`How did she become this empty shell of a person, when exactly did she lose herself?’ She can’t remember a time the knots in her stomach weren’t there. This horrible feeling, eating away at her from the inside out, uneasiness in the pit of her stomach, she isn’t able to pinpoint where or when this originated. It seemed as if she just woke to find it there one day embedded deep within. Although for the life of her she can’t remember exactly when it appeared, but whenever it was, of one thing she was certain it has remained there ever since.
`What on earth did she have to feel bad about?’ she guessed others would be thinking. To onlookers she had the perfect life, behind closed doors however, was a very different matter. One by one she was isolated from every one she loved, day by day every spec of light from hope was extinguished like a burnt out candle. Her confidence depleted by daily digs chipping away at the surface till there was almost nothing left of the old Lola. Downtrodden by snide remarks and kept there by constant put downs, negative repetition pounding the beliefs into her head, `weak, dirty, thick, lazy, ugly.’ These words were like a daily wind storm battering her defenses, till there was little or no fight left.
Summoning any strength, any courage felt pointless, `was there light at the end of this tunnel all she could see was darkness no glimmer of any light, any hope’. There seemed no way out, nightly she had a reoccurring nightmare where she was forever running and running around in a lit tunnel in a never-ending circle. Only her own shadow in the tunnel for company, her footsteps echoing all around; she’s clearly running from someone or something as there are clanging noises getting closer and she keeps looking behind her. Panting with agonizing breaths, stumbling, almost collapsing into a heap of exhaustion but too scared to stop; she’d awake most nights in a cold sweat. She knew what it meant but knowing she had to get away before all of her was lost forever and actually acting upon it was worlds apart.
Marco did leave her at home alone for a short period daily during the week but she was locked in – all doors, window keys removed - the lot. He’d take the mobile phones with him or remove their batteries and they didn’t have a landline, an expense he simply refused to pay for, so she couldn’t contact the outside world. No escape, like in the sci-fi movies, resistance was futile. Round and round in her head his sharp words, cut away. `You should be grateful to me, I provide for you, while you just sit on your fat, lazy ass being chauffeured around.’ It had been his idea to get rid of her car, `save money on things we don’t need.’ He’d said. `Wasting money on a non-necessity’ he’d added. It may not have meant anything to him but that car of hers had been a lifeline, a way of reaching out to those who cared; losing it meant her independence stripped, he’d robbed it from her. `Clean up your filth’ he’d say, `nobody else would put up with you, nobody loves you not even your own family’.
She was once a very long time ago bubbly, vivacious but now she was the exact opposite as if the lights had been blown out behind her eyes, all bubbliness popped or floated away. She’d withdrawn within herself, where she knew she’d be safe. To her friends and family, it appeared just bad timing, bad luck that every time some gathering was arranged there was a reason why they couldn’t make it. There was an answer for everything, always a plausible reason why not. Any time he couldn’t avoid an event, where there’d be a chance for Lola to speak to anyone outside of their marriage; he’d come and stand over her, regulating what was being said, putting out any possible fires that could damage his squeaky clean reputation.
He held all the cards; he had a believable poker face. He played the game so well. His true nature was never uncovered. He always won no matter what. Until one day he didn’t. That was the day she managed to escape, to squint her way back in to the light. He’d left as normal, leaving instructions on what she needed to get done before his return, but on this day a postal worker arrived at their door shortly after, trying to leave a parcel for their neighbor. She seized her opportunity to escape she ran to the door and spoke to him through the letterbox, `help me please’ she urged `I need the police to come, break down the door and get me to a safe place’ explaining she was trapped against her will and needed rescuing. He could sense the distress in her voice so he rang the police immediately explained to them all she had told him. As he rang Lola continued to speak through the door to him `thank you, thank you. Thank you’ she repeated over and over to him, adding `you’re saving my life’.
When the police arrived Lola stood back whilst they broke the door down. She emerged out of the darkness in to the light covered in the dirt of his negative insults, ragged clothes from every hateful word pulling away at every fiber of her being. Unruly hair from the tugs of spiteful venom which spouted out of his mouth and nobody taking care of her or her appearance, she was so low that she didn’t care anymore how she looked. All pride in her appearance had been long squashed. Bruised and battered within; not visible from the outside. `Come with us’ the police woman urged as she wrapped a blanket round her shoulders and ushered her towards the car, `we’ll get you a place in a woman’s refuge’.
She had taken the first most important steps out of the darkness in to the light but it would take a lifetime to recover from these wounds which cut so deep they were embedded into her very soul. But as the car pulled away she felt relief wash over her as she knew step by step she will build herself back up and repair the damage done. She would have to start from scratch on all fronts, financially and emotionally. Re-build her life starting by re-booting her belief in herself. Fill her heart back up with self-love, a sturdy foundation as a basis to a better life, with the light of love leading the way.