Charming, his dark brooding eyes captured her. He was a bad boy, he exuded sex appeal. Her innocence was no match, her lack of experience making her vulnerable, she was caught in a whirlwind of love at first sight, or so she thought, perhaps not, lust yes.
She was captivated. He had her heart, body or both, excited by what this man introduced her to. A young woman’s travelling romance.
A trip together planned, her friends pleading, “are you sure?” What did they see that she didn’t. Oblivious until the eve before their departure, a drunken farewell party was held on her behalf, a close friend, a male, hugged her tight, whispering” I am always here if you need me” she looked into his eyes, they were full of concern. A warning fleeted through her mind for only a split second. Caught up in the excitement of her new journey.
What she didn’t realize was, he had been watching her, all night. He approached, all those feelings of lust, want, desire overwhelming her. “Let’s go outside”. She followed, she’d follow him anywhere.
What happened next, it happened so quick, she hit the ground, hard, she shook her head, unbelieving in what just happened. Did she imagine it? No.
He was on top of her, his face inches away from hers. Spit frothing at the corners of his mouth, splashing her face as he screamed. No other man will ever have you! I love you! No one else will ever love you, not like I do! A sign of what was to come. Surely not?
The party crowd came running, fights ensued, tears, screams. He pleaded apologies to all. “I got scared, I’ve never loved a woman so much. It’s the alcohol, I’ll never drink again.
She believed him.
They began their new life, the adventure of a lifetime.
Two months passed, long days and nights of alcohol fuelled torment and abuse.
Their final destination before arriving to their new life in her home town, an island, secluded, inhabited only by locals only who spoke very little English. She should be safe here. No other people to antagonise him, no men that would innocently, unknowingly glance at her, them, oblivious to what their casual glances inflicted on her.
Arriving, the locals directed them to a small hut, no one around, just coconut trees by the hundreds and the sea. Was she safe?
A little woman, barely 5ft tall, it was hard to tell her age, seventies, maybe eighties, put her arms around her, cuddling, she could feel the genuine warmth and care, it had been so long since she felt that. The old lady whispered in very broken English. Bad man over and over again.
Fear rose in the pit of her tummy.
24 hours later,she never knew where he found the alcohol. Did he bring it? Did it matter.
“Save me” she wrote through her tears.
Then she was running, for her life, where? She had no where to go.
The hairs on the back of her neck told her he was close. Noticing a bottle embedded in the dirt just in front of her, she feigned a stumble towards the vessel, her index finger quickly pushed the note inside the bottle.
She felt him, a hand grabbing the back of her neck. Squeezing, she could smell the alcohol, cigarettes, foul, as he squeezed harder. Feeling his breath on the back of her neck as he said “where do you think you were going? He laughed cruelly, sadistically “you will never be free of me”
At the moment she knew those words were true. She couldn’t breathe, she felt her body deflate as if it resigned itself to what life had in store.
Spitting and coughing, her eyes closed protecting them as her face was planted harshly into the dirt, being grounded into the black gravelly dirt as if a dog who had soiled inside.
Her thoughts raced, she would not do that to an animal. Who does this?
He does. She didn’t fight, she’d learnt that it only made matters worse.
She was flat out belly down, face in the dirt staring at the bottle, the words inside screaming through her mind. Save me!
Again his hands around her throat, save me and then blackness.
These words replayed over and over in her mind for many years.
She had tried to escape many times and each time he found her. Threats to maim her, cut her, scar her, kill her. She knew he would do it. She stopped caring what happened to her, she tried to stand up to him, so he threatened her family. Her family meant everything to her, she could not put them at risk.
She thought about her note again and again, that someone would find it and save her. Who was going to save her?
She woke at 6am, the familiar odor of stale alcohol and cigarettes, he was on her, again. A frequent occurrence. Grabbing her hair, throwing her around like a rag doll. This time though, was different, why?
She was protecting herself, defending herself fighting back. Yes she was fighting, she’d had enough, she defended every punch he threw at her, she was good. He eventually fell asleep. A moment of relief. Think, think!
She stared at him with so much hatred and repulsion.
Who was going to save her? She was!
She sat and planned her final escape and then waited. His alarm went off, he got up for work. He looked at her and as if fate was predicting both of their lives he said “ will you be here when I get home”, she did not respond, she said stared blankly at him, boring deep inside of him, into his dark soul. Her mind screamed NO!
She listened as he started his car, the engine turning over with a rev. Relief, then fear swept over her, the sound of his engine grew faint. She was making the choice to live again. Grabbing a bag and what clothes she could fit, she walked out that door, leaving everything to do with that life behind. She did not look back. Strength gathering with each step, each day, each week.
She had made the best choice of her life to that day! She chose to save herself!
Years later a strong woman, sitting on a beach a long way from the beach that saw her face down in dirt, she noticed a bottle, half buried in sand. Her mind taken back to that night, what if someone else needed saving. She slid towards it, picking it up. There was a note inside, reaching for a nearby stick, she poked inside and retrieved the note. Surely not, her mind nervously raced.
No, it was not her note, though, there was written words. It read “ I hope you were saved” tears brimmed in her eyes. She reached inside her bag for a pen.
What she wrote next “ I was saved. I saved myself! Thank you for caring” she left the bottle in the sand and continued to live her beautiful life.
She did see him one more time, in his lifetime. She was pregnant with her second child and married to the most wonderful man who helped her forget as much as she could. He laughed his vulgar laugh at her, at her husband, “does he give you what I did?” Struggling to comprehend, yes, yes and so much more. He feeds my soul, rather than starving it. He fills my heart, rather than depleting it. He gives me a life worth living.
She eventually, years later, found it in her heart to forgive him, which released an inner pain that she had held for so long.
Two years ago she heard he had passed over and she found herself hoping he had found some sort of inner peace and happiness.