Story 30

 - Now -

She watched her husband as he sat at the dining table eating the breakfast she had just served him. She was standing near the kitchen platform, spatula in hand making pancakes for herself. 

It had become her habit of past many weeks to observe him as he went about his daily routine and each time she fell in love with him all over again for the efforts he put for their marriage to work.

Their marriage had been a love marriage, a decision not made carefully but spontaneously at the beat of the heart. He had always been her inspiration to do better. He had been the first and the only person she had ever gone on a date with, ever kissed, ever fallen in love. He was the man she had lost her virginity to and the one she had married. Then, he had become someone she did not recognize at all. It had taken a while for that to happen but it did.

He looked up from his plate and their eyes met. He smiled and she smiled back at him. She turned around and flipped the pancake and let the other side cook. Taking the pancakes in a plate she walked towards the dining table.
“Want some more?” She asked.
“No, I am done.” He said eating the last piece from his plate.
“I will make some coffee” he said getting up but before he walked to the kitchen counter he bent over to kiss her on the lips.
“I love you.” He said
“I love you, too” She replied.
She loved him, loved him very much. And, that had been the reason she had given him a second chance. He had respected her decision; though at that moment it had seemed impossible

As he added coffee to the coffee maker he could not stop thinking about the way she had been looking at him. He knew what she was thinking, he knew the thought was always there at the back of her mind. He could not blame her. 
It was easier to pick up the broken pieces of the heart, tuck them inside your pocket and walk away from the pain that suffocated you than trying to fit the broken pieces back together and allow the pain to cease and the wound to heal and while doing that accept in your life, the presence of the person who broke your heart in the first place.

He respected her for the choice she made, he would do anything, give up everything to keep her safe – from himself. There was nothing he would not do to erase that lingering fear from her subconscious.
He was pulled back out of his thoughts as he felt her hand on his shoulder. He tried to look away, giving time to the unshed tear to disappear. She placed her hand under his chin and turned his face towards her. The unshed tear, squeezed out of the eye onto the eyelash and trickled down his cheek as he blinked. She brought her lips closer to his face and licked the tear away. Then, she kissed him on the mouth, running her fingers through his hair. 
And, as he kissed her back he pushed all the thoughts aside. The only thing that mattered to him was that she was there, with him despite how he had treated her. 

- Then -

She looked at her husband sleeping peacefully, satiated with the sex he had with her. His face did not reflect what had happened earlier but her body did. She slid out of the bed carefully and wrapped the bed-sheet around her body, leaving her naked husband sprawled in bed. As she turned around to look at him to confirm that he was sleeping she felt the bile rise to her throat. She rushed to the bathroom and vomited in the commode. 

She straightened up and looked in the mirror. The bruises in different stages of coloration appeared around her neck, shoulder and breast. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. 
What had happened to the man she had fallen in love with? The man she had lost her virginity to did not know how to inflict pain. That man had been careful and caring as he had made love to her for the first time; it had hurt that man to see her wince with pain because of something that was natural and now, the same man had inflicted pain on her without any remorse. There had to be a reason why he had become what he had become. 

Looking at her reflection in the mirror she convinced herself that she did not care. It had started recently but the intensity of the sadistic attacks on her were unbearable. There was only one way to get away from all this – disappear. 
Put on your clothes, get rid of the wedding band, and walk out of the room and out of his life forever, a little voice inside her head told her.
She put on her clothes and walked out of the bathroom, she walked towards the bed and saw him sleeping peacefully. He looked so innocent and vulnerable. She slid into the bed next to him and continued watching him as he slept.
Choke him to death, an angry inner voice yelled.
She closed her eyes and willed the voice away.

When she opened her eyes again he was wide awake staring at her. She felt tightness in her chest as if he squeezed her heart with his gaze.
She did not know how but he knew what she was thinking. He sat up straight and stared into her eyes as his own eyes filled with tears. As he watched the marks on her body and the look on her face, he knew that she’d had enough. He had crossed over the tolerance level. 
He looked away and held his head in his hands. How had he reached here? How had he become the beast he had become?

She watched him as he brought his knees close to his chest and held his head in his hands. Though she could not see his face she knew he was crying.

Despite all that happened between them; it was unbelievable how they could still read each other’s thoughts. 

Her thoughts of running away vanished the moment he looked at her, tears in his eyes. He did not have to apologize, she knew he felt remorse. It was then she realized; she was the one who had allowed it to go on for so long. Had she put up resistance earlier, had she let him know that the physical pain and the pain of seeing what he had become was unbearable, perhaps he would have stopped earlier.
He agreed to see a professional. She wanted it for him and he wanted it to work for her, for their marriage, for their love. 

- Now –

He poured the coffee in the mugs and handed her mug to her. He watched her as she sipped coffee and appreciated the taste. He smiled.
He still had a long way to go, many more sessions with the psychiatrist, but as long as she was with him – the journey was possible. 
Each day, each step of the journey he fell in love with her all over again as she stood by him – then and now.

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