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When you’re in a marriage of substance and domestic abuse, you do a lot of pretending and lying. Going to parties with friends alone, you use a lot of “He’s working late” or “He’s sick” excuses. When he has one of his rages, you become a pro at holding in the tears around those who don’t know or think they know what’s going on. You’re always okay even when you’re not okay. Your mind races and your body sometimes just shuts down.

I remember the days when I would just lie in bed and only get out of it to use the bathroom. Everything was my fault somehow. Trying to make it better was always an impossible task. Hiding in one room or staying out of the house the entire day was the best thing you could do to keep away from HIM.

I often thought about running away and never coming back. There are times I nearly came close. One time in particular, I was eight months pregnant and we got into a horrible fight. He was drunk and I threatened to leave because he constantly kept yelling at me. I remember waiting because my cell phone battery was nearly dead, but he didn’t care; he forced me out of the house, slamming the door behind me, locking it. I walked about a mile with a backpack and a pillow at 3 AM. I walked to a shopping center and sat down on a bench crying. I called him, but he said he couldn’t or wouldn’t get me. At that time he had a bunch of whiskey in him and still, everything was my fault. I caused all of these problems.

There was a bar across the street and I knew people were looking at me, concerned. A white car came over to me and a woman named Rosy asked me if I was okay. I told her, I was. My mouth told her I was, but the tone of my voice said otherwise. I tried to tell her that someone would come for me. My husband had sent for them, but she wasn’t going to leave me in the middle of the night alone. My husband said it was okay for me to go home, so I asked her to give me a ride back. In retrospect, it was probably a bad idea going back, but I was too scared to run to my family. Actually, it was more like shame. I had the mind of a perfectionist. Telling my family that my husband was drunk and kicked me out of the house was not a picture perfect scenario. Rosy took me back home, giving me her phone number in case I ever needed it. I thanked her and went back to husband who stood at the window of the kitchen in silence.

That was the last time I saw Rosy. She was the only stranger I knew by name. Others told me that I should leave just from hearing tidbits of my troubled life. I wish I had listened. Why did I not listen?

© 2018 Denalia Evans