Everything’s gonna be alright? (Domestic Abuse)

How can she find peace in her mind when
Love means returning to the scene of a crime?
– Brother Ali, Babygirl
  • Domestic violence is most likely to occur between 6 pm and 6 am.
  • More than 60% of domestic violence incidents happen at home.
To this day, I always get a receipt.I had angered him.  That was the message transmitted into my brain.

He came home from work without diapers – again.  Such a simple task.  I went to the mall myself, while he napped.  I wanted to get a trim, not a haircut.  I thought that a complete haircut seemed too far off a luxury for me.  He didn’t answer the phone when I called to say I was going to be a bit longer.  Figures.  He was napping.

The trim turned into a full fledged haircut.  It was heavenly to get some much needed TLC.

I came home in a better mood, happier that I got a break from Mom duty, and that my hair was (gasp!) shampooed and brushed.  My mood was quickly deflated when he saw my cheerfulness.

“What the fuck man?!  How long does it take to buy diapers?”

My explanation went through one of his ears, and out the other.

“Where’s the proof?”  He asked, his tone condescending.

I didn’t get a receipt.  Did I think of getting one?  Nope.

He stormed out of the room and out of the house.  Yup, he was angry.  And he was headed straight for the – where else?  The liquor store.

When he left, I purposely put the baby to sleep, took off the shirt I was wearing (it had my smell) and put it underneath his blanket and then I pinned yet another note at the bottom of his blanket.  The same note I’ve always written – only the date changing.  “Look up.  I am always watching over you.  I love you.  Love, Mama.”

Months earlier I had changed his Baby Einstein mobile and changed it to black and white photos of the baby and I.  In hindsight I knew my mindset at the time was that I was an abused woman living in fear.  That was my reality.  I changed the photos on his mobile to photographs of me holding him, so whatever was to happen to me, he would always see me when he looked up.

I knew when he returned, he was going to be drunk and angrier.  I underestimated how angry he was.

I heard him open the front door and he mumbled something to his parents in Spanish who were downstairs at their usual spot in front of the television.  I heard him say to them “con mi amigo” which translates to “with my friend”.  Assuming they had asked him where he went, that was his answer.  Ha.  And what’s the name of your friend, I thought to myself.  Jack Daniels?

I sat on the edge of the bed, my stomach churning as I forced back tears.  I felt like I was about to enter a slaughterhouse, a feeling, that was becoming too familiar.  I remembered humming to myself “no woman, no cry…everything’s gonna be alright…” as if I was trying to channel the spirit of Bob Marley to come protect me.I heard him in the bathroom, before making his grand entrance into the bedroom, stumbling and of course, drunk.  He accused me, since I came back in a cheerful mood, relaxed with a coffee cup in my hand, and my hair looking different (aka cleaned and brushed) that I had gotten my hair done, and met up with a guy for coffee.

Ah yes, the tall tales you conjure up when copious amounts of alcohol hits the system.

Ha.  Can you imagine my dating profile?  26 year old woman, mother to newborn, habitually abused by common-law husband seeks a sober man to sneak around for hot chocolate after buying diapers.  Sounds sexy, no?!

He punched me, in the stomach while calling me a liar.  He grabbed me by my arms and dragged me to the bathroom, the rug burn on my legs and thighs.  In my mind I kept thinking “this is it.”  What came next is something that is seared into my memory forever, and I would give anything to forget.  He had never dragged me to the bathroom before, the abuse often took place in our bedroom, so I had no clue what he was going to do.  With his one hand he held tightly to the back of head and the other holding whatever he was drinking, he lifted the toilet seat and pushed my head in, over and over, I lost track of how many times.  I was coughing, spitting, and crying and when I tried to fight back, it seemed like he held my head down longer.  Gasping for air hurt my lungs and stomach.  Even though water was going into my ears I could hear him; switching from drunken laughter to him calling me a “liar” and a “whore”.  There was a point where I surrendered.  The baby was fast asleep, I thought.  He wouldn’t be able to hear what was happening to his mother.  “It’s okay to die now” I kept saying to myself.  “He’s asleep.”  And that’s when I escaped into the depths of my soul and replayed a dance sequence from one of my favourite movies, The Sound of Music.  The scene replayed was “So Long, Farewell”, and I concentrated on the lyrics and choreography, particularly the order in which the characters would be performing.  To escape into a song and dance was my method of survival.

And when it was over, he pushed me down, my right side of the head hit the floor and I was surrounded by a pool of toilet water, my own vomit and tears.  My eyes were closed, but I could feel his presence over me, and he poured the rest of his drink onto my head as he said “See what happens when you can’t prove to me where you went?”.  Then he turned off the bathroom light, and walked away.  I lay there, pretending to be dead (and wishing I was), curled up in ball.  The only sound in the house?  The sound of television downstairs.  They never came up once.
Everything’s gonna be alright?
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