This piece is related to something else I am writing but the details of this character’s story will not feature as it is not relevant to the main storyline. However, I wrote this to get to know that character more and what she has been through so I thought I would share it on my blog.
She had always been good at make-up. She had always enjoyed doing her make-up but she was somewhat sad – although that feeling was remarkably insignificant in the scheme of things – to discover that that feeling was quickly receding because it had become a necessity. A mask. She sat in front of her mirror, carefully applying each stroke when she saw his reflection walking towards her. Inside she shuddered in repulse but she kept her features steady.
“Why do you wear so much make-up? It makes you look like a slag. Surely you can see that.” His voice was thick with disgust.
Because of you, she wanted to scream. If I didn’t wear it, everyone would know, she longed to spit in his face. But she didn’t, she merely remained silent, knowing that there was no response that would appease him anyway. A year ago she would have retorted the way she instinctively wanted to. It took her some stubborn months to learn the best way to respond, or not, as it turned out to be. She had resolved to let self-preservation take over and she was in autopilot now.
The first time he hit her was shortly after they were married and she had opened up whole heartedly about her past. He had slapped her with a force she naively hadn’t thought him capable of. He was a doctor. He took care of people. He was devoted to his mother. He had been shy of women and didn’t expect anything from her before they were married. He was almost boring, she admitted to herself when she accepted his proposal. And yet that had been her reason for accepting. She had experienced too much hurt and broken promises and she wanted to be with someone who wouldn’t leave her, like the others.
He had seemed a safe option. She hadn’t married him for love, she never fooled herself of that. The irony of it almost made her laugh sometimes but she hadn’t laughed in so long.
She became pregnant and she was equally filled with dread and hope. She had hoped that after their baby was born, things might be different. She had convinced herself that he would be happier and would love her more after she became the mother of his child. Even in her pregnancy he didn’t relent and for that she would never forgive him. She could take that he hurt her, she would tolerate it until she reached breaking point but every time he struck her while she was carrying their baby, she couldn’t stop herself from hitting him back.
She had even given him a son, like he wanted, but nothing would ever appease him now. He had started something which he found himself addicted to, a drug that he didn’t know he needed to relieve his stress, to take out his frustration at the injustice of the world by inflicting his own injustice.
Sometimes she wondered, if she had not told him about her past, would things still have gone this way? Would he still have been driven to hit her because of something else? Probably.
She didn’t stay out of some misguided love. She never believed his apologies nor pitied his remorseful tears. She had unwittingly found herself in a trap. Their son. She couldn’t comprehend how the most beautiful creation she had ever laid eyes on, could have come from such an ugly situation and be the son of one so hideous. He had his talons in their son and he would never let him go. Never. Back when she had tormented him with the threat of leaving if he didn’t change his ways; he would only laugh coldly in her face. He would look at their son, or he would go and pick him up, and he would remind her that he would ensure she would never see him again.
At first his threats had brushed her shoulder and they were barely even acknowledged. She felt foolishly powerful in her motherhood, feeling sure that there would not even need to be a battle for custody. However, he had brought her back down to earth.
“I would tell everyone about your past! Who would think you were fit to be a mother then? Huh?” He had whipped her with his words while he slapped her with his hands.
Fear instantly stood in the place where her courage once was. “I’m a doctor!” He would tell her. “What are you? Nothing.”
So she couldn’t leave him. Even now, while she obediently stayed, he almost held their son hostage. Their son would go to his mother’s house, only a few houses down the street, whenever he wanted to punish her even more. Every time she wanted to visit her parents and her sister, she longed to take her son with her, but he would rarely let her.
As she finished applying her make-up she glanced up to see that he was sitting on the bed looking at his phone. Carefully, with her breath in her throat, she got up. She turned to her son who was quietly playing with his lego, and beckoned him silently, so as not to draw attention. He came towards her, and in one careful swoop, she picked him up and stepped out of the room. She allowed herself to breath for a brief second before making her way down the stairs.
“Where are you going?” He bellowed accusingly.
“I told you, to my parents.” She tried to say it casually.
She shoved her shoes on with one hand, whilst holding her son to her chest with the other. She could hear his thumping footsteps now. She grabbed the car keys and frantically rushed to the front door. As she pulled the handle and opened the door, she gasped with fear as he slammed it shut in the same second.
“You think you can sneak off with my son? You neglect your duties to me to see your family too much.” He shook his head at her.
She hadn’t seen her parents in three weeks and her Mum was sick.
“You know my Mum is ill, please, let her see her grandson.” She pleaded with him.
His face softened slightly and she reached up and kissed him tenderly.
“You love me, don’t you?” He asked her.
“Yes, I love you. So much.” She lied.
She would come back today. But one day she would not.