Beaten but NOT defeated

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Chapter 11

It felt like my body was too heavy for the bed and that my limbs were going to fall right through. My face felt hot and my whole body hurt like I had fallen off of a very tall building. My eyes were heavy and the sounds I heard were muffled. I tried turning my head to the side but it felt as though I had a stick fastened to my neck that kept it in place. Then there was that annoying peeping sound that has been irritating me since I started drifting back to consciousness. I felt someone touching my hand and saying something I was unable to quite make out and I knew I had to try and force my eyes to open. I put every ounce of strength I had in concentrating to force my eyes open and the effort paid off. I managed to open my eyes slightly and saw a figure sitting next to me. I felt a squeeze on my hand and heard an excited voice piercing through my ears screaming ‘She’s waking up’! I would know that voice through a crowd of a million people as Ann voiced her excitement about me waking up. My head felt thick and my reactions were almost non-existent from all the medication in my system. I focused on Ann’s face trying to get her into focus but my eyes kept rolling back in their sockets and falling closed as my eyelids betrayed me. I heard Ann say ‘slowly now, the doctors are coming’. I drifted in and out of consciousness for a while before I was able to open my eyes again to look at Ann. Her smile radiated like the sun and tears welled up in her eyes as she started crying. ‘I thought we lost you’ she said sobbing and all I could get out was a groan. ‘Save your breath, we can talk as soon as you feel better’ she said and I slowly shook my head no.

‘What happened’ I croaked as if I had a frog stuck in my throat and that made Ann cry even louder. I squeezed her hand to encourage her to talk to me but she kept looking past me to the door. With much strain and effort I finally managed to turn my head to where Ann kept looking and saw Caleb standing in the doorway looking at me with a somber look on his face. I tried to smile at him but my facial muscles didn’t do what I wanted them to do and I’m sure I pulled my face at him like something out of a horror movie. He slowly walked into the room towards me not breaking eye contact with me once. He kneeled next to the bed and took my hand in his and kissed it softly. ‘Welcome back’ he said in his deep voice and I’m sure I caught a glimpse of a tear in his eyes. ‘Hi’ I almost grunted at him and he just smiled. I turned back to Ann and said ‘Do I look as bad as I feel’? And she started giggling as she shook her head no. ‘You look beautiful’ she said and smiled broadly at me. I tried smiling back at her but I got sucked in to my thoughts as my memory came crashing into me like a train. I remembered Josh hitting me and how I fell to the ground. I remembered blood and pain and then there was a loud noise like a gunshot. I frowned as I heard Caleb’s urgent voice ‘Liz, Liz, what’s wrong’? I looked at him with fear in my eyes and asked ‘Josh. Where’s Josh’? Caleb and Ann exchanged looks and I knew something bad had happened. ‘What’ I grumbled and I felt Caleb squeeze my hand again. ‘Tell me’ I insisted.

Ann cleared her throat and softly began talking. ‘Do you remember when we came out of the gym from our self-defense class? I hid behind the wall and waited for you to walk to Josh as I was afraid that he had seen me. When you got in the car I came out to see if you were ok and the look on Josh’s face scared me so I tried calling Caleb to tell him you had been caught out. I was unable to get a hold of him so I drove over to his house’. ‘How did you know where he lives’? I asked her puzzled. ‘We became friends because of you’ she said and continued. ’Anyway, I went over to Caleb’s place hoping to find him but he wasn’t home. I ran to his neighbor who was home and I asked him where I could find Caleb. He gave me a number to call that Caleb gave him in case of emergencies and then I finally got a hold of Caleb and told him that I felt something was wrong with you and that you may need our help.

‘After everything you had told me about how Josh reacted in the past when things went wrong, I knew from the look on his face that you were in trouble. Caleb told me to meet him at your house and I rushed over there as fast as I could. We came flying into your driveway simultaneously and that’s when we heard screaming. Caleb busted down the door to find Josh standing over you with a gun in his hand pointed at your head. You were lying on the floor in a pool of blood and you hardly moved. I froze as I was so afraid that you were dead. Caleb didn’t hesitate as he leaped into action and a struggle ensued between Josh and Caleb and then the gun went off. It felt like time slowed down for that moment and everything was happening in slow motion. Josh and Caleb stood looking at each other for a second and Josh’s eyes went wide with shock as he fell to the ground next to you’. Ann’s eyes were still watery and I wondered how she could cry so much without getting a headache. ‘Josh was shot’ I thought to myself and asked ‘Is he still alive’? Caleb spoke up and answered me ‘Unfortunately yes. He is in the intensive care unit in the hospital. He is still in a coma’. I frowned and I saw sympathy flash across Caleb’s face. ‘How long was I out for’? I asked as I started doing math in my head. ‘You were in a coma for two days’ Ann said. ‘In the ambulance your heart stopped and I watched as you were slipping away from me. I was so helpless. I couldn’t do anything’ she said sobbing at the memory. I squeezed her hand and said ‘I’m ok now, so you can stop crying’. Ann laughed a small laugh and wiped her face.

‘Is there a mirror somewhere’? I asked and I saw Caleb frown. ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea to look at yourself right now’ Ann said with concern in her voice. ‘Please’ I said trying to look as convincing as I possibly could and it worked. Ann took a small makeup mirror out of her handbag and handed it so me and said ‘Are you sure you want to do this’? To which I just nodded slowly. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see the damages that Josh had caused me but i felt it a necessary evil at that moment. I held the mirror in my hand for a second feeling hesitant. ‘You really don’t have to look now’ Ann said but I felt determined to face my fears. I held up the mirror in front of my face with my eyes closed and took a deep breath before I opened them to see the horror that was me. My face looked terrible! ‘No wonder I couldn’t get my eyes open’ I thought to myself. My eyes were swollen and black, my lip was swollen thick and I had a long cut running across my face from my cheek into my hair line which if I counted correctly, had six stitches in and I had a cut across my forehead from where Josh hit me with his head.

I felt horrified at the sight in the mirror and said ‘Look at what he has done to me. I look like Frankenstein’s bride’! I touched my face softly as I felt in shock. My face was burning where I touched it and it felt like the bones in my face were broken. A tear rolled down my cheek and I felt Caleb wiping it away. ‘He won’t be able to hurt you again’ he said with emotion thick in his voice. Still staring at my reflection I said ‘I need to see him’. I heard both Ann and Caleb protesting about what a bad idea that was but I didn’t care. I needed to see him lying in that bed for myself otherwise it just felt unreal. I put the mirror down and tried to push myself up straight so I could get up but a sharp stabbing pain ripped through my back and my chest and I was pinned down to the bed riling in pain. I felt Caleb and Ann’s hands on me trying to help me get back into a comfortable position but it didn’t do any good. My back and chest hurt so badly and I was unable to move my legs which panicked me. My eyes were wide as I searched their faces for answers and they could see it. I heard Ann say in a soft voice ‘He broke your back and cracked two ribs and gave you a concussion and you aren’t supposed to move for a while love. They had to operate your back to fix the damage’. ‘What’ I almost yelled at her as the pain felt so intense that my heart was beating in my ears leaving me almost unable to hear anything. Caleb rushed to call the doctor as Ann tried to comfort me and relieve my pain. It felt like I was literally breaking in two. I have never experienced such intense pain in my life before.

A nurse came rushing in with Caleb in tow. She asked me to number my pain on a scale from one to ten but it felt more like I was in the region of twenty. She nodded and said she would return shortly and she headed out the door. I lay in pain for what felt like an eternity before the nurse finally returned with an injection in her hand. She injected the contents into my drip and it only took a few seconds for the pain to start subsiding. Another nurse came into the room and they stood on either sides of my bed. ‘I need to examine your back dearie’ the one said and I really wasn’t looking forward to more pain. The nurses turned me on my side and lightly rubbed something on my back and adjusted the belt I had around my lower back. ‘This is to keep your back in place’ the one said as she was tugging and adjusting. ‘You need to be more careful with what you do. But for now, you need to lie still and give your back a chance to heal’ she said. ‘Why can’t I feel or move my legs’? I asked her expecting the worst. ‘You have a pinched nerve from the severe swelling in your back that is affecting the mobility of your legs’ she said. ‘Does that mean that I will never be able to walk again’? I asked her feeling panicked. ‘No, you’ll walk again, given you take all the right steps and do what we tell you to’ she said. I felt relieved and promised the nurse that I would be more careful next time. ‘How long before I can get out of bed’? I asked the nurse and she answered ‘As soon as the life in your legs come back you will need to be mobile again but you need to wear your back brace for about 8 to twelve weeks’. Before she left the room she stopped in the doorway and said ‘Ten more minutes you two then you need to leave and let her rest’. Both Ann and Caleb nodded at that as the nurse left the room. ‘I really wish you could stay’ I said feeling sad. ‘It feels like I have missed a lot laying here’ I said. We’ll be back as soon as we can’ Caleb said and I knew that he meant it.

I started yawning as the pain medication took a hold of me but I fought to fall asleep as there was still so much I needed to know. I felt Ann’s hand stroking my face softly as she said ‘Sleep now, we’ll talk some more when we see you again’. I shook my head no and grunted and tried to swat her hand away from my face but she took my hand in hers and put it on the bed next to me. She held on to my hand while stroking my face. She laid her head next to mine on the pillow and whispered in my ear ‘You are ok now, you are safe. Rest well, rest peacefully. You need to get better. We still have a lot of things to do together’. I drifted off to sleep as my tiredness won out and I could hear Ann’s voice slowly drifting off into the distance as darkness engulfed my being.

I felt like I closed my eyes for a second and opened them again and they felt heavy and unwilling to do what I wanted them to. I had to struggle to get them open each time I closed them and it was a feeling I was staring to hate. I felt imprisoned in my own body, held captive by the uselessness of my limbs. All I could think of was Josh and how he was doing. I carried so much hate inside me for him and I wondered what he looked like laying in a hospital bed being at the mercy of the doctors. I needed to see him, to look him in the face and see him being just as fragile as I was at the moment.

A day passed with the same routine repeating itself. The nurses forced me to eat breakfast in the morning followed by something warm to drink, then Ann and Caleb would come and visit me until lunch time, then I was forced to eat again and then dinner came and then Ann and Caleb would come visit me again and leave an hour later. I had nurses in and out of my room checking my pulse and my back, asking me to describe my pain levels. I was feeling anxious to get up and start moving as I really needed to see Josh. I had an urge inside me burning to the surface threatening to break free.

After waking up on day three in hospital I felt a tingling feeling in my legs. I threw open the blanket and concentrated as hard as I could to wiggle my toes and to my surprise, they actually moved! I then pressed my hands down on the bed beside me and pushed as hard as I could to put my whole body’s weight on my arms. My arms began shaking and my ribs felt like they were pressing through my chest but I knew I had it in me to sit up, so I pushed a little harder. The pain in my back felt sharp and I bit on my teeth determined to sit up straight as possible. With all the strength I had in me I finally made it all the way up into a sitting position but my back protested under the weight and I ended up turned on my side supporting myself with my arm. I felt excited and pressed the panic button the nurse gave me in case I needed them. One of the nurses that I had become friendly with came rushing through the door ready for action. I smiled at her feeling silly as I was stuck in a sideways sitting position unable to move or sit properly. ‘What are you doing’? She said in a loud voice and I smiled at her. ‘Making progress I’d say’ I answered and she rolled her eyes at me. ‘If you are going to be this persistent to do stuff at least have the decency to let me know before you attempt it’ she said. She helped me into a more comfortable sitting position and placed a pillow under me and behind my back taking much of the strain off. ‘Better’? She asked me and I nodded. ‘I can move my toes’ I said to her and she looked more excited about the news than I was. ‘Show me’ she said and immediately went over to look for herself. I concentrated and was able to move my toes so she could see. ‘You know what this means right’? She asked and I just lifted my eyebrows at her not wanting to risk saying something and sounding dumb. ‘The pressure on your nerves is releasing and you’ll be in physiotherapy by tomorrow. Now no more moving unless you call me first, understood’? She continued with a stern look on her face. I nodded at her with a huge smile on my face as she walked out of the room. I sat wiggling my toes as much as possible just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

Ann and Caleb came to visit me after breakfast and they both looked stunned when they walked into my room and found me sitting up straight in my bed. I offered them both a huge smile of excitement and looked at my toes while I was wiggling them. They stopped at the foot side of my bed and Ann started squealing in excitement. ‘You can move them’ she almost yelled at me and I was afraid she might tackle me off of the bed. Caleb put his hand on my leg and asked me if I was able to feel his hand on my skin. To my amazement I could feel his skin against mine and it felt so good. I nodded and felt like I could cry at that moment but then it became a free for all as Ann also decided to join Caleb in touching my legs. ‘Geez, you really need to shave these puppies’ she said jokingly and I pulled my face at her. ‘Yeah you’re right, these hairs will stick right through my hands’ Caleb joined in and we all burst out laughing even though it hurt my chest like crazy. It felt so good having them there with me knowing that they cared so much for me and that they hadn’t missed one visiting session.

‘I brought you a snack’ Ann said as she revealed a bad she had with her. She presented the bag and tried to look as mysterious as possible while waving it in front of me. ‘Just open it already’ I said jokingly. She stuck her hand in the bag as if she was performing a magic trick and pulled out a chocolate doughnut. ‘Tada’! She said holding the doughnut up in the air. ‘Ooh, gimme’! I said while smiling at her. ‘How stingy, you only brought one’ I heard Caleb say while laughing loudly. ‘Check this out’ Ann said as she repeated her magic trick and pulled another doughnut out of the bag handing it to Caleb. He tried to look in her bag and asked ‘How many do you have in there’? Ann pulled the bag away from him and stuck her nose in the bag. ‘A few’ she said and took one out for herself too. ‘I better get another one if there are any left. After all I am the reason you bought them in the first place’ I said with a mouthful of doughnut. Ann looked at Caleb like she was victorious and handed me the bag. ‘All yours’ she said and I accepted the bag from her. There were three more doughnuts in the bag and although I really didn’t want to share them, I took one out and gave it to Caleb and another one to Ann. They both smiled at me and we ate while making random jokes.

I had about two bites left when I looked over to the door and saw Chloe standing in the doorway looking pale. Both Caleb and Ann followed my eyes and Ann flew up out of her seat. ‘What are you doing here’ she snapped at Chloe who looked like she might fall over at any second. ‘I came to see Liz’ she said in a small voice. ‘It’s a little late for that don’t you think’? Ann snapped and took a step toward the door. Chloe was looking at me with bewildered eyes and I could see something was seriously wrong. ‘Ann, let her come in please’ I said to Ann who nodded and obeyed what I asked. ‘Can I talk to you in private for a moment please’ she asked in such a soft tone that I could barely hear. Ann and Caleb turned to me waiting for me to say if it was ok or not. ‘It’s ok, I’ll be fine’ I said to them and they reluctantly left the room. Caleb paused in the doorway and said ‘I’m right outside if you need me’. Chloe walked over to the chair that was standing next to my bed and slowly took a seat. She moved like someone who was in shock. ‘How are you feeling’? She asked me and all I could reply was ‘Fine’. ‘I uh wanted to come sooner but I wasn’t sure if you wanted to see me’ she said. I kept quiet and waited for her to continue. She looked as if she felt very uncomfortable and I struggled with feeling sorry for her and not feeling anything for her at all. She had betrayed me and I was within my full right to hate her at that moment. ‘I heard what Josh did to you and at first I couldn’t believe it’. She said and I interrupted her while she was talking. ‘Why because he was such a sweetheart’? I said with hatred in my voice. ‘He was good to me and he said that he was going to divorce you so that he could be with me and our child’ she said trying to sound innocent. ‘Excuse me? Did you really think that he has the balls to divorce me’? I spat at her.

‘Well you did go to that class behind his back and did who knows what all that he wasn’t aware of so you kind of brought this on yourself’ she said. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. ‘How did you know about the class’? I asked her and she said ‘I am friends with the woman working behind the counter at the gym you joined. I’ve been at Josh’s side everyday hoping and praying for him to wake up and recover after what your boy toy did to him! He didn’t deserve to get shot’! ‘So I deserved to get beaten within an inch of my life by him and what, die’? I yelled at her and Caleb and Ann burst through the door simultaneously. Chloe looked even more nervous knowing they were standing behind her. I put my hand up when they came in showing them not to do anything. When Chloe looked lost for words I continued in a harsh voice ‘You got everything you wanted. Just leave me the hell alone and go live your perfect little life with Josh and tell him he has his wish, I am divorcing him’! Chloe flew up out of her seat and yelled ‘I didn’t get what I wanted! I lost my baby because of you’! I felt shocked and understood then why she looked so pale. ‘How is that my fault’ I asked a little calmer. ‘The doctor said all the stress of seeing Josh in such a state was too much for me’ she said and started walking towards the door. Caleb and Ann stood aside so she can exit but she stopped in the door and turned around to look at me. ‘I hope you’re happy now’ she said and I fired back. ‘If you really think he’s going to treat you any better than he did with me you have another thing coming’. ‘You should have died in the asylum’ Chloe said and exited the room and it felt like everything was spinning. ‘She blamed me for the loss of her baby’ I said feeling numb. Ann and Caleb took their seats beside me and started reassuring me that the fault was not on my part. But I couldn’t help but feel guilty for the loss of her child. I hated what Chloe had done to me but the last thing I wanted was for her to lose her baby. ‘Maybe she’s right’ I said staring out in front of me. ‘Maybe I should have died. My luck was supposed to have run out this time, instead I’m still here making people’s lives miserable. I hate myself for what she is going through’ I said as tears started rolling down my face.

‘How is any of this your fault’? Ann chimed in. I felt so depressed and sad about everything that has happened it felt like the fact that I was alive was a mistake in its own. I shrugged my shoulders and dropped my head but Caleb took me by the chin and tilted my head up so I could look at him. ‘You being alive is no mistake’ he said in a soft voice that send goose bumps down my spine. ‘You have been through a lot and have made some mistakes, but breathing is definitely not one of them’ he continued. He leaned in and kissed my forehead and I heard him mutter to himself ‘The only one mistake is that Josh is still breathing’. I chose to ignore his comment as I was unsure of what I was feeling at that moment. The nurse came in and told them it was time to leave and I felt relief at knowing I could be alone and do some reflecting on what just happened. Caleb and Ann gave me a kiss on the forehead and left leaving me to deal with my emotions in the privacy of my hospital room.

The next morning the nurse came in early and said that I was starting physiotherapy today. She came to stand at my bedside to help me out of bed. After lying in bed for what felt like forever I was eager to get up and back to my normal self. I knew that it was going to take a while for me to recover but I was up for the challenge. The nurse helped me to sit up and she slowly turned me so my legs would go over the side of the bed. Another nurse came in just then and stood on the other side of me to help steady me. I took a deep breath as my legs descended to the ground ready for me to stand on them again. The nurse warned me to take it slow as my legs might not be able to hold my full weight just yet. Today was the day. I was going to start my therapy and walk out of the hospital even if it was the last thing I was going to do. I started getting up slowly and my legs gave way under me. The nurses caught me and helped me to sit on the bed again and told me to try again which I did. This time I was able to stand even though my legs were shaking and the pressure in my back was intense. I was told that the pressure was normal and that was part of the recovery process. I held on to them as I gave one step to the wheel chair they had waiting for me. I knew the nurse had put the wheel chair a step away from the bed to motivate me to walk. She was the type of person that liked pushing people when they needed it. I made it over to the wheel chair and slowly sat down feeling exhausted. ‘Geez I’m unfit’ I said out of breath. ‘It a natural reaction to what you have been through’ the nurse said and started wheeling me off to my session. Once there the instructor had me laying on my back and started moving my arms and legs for me then I had to walk between two bars without leaning on them too much with my arms supporting me. I was able to take four steps before it felt like the pressure in my back was going to take out my legs. I used my arms to lift the weight off my back but all that did was pull even more on my back and my ribs. I looked at the instructor feeling helpless and she just kept motivating me on how good I was doing.

‘It hurts’ I protested like a spoilt little brat but she took it in good spirits and told me to press on as I was almost all the way through. The more steps I took the harder it became to stay on my feet but I knew that if I fell I would undo all the healing I have done thus far so I pressed on. The instructor was next to me the whole way motivating me and helping me as much as she could. ‘Remember only you can determine how quickly you recover’ she said to me. Once I made it through she helped me over to the wheel chair that was about four steps away. ‘You put it that far on purpose’ I said to the instructor and she smiled at me. My session for the day was done and I could go back to my room.

On the way back to my room I asked the nurse if we could detour past the men’s ward as I wanted to see Josh. She said she was not supposed to do that but I explained to her that Josh was my husband and that she couldn’t keep me from him. She took a left turn instead of a right turn and wheeled me off to see him. He was in a high intensive care unit as his gunshot wound was almost lethal. Once there the nurse stopped in front of the door and said there is someone with him. I knew by instinct that it was Chloe and out of sure spite and anger I told the nurse to wheel me in. She opened the door and Chloe’s eyes went wide when she saw me. ‘What are you doing here’ she asked clearly caught off guard. ‘I came to see my husband’ I said. ‘Please leave’ I told her and waited for her to leave. When she refused I told the nurse that I didn’t want her anywhere near Josh again as she was not family as she said she was. ‘You are such a bitch’! Chloe yelled at me but I couldn’t care less at that moment. I wanted to be alone with the man who tried to kill me. Josh had pipes and tubes around him and I didn’t even try to guess what they were all for. The nurse wheeled me next to him and gave me a few minutes alone with his as I asked. Josh was out of his coma and now he lay sleeping and was unaware that I was next to him. I sat next to him just staring at how fragile and vulnerable he was in that moment and wondered if he even cared that I was not dead. He opened his eyes and turned his head toward me and his eyes stretched. ‘Liz’ he said in a raspy voice. ‘Josh’ I said and decided to get up. I held on to the bed and pulled myself up in a standing position. He wrapped his hand around my wrist and looked at me as though he loved me. ‘I’m sorry’ he said in a soft voice. ‘I didn’t mean to lose my temper’. I snorted and asked ‘Does that count for every time before this one too’? But he didn’t answer me. ‘How you feeling’? I asked and he closed his eyes. ‘Like death’ he said. I stood next to him not knowing what to say to him. I wanted to rant at him about how bad of a husband he had been but in that moment I felt sorry for him, like it was my fault he was in that hospital bed.

‘Heard you and Chloe lost your baby’ I said and his eyes flew open and he glared at me. ‘Yes we did’ he snapped and I was taken aback by the sudden change in his attitude. ‘I’m sorry’ I said and he looked like he was about to murder me. ‘Really? Thought you’d be happy that my child is dead’ he said. I felt as though my whole world was caving in at that moment. For some reason I needed to hear from him that he didn’t blame me for the death of his baby but it seemed that he felt the same way about it as Chloe had. ‘Fine’ I said. I hate the fact that she was pregnant with your child and that you treated her like a queen instead of me. You are supposed to be my husband and you are not supposed to sleep with anything that moves’ I said angry. ‘You have betrayed me time and time again. You have hit me and hurt me, kicked me and cussed me. You have forced yourself on me and sent me to an insane asylum and now you have the audacity to be angry with me because I am not overly sad because you lost your baby with another woman’! ‘I am in this useless state because of you and your boy toy’ Josh spat at me. ‘And you busted my face in and broke my back and I have no-where on my body that I don’t hurt and you are the one moaning’? I said. Anger flashed in his eyes and he shot his arm out grabbing me by the throat and said in a menacing voice ‘I should have just killed you’. My eyes went wide as I was not expecting his reaction and I tried breaking free from his hold. I yanked my head back and fell down into the wheel chair I had just gotten up from. My back jarred as I landed and it felt like it had broken all over again. I yelled out in pain and the nurse came running in and I spoke before she had the chance to ask questions. ‘I turned my back crooked’ I said and asked her to wheel me back to my bed. Josh gave me one last glare before closing his eyes to sleep.

I was in immense pain as I was wheeled back to my room. It felt like I was breaking in half by the time we made it back. I found Ann and Caleb waiting for me when I returned and they both looked excited. My mood was brooding and I felt angry and I guess my face showed it as their smiles dropped when they saw my face. The nurse helped me get on the bed and said she would bring me something for the pain shortly. Ann and Caleb were at my side simultaneously asking how the session went. I had almost forgotten that I went to physiotherapy and told them it went fine. Then I went into a rant about how weak I had become and that it would take months to recover from my injuries. They looked like they felt helpless in making me feel better so I gave up and decided to tell them the truth. ‘I went to see Josh’ I said and both their eyes went wide. I saw anger flashing in Caleb’s eyes and just continued talking. ‘He also blames me for Chloe’s miscarriage and he said he should have just killed me’ I said with my eyes averted. ‘He said what’? Caleb said in a harsh tone. I flicked my eyes to look at him and felt like I had done something wrong. I shrugged my shoulders and said ‘maybe he’s right. Maybe I am just in the way. Chloe’s baby wouldn’t have died if it wasn’t for all the stress’. ‘How are you blaming yourself’? Ann interjected. ‘I don’t know. The way Josh spoke to me is like he really hates me and am I in the way of his life continuing’ I said.

Both Ann and Caleb looked at me in surprise and I could see that they were unsure of what to say to me. Caleb got up and muttered to himself ‘I’ll kill that useless bastard’ as he walked out of the room. Ann remained seated and said ‘You mean more to us than you realize. The opinions of two people who lied to you and cheated you are not supposed to matter’. ‘I feel so useless, like I am nothing but a waste of space like Josh has been telling me for the past few years’ I said. My spirit felt broken and it felt like I could just lie there and give up. I didn’t know why I went to see Josh in the first place or what he thought of me even mattered. He hated me and trying to kill me just proved that. I knew how Josh felt about me and he voiced his opinion to anyone that had ears. ‘I think deep down I just wanted him to accept me and care for me the way I cared about him’ I said out loud before I could think and Ann looked at me with sympathy in her eyes and said ‘He never deserved you’. She got up and put her head against mine in a hug gesture. I closed my eyes and felt grateful that she had stood by my side even when things had gotten difficult.

The next few days were a repeat of the same routine things. Eat, sleep, see Ann and Caleb and doing physiotherapy. I was getting better at walking even though it went slow. The pressure in my back was ever present but the pain didn’t rule me anymore. I was walking more and more each day and I was told that I could almost go home. I thought of Josh and what he said to me and how Chloe hated me. Things had gone south so quickly that I had whiplash. I sat in my hospital bed trying to think of a time when things were better between Josh and me but the more I thought about it the angrier I became. I felt so helpless and wished there was something I could do to break free from Josh’s hold forever. I realized then just how much I hatred and anger I harbored against him and I realized that I will never be free from him as long as he was still alive. I would always be looking over my shoulder waiting for the next time he decided that I was his punching bag. I hated the fact that he could do to me what he wanted and got away with it every time. I wanted revenge on him and I wanted him to feel the same kind of pain that he had put me through. For once I wanted to be the strong one, I wanted to be the one who held his life in my hands the way he did with me so many times before. I wanted him to beg me for mercy and then give him exactly what he deserved. But how? I knew the best time I had to do anything was now; the time he was lying in a hospital bed being vulnerable to whatever I decide was a fit punishment to give. I riled myself up so much that it felt like I would explode if I did nothing. I waited until it was dark and the halls were quiet. I knew that the nurses all sat together certain times of the night playing card games on their pc’s or reading books. I had my plan of action and decided the time to act was now. I got out of bed and sneaked down the hall to the men’s ward to see my husband. I walked past the medicine dispensary and snuck in. I was looking for an empty injection which I found without much effort. I stuck my head out of the door into the hallway to see if the coast was clear. There was no-one in sight so I hid the needle and continued down the hall to Josh’s room. Once there I snuck past the nurses who were busy playing solitaire on the computer so it wasn’t all that difficult to pull off. My heart started beating faster as I inched closer to Josh and doubted myself but my need for freedom pushed me forward to keep going.

I came to a standstill beside his bed where he was lay sleeping and woke him up. ‘What do you want’? He snapped in a weak voice and I put my hand over his mouth. ‘Revenge’ I said and he started laughing at me. He peeled my hand away from his mouth and said ‘You take revenge on me? How sweet. How do you think you are going to get that right’? He was mocking me for trying to be a strong person. ‘I am already stronger than you are and I am still lying in a bed. You are a weak useless piece of nothing and you will never amount to anything more than you are now. You are a waste of space and hearing the sound of you breathing disgusts me. Now go back to your room little girl, I am tired and don’t have time for this’ he said challenging me with the look in his eyes. I was so tired of being at his mercy and hearing how little I meant to him. I already felt like I took up too much space in the world and hearing him say so just made things worse for me.

I took the syringe out of my gown pocket and sucked it full of air. Josh grinned at me asking ‘What do you think that’s going to help you’? But I ignored him, focusing on the task at hand. ‘I hate you! For everything you have put me through and for the way you have made me feel and just for everything. You are a hateful sob and you are the one that should be dead not me’ I spat at him. I went over to his IV and stuck the needle in it. ‘What are you doing’? Josh asked and I could hear his voice falter. ‘What I never had the chance or the guts to do. Goodbye Josh’ I said and injected the empty air into it. I didn’t stick around to see what the end results were as I snuck back to my room as fast as I could before I was caught out. I didn’t hear any commotion as I left his room and realized that my effort to kill Josh may have failed and that he was right for mocking me. I couldn’t even get it right to kill him. I rounded the corner to my room and the coast was clear. I headed to my room and closed the door half way. I got on my bed and closed my eyes feelings unsure of what tomorrow may bring. I lay thinking for a while and realized what I had set out to do and maybe it was better if Josh didn’t die and I just divorced him so he could live out his days with Chloe or whomever else he chose. Not hearing any alarms go off may have been a good thing as at least I wouldn’t have to carry the burden of knowing that I killed Josh. I just needed to find another way to get Josh out of the way so that I could live the life I had always dreamed about.

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