The phone rang. I glimpse the number and then took a painful breath. The caller was once again my best friend from high school, Trish. I had ignored her calls in the past, not wishing to declare to her the agonizing truth-that my husband forbade any contact with her.
I started to cry when I heard her voice on the answering machine, got up and walked around the small condo. I was really lonely and was in great need to share with Trish my terrible experience with pregnancy-having my head constantly stuck to the toilette wasn't too flattering. I wanted to share with her my emptiness that I felt most days-emptiness that suddenly changed to despair then rage. How could I explain to her my fear from my husband? There was something strange about him. His eyes disable my thoughts and made me feel numb, stupid and inferior. I knew he would hurt me if I disobeyed. I just knew because he'd done it already.
Hours later, I had just finished getting ready. We were invited for dinner at my husband's friend's house. They were his friends, not mine. My friends were supposedly part of my past I should burry.
"Is that what you're going to wear?" His voice made me jump. I really thought I had the bedroom door closed.
"Y-yes." I stuttered with my words, as I did most of the time ever since I got married to him.
"Change. I don't know how you constantly manage to look inadequate Lana. Perhaps you should take notes of how our female host dresses tonight."
I was already used to his menacing ways of speaking to me. I sighed and as always, obeyed. I studied my face, which looked pale as a ghost, since I couldn't even eat properly for as long as I could remember. It seemed that I had already lost my allure at the age of eighteen.
It was a freezing wintry night. I sat next to him in the car avoiding any conversation. I was surprised he hadn't turn on the heat. When I reached to turn it on, he held my hand and squeezed it too tight-I had to clinch on my teeth from the pain.
"You don't touch my car, get it."
"I'm cold, just turning on the heat."
"My car, my heat."
"I don't know why you are treating me this way tonight."
"You lie to me. When I asked you who called today, you said no one, but when I checked the caller ID, I saw your shitty friend's number."
"Please don't call her shitty."
"When I say she is shitty, means she is. Why did you lie to me?"
"I didn't answer her call. I thought that was good enough."
"I didn't ask who you talked to. I asked specifically who called you. There is a difference. Perhaps your brain is too narrow to digest such a simple question. How did manage to graduate high school?"
Kenna Marriott is on the Board of Directors of a Domestic and Sexual Abuse Center in Florida. She is also on the Board of Directors of a center for the mentally ill. The names are withheld to protect the women in the stories. She is also an international award winning author of Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.Lessons, Learnings and Insights From A Mother About Her Daughter's Battle With Cancer, available from the Focus On Women bookstore.
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2010 Jan/Feb issue
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