It’s the week before I leave this place forever. The children are all at school, I am alone and have finished my work for the morning. I sit and take a moment to just exist right here in this space for perhaps the last quiet moment I’ll ever have here.
The light is grey, the day outside is overcast and the leaves I can see just by the window are bouncing softly in the breeze. It has always been dim here, very little light from the narrow windows and there are shadows dripping off everything.
This is where I have sat a thousand times in the last eight years. I have nursed two babies sitting here, cuddled sick children through the night, played games with them, shared their joy and their pain. I have slept here, had therapy sessions over the phone here, I have wept here. I have sat here full of angst, hatred and rage, I have been screamed at, threatened and abused here. I have felt desperate here.
I remain aloof on the surface but my whole body feels tight as I type, my breathing shallow and my vision tunnelling down. I feel almost guilty for wanting to leave this place so desperately. It’s the only home two of my three children have ever known, I accept that this is huge and scary for them and they have all their memories here. I will support them through this change, shower positivity and comfort upon them.
Closing my eyes, I picture sitting here with an arm full of baby. Fresh, content and smelling like sweet milk and creation. Love pours through me like warm honey, so quickly followed by the cold insidious stab of resentment. I wish I could separate what was good and pure and sweet from the black shadow of his abuse, I wish I could remember things as my small people do; selectively and with love. I wish I could erase him as easily as I could erase these letters on the page.
I have dreamed for so long of leaving this place, just scooping up the children, abandoning everything and starting fresh. Moving house isn’t quite that but it’s close enough. We get our fresh start at last. I am ecstatic. Every time I think about next week I am filled with unimaginable joy, relief, sweet anticipation. Sure, there will be new challenges, but I’m not worried, I am empowered.
When I sit in my new house and close my eyes in ten years time I will have loving memories there to flick back through, untainted by someone else’s rage and demands. The sound of a hard closing door won’t make me flinch, toys on the floor will still get stepped on but they won’t get smashed up for being there. No rough, grabbing hands and slamming fists. I won’t have to walk past those fist holes in the walls ever again. We will be safe, and we will feel safe.
This is my farewell to the final wall of my prison, the last little bit of the cocoon I need to shed before I can fly.
© Emma Stead
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