Just a few drops of blood from a nose bleed were all it took to remind her of the last time she had one. It felt like a lifetime ago, yet, remembered it all like it was just yesterday. This time, the blood that was dripping into the wash basin was because of her allergy owing to the relentless winter that caused bouts of sneezing. The last time was a totally different story.
It started with a blow from the back that came out of nowhere…but it wasn’t like she didn’t see it coming. It wasn’t the first time that had happened, and it was something she knew she would never get used to. It wasn’t unexpected, especially when alcohol was involved. He’d always been a careless drinker, and it always brought out the dark side of him. The physical pain was nothing…it was transient, it healed. What hurt more was the recurring betrayal, the broken promises of “I’ll never do it again!”
And with that painful blow, she could tell the night was going to end badly, and apologizing to the host of the party was out of the question. He’d dragged her by the wrist into the kitchen, and that gesture was unquestioned by those in the room, who left quietly, concerned, yet chose to mind their own business. She was still clueless as to what had triggered the rage this time, but she was sure it had really nothing to do with the two of them. They hadn’t had a reason to fight in a long time. She’d assumed the drinking that was messing with his head had everything to do with it.
He started talking nonsense, bringing up reasons to justify his anger, which made absolutely no sense to her. He pushed her so hard, holding on to the dining table was all she could do to keep from falling. But she couldn’t stop the plates she’d knocked over, and was scared the noise would stir up attention from the others….but nothing…much to her relief, and agony. She felt helpless, she couldn’t stand up to him, not now…he was in no condition for a sane conversation or reasoning, and she tried her best to keep their voices down, but for whose benefit she wasn’t really sure.
She ignored all the accusations that came from him, because she knew they were just nonsense…reasons concocted from a drunken stupor. But her silence and resilience made him all the more livid, and his anger found its way into his palm, slapping her across the face. She felt the searing pain, wondering how he still had that much energy after all that drinking. She’d warned him not to drink too much, but that fell on deaf ears, and here was the outcome. She was scared now, for her safety, and she knew that nightmare wasn’t going to end very soon. No amount of pleading from her side would do any good…and she accepted the fact that she had no choice but to sit through the storm.
Every passing minute felt like hours, and the torture seemed never-ending. He’d kept coming at her with his fist, in between verbal outbursts, on her face, on her arms, and she’d tried her best to soften the blows. And all the while, she could hear the others, talking, laughing in the next room, wondering if they had any clue what was going on. She couldn’t believe how far apart their realities were right at that very moment.
A handful of people came in every now and then, went about their business, and left without much concern. Even though he would know enough to stop when they came in, she could tell from their expressions that they knew what was going on, but she didn’t blame them for their indifference…who’d want to stir up trouble with an enraged, drunken maniac who they weren’t really familiar with…she could understand them for keeping a safe distance.
Things went from bad to worse…he insisted they go outside, into the darkness. She was terrified now, realizing she would have no sane person to turn to…just in case…but she couldn’t go against him. It was ironic, frustrating even, how she did not want to, but had to give in to his bullshit, and she had hoped no one would know, not for her sake, but his. It still hurt her to imagine people would come to know this side of him…and she also knew it didn’t make any sense. Every little action seemed to enrage him more, and she tried her best to dissuade him from going too far. It worked to some extent…they sat outside, near the stairs that lead down to the gate, far enough to drown out the crowd. It was past midnight already, and the darkness of the breezy autumn night did nothing to soothe her fear.
Just as soon as she sat down, he started all over again, this time even much worse, owing to their distance from the house. The stories and accusations never ceased…but she was too tired now to even care. He pulled her hair, as she tried her best to prevent her head from hitting the wall. She was defenseless, and she’d never felt more alone, and her mind raced, trying to drown out the reality. She thought of her parents, who’d raised her with love… how she had been daddy’s little girl…a stark contrast to her current reality where she was being beaten up and abused by a maniac…if they only knew!!! She tried to brush away those thoughts…the last thing she needed at that moment was self pity, and she didn’t want him to give him the satisfaction of seeing her break down, weak and feeble.
Then it happened…one painful blow to her face…and as the impact of that blow forced her to hit her head against the wall on the left, she saw the blood from her nose splatter on the white washed wall. It stood out on the white background even in the slight glimmer of the faraway streetlight. She was shocked and terrified, wondering how it had gone this bad so fast. As she was trying to stop the bleeding from her nose, she looked up at him, this time with rage on her part, in her eyes. He, even in his drunken state, seemed to realize it was a step too far. He kept quiet, but the angry eyes never gave way to signs of a change in emotion. He just stood there, silent…she took that chance to get up, run back to the house and lock herself up in the bathroom. She wanted to lock herself away until the nightmare was over.
When she’d finally come out from the bathroom, she felt drained, physically and emotionally…it was all too much for one night, and she knew she couldn’t take any more of it. She wanted to run away…but where?? There was no means of transport at that time of night, and it was also unsafe for a girl to wander out alone. but she didn’t feel safe there either. She had nowhere to turn to. But just when she was contemplating taking her chances out on the streets, she breathed a sigh of relief when one of his friends came and told her he’d passed out on the couch. He didn’t ask how she was…strange!... She went to see for herself…he was indeed out cold, yet she still didn’t feel safe…it was all too soon... She decided to sit outside, in a little corner of the porch, and she couldn’t be more relieved when the sun decided to show up after what seemed like forever.
Morning…they had been looking for her. He wanted to see her…she didn’t…not in the least…but again she didn’t have a choice now either. She knew it was coming…yes…he was the sorriest person on earth…again!! He’d pleaded and begged for her forgiveness, again…he said he remembered everything in a ‘blur’ and that he didn’t do it on purpose, again. He’d blamed it on the alcohol, again. He promised he would know better next time, that he’d never do it again. She just agreed and forgave in silence. As she tried to cover the bruises on her arm, and combed out clumps of hair he’d pulled out, she heard his voice in her head…promising ‘things are gonna be different now’. But she knew…
That was a long time ago. She had stopped the bleeding, it was a minor one, and as the water washed away the blood as time had slowly washed away the painful memories, she couldn’t help but wonder how things would have been like for her if she had let him get away with another ‘promise’…and she shuddered at thought, because she knew…