Sunday, February 06, 2011
It shouldn't have to hurt....
Labake, thank you for letting me tell our story...
For the 3rd time tonight my cell phone rang...actually it was an angry buzzing sound that my husband heard just as I did. He rolled over, disconnected the phone from its charger and after wiping the sleep from his eyes peered at it.
"Babe, its Labake again"
Before he could get the words out his mouth, I grabbed the phone from him and placed it to my ear.
"Labake...labake.." I called into the phone
In the midst of a tiny whimper and sniffling I heard her muffled voice
"Please...please... he's going to kill me this time"
I sat there in a daze, part of me desiring to go back to bed and tired of this charade Labake had drafted me reluctantly into; an endless cycle of midnight phone calls we'd been playing for the last 5 years. Even with this in mind, I knew I was going to play this game again tonight .
I didn't need to hear anymore so I hung up the phone. I knew exactly what had happened and so did hubby because by the time I had gotten off the phone, he had brushed his teeth, grabbed a pair of sweats and was slipping on his sneakers.
I quickly grabbed a sweatshirt, slapped a bandanna over my hair and joined hubby in the car. As we drove the 5 min drive to Labake's, I played out what I knew I would find. As usual the house would be in shambles and depending on her luck tonight, she could either be huddled under a table or if lucky behind a locked door.
As we pulled to the curb,I knew enough to make sure Remi, her husband, was out the house before I rushed in; last time I let my guard down and rushed into Labake's place, Remi was so drunk and incoherent, he charged blindly at me screaming something about breaking my neck; thankfully I was holding my car keys on which dangled my mace canister. I pointed the mace at him and didn't stop squeezing the trigger till I had emptied the whole canister into his eyes. It was one thing to beat on my cousin, another thing entirely to step to me. The night this happened,I had driven to her house alone but from then on hubby was adamant about following me whenever I made the trip down. He never came into the house though; he knew this was one situation Labake wouldn't want him to see her in.
Tonight, I found the front door ajar and I called out her name as I walked in; hearing sobbing coming from the kitchen, I headed in that direction. It took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the darkness and as the black void began to form shapes and colors, the spatter of blood across the wall was the first thing I noticed. As my eyes took in the chaos of shattered glass, broken furniture and human blood, my eyes welled up. I couldn't see her but I followed the sounds of the sobs I heard and as it led me to through the house, I took the wreckage in.
By the time I saw her, huddled under the kitchen table, I was openly sobbing. As I helped her out, neither of us said a word. We had played out this scene many times before. Initially she had made excuses for him, telling me he hadn't meant to blacken her eyes...then it progressed to how it was her fault and if she just learnt how to be a good wife he wouldn't have broken her arm. Nowadays, she stopped even trying to explain and for the last few months, just like stage actors doing a nightly routine, we played out our parts in silence.
But tonight was different... By the time I followed her cries like clues in a detective show and found her, I gasped. Labake laid on the kitchen floor, a broken mess of blood, tears and pain and as I rushed to her side,I was gentle enough to asses what besides her spirit had been broken.
"Labake"...."Labake"... "Labake"... I moaned her name, cried her name and as an ugly mixture of pain, anger and fear rocked my soul, I yelled her name.
"I am ok" She mumbled through bloody lips.
There was no point wasting words; there was nothing I had to say that she hadn't heard before. We both wept as we crept to the bathroom, our tears mingled as I gently bathed the blood off her and by the time I finally tucked her into bed, I had cried myself dry. I wasn't afraid to leave her at her place, it usually took Remi about 1 month to come back after each episode. As I walked to the bedroom door, I turned around just as I had done many a time, to try one last time to make her leave with me but before I could muster the words, She looked me dead in the eyes.
"I swore my vows...till death do us part!"
I sighed. "You are dead...you just don't know it yet" and gently closed the bedroom door behind me.
Hubby was in the car waiting as I walked out of the house. It was just another night in Labake's life...just another night.
...musings from atop the potter's wheel.