Word Count: 500+
Song Inspiration: Better Man by Little Big Town
By Sarah McEvoy
Her hands shook like the leaves in a maple tree at the end of fall as the wind beat them
off their branches in preparation for winter. She was frozen completely still. She could
not move her hands to turn off the melody that played through the speakers of her 2001
Dodge Durango, the only thing she had left from her relationship with him…or so she
thought. It’s only a song she told herself. He will not come back. He’ll never hurt her
again. But just like that the song brought her back to the day she hit rock bottom.
Richard had been drinking more and lately she couldn’t do anything right. Her dinners
were lacking that “home cooked feel,” she separated the laundry all-wrong, she spent
too much on the groceries he insisted she buy, she didn’t wear the right clothes when they
were out together, and lately she could never pleasure him. He wasn’t usually a violent
man but when he drank whiskey that was different. She’d had to hide the bruises with
extra mascara and long sleeved shirts. Cover the fingerprints he’d left on her body with a
scarf and long pants. Hide the blood stained towels in the neighbors dumpster. Each time
this happened she felt worthless until he’d sober up, apologize profusely and promise that
it would not happen anymore. A promise her broke time and time again.
It was a beautiful fall day in October. It was her favorite time of year with the leaves
painting the landscape a myriad of reds, yellows, and oranges. He’d come home from
O’Keefe’s three hours late for dinner and hit the mailbox as he misjudged the driveway.
When she mentioned his tardiness would require her to reheat dinner he’d thrown his
bottle of nearly empty Jack Daniels and hit her square across the face. Blood dripped
down from her lip and tasted of lead, accompanied by a searing pain in her jaw. When
she reached for the dishcloth to tend to her wound his eyes turned an empty black filled
with rage. He caught her arm and drug her to back door kicking at her each time she
made a sound. He tossed her numb body into the bed of the truck and sped off cussing at
her as they headed away from town. She knew that if she stayed in the truck something
worse could happen to her already wilting body. She mustered up all the strength and
determination she could and leapt from the bed of the truck. She hit the shoulder of the
road with a crack and rolled herself down the small incline away from the road, the truck
the torture and, the blur of the awful night. Suddenly everything turned black.
She awoke to a team of doctors and nurses tending to her in a hospital many hours later.
Broken ribs, wrists ankles and a fractures scull, but she was alive. That was the last day
she ever spoke Richard’s name. Slowly she healed from her various injuries, moved to a
new town, a new job, and began a new life, but every now and then she hears that melody
and the nightmare flashes back to life again.