Starting Over

An abused woman works up the courage to finally so something about her situation

Sandra sighed as she shoved each plate into the dishwasher. She felt trapped in this house. After she finished with the dishes, she grabbed her keys. She hopped in the car and went for a drive. When she got home, Derick, her husband was waiting in the living room for her.

          “Where have you been?” He questioned. Sandra dropped her keys on the coffee tabled.

          “I went for a drive.”

          “Without my permission?” He said. Sandra huffed. Derick shot forward to the coffee table and grabbed her keys.

          “From now on if you want to go somewhere, you will have to ask me first.” He said sticking the keys into his pocket. He glanced towards the kitchen.

          “What’s for dinner?” He asked.

          “Lasugangua,” Sandra said walking towards the kitchen. A few minutes later, four children burst through the door. Anna, the oldest, dropped her bag on the floor and walked towards her mother.

          “Hey, mom.” She said extending her arms for a hug. Sandra turned away from her cooking and hugged her daughter.

          “Mommy mommy.” The little girl cried, “I got a one-hundred on my spelling test.”

          “That’s wonderful sweetie,”  Sandra said with a smile.  The two middle boys were probably in the family room gabbing to their father.  The girls had always been hers and the boys were his.  It was just the way it was.  Sandra sent the girls into the dining room to work on homework until dinner was finished.  Twenty minutes later Sandra pulled a streaming lasagna out of the oven. 

          “Dinner!” she yelled through the house.  Everyone crowded into the kitchen and piled up their plates.  They took their seats at the table and said their nightly prayer.  It was the youngest, Hope’s, turn to pray.  Her prayers were always simple and sweet. 

          “Dear Jesus please bless this yummy food mommy made and please stop Josh from being mean to me.  Please be nice to Anna, Jeremy, Josh, Mommy and Daddy.  Also, help mommy and daddy get along better,” she said.  Sandra cringed at the last sentence.  She thought she had been hiding their fighting well enough.  The whole family ended the prayer with an amen.  Sandra gave her classic reassuring smile and said. 

          “Dig in.”  Everyone started to shovel huge amounts of food into their mouths.

          “So how was your day Anna?”  Derek asked.

          “Why would you care?”  She scoffed.  The dinner table was silent.  Derek looked Anna straight in the eyes.

          “You do not talk to me like that young lady.”  He said.  Anna looked back to her plate. 

          “Yes, Sir.”  She mumbled shoveling a forkful of food into her mouth.  The table was utterly silent until Hope announced her A on the spelling test.

          “I’m so proud of you, why don’t you go get it to show me.” Derick urged.  Hope pushed out of her chair and ran to her backpack.  She pulled the paper out with a smile and trotted back to the table.

          “Look, look!”  She exclaimed waving the paper around.  Derek grabbed the paper and looked it over.

          “Wow, these are some tough words.”  He chuckled.

          “Ya, I studied really hard,”  Hope said.  She slid back into her chair, as her dad set the paper on the table.  The rest of dinner was relatively quiet.  After dinner, Sandra collected the plates and loaded the dishwasher.  That damn dishwater she thought.  She shoved the dishes in and slammed it shut.  She walked into the living room and dropped down on the couch.  She clicked the TV on.  A few minutes later,  Derek walked into the room.  He grabbed the remote out of her hand.

          “Hey,”  Sandra said.  She jumped up.

          “I told you if I want to watch TV you can go do something else,”  Derek said sitting down in his chair.  After clicking through a few channels he settles on baseball.  Sandra walked out of the room and into her bedroom.  She curled up in her bed with a new book she picked up at Barnes and Nobles.  Her books were her escape; she loved her books.  Sandra woke up in the midst of the morning manic.  Hope was shaking her mother pleading that they needed to leave for school.  Sandra pulled herself out of bed and put on her slippers.  She walked down the stairs and reached for her keys on their hook.  When her keys were not there, she remembered.  Heat swelled up throughout her body.  She stomped into the living room where Derick had fallen asleep on the couch.  She shook him awake.

          “I need my keys.” She huffed.

          “What?” he questioned barely awake.

          “Unless you want to take the children to school, I need my keys.” She repeated.

          “Oh.”  He responded.  He reached into his pocket and plopped the keys on the table next to him.  After that he rolled over and went back to sleep.  Sandra grabbed the keys.

          “Kids get into the car, we are going to be late.”  She yelled.  Moments later four kids were running to the car.  Sandra got into the driver’s seat and pulled out of the driveway.  The first stop was the elementary to drop off Hope and Josh.  When they got to the elementary,  Josh slid the door open and got out. 

          “Goodbye Joshua, I love you,”  Sandra yelled out the window.  She gets no response as Josh walks away.  Seconds later, Hope leans into the front seat and gives her mom a kiss.

          “Bye Mommy, see you later, I love you,”  Hope calls as she slips into the school to meet up with her friends.  Sandra began her drive to the high school.  Once again, she gets nothing from her boy.  Anna gives a quick hug and an “I love you.”  Sandra drove home with a strange suspicion about her husband.  She pulled into the driveway.  When she got into the house, Derrick was sitting at the table eating cereal and reading the newspaper.  Sandra walked up to the table and slammed the keys down.

          “Have you been telling our children untrue things about me?”  She asked.  Derek looked back up at her and smirked. 

          “I have not been telling them anything that isn’t true.”  He said.

          “So you admit that you have been talking bad about me to my own children?”  She said, her voice raising.  She swung her hand and knocked Derek's orange juice across the table.  She immediately retracted her arm.  Derick shot up her and grabbed her.

          “Clean that up.”  He shouted.  Slightly shoving her forward.  Derick stomped out of the room.  Sandra headed for the kitchen, she picked up a rag and wetted it under the sink.  After she cleaned the mess, she headed upstairs for a shower.  She dropped her clothes and stepped into the hot water.  She remembered a time where a hot shower could wash all her worries away.  After a few minutes of thinking; Sandra realized that the water tasted salty.  She looked into the small mirror to see bloodshot eyes and a runny nose.  Sandra let out a sob.  She finished up her shower and stepped out.  The rest of the day was quiet.  She didn’t see Derick again until dinner.  Dinner was relatively quiet also.  Apart from the idle small chat about school and the upcoming dance; Sandra didn’t say a word.  After dinner, the kids rushed off to their bedrooms escaping the hostile environment.  The anxiety of the night had Sandra shaking.  She picked up the dishes and carried them into the kitchen.  Approaching the sink, a plate slipped out of her hand and smashed to the floor.  Derek walked into the kitchen.  He looked down at the plates and scowled.

          “Make sure you clean that up.”  He commanded.  Sandra bent down to pick up the plate.  Then it hit her.  This had been happening for years.  He had been ordering her around for years controlling everything about her.  It all started when he made her quit college.  She looked up to look him in the eyes.

          “What makes you think I will just do anything you say?”  She scoffed.  Derek looked outraged.  He raised his hand and hit her across the face.  Sandra raised her hand and touched her cheek and eye.  It was hot to the touch.  She could already feel the swelling raising up to the surface.  She looked at Derrick in disgust.  His face was confused as if he didn’t understand what happened.  Sandra pushed him out of the way, went into her room then slammed the door and locked it.  She fell into her bed and tears began running down her cheeks.  Derick had always been controlling but had never been abusive.  She curled up under the covers and cried herself to sleep.  The next morning, the car ride was silent.  No one dared speak about the fresh bruise that had formed around their mother’s eye.  After she dropped them off, she dropped by one of her girlfriend’s houses.  She pulled up into the driveway, got out and knocked on the door.   Jenny opened the door with a smile.  When she saw Sandra, her smile faded.

          “Oh my God, sweetheart, what happened?” Jenny exclaimed.

          “It was Derrick,”  Sandra said.  Jenny pulled Sandra into a tight hug.

          “Come inside, I’ll get you some ice and hot tea,”  Jenny said pulling back from the hug.  Sandra followed her inside and sat down on the couch.  Jenny walked over to Sandra and handed her a mug and a ziplock filled with ice.  Sandra pressed the ice up to her eye and took a sip of the tea. 

          “How are the girls handling the divorce?”  Sandra asked.

“They are doing better than I expected,”  Jenny said.  She sat down in a chair across from Sandra.

          “Now, tell me, how did this happen?”  Jenny asked looking at Sandra’s black-eye.  Sandra took a deep breath in.

          “It was last night.  We had been fighting earlier, and I was just really shaky.  I was cleaning up the dishes from earlier, and one slipped out of my hand and broke.  He screamed at me and I questioned.  The he hit me.” Sandra explained. 

          “Sandra I know you don’t want to hear this, but you need to leave him.  It’s only going to get worse from here.”  Jenny said.  She stood up and moved over to the couch next to Sandra.  She put her hand on Sandra’s shoulder.  Sandra knew that Jenny was right.

          “Can I have your divorce lawyers’ number?” Sandra asked.  Jenny pulled out her phone.

          “I’ll text it to you.”  She said.  Sandra shook her head.

          “He took my cell phone,”  Sandra said.  Jenny reached over for a pad of sticky notes on the coffee table.  She wrote the number on a sticky note 719-623-7945.

          “Here,” She said handing the number to Sandra.  Sandra rubbed the note between her fingers.  Was she really going to do this?

          “In fact, why don’t you call now?”  Jenny urged handing Sandra her phone.  Sandra took another deep breath and dialed the number.  The phone rang a couple times until a woman’s voice answered.

          “Hello Talon law, how may I help you?”

          “…I am looking for a divorce lawyer.”

          “Well, you are calling the right place, I’m Alexandra Talon.  I specialize in divorce cases.”  The rest of the conversation included details of the situation and a transfer of contact information.  The call ended with Sandra agreeing to come in before she went home.  Sandra and Jenny talked for a while until Sandra decided to leave.  Sandra pulled into the parking lot of the law office.  She walked into the office and up to the front desk.

          “Hello, I’m looking for Ms. Talon,” Sandra asked.  The women smiled. 

          “Okay, I’ll get her.”  She said as she walked into the back. A few minutes later, she returned to the front with a woman who matched the voice on the phone perfectly.  She was a tall blonde woman with her hair pulled into a bun.  She wore a black skirt and high black heels.

          “Hi, I’m Sandra.  I believed we talked on the phone.”

          “Yes, I remember.  “Alexandra smiled, “Follow me to my office, we can start the paperwork.”

          “Okay,” Sandra said following the woman into the back. They walked into a small office. She sat down in a chair in front of a nice sized desk. Alexandra set down a stack of paper. She flipped through the paper showing Sandra where to sign. After two hours of filling out paperwork, they finished. Sandra’s last step was to take it to her husband and have him sign it. She put the papers into her purse and drove home. By the time she got home the children were already in the house. Sandra walked through the door making a point to avoid Derick. She shot a small smile at the children and ran up the stairs. She shut the door and locked it. She fell asleep with her stomach churning. She woke up earlier than usual. She walked out of her room down the stairs. Everyone was still asleep, the kids in their rooms and Derek on the couch. She walked into the kitchen and started making breakfast. Pancakes, bacon, and eggs wafted through the air of the house. Four sleepy-eyed children stumbled into the kitchen following the smell of bacon. The next person to enter the kitchen was Derick. His anger from the previous night had not yet worn off. He pounded into the kitchen, dark circles under his bloodshot eyes. Sandra stumbled backward at his presence.

          “Where were you last night, did you run off with some other man, slut?” He yelled. Sandra looked appalled. The children cowered on the other side of the kitchen too afraid to look, but also too afraid to leave their mother.

          “No, I just went over to Jenny’s house, that’s all.” She stuttered. Derrick took three heavy steps towards Sandra. She stumbled back a bit more. He grabbed her arm and threw her to the floor. Sandra cried out. Derick raised his hand and hit her several times until he felt satisfied. When he was done, Sandra pulled herself off the floor. She glared at Derick.

          “Go to work, I will drop the kids off at school,” she said solemnly. Derek grabbed his keys and headed out the door. Sandra grabbed her purse, pulling the divorce papers out. She flung the papers onto the dining room table. She wrote a little note that said “Derick, please sign these.” Then she got the kids ready for school and into the car. At this point, she was done. She grabbed her keys and a small suitcase. He always told her what to do, what not to do. She was sick of it. She dropped the kids off and headed for the nearest beauty salon.

          “Good morning mam, how can we help you?” The receptionist said with a smile.

          “I need a cut and color” Sandra responded. The receptionist pointed to a tall woman with black hair standing next to a salon chair. Sandra described her desired look to the stylist and watched as her long blond hair fell to the ground.

          “And what color were you thinking” the stylist questioned.

          “Black, ya black” Sandra responded. An hour later, Sandra stood in the mirror and carefully looked at her new hair. It barely reached past her fine jaw bones highlighting the shape of her face. The black brought out the green in her eyes. Next, she thought, a shopping spree. By the end of the day, she had a whole new look. when she looked in the mirror, she could barely recognize herself. Now for her last stop, the Denver Airport. She approached the lady at the front desk.

          “I need one first class ticket to New York as soon as possible please,” Sandra asked. The woman typed a few commands into the computer then handed her a ticket for a plane boarding in an hour.

          “Here you go” she smiled. Sandra headed for security. At the entrance of the security, a woman asked for her ID and ticket. Sandra handed both to her.

          “You barely look like this woman. You running away from something?” the lady asked.

          “No, I’m just starting over Sandra responded.

          “Well good luck,” the woman said as she beckoned Sandra towards the metal detectors. Sandra got through the line just in time to make her plane. The plane ride was about three hours long. Sandra did not mind though, her seating was not bad. Next to her sat an attractive man in his mid-thirties.

          “Hello my name is Connor, and you are?” he asked.

          “I’m Elaina, nice to meet you” Sandra smiled.






The End

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