Short Story Sunday – The Conclusion
Short Story Sunday – The Conclusion of Rachael and Richard
Two hours into our interview I am smitten with Vera. I don’t really know what I expected. Well I guess I expected a meek little person, scared of their own shadow. I was so off. Vera was tall and beautiful. She had a strong but feminine voice. When she talked, she talked to be heard and she had a story to tell. I listened to Vera tell me about her years of being married to an abuser, her “escape,” as she calls it and now her redemption.
I was supposed to be interviewing her and even had a list of questions prepared like any great journalist. However, Vera did not need to hear my questions. She shared her entire story and why she developed Red Door. I admire her, I thought to myself as I sip on my sweet tea and listen intently.
After our interview I head home with the hopes of putting together the article before Richard arrives home from work. I spent two days writing the article for the charity flyer. Two days of hiding it from Richard. Two days of sneaking in time between my responsibilities of being the perfect wife. Two days before Richard found my notes.
One hit. One hit to the lower back Friday morning as I stepped out of the shower. I didn’t even have to ask. There lay my notes scattered on the bathroom floor. Richard’s face was almost purple with rage. I fell to the floor as he continued to kick me in the back and legs. I laid there not making a sound. I focused on those papers, my notes, my article, scattered across the marble floor. I was furious. Not furious that my own husband was beating me but furious that I could see a tear in one of the pages. Furious that the ink was running from getting wet. Furious that I stayed all these years.
“What have you done?” he screams while spitting in my face. I don’t answer. He picks me up by my shoulders and slammed me into the dressing table like a rag doll. The look on his face was pure hatred mixed with a little fear. “Rachael! Rachael! I have done nothing to you. What did you tell this lady?”. I still can’t answer.
I can feel some emotions boiling up inside me. I laugh. My body is hurting like hell. I start laughing. A crazy laugh. It is almost as if it is not even me. As I am laughing I look around to see who is laughing. Very strange sensation. I point my finger at Richard, “Nothing? You’ve done nothing? That is right Richard, I forgot. You are perfect. The perfect husband.” That was all it took. He went for the face. I knew it was happening before it I even felt the first punch. Never has he touched my face.
Saturday came and went. I never got out of bed. Not to cook breakfast, not to make his coffee. Richard never came to our room Friday night. My face is black and blue along with a majority of my body.
Sunday I stayed in bed. Richard said he would tell the church group I was ill. I bet he would I thought. I remained in our room. He remained in the guest room. Monday I started receiving calls from Debbie and the others on the charity board. I let them all go to voicemail. While Richard was at work I wrote up an article on the home computer and emailed it to Vera for her approval.
I then began to make a list. A list of things to do. I was going to leave Richard. I didn’t know how but I knew I had no choice. As great as the Red Door was, Richard knew about it. I could never go there and be safe. No, I had to come up with a better plan.
The weekly slowly crept by. I did not leave the house once and he didn’t ask me. I am sure it was because of my face. There was no hiding my face. Someone would surely ask questions.
Friday, exactly one week from the last time Richard beat me my life changed forever. I did not see Richard when he left for work that morning. I had avoided him all week and he avoided me as well. I was in the kitchen making my first cup of hot tea and contemplating my list. How was I going to get money out of our account without him knowing? Where would I go? How do I hide from him?
The doorbell rang. I ignored it. It rang again, then I heard a man yelling, “Mrs. Brooker, Are you home?” The bell again. Then another knock. I open the door to two policeman at my door. With a solemn look on their faces “Mrs. Brooker, we regret to inform you that your husband, Richard Brooker, was in a fatal car accident this morning. We will be happy to call someone to come with you to identify his body but we are sure it was him.”
I laughed, then, I cried. The universe does have a way of taking care of things. I cried until I could not cry anymore. As these two young officers attempted to console me, they had no idea I was crying because I felt immediate relief. No more would I ever suffer abuse from Richard. No more.
One year later, I stand on the front lawn just at daybreak. I can feel the moisture in the air from the lingering rain during the night. The sun rising over the house is beautiful. It crosses over the top of the trees and shines on the front porch. I admire my red door. I hear a car door shut and look over as Vera is walking up the drive-way with a very shaken woman. She is bruised and wearing torn clothes. No shoes and wide eyed. “Rachael meet Susie.
She will stay here until we can get her a permanent location.” Vera says. I offer my hand to Susie with a smile and gestures her into my refuge. “Susie the room at the top of the stairs is available. There will be clothes of all sizes in the closet and toiletries on the bed. Please make yourself at home and I will have hot food available soon.” I say. Susie slowly walks up the stairs with tears in her eyes. I recognize those tears. I have seen that same look from 12 others just like her since I opened my home to the Red Door foundation.
I don’t know that I will ever emotionally recover fully from the years of abuse. I don’t know if I will ever trust a man to have a relationship. I do know that I can help. I can help Vera and other ladies like Susie.
I never went back to the church, who all loved Richard. One month after Richards accident I cleaned out every shed of evidence of his existence in the house we shared. It was now my house. That is when I reached out to Vera and shared my story. That was the day I painted my front door red.
Short Story Sunday –
The red door by jeanna
I hope you have enjoyed my short story and were able to follow along over the last several weeks. If not, I have attached all previous chapters at the top of this post. My ebook can also be purchased from Kindle for Amazon. I will link it HERE. It is FREE if you have Amazon Prime or $2.99 to download!