Chapter 1- Haven
*honk* honk* honk*
I jump at the unexpected noise, frantically looking around me, until I realize it’s my watch. I settle down reminding myself that I am not in my master bedroom getting ready to greet Charlie, but at the train station waiting for my arriving train. I quickly look around at the bustling of travelers in the station, arriving and leaving. Ok, no sign of Charlie. I have to push down my fear because I knew he didn’t know where I was.
Glancing down at my watch I realize I have just under a half-hour till my train arrives and decide to take my black travel size suitcase, along with my duffle bag and head to my platform. I look at the departure signs and my eyes find what they were searching for:
To: Savannah, South Carolina. From: New York, New York
I quickly head in the direction of my platform.
I’m really doing it. Leaving the big city, away from all of the drama, fear, and hurt that accumulated over the last couple of years. From dad dying to everything else in my life just following down constant downward spiral. But I’m finally changing that. Taking a stand for my life. It’s about time I finally realize that no one is going to do it for me.
After what seemed like forever, I finally made it to the platform. Now I only had 15minutes to wait for my train. 15 minutes is too much time to second guess everything I’m about to do. The only two people that have been in my life has been Charlie and my mom. Complete isolation
Charlie, he’s my husband. Everything was good. Been married for 2 and a half years. Things were great while we dated. To planning a small wedding, it was great. But once we tied the knot, everything changed. He became a completely different person towards me, which has made me a different person towards myself.
My mom. In another life, her and Charlie must’ve been a form of Bonnie and Clyde- minus the romance. She completely changed once my dad passed and just grew cold. Driven by her high demand job, a magazine editor. Our relationship completely strained because of the countless times I opened up about my struggles with Charlie, but her only concern was his income.
The sudden rush of the train coming into the platform along with the cold air wind interrupts my thoughts. I stand up gathering my things, preparing to board the train.
If I had any last-minute thoughts before, it is staying at this station. No turning back now Haven.
The train comes to a complete stop and the door of my cart swings open. I climb in and find my seat, also placing my suitcase in the above compartment. I take a seat, putting my duffle bag on my lap. I notice my hands begin to shake.
The fear is beginning to set in. All of the questions that I was avoiding through packing, leaving, buying a ticket, and waiting to escape, just came rushing through.
What if he finds me? What is my life going to look like? How long will it take for him to find out I left?
The constant questions of “what if’s” continue to flood my mind, but I look out the train window and see the rush of people just going about their business. I scan the faces seeing if just maybe Charlie would know exactly where I would be at exactly what time, but it was just all strangers.
I decide to just sleep, it is 4 in the morning anyway. I have a long day of traveling anyway. So I cover my black hood over my head and wrap my jacket a tad tighter around myself. I allow the stress and anticipation to die away and allow my sleep-deprived self to get rest.
That’s when the nightmares begin.
I was folding the last of the laundry, while watching the clock. I didn’t want to do anything triggering to him.
Charlie was definitely going to be home any second. I felt my heart begin to race. I placed the rest of the folded laundry in the basket. I walk over to the tall mirror, looking over myself, making sure I looked presentable for him.
My long black hair fell past my shoulders. I touch the white dress that isn’t too tight or too loose, but perfectly flared out. I hear the door open downstairs and I quickly leave my room. I go down the right side of the double staircase that leads to the grand entrance.
Everything was all white marble, the whole house. From the stairs, to the tiles, to the walls, even the decor. Of course, there were hints of black all throughout and pops of color in different areas of the house. Thanks to mom who made sure to hire an interior decorator. This house always felt empty, despite the grandeur of it. My dream home was always a simple ranch-style house that had minimalistic characteristics, but Charlie wasn’t a simple guy. Some would say it was a girl’s dream to live in a house like this, but I say, forget the house and the money that buys it. I’ve come to learn money doesn’t do anything but corrupt those who have it.
As I reach the middle of the stairs, I see the man who taught me that money does change people. The man I decided to marry. I always noticed small signs, but I always made an excuse because my mom loved him. This man made it very possible for hate to enter my heart and live-in harmony with the love that dwells there.
Our eyes meet, and I continue to walk down the stairs. Fear crawls through my body with each step I take that brings me closer to him.
“Honey, I missed you.” He drops his jacket and briefcase on the floor closing the space between us. His thin lips crash onto mine roughly. He takes them away after a couple of seconds and holds me away from him by my wrists. His eyes rake my body up and down, then back to my eyes. I couldn’t tell his mood just yet. “New dress?” I nod giving him a small smile, not wanting to say anything that he’ll take out of line. Once again, he looks me up and down. “Bit slutty no?”
I peer down at the dress that rested just at my knee. I look back at him, still not knowing or even wanting to say anything. He backs away, not taking his eyes off of me. He begins to take off his tie and toss it where his trench coat and briefcase lay. He then unbuttons the top two buttons of his white-collar shirt.
I look at the floor where his belongings lay and decide to escape the conversation by picking up his stuff. I walk around Charlie, making no eye contact and head towards the pile. Before I can bend down, he grabs my arm and roughly pills me back to face him. I refuse to look at him. I hear him snicker. I still don’t look at him.
“I asked you a question,” he says through clenched teeth. His hand lifts up and grabs my face roughly his fingers pinching my chin. He pulls my face toward his face forcing me to have to look at him. The fear is pulsing all throughout my body. “You better change.” With that he shoves me with the hand that was holding my face, causing me to stumble and fall to the ground. “Oh, come on, enough with the dramatics. You want to hurry on and get me dinner? I just get home, and this is the shit I have to deal with?” He saunters off towards the hall between the 2 grand stairs. I know he is heading to the TV room.
I get up once he’s out of sight and I gather the things he left on the ground. I head up the stairs, and once I reach the top, that’s when the tears slide down my face. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry, but sometimes the moments get to me. I walk off to our master bedroom, another part of the house that appeared so picture perfect but was anything close to being perfect.
I start to place his things on a bench that sat in front of my bed. We have a large bedroom. I look at the room, we have two love seats that sat on an angle side by side and a coffee table in the middle. In the center of the room sat our King size bed with the bench in front. Of course, there is a door in the center of the room that led to our his and hers walk in closet and a his and hers spa bathroom.
I walk into the closet. I grab a pair of leggings and an oversized off the shoulder beige knit sweater. I take off the cute dress and change. Deep down I am praying that he doesn’t react to my outfit again.
Once I believe he’ll be happy with how I look, I head downstairs once again, through the hallway to the kitchen that was right next to the television room. I serve tonight’s dinner for Charlie and place everything on a tray. Once I walk into the TV room, Charlie’s just sitting watching some football game, drinking a beer, and lucky for me, doesn’t put any attention on me. I walk over to him and nicely place the tray of food on his lap and walk away.
All of a sudden, I hear a crash. I turn around and I see Charlie standing, facing me. “Charlie, what the hell?” He smirks and walks around the couch.
“Do you pin me for a fuckin’ fool?”
“What are you...”
Before I could finish my sentence, he storms. over and grabs me by the neck, shoving me in the wall. Pain shoots up my back. My hands immediately shoot up to where his are wrapped around my neck.
“You must be a slut, huh?” He pins me against the wall. “Is that what you like, to be parading around looking like you’re a slut, because I’ll treat you like the slut you want to be.” He starts to pull on my shirt, I try to fight him off but it’s no use, he manages to rip my sweater, exposing my bra.
“No, Charlie.” I managed to say even though it feels as if my throat is closing.
“Don’t lie to me!” He shouts in my face and slams my body against the wall again. He lifts his hand up, releasing his grip on my neck, but then slaps my face. “This is what you like? For me to look at you like you’re a whore on the street? Fine. Whore’s don’t get to be treated with respect.” He finally backs away from me, that’s when I take the chance to run. I try and get far but he gets a grab at my hair and yanks me back so that I am now being dragged by my hair. Pain shoots up to my head.
“Charlie, please!” I plead through my tears. I try to get him to release his grip on my hair, but he doesn’t budge. I kick, cream and claw at his grip, but he doesn’t budge. My head is pounding already.
“I will not have a wife that’s a whore.” He drops my hair and manages to straddle me, despite my attempt of fighting him off. His hand keeps striking my face. I eventually stop fighting and pleading. I just cry and take his strikes. I close my eyes hoping this all ends quickly.
I open my eyes and I’m still on the train. I feel a tear falling down the side of my cheek. I quickly sit up and wipe it away. I then look out the window and lean my head against it. I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel okay. I haven’t in a long time. I don’t know how to feel. I just want to disappear from him. From everyone.
I just want to reset my life. I want friends. I want to be independent and not controlled. It’s a scary step to go to a place I’ve never been before, but I know it’s my only way to be free. I just pray no one finds me.
I’ve never felt free, even running I’m still in his grips. His face is with me. His hands that just remain on my throat. Every near-death experience remains with me. My dad would hate to see what my life has succumbed to, but this is it. This is who I have become. I’m just thankful that I found a way out when I did.