“Hayley my love where are you?” his words were slurred which meant he was drunk again. Maybe if she stayed where she was he would forget about her and concentrate on getting hammered until he passed out. Really stupid idea but it was all she got.
This was her life now. Hiding from her abusive husband that threw her around like a rag doll. The first time it happened he was sorry the moment he woke up. He even made her breakfast and bought her diamonds, when he came back from work in the evening. Hayley truly believed he was sorry and since she pledged to love him for better or worse she forgave him. In the weeks that followed he took her out on weekends, bought her flowers every day to truly make her believe how sorry he was. Christ, how stupid she had been back then. She actually forgave him despite her father’s words. If a man lays his hands on you in any way that doesn’t convey love, then you walk honey. You hear me? You walk away because the first time is only the beginning.
But Hayley was naïve and young. Because he was her husband, this were the times she would show him that she loved him no matter what. Her father might have been right but he wasn’t there to see how Jeff had apologized. He really was sorry and everyone deserved a second chance. It was pure bliss, for the next two months, which were like a second honeymoon for them. The dinners in expensive restaurants and the gifts, even the love making was amazing. Hayley forgot why her husband was even pampering her.
Six months later he came back home one day wasted, smelling of liquor and cigars. Hayley was sure she could smell cheap perfume on him a mile away but said nothing. He was drunk and he went straight to bed so there was no reason for her to start a fight. Doing her wifely duties she undressed him and put on his pajamas. That was their new routine in the weeks to come. Until Hayley decided to leave. If her husband didn’t want her anymore, then why stay. All he did was come home drunk and leave before she even woke up.
When he walked in that day, surprisingly he wasn’t drunk. Hayley took her time to study him. When they got married he was the most handsome man she had ever met. She had been equally in shock and in awe that such a man would even look at her let alone want to marry her. With his 5’7 height and Hayley’s 5’4 they were a perfect match. Everyone had gushed at how they made a cute couple and hopefully beautiful babies in the future. Looking at him now, he had lost weight and his sunken eyes had bugs underneath them. Comparing to the first time she met him, he looked frail.
“Jeff we need to talk” Hayley told him.
“Yeah? About what?” he asked calmly and Hayley thanked her lucky stars. She had made the right choice in choosing to speak with him today.
“This isn’t working anymore. I mean look at us, we barely talk to each other. You come home and go straight to bed and by the time I’m up you’re already gone.” She replied avoiding the ‘you come home drunk’. No need to poke the bear.
“And?” he asked in return clearly failing to see the point.
“I want a divorce” she blurted out. Better to say and be done with it. Rip the band aid off. He froze and stayed silent for what felt like hours. They were so silent you could hear a pin drop and then he got up and headed to the kitchen. Dinner was already on the dining table and without saying another word he proceeded to seat himself and eat. After he was done, he stood up and went to his study where he removed a bottle of whiskey from one of his drawers and drank straight from the bottle.
“Jeff did you hear me?” Hayley asked. All this time she was following him around. She had sat there watching him eat but said nothing. She didn’t even touch her food. She figured with a full stomach he would be more agreeable and when he went to the study she thought it was time to talk. Until she saw the bottle in his hand. Instead of walking away she still persisted on talking despite the feeling of dread crawling up her spine. She should have taken that as a warning but she ignored it.
“Yeah. I heard you. You want a divorce.” He said after a few minutes of drinking. The bottle was halfway through. “What don’t you have?”
“Excuse me?” Hayley asked not sure she heard him correctly.
“I asked what you lack. Don’t I buy you enough diamonds? Don’t I feed and clothe you? Don’t I provide you with shelter? Hell you even have your own monthly allowance. So tell me what you don’t have?” Jeff asked yelling by the time he finished his rant.
“Shut up” she was cut off. “I don’t want to hear your excuses. I have given you everything you have ever wanted and now you want to leave me? Why? Did you find someone better?” he asked finishing off the whiskey.
“You know that’s not it. This isn’t working. I can’t even remember the last time we made love.” Hayley tried pleading with him.
“And whose fault is it? Is it my fault that you don’t know how to please me like Cherry from the whore house? Is it my fault you’re a fucking log in bed?” he was furious now and yelling at the top of his voice.
“I’m going to bed. Let’s talk about this tomorrow when we’re clear headed. “She suggested hoping to diffuse the bomb before it exploded. Turning around she started to leave but was yanked back by her hair causing a shrill scream to leave her throat. “Jeff what are you doing? Let me go.”
“Go where? What makes you think you can walk away from me when I’m still talking?” he asked while throwing her against his desk and in an attempt to stabilize herself and minimize the damage she landed with her palms flat on the desk. “Who is it? Your lover. Who is he?”
“What? Jeff I…. there’s no one. I just think…” in her attempts to defend herself she didn’t see his hand raise. It took her a moment to realize the pain in her face was because he had slapped her.
“Don’t lie to me” he growled and the next second she was on the ground covering her face from his blows. Any attempt to defend herself was silenced by a blow demanding a name instead. At one point a sharp blow caused her head to hit the floor so she lost consciousness therefore she wasn’t aware of her husband dragging her upstairs by her hair.
Hayley woke up the next morning on the floor beside the bed feeling pain and sore everywhere. Moving alone was a chore and she didn’t know how long she lay there. But some time later she crawled to the bathroom and filled the tub with warm water. Not bothering to undress she got in and felt her body relax even though some parts stung probably because they were cut open. It didn’t matter anyway. The moment she was able to walk she would leave.
Four months later she was still hiding from her husband. He wouldn’t let her leave. The first month he locked her in the bedroom after he found her packing. Hayley wasn’t scared of him then. Until she found out he was buying time to put bars on every window in the house. So that when he left she would have nowhere to go. All the phones were hidden and she was even forbidden from watching TV. No electronics around the house, forced Hayley to sit around and wallow in self-pity all day.
Today she was hiding in the hallway closet because it was small enough compared to their walk in closet in the bedroom. What she didn’t know was that her husband knew where she was and locked her in there for three days. When he came home the fourth day, Hayley was scared and hungry and filthy. Three days in a tiny closet will force you to pee yourself and thank god she hadn’t eaten so her bowel movement wasn’t in sight. Jeff dragged her to the bathroom and turned on the cold shower making her to flinch but she stayed put. Her legs were cramped up and they were going to take a while before she would even be able to stretch them. Let alone walk. After that he didn’t touch her for week, claiming she was disgusting. She saw an opening and she took it. Instead of wallowing she ate and planned her escape. Because there was no way she would stay in that house longer than she could.
Sitting in the bedroom and feeling sorry for herself wasn’t the solution. She wasn’t a weakling that would just give up and resign herself to her fate. She would take every opportunity she got when he wasn’t around and find a place or a tiny space she could crawl out in. she would break down the doors if she had to. Screaming wasn’t in her plans because they lived a few miles away from their neighbors. Apparently Jeff liked his privacy and that’s why they didn’t have live in helps or even a chauffeur. It was going to be hard but she would find a way even if it was the last thing she did.
Only she hadn’t anticipated what came next. And she blamed herself because she couldn’t have seen it coming and she didn’t know how she could have prevented it.