in no particular order, just how I write them. Dug this one out from a college paper I wrote. Some old, old memories. And in line with my one word noun title. This one's called The Tablespoon. Catchy name. Are you intrigued? Well, here goes. Another installment of my life, a masterpiece, a canvas being hand-painted by God...well, at least now it is. Now that I know my Savior.
by Susan Bowers
I was on the couch in my living room, certainly not comfortable because no part of my body was loose enough to get comfortable. I was, instead, wined tighter than a three-cord strand. The couch was not a proper battleground but, at least, it provided some cushion for me. There would be no leverage for my attacker like the wall had been. Unfortunately, the cushions from the couch had been used another time, as a pillow, and pillows made good weapons for smothering. I took my chances and stayed on the couch. Besides, I didn’t think that was the case this time. At least I hoped it wasn’t the case. I already had a lump forming on my forehead at the hairline from round one. It stung to the touch. I could feel the skin broken and when I pulled my fingers away I had transferred blood to them. It was only a smudge and it wasn’t bleeding that much. I was also sick to my stomach from that round of abuse I’d already taken at the wall and from what led up to the beating in the first place.
My attacker was my husband. I don’t like using the word husband. Maybe spouse is a better word, or just ‘him’. Husband is such an endearing word. It implies love, caring, protection, security, and togetherness. He gave me none of those and none of those fit my spouse. Since my attacker was my spouse that made me a statistic. I guess all of us can be a statistic in one way or another, but to be a statistic under the title, ‘Statistics about Domestic Violence’ causes a certain level of disgust. It is those statistics that tell you ‘every 9 seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten’ (1), or ‘4 million women a year are assaulted by their partners’(1) that just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth. Why did I have to know those statistics personally?
What led up to this beating was much like any other time. I wish I could say that he had an excuse: that he’d come home drunk and couldn’t help himself; or that he was so high that he didn’t know what he was doing. My spouse didn’t drink and he didn’t ‘do’ drugs. I figured out somewhere along the line that I was the cause of the beatings. I don’t mean that I deserved them – no one deserves them. But I did open my mouth though. What am I supposed to do? My spouse cheats on me, I find out, I confront him, and he beats me for finding out. No! He beats me for confronting him. How insane is that!
I had a momentary reprieve. My mind was working enough to wonder where the girls were. I hoped they were in their room. To this point he had not physically harmed them. I can’t imagine what it’s done to their psyche. My daughters, Elizabeth and Ashley, were just 3 ½ years and 18 months old. What they have had to endure wasn’t fair. Elizabeth
was so strong and independent. Ashley was so flighty and funny. They were my sanity. They were the light in the darkness. Why I didn’t get out for them I’ll never know. Unless, it was for me that I needed to get out for.
I was so worked up, the pain, the insanity of it all that I was crying. He was in the kitchen now, away from me – that temporary reprieve. After seeing the blood on my fingers, I became enraged. I wasn’t looking at him when I said under my breath, with every ounce of disgust I could muster, ‘you make me sick’. I guess it was loud enough for him to hear.
Round two! I glanced up just in time. I screamed. What ever had been in his hand was coming at me. I jerked my legs up to my stomach and lifted my arms across my face and chest in a fetal-like position. It, whatever ‘it’ was hit me on the side of my thigh. The pain shot through my leg and the rest of my body quickly. I screamed and cried out louder in response to the pain. I looked down and sucked in air in surprise. Stuck to my thigh was a tablespoon. He had thrown it so hard the length of the spoon had embedded itself in my leg. I moved slowly, just enough to remove the spoon from my leg. I got another jolt of bone tingling pain just removing it. It left its impression in my leg.
It was then that I saw Ashley. She must have come out of her room at my blood curdling scream. She looked frightened. Those big blue-green eyes of hers were filled with tears and they were streaming down her face. She didn’t try to hide them or wipe them away. She came straight to me and climbed onto the couch and wrapped her small arms around me. Her arms didn’t come close to going around me but it felt like they did. She scooted in front of me and onto my lap. She bravely placed herself between me and him. It hurt my leg tremendously but I held tight to her and just wept.
I was seeing Ashley at that moment, this tiny 18 month old, as my protector. She was shielding me from the bite of the big, bad wolf. Amazingly, and what I didn't know then, I was also seeing Ashley as the girl she would become. Always ready to stand up for the underdog. Or as the women she would blossom into, a defender of the weak, and abused. She would be in your face if you were hurting someone that she saw as needing a defender. I am still amazed at this gift she has and thankful that at 18 months she had it even then. It must have been a blessing from God. So many blessings from God! Here was another one: Somehow I was still alive! God sure must love fools. He sure has saved me enough times.
I didn’t begin questioning why I was still alive right away after this last round with the tablespoon. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t had this talk with myself before. But over the months it took for my leg to heal it served as a reminder to me of how I was living, if I could call it living. More like existing. I didn’t want to just exist anymore. I figured out, if an 18-month old could be used mightily, like Ashley had been used that day, then certainly, there was a reason that my life had been spared this time, and for that matter all those other times when I stood a deaths door.