When his mouth opens I can't focus on his words. All I can do is stare into those eyes that remind me of a prison cell. I can almost smell the damp, dingy musk of the tiny holding room.
I can hear the sharp clatters against the bars when the guard walks by with his baton, dragging it across each metal pole that has contained this very man and his vile ways for years.
I've done everything in my power to build myself back up from nothing after this man took a hammer to what was once my life.
Yet, here he is sitting in front of me.
His hands clasped together, begging me to forgive him for that night. - The night his grimy, murderous hands stole my last little ray of sunshine. I can still remember every detail.
I had just come home late from the office, my feet sore from the shoes I had so foolishly chosen to wear that morning. I had kicked them off as I closed the front door behind me, throwing my keys and purse onto the entrance bench and then padded into the kitchen to search for something to eat in desperate need to diminish my hunger.
I don't know why I didn't go upstairs first, I don't know why I didn't give into that gut feeling that something was wrong. I should have known. Why didn't I know.
I should have known the second I saw the highchair had been thrown across the room, broken bottles of beer covering the table. The hutch doors ransacked.
It wasn't unusual to come home to this.
My husband has always had a nasty temper that led to fits of violent, destructive behavior. But, it felt different. I could only throw away the broken objects I put my heart into when making our home a home, and replace it with replicas that never seemed to create the same comforted feeling the previous belongings once had.
I took a deep breath then let it out through my nose, grabbing a hand of cheerios from the open box on the counter and pouring them into my mouth. A failed attempt to ease my mind and fill the nausea which hadn't seemed to be coming from a place of hunger any longer.
My head was telling me something wasn't right this time.
I always ignore those feelings because deep down I don't want be right.
Taking slow steps towards the spilled beer I can feel my heart in my stomach, bile rising in my throat. My eyes start to tear up as I reach down to pick up the shards of glass, I release a breath I didn't know I was holding and I break out in choked sobs.
Momma warned me that this man was going to ruin me, I've strayed so far from what I wanted our life to be like. What I wanted to give our daughter. From what my parents had taught me. "Hold your head high up, baby. The women in our family are tough! You are too! You are so much more than I could have ever imagined. I'm so proud of you.." she laughed.
The large cheeky smile playing on her face as she reassured me of myself when I was young and self-doubtful. I wonder what she'd say if she could see me now.
What a mess I've let him create, I am just as bad for staying and feeding into it. My dreams of a white picket fenced in home, a wrap around balcony, my own little room where I could paint the colors of the world on a canvas through my eyes for everyone to see with me, a loving man by my side to help me raise and provide for our beautiful kids, a big happy life. That is all I have ever wanted.
I was given my baby girl, and she is a pure blessing from the universe. But this isn't what I had in mind for her when I decided to bring her into this world. She deserves more, she deserves better.
Checking the time on the clock above the doorway I know it's time to go upstairs, practice my ritual goodnight kiss on the forehead to my sweet little bundle of joy.
Fear radiates deep within my soul as I climb the carpeted stairs that have become atrociously stained from vicious attacks I've endured every time I've tried to run away from him.
Memories of my head being slammed against the wall and furious fists of an insecure man flying to my face, flood into my mind. My heart is beating out of my chest by the time I reach the top of the stairs, the only thing that fills the silence are his deep snores coming from our bedroom door.
I knew he wouldn't be awake for until dawn, lost in lala land where everyone does as he pleases and he gets away with it. He doesn't need to dream it, I'm right here. His living desire to control, it lives through me when he opens his eyes.
My fists clench and unclench as I make my way to her room, the feeling is still screaming at me, warning me.
Tonight is different.
I feel it in every fiber of my being.
My hand grasps the cold silver doorknob and I push the door open, crumbling to my knees.
My soul leaving my body.
- I stare at the man sitting across from me, a man I once knew. He stole everything from me, I gave him everything he could have ever wanted and he ripped it to shreds like it was an unwanted receipt.
This man did everything in his power to hurt me, and I let him. I let him ruin me, I let him ruin the most precious thing to ever breath this cruel worlds air.
He begs for my forgiveness, and apologizes with his empty words.