I was drunk, he was more drunk. It was my intention to go out that night and drown my sorrows, I did. There was a band playing in a local club, we both went, not together, we ignored each other all night as usual, men & women rarely mixed in my social circle, keeping separate, old engrained ideas from the days of the working men’s clubs and just tended to meet back at the house, a house, any house, wherever they were invited or ended up. He left the club before me, he said he had an interview in the morning for a job he had no intention of getting, he’d been unemployed for months & had no intention of finding anything to contribute to the bills but didn’t mind drinking & smoking away our money as much as possible, so this interview was just a way of placating me and his Mum and the DWP into thinking he was trying, oh he was very trying. I got in an hour later, I’d walked home alone, the cold December air sobering me up with icy fingers, he was in bed, my bed, how dare he be in my bed, it was my bed, my space, he’d slept on the sofa for the past few months, why did he think it would be ok to come into my bed tonight? Invade my sanctuary, tonight of all nights. I really needed to sleep alone tonight.
Earlier I’d had a phone call, a phone call off the man that was supposed to be taking me away from him, wanted to run away with me, the man that made me feel good about myself, made me feel attractive, sexy, wanted, confident, I’d forgotten how that felt feeling confident, sexy, he met me at a time when I felt trapped, unloved, under valued, hungover. He was ringing me from Bali, 15 mins after his wedding ceremony to tell me he’s made a mistake, he shouldn’t have gone, wishes he was here with me, he’s 2years too late, I’m already married, to the monster, the thing that won’t let me go. He thing in my bed. He told me over this crackly phone line he loved me, asked me if I was ok, told me he loved me again as if pleading with me to reach through the phone line and pull him through it. I told him “no, no you don’t love me, but thank you, go and be with your new wife”. I hung up. We’d started the affair 2 months earlier & 6 months after I had last bared to be touched by the monster, I didn’t see it as being unfaithful but it was. I felt sorry for his wife, the new bride that had no idea about me, us, no idea her new husband was only 15 mins into their marriage and was betraying her, no idea the whole time she was planning their marriage he was planning how to get out of it. We had sex in her spare room because I couldn’t allow myself to lay in another woman’s bed, but didn’t seem to mind laying with her man, in her home, in her guest bedding with her old uni photo laid face down on the bedside table so we didn’t have her looking at us. No idea her husbands late evening call outs were actually liaisons in cars in remote hillside forests in the dark. His afternoons & mornings off spent with me. No idea her new husband loved me. I felt guilty, ashamed, but at the time, when I was with him, bloody great, he made me feel happy, made me feel alive, made life exciting and gave me a glimpse of other opportunities beyond my current life.
I nudged him, asked him to get out of my bed, please. Asked him why was he in there? Told him to get out, demanded he got out. He woke with a growl, a red flash in his eyes which were already clouded with mist. Tired I sat on the edge of the bed, a mistake, he sat up, turned to me and launched. He grabbed me with both hands by the throat and applied pressure, pushing me down on to the mattress, he was choking me and shouting in my face. His hand wrapped completely around my throat, I was panicking, he was not going to let go until I stopped breathing, all I could think about was the little hyoid bone in my throat, that little bone he now had his thumbs on, that with enough applied pressure can just break and choke you. Thats what he was trying to do, to me. I tried to get free, thrashing on the bed under him, hitting the wall as my arms flayed trying to hit him off me. I was pinned, his great size twice mine, I was trying to punch him. I couldn’t breathe, his grasp was getting tighter, everything was starting to go into slow motion, stars were whizzing before my eyes. His face a hissing grimace spitting words into my face as he tried to remove my head from my neck. I was trying to get him to release my throat. I connected a blow to the side of his head, it was a feeble attempt to make him let go, he did for a second, he let go with one hand and punched me back, the punch glanced off my forehead, his watch strap tearing a line across my brow. I managed to get my knee up and catch him right where I wanted to connect, hard. He let go and was enraged but I managed to squirm out of his grasp and got to my feet. Gasping for air I lurched towards the bedroom door, he lurched after me. He was on me on the landing, I was dizzy, trying to breathe, trying to get my balance, he grabbed my hair, caught me off balance causing me to trip and hit my face on a plant pot on the landing, I always hated that plant pot, the dog came to my aid snapping at him, but he kicked her down the stairs, I heard her yelp as she hit the floor. He stepped over me kicking me in the stomach as he went. He left me prone on the landing and ran down the stairs, he was shouting that he was going to kill me, that I was a bitch, slut, slag, whore, twat, that I deserved to die. I heard him in the kitchen, heard the cutlery drawer open. I got to my knees, wondering how I was going to get out of this. My throat hurt, my head hurt, my stomach hurt. There was no way out that wouldn’t mean passing him. I could climb out the landing window, it was the fire escape window so opened wide and the drop wasn’t too far but I didn’t have time.
This wasn’t the first time he’d beaten me, for our first wedding anniversary he broke my nose and fractured my eye socket, I’d had to hide every time my Mum visited so she didn’t see the bruises, told work I’d fallen off my bike and hit my head on a tree. The New Year just gone he broke my collar bone by throwing me across the living room because I wanted to sleep on the sofa instead of going to bed with him, hed picked me up by my arm & leg as I slept and threw me, he wouldn’t let me go to the hospital & left me for a day in pain until my friend came and helped. I told everyone I’d fallen over drunk, what a clumsy oaf I am, what a fool, haha. But I’d stayed, too afraid to leave him, to ashamed to admit to the world that I was allowing this to happen, too ashamed to tell my family I was stupid, made a huge mistake, didn’t want to be married to this monster, didn’t even like him before I married him. Got myself in a mess I didn’t know how to get out of. The hospital was going to file a report the next time I went in.
He was stood at the bottom of the stairs a bread knife in each hand, he was shouting how he was going to stab me, how I deserved it. At that point I looked at the knives and knew he was capable of carrying out his threat and at that point I welcomed it, an escape, a way out, an end. There was a knock at the front door, the sound broke through the situation, he stopped shouting, turned and walked towards the door, I thought this was weird, the way he just stopped, just went to answer the door as if resigned to being caught. He opened the door, still holding the knives. It was my neighbour, he heard banging and screaming and wondered if everything was ok? He knew what had been going on next door, hed heard me crying through the wall more than once. He had come to save me. He ushered him into the living room and shut the door behind them, I could hear them talking. I came downstairs, the living room door opened, I cringed expecting him, it was the neighbour. Behind him I could see the monster sat on the sofa, the knives on the floor by his feet, his head in his hands, he closed the door & looked at me. When he looked I knew I must have been in a state by the way he frowned, he asked me if I was ok, if I wanted to call the police, told me to go into his house where I would be safe. Told me to go now. I didn’t want to call the police, I was in shock, I just wanted to leave as soon as possible. I got out, knew this was the end, there was no more hiding what he was doing, finally I could leave him. This was my exit. It was over, I finally had the guts to file for divorce. I was shaking so badly I could hardly stand. I left with my handbag, the dog and my mobile phone, it told me I had 1 message, on it was a text message that said, “I love you, I wish I’d never got married”. His anniversary will always be the date I escaped. As one door closes another door opens.