe just maybe… I might be worth it too.