It was her silent affirmations that kept her from going completely insane. Today I’ll get out, today I’ll be free, today I’ll be safe. Every day she would get up to make his breakfast. She would test the new bruises from last night’s drunken beating, look in the mirror and repeat her silent mantra. She would cook, he would eat in silence, and leave in silence. Today was no different. After he was gone, she sat on the bed with her bag packed at her feet. Today I’ll get out, today I’ll be free, today I’ll be safe. I don’t have a car but I’ll walk, today I’ll get out, today I’ll be free, today I’ll be safe. She frowned, where would she go. She had no friends, he got mad when she talked to other people. He got really mad when they asked about the bruises, and there were always bruises. Family? She had a cousin in Boumont, but she couldn’t walk to Boumont, and a cousin wasn’t family enough to call from 200 miles for help.
She thought of her mother, long dead. She had watched her plod through a loveless, thankless marriage that now to her looked like paradise. She thought of her father a sour, overbearing man, who had never struck her mother. She though of how she had vowed that she was going to get some excitement, some action in her life. She thought of her husband. His dangerous and exciting, had become dangerous and mean. She had plenty of action now. She winces as she touched her ribs, today I’ll get out, today I’ll be free, today I’ll be safe. Today I’ll be pregnant, damn. Damn, damn, damn.
She picked up the bag and walked to the door. She opened it and looked out, way out, over the west Texas landscape. Sand and rocks and hot for as far as the eye can see. She stepped out into Texas sun, it was like pushing through cotton. She looked around her, she was alone for as far as the eye could see, a trailer in a sea of rocks and sand. She thought, no friends, no family, no car, no place to go, and she sat down on her bag and cried. She cried for herself and she cried for her baby. When she had cried herself dry she stood up and looked all around her, angry, furious, and she shouted, but the shout was carried off by the wind and seem to only boom in her head. I have no friends, no family, no car, no place to go. She shouted again and again, and finally in frustration she ran into the house and threw herself onto her bed. There she slept.
She woke, out of habit she went through her mantra, today I’ll get out, today I’ll be free, today I’ll be safe, but the sun was low. She knew in a few hours he would be home. There would be supper, then the fight, then the beating. How could she care for a child in this house. No friends, no family, no car, no place to go. She looked out the window, at the setting sun and resolved, today we’ll get out, today we’ll be free.
She walked to his drawer. The drawer where he hid it. He didn’t think she knew but who did he think put his clothes in there, she wasn’t stupid, but then he thought she was. She held it in her hands, the weight felt good. She sat in the chair in front of the door. No friends, no family, no car, no place to go but today we’ll get out, today we’ll be free. She worked the slide, then she took aim at the middle of the door. The gun was heavy, but steady. She rested it back in her lap. After a while she picked it up and held it to her head. Today we’ll get out, today we’ll be free. She put it back in her lap. She hadn’t decided yet but she would, today we’ll get out. Then she heard the car in the driveway, today we’ll be free.