It was Christmas evening and I was getting ready to out with friends. I was going to meet them at the bar as we obviously didn’t have anything better to do with our time than drink and spend time with each other. I was twenty two years old and unhappily married to Josh Evans, a twenty four year old emotionally and physically abusive husband who I couldn’t stand being around anymore. I had a slender build and weighed about 48kg. He had blond hair with piercing blue eyes and was slightly overweight. He was spending Christmas with his friends so going out was a better option than being alone at home. I finished up and slammed a black cowboy hat on my head as my hair was not working with me. I had my hair cut a few days ago and went from a long haired blond to a Chinese bob, black haired girl. I felt rebellious after hearing how worthless and ugly I was yet again but at least tonight I looked quite nice with my all black attire and my cowboy hat.
I walked into the bar and immediately found my friends and headed over to them. The bar had been distastefully decorated and looked like a cheap trailer park falling apart. We greeted each other with hugs and the first shots were already waiting. With Christmas cheers we threw back the shots and banged the glasses on the bar twice. As tradition went, I then went over to the owners of the pub to greet them as they were always sitting at the same spot where they could keep an eye on things. As always they greeted me warmly with a swift hug and shots in hand. They knew that I always came out and made sure to have shots prepared for when I walked in. They really liked drinking and mingling and alcohol made friendships flow so much easier. We talked for a while and headed over to the pool table which seemed to be the ‘it’ spot tonight. Everyone was loud and maybe had way too much alcohol in their systems but everyone loved playing pool and placing bets on who they thought would win. We would spin a bottle to see who would be getting the next round and lady luck was not on my side tonight as it was the second time it pointed in my direction. With over the top antics and everyone laughing at me I headed over to the bar to satisfy my overly loud friends. I had to fight through all the people to get a spot to stand as I waved my arm in the air like a crazy person trying to get the bar staff to notice me. Finally an unfamiliar face placed a red shot in front of me and smiled mysteriously. I said thank you and with a mysterious smile he said ‘It’s a pleasure Liz’. Stunned to silence, I stood staring at him as he walked away wondering how he knew my name. There’s someone new working behind the bar and I only noticed him now. How did I not see him when I walked in? I usually knew the entire bar staff and I became fast friends with them. The owners gave us special treatment because we were friends and everyone working there was informed of that fact. It always made me feel special knowing that I was a priority to someone, even if it was just at a bar. Spending lots of time and money in one place makes you a valuable asset.
I couldn’t help but stare at the new guy’s tall physique. He was wearing a tight black short sleeve shirt and his tattooed arms tensioned as he leaned on the bar talking to someone. His muscles flexed as his hands gripped the side of the wood. I noticed one tattoo standing out on his left forearm that said in capital letters written under each other WTF. His stomach was tight and his abs showed clearly through his shirt. His hair was dark and gelled to perfection and those eyes… those dark mysterious eyes that kept glancing in my direction. I suddenly felt vulnerable and exposed and didn’t know how to act. To my relief, Chloe, my friend came to drag me away as it was my turn to play pool. We waved to another bar tender and he brought us our usual drinks without hesitation. Playing pool was a welcome distraction from this mysterious face. As I aimed to hit the ball, I felt someone staring at me. I felt their eyes burning on my skin, and no matter where I went, I had nowhere to hide. Inconspicuously I looked up and from behind all the people surrounding the table I saw him looking at me, blatantly staring at me through the crowd. His presence threw me and I failed to concentrate on what I was doing and I missed the shot, and the ball was right in front of the pocket! He smirked and disappeared behind the sea of faces surrounding us. There was something about him that made me feel very uneasy, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it…yet.
For the rest of the night I felt his eyes on me constantly and no matter where I stood or behind who I was trying to hide, his eyes found me every time. He didn’t come up to me once nor did he give me another drink. Every time I would go up to the bar for a drink he whispered in one of the other bar men’s ear and they would pour my drink. ‘What is that all about? Did I do something wrong? Why is he staring at me then if he doesn’t even want to talk to me? Maybe he saw my wedding ring and decided to steer clear’. I had so many questions that he clearly wasn’t going to be answering. This guy had me rattled and confused and for some reason he couldn’t keep his eyes off of me. I felt confident tonight when I got dressed and now even my hat is making me feel silly. He was making me feel so self-conscious! Now here I am, standing between my friends who are all having a blast and I am zoning out completely because of a stranger. I feel like an empty vessel, floating between spaces with no real destination in mind. I was physically in the room but my mind was in a whole other universe and this dark haired stranger was definitely there with me!
As the night wound down I decided it was time for me to head home. I did my rounds and greeted all my friends who were booing me for wanting to leave. I started laughing at them and headed towards the door, looking back to wave a last goodbye to everyone. With my hand still in the air I failed to look in front of me in time before stumbling into the new mysterious barman. I got a fright as I was not expecting anyone to be standing on the steps and with a firm grip he wrapped his hands around my arms and kept me from falling backwards. I looked up into his dark eyes and it felt like I was floating. Butterflies engulfed every part of my being, making me feel light headed and nervous. My breath was stolen away by the closeness of his face, the feeling of his breath on my skin. A mere moment had passed but it felt like I’d been standing there in his arms for much longer. With a mysterious smirk he stared deeply into my eyes, releasing his grip on my arms and said ‘good night’ in a deep voice. He turned around and walked away in what felt like a slow motion moment, leaving me standing in the doorway staring back at his disappearing figure. ‘What the hell just happened’? I thought to myself. My mouth felt dry, my pulse was racing, my legs felt like jelly and I completely zoned out, frozen where I almost fell down the stairs, if not for this stranger who saved me from falling. I even forgot for the briefest moment why I was standing in the doorway. It took me a moment to recollect myself and I took a deep, shaky breath to head out into the night to go home. It was the place where I have never felt lonelier in my entire life.
I drove home so slowly that night. It was a five minute drive home from the bar but it took me about twenty minutes that night. I walked into the house in a daze, day dreaming of this handsome stranger that has thrown my whole night upside down when, with a loud thump I fell to the ground hitting my head so hard my ears started to ring. Unable to think fast enough I felt a stabbing pain in my stomach, curling my legs up to my chest. Not knowing where to shield myself next I threw my arms over my head and realized my hair was wet, probably from blood seeping through my hair. Vaguely I heard a muffled voice screaming at me, accusing me of being worthless, a good for nothing waste of human space, and then I felt another blow hitting me solidly in my back. I was now completely defenseless against this huge hulk of a man standing over me, hating me with such intensity. With each blow my husband landed, all I could do was to try and shield myself as best I could and wait for the attack to end.
Finally after what felt like hours he decided that he had enough of me being useless and stormed off to bed, leaving me lying on the cold tiles hardly able to move. I heard his footsteps disappear into the distance and let out a sigh of relief. Every breath I drew hurt more than the previous one. There wasn’t a single place on my body that didn’t hurt! Even breathing felt like it became a chore. My ears were ringing so loudly that I could barely hear anything and then without warning I felt another sharp stab in my back. I could barely make out the words ‘get up you useless bitch, look at what you made me do’! Josh was shouting at me. He was standing over me, looking like he had way too much energy and didn’t know what to do with it. He was all over the place throwing a tantrum, yelling profanities at me. It took him a while before he got bored again and decided he was done. Josh slammed his fist into the living room door with a loud bang and stalked off to the bedroom where he slammed the door shut behind him. By now I knew that he came out two or three times before he was completely done so I lay on the floor, waiting. After a few moments of hearing nothing but the ringing in my ears I collected myself and made an effort to get myself off of the cold floor. My body felt so cold now I could hardly feel my side and arm on which I was laying. With much effort and strain I slowly managed to get up to my knees, supporting myself against the wall as my legs just wanted to fail me. I stood up as straight as I possibly could and just tried to breathe which was no easy feat at the moment. My head was spinning so badly it felt as though the whole room is spinning out of control and I was just in for the ride. Although the bathroom was only a few feet away it looked and felt like miles! With dragging myself and heaving heavily I finally made it to the bathroom where I collapsed onto the floor with blood tangled hair over my face from where I hit my head. I lay there for a few moments not wanting to breathe anymore. It just felt like too much effort that I was hardly able to comply with right now. After the hundredth time this has happened I didn’t want to live anymore. I was so tired of being a punching bag for someone who hated me. ‘Maybe Josh is right, maybe I am just a useless piece of nothing and don’t deserve to live. Maybe I should just end my life right here on the cold bathroom floor for him to find my lifeless body in the morning. Will he or anyone else even care that I am dead? Will they even bother to ask why I did it? I bet he won’t even shed a tear for me when I am gone. I am sure I would be doing him a favor! But what if he gets a new wife or lover? With me out the way he will just get another punching bag. No I won’t let him hurt anyone else in this way’ I thought to myself.
With shaking hands and an aching body I washed my hair and wiped the tear streaked make up off my face. My body was already turning blue from each impact as I bruised easily since I was a little girl. My whole body was hurting so badly I had to fight against the tears! He always hit me everywhere except my face. Never in the face as that cannot be covered up as well as my body could. He hated when people saw anything that would implicate him in any way. He loved saying that it was none of their business how he decided to treat his wife and I was his property to do with as he pleased. Josh had an image to keep up in front of people. Everyone loved him dearly and thought that he was the softest, kindest husband any woman could have. ‘How lucky you must be having such a teddy bear as a husband. He is so loving, his affection for you clearly shows’ were the comments I constantly heard people say. When we were around people he would dominate each conversation and hardly left my side for a second as he was afraid someone would find out what he has done. He told me that I deserved each beating and that I asked for it each time. If on the off chance someone saw a bruise on me he put it down to me being a klutz. ‘She is constantly tripping over things or hurting herself’ he would say. I dared not correct him as that would just mean another painful beating when everyone has left.
I looked at myself in the mirror and saw nothing but a small pitiful woman, too sad and useless to defend herself or even walk away. ‘Where would I go to anyway’? I thought to myself many times. I couldn’t turn to my family as I didn’t want them telling me that they tried to warn me. I couldn’t turn to my friends as I was afraid they would take pity on me and think of me the same as he does. All my friends adored Josh. He was always so kind and soft hearted towards them. They wouldn’t believe me either, so I would end up looking like a complete fool and I would lose them all. What was the use of even trying? I was not strong enough to take on the world on my own and I brought all this on myself for deciding to marry him in the first place.
I finished cleaning myself up and silently walked out of the bathroom to the kitchen. I needed to get a bucket with water and a mop as the living room floor was a complete mess. My blood was all over the floor and I had knocked some stuff over when I fell. I knew that I wasn’t allowed to leave the mess until the next day as Josh didn’t want anyone coming over and asking questions of any kind. I slowly I bent over and started cleaning the floor when suddenly Josh appeared at my side just standing there not saying a word. I froze as fear gripped my being, threatening to expose me. In a harsh, hateful tone he said ‘you missed a spot’ and kicked my feet out from under me. I had no time to react and I landed like a sack of potatoes on the ground and heard him laughing as he walked away from me. I felt small and useless and wished I could make it stop. I wished I had the strength to do to him what he did to me but instead I got up to my knees and finished cleaning the floor.
We lived in a one bedroom house and I was not planning on sleeping next to Josh even if it was the last bed on earth so the obvious choice was the couch. I went over to the medicine cabinet and drank a handful of pain pills struggling not to drink them all and just end myself right there. I looked at my reflection in the mirror and all I saw was this ugly woman that couldn’t even get her own husband to love her. I have heard on more than one occasion that he stayed with me because he felt sorry for me. I started crying and punched my fist into the wall as that was all I was able to do to relieve my emotional pain. I decided that maybe the six tablets that were left was not such a bad idea after all and ended up drinking them too. I felt alone and saw no use for myself on earth. I had the mindset that God had punished me by putting me on earth and that I had done something horribly wrong and that Josh was my punishment. I just had to accept my fate even though my aching body was begging for this to end. It didn’t take long for the tablets to kick in and before long I could feel my heart beating in my chest, pounding loudly in my ears, banging as though it was trying to escape. I was feeling unstable on my feet and went over to the couch to lie down. Everything was spinning out of control from a mixture of pills and the impact to my head. I started feeling tired, as though I hadn’t slept in weeks and I could feel my heartbeat slowing down from all the tablets. My breathing started slowing down up to the point where hardly any air was coming out. I felt my heart take one beat and then there was nothing for two counts, then one beat and then nothing. I thought to myself that this was it, my end had finally come. A merciful end to a life not well lived. I had made very bad choices in my life and didn’t want to live long enough to make any more. I struggled to keep my eyes open and hardly bothered trying as I could feel myself slowly drifting away. Giving in to the numbness, I allowed the darkness to overcome me until I was no more.