Thrown across the room, the side of my face that stung so badly came in contact with the cold and hard, white wall. Tears rolled down my face, stinging as I heard the boom and dark tone in his voice.
And I could hear our kids crying outside of our door. Daddy, stop! Daddy, please! Daddy, don’t make Mommy sick again!
Just as I felt myself sliding down the wall I was lifted back into the air, shaken. “Who do you think you are?! You think you run this house?!”
“No.” I cried, trying to calm him down.
“I RUN THIS HOUSE.” My husband shook me violently, reminding me of the many lies he told.
The very first began on our wedding day, exactly ten years ago today. I remember it so vividly. It was before we had kids, before he had a well paying job, before the many women, before he… changed.
Every day was beautiful, he loved me and I loved him. There was nothing that we wouldn’t share, nothing we wouldn’t do for one another. And then it got to the point where I was the only one doing and giving and caring and loving. And soon I got nothing in return. I love you. You’re my queen. I care about you, you’re my world. I love you, I love you, I. Love. You.
But how do you hurt and beat the one you ‘love’.
Snapped back to reality, I felt his ring cut across my cheek, seeing through a now swollen eye as blood dripped from my lips and nose onto my shirt. “Yeah Bitch, you think you run things enough to call the cops on me?!”
“No, I promise I didn’t call. I didn’t call.”
He dropped me and kicked me in my stomach, hovering over me as I curled my body up, writhing in pain. “THEY CAN’T HELP YOU.” And I see that now. He snatched me back up, slamming my back against the wall. I whimpered, trying to remove myself from his grasp as I prayed silently. Wishing that I’d told my children I loved them before he came home. Wishing they didn’t have to feel or know they won’t see me alive after tonight.
He threw me down, onto our bed, pounding his fist into my side. “Please stop, I’m sorry!”
I pulled myself into fetal position, screaming as he tried to straighten my body out. Kicking and pushing him away didn’t help, it only made it worse. The next slap was the hardest I’ve ever felt from him. Forcing my head to the right as I screamed out, crying as he began ripping my clothes off. “Bitch, I’m about to teach your ass about fighting back.”
“Please, don’t. Please.” My voice was so weak, throat was dry and burning from the blood I was spitting up.
He slapped me again and I spit up more, giving up and willing myself to die right here and right now.
Daddy, please stop hitting Mommy! Mommy, pray! I could faintly hear my oldest banging on the door, trying his hardest to kick and knock it open. But his tiny body isn’t strong enough, and I know it.
“I’m gon’ show you about fighting me back. Bitch you know better, you wanna act like you run shit like an adult around here, you gon’ take these ass whippings like an adult.”
He ripped my panties from my body, prying my legs open as I tried my hardest to keep them closed. Wrapping them around his waist and pulling me closer, he undid his pants and thrust into me without any warning. Feeling nothing but pain I screamed as loudly as I could, praying that for once my neighbors would intervene.
“Shut up and take it.” He grunted loudly, deeper, with the greatest amount of force, pounding into me as I cried out, trying to push his heavy body off of mine as he wrapped his hands around my neck. “Please stop. You’re hurting me, you’re not supposed to hurt me.”
It felt as if my insides were being ripped apart, and his grip around my neck tightened as he groaned and said the one thing I never ever wanted to hear again. “I love you, but you make me act this way. You make me hurt you.”
Barely breathing as his grip tightened even more, he continued and I stopped moving. All sounds began fading around me, parts of my life flashed before my eyes as tears fell and stung my face. I couldn’t even hear my babies outside the door anymore. And then he came, pulling out after he finished convulsing on top of me, letting my neck go as I gasped for air and he said over and over in low whispers … I love you.
I was scared to sit up, scared to move, or say anything. Lifting my arms that now felt like the heaviest weights, I saw that my light brown skin was bruised. Red, purple, black. Marks from tonight, marks from three nights ago. My hand to my lips, I felt the cuts before touching my entire face, letting out the most guttural scream.
Mommy, don’t give up! Don’t leave us! Fight! My babies were still outside the door, hearing it all. And looking at my husband as he fixed his clothes, he turned to me with tears in his own eyes. Drunk, and unrelenting in his anger towards me, he finally sobered enough to realize he’d done again.
“I’m sorry Tara. I love you.”
He was just about to unlock the bedroom door and walk out. “I used to love you.”
“What?” My voice was so weak, and shaky, I barely heard myself. But I’d said it. I said what’s been on my mind and heart for the last year. “What’d you say to me?”
I sat up slowly, forcing myself to get up and walk. Stumbling just a little, I made it to my side of the bed. “What did you say to me, Tara?”
Putting on the first pair of shorts I saw, I reached to the very back of the drawer and grabbed the knife I’d hidden six months ago. “I used to love you.”
“You STILL love me.”
I shook my head slowly, unsure if he’d gotten closer to me or not. All I know is, no one is going to help me. And if I gotta die tonight, I’m gonna die fighting. I felt his hand on my back, and with all of the energy I could muster up I turned around and stabbed him, getting his arm instead of his chest like I intended. “What the fuck is wrong with you Tara?!”
“I can’t take this anymore.” His eyes held the same fear mine held the very first time he ever put his hands on me, and he backed up as I limped towards him, trying to build up enough strength to fight and keep fighting.
He swung, hitting me but this time I refused to fall down. With the knife in my hand, I swung, cutting his wrist as he put his arms up to protect his neck. “Put the damn knife down!”
“No!” I swung again, missing as he grabbed me and spun me around, with my back to his chest he forced the knife out of my hand and turned me back around, slapping me down to the floor.
“I tried to apologize to your stupid ass! Nothing is ever good enough for you, just an ungrateful bitch!”
I looked up and wiped my mouth, standing up slowly before charging at him, knocking him into my vanity before he picked me up, attempting to throw me back down onto the bed again. I flailed my legs, kicking him in the balls before he dropped me. Trying to hurriedly run out the door, I couldn’t unlock it quick enough. He grabbed and pulled me back, trying his best to drag me into the bathroom. I know he ran water, nearly drowning me whenever I disobeyed was his favorite thing to do.
I gripped on to the frame of the door, resisting with everything I had in me. I could still hear my babies shouting. Fight Mommy, fight, fight. Fight Tara. Using the split second he loosened his grip on me, I pulled away enough to run to his side of the bed and grab his gun from under it. “I’m sick of you running from me Bitch!” He stopped in his tracks and for the first time I was thankful that he’d left the safety off of it. “Tara, you know I love you, put that gun down before you regret it.”
“I refuse to let you hurt me anymore. Love isn’t supposed to hurt.”
“Put. It. Down.” I cocked the gun, pointing it as him as I started to inch towards the door. Instead of staying still like I hoped he would, he tried to charge towards me. “Bitch!”
Feeling the last six years of anger I had pent up take over me, I fired and I didn’t stop until the clip was empty, even after his body dropped to the floor. Outside the door I could hear my daughters screaming and crying as I slid down in the corner, begging for God to forgive me.
“Please get an ambulance and cops here, I think my daddy killed my mommy. We heard gunshots.” More tears fell as I heard my oldest. I literally had no strength left in me, no more fight, nothing. I could hear them screaming for me, still trying to open the door. “I’m going to hang up, but please come fast, please. Dani, go look for the ambulance.”
I crawled to the door, pulling myself up as I struggled to unlock it, my chest heaving up and down before it finally opened and I fell out. I could feel three pairs of arms wrapping around me and my youngest baby placed a towel against the cuts on my face “Mommy, you’re okay!!”
“Don’t go in that room Babies. Don’t ever go in that room.”
“Did he run away?”
How do I tell them that I killed their father so that he wouldn’t kill me?