The plan was in place – she had practiced it to the last dot, she couldn’t put it off anymore, if she didn’t carry it out today, she might be dead tomorrow.
Today was the day, she would be free. And yes, she would teach him a lesson.
She had enough time to practice, at least she wasn’t allowed to work anymore. She was home all day and wasn’t allowed out – he didn’t allow her out – the few times he did, he monitored her with frequent phone calls until she came home in frustration. Today, all that would end.
It was 9pm, he would be coming home soon in his usual state.
Alas! she could hear him now at the door.
‘Welcome Sir’ – Yes, she called him sir – that was what he liked, even though he was only two years older. At least it was better than calling him ‘dear’ or ‘darling’ or ‘love’: Love, she hated that word; any love they had was dead and buried. No, she couldn’t call him love.
He swaggered in, his shirt reeking of alcohol, smelling of different fragrances he hadn’t left home with. She’d stopped talking about the different fragrances which accompanied him home daily – that was what had led to the beating in the first place – or was it her childlessness? Anyway, he came home smelling that way and the beating would start, today couldn’t be any different.
‘Where’s my food?’ He barked at her, ‘haven’t I told you I should always meet my food?’ He snarled.
‘But you didn’t leave any money sir…’ she tried to explain.
It came like a rush of wind, she heard it before she felt it, when the slap landed, even though she expected it, she was taken aback by its sheer force. The force of the slap almost knocked her plan right out of her head.
But she had to stay resolute as she braced herself for the next slap.
This was the time..
As he lifted his hand and brought it swiftly down on her face, she went down like a bag of cement.
‘Stupid woman’, he cursed her as he kicked.
He continued to kick.
She offered no resistance, by now she was limp.
‘Now, go get me my food, woman!’
He looked at her again, that was when he noticed the thin line of blood streaking down her forehead.
He stopped in mid strike and took a closer look at his wife.
The blood was steadily increasing in flow.
‘What have I done?’ He whispered under his breath as he felt the beads of sweat gather round his brow.
Maria remained still, unmoving as he put his ear to her chest.
In her groggy state she heard him gasp.
‘Maria…oh Maria, what have I done?’
He hadn’t called her by her name in two years, she was simply called ‘woman’; she was surprised he even remembered her name.
She kept still.
Suddenly there was a flurry of activity, then a rush of feet and opening and slamming of doors, then she heard the jangling of keys.
Was he running away?
Would he leave her here in this condition?
Suddenly, she was being lifted, oh this was a surprise.
Then a thought came to her that chilled her to her bones; did he think she was dead?
Was he going to dump her body somewhere?
She was too far gone now to be scared; anything, even death was better than the situation she had lived in these past years.
He was lifting her gently, that was strange, you would think that he would handle her roughly, for someone likely to be dumped on an abandoned beach somewhere.
They were now outside, what was he doing? where was he taking her to?
Was this how it all would end?…..
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