“Listen, I’m sorry. Last night I was inebriated,” Said Joss to his injured wife. Though he did not look guilty as such, but his wife was inclined to forgive him. Marabi looked at him and fell in love again. His auburn hair and eyes reminded her of sunset and of their long romantic walks on the beach.
Maybe, after all, it was a mistake. Maybe he’ll never repeat his mistake. Maybe he still loves her. But at least once in her life she wants to be sure, she wants to get rid of maybes.
She walked over to him and threw her arms around him. He hugged her back with such reluctance that it made Marabi feel unwanted. The hug no longer felt warm. Marabi had not yet figured out why the hug was not as passionate as it used to be when Joss pulled away.
“Is something wrong, honey?” she asked, genuinely concerned.
“Go do your work, don’t bother me”.
“Hello? How can I help you?” the employee in the call centre asked.
The voice on the other end was frantic and whispered, “Hi, I’m Analia. I can’t tell you everything over the phone, my husband might overhear me”.
“Sooooo, can you visit us?”
“Ya ya. I’ve called for your address. A friend of mine gave me this number, so I know little”.
“No worries, ma’am. Can I read out the address?”
“Just a minute, let me grab a piece of paper. Ah yeah, go ahead”.
The employee dictated the address, wished Analia a happy afternoon, and hung up.
“My friend has invited us over for lunch. We need to leave by 12:30 p.m.” Joss said rudely.
At Joss’s friend, Ej’s house.
“Hola Marabi! You look amazing in that black dress”.
Ej was being kind.
“Thanks, Ej,” Marabi said, trying to sound as indifferent as possible. All this effort just to keep her husband’s suspicion at bay.
But little did Joss acknowledge his wife’s presence after becoming over-flirty with his other friend Ruby. Joss and Marabi had been in this situation several times. When they go home, Marabi would ask him about what’s going between him and Ruby and as usual they’ll end up quarrelling. Joss will either tag her insecure and lock her in the bedroom or abuse her until she can no longer speak.
Sitting on the couch, the images of her clothes drenched in blood and the blue and purple swelled regions on her body flashed through her brain. She turned cold.
The healthily friendly Ej now sat uncomfortably on the other side of the couch. He deliberately tried to avoid looking at Joss, Ruby, or at the devastated Marabi. Marabi could sense irritation in his every move. He knew that the things going on were definitely unacceptable. And thanks to him, his indirect irritation and uncomfortableness drove Joss and Ruby apart, at least for the time being.
“Ma’am?” there was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” said a voice so confident and commanding. ‘This woman truly deserves this kind of voice,’ the assistant thought. ‘Maybe the brutal battles she triumphed over have given birth to this confident voice. She’s knows how difficult and ego-crushing those battles can be, that’s why she’s helping others defeat these battles’.
“Ma’am, a lady who identified herself as Analia called us. We asked her to meet us.” Her madam nodded as a signal for her to continue. “She arrived twenty minutes ag….”
“Okay! Doesn’t this happen every day? For what have I employed you? See, I have a lot of things to worry about. I understand that you are new here, but that doesn’t mean you can approach me for things you should handle.” The madam said without losing her temper.
“I get it, ma’am. But this lady is in a dilemma. She loves her husband, but he emotionally tortures her. She’s tried to commit suicide before. The way she’s describing her relationship with her husband speaks volumes. She didn’t like literally accuse her husband of abusing her, but it's obvious.
I - I don’t think I’m the right person for her. I think she needs a therapist, but our therapist is on leave.
Ma’am, so what should I do next?”.
“Bring her to me.”
“I’ve had enough, Joss!” Said Marabi, with tears running down her cheeks.
“Oh! So now you expect me to entertain your melodrama again?” Joss sighed, cracking his knuckles. Marabi thought of stopping, enraging Joss proved nothing but painful. But her tongue was in no mood to stop.
“Do you really love me?” The last thing she wanted to do was sound desperate. But desperate is exactly what Joss had made her. She was desperately in love with him. She desperately needed him. When abused, she’d desperately apologize and beg him to stop instead of defending herself.
“Don’t you already know the answer, honey?” He said with sarcasm.
“Answer with a yes or no!” She bellowed.
He couldn’t believe the sudden outburst. Marabi’s raised voice had hurt his male ego. He closed the gap between them. They could literally feel each other’s breath.
“How dare you?” He yelled with such force, it made Marabi jump with fear. He stepped back, looked around, raised his hand and slapped Marabi so hard, the end of her lip started bleeding. She collapsed on the floor.
“You know what? I don’t even like you, let alone loving”. His voice reminded her of the calm waves of the ocean, slapping your feet gently. She was amazed at how well he can change the tone of his voice in a few seconds.
Marabi got up, looked him in the eye and slapped him back.
“I’ve had enough. You don’t deserve me.” She said with vehemence that was enough to move a mountain and walked away.
Analia entered the madam’s office. Madam studied the lady. Thin, vulnerable, blindly in love, timid with no self-confidence. Madam had met many ladies like Analia, she had mastered the art of understanding these ladies by only looking at their eyes. And she was never wrong.
“Hello, Miss Analia. I’m Marabi, the founder of ‘Stand Up’. This NGO is exclusively for the victims of domestic abuse. Please feel free to share your experience with our team. We’ll help you discover your true self and help you fight your abusers.”