Visola felt the long bruise behind her neck and the swelling on her cheeks.
Tears leaked out of her eyes even as her heart disintegrated into a zillion pieces.
She rushed to the cot and looked into her baby`s face. His cherubic face seared her heart anew. He was the centre of her heart. The only reason she had been tolerant of the frequent hammer blows until now.
She was leaving the marriage.
She scooped some of her now free flowing tears and with it, she touched the child`s forehead in a gesture of maternal blessing.
She pulled her luggage and was out.
Viola felt the tears threaten to flood the sunglasses now covering her eyes.
She had feigned an eye infection to justify the sunglasses to worried colleagues at work.
Now, gratefully behind the privacy and protection of her desk, she felt her tears begging to flow anew like blood from a fresh wound.
Indeed, her heart was bleeding. He had hit her yesterday night, repeatedly, in spite of her best efforts at preparing his favorite meal. It had only been a minor argument about his family and he had turned savage. She thought of Aasir, her year-old baby, and her mind was made up.
She was leaving! With Aasir.
Hiba felt the soreness of her thighs and shuddered involuntarily at the nightmare she had been living.
If it was just the vicious hitting, she would have found solace and hope in her mother`s eternal example of patience and fidelity to her children. But it had taken an eerie turn two weeks ago and last night was just the latest grotesque episode.
As the three men took their turns into the room and mounted her one after the other, each telling her that Nessim was aware and acquiescent, she had felt numb beyond reality. Nessim had told her that they would have visitors that night but she never imagined anything like that.
After the last man had dismounted, leaving her sore and scarred, she had lurched out of the dark room and stumbled outside where she had seen Nessim, wordless, counting money. He had stared daggers at her, his eyes filled with contempt.
She felt her tears burning hot. She cast the bundle of firewood aside and ran.
There was to be no return.
Image: Kiran Foster via Flickr (cropped)