This morning whilst undressing to take a shower, I hid my face from the mirror.

I couldn’t stand looking at the weakness in my eyes, the pity my own eyes seem to have for the bruises not on my body but the ones carved on my soul as if my soul was a tree and every bad word directed at me would remain there for all to see.

He left for work and the moment I heard the front door click on his retreating back, I breathed. Deep gulping breaths because the pain was too much for my heart to bear.
The tears rolling down my face looked like raindrops falling to the ground. They flowed unchecked like a tap that just keeps on spewing water even if it’s turned off. As if it had a life of its own.

I need to hurry, shower and get dressed before his first call at 10. He calls me on the hour every hour so I need to plan this carefully because I’m leaving today. I packed just one bag so he doesn’t suspect anything because the mental and emotional torture will not end.

I can’t think straight, I’m a nervous wreck and don’t know where I will be going but I know I’m not staying. I pop two pills. I have a headache that seems to be a permanent fixture in my life.

As I unwillingly catch my eye in the mirror, I’m overcome with sadness, with self-hate and recriminations. I counsel victims of domestic abuse and am full of advice and calmly working on an exit plan for them. It’s ironic that there is no exit plan for me.
I haven’t worked in so long. My skills are redundant and I don’t even know what to do in an office environment.

I recall the time when we had only been married 6 months that he encouraged me to work. What he didn’t say was that he would check up on me so often (up to 50 calls a day) that I was eventually laid off. My boss said the constant interruptions were bad for business. That evening I tried telling him as gently as I could and he told me I was fired because I am useless. I can’t do anything right!

Over the years I can’t recall a day he did not demean me, belittle me, insult me and openly flaunt and parade his affairs in front of me. Yep, even inviting them home!

Why doesn’t he leave? He’s clearly not happy! I don’t think there’s any derogatory word in the dictionary he hasn’t used on me and each one chipped away at my self-esteem. I’ve replaced so many dishes that were thrown, doors that were punched in and clothes of mine that were cut up.

He prides himself on not being an abuser because he says abusers hit and he doesn’t.
That’s such a lie, I’ve looked it up, I’ve snuck around to attend meetings and he fits the profile.

After my shower, I hurriedly get dressed, pulling on old track pants and a ragged T shirt I bought years ago. Nobody believed me when I tried telling them what he was like. Women especially were skeptical and called me ungrateful. They envy me because we have a nice house but they don’t know or maybe they don’t want to know? I’ve lost friends because he says he doesn’t like them and there is nothing I have to say to them that I can’t say to him.

Thank God we don’t have children although I would have loved to have them. For the first few years he would have sex as often as what he wanted and I wasn’t allowed to say no. If I pleaded a headache or say I’m not in the mood, the accusations would start and would continue until he got his way. I hate him touching me and used to be grateful when he had affairs because then he wouldn’t want it from me.

He has accused me of being frigid, a lousy lover but I can’t fake emotions I don’t have simply to satisfy him in bed. The past 4 months he stopped touching me because he says I’m too ugly and I don’t turn him on, that no man would want me because I can’t even cook or clean properly. He suggested I kill myself as nobody would miss someone like me.

3 years ago I asked for a divorce and he took away the money he used to give me for the household stuff. Now I have to ask him if I need sanitary pads. It’s humiliating and he wants me to ask him only on the day I have my period.

After 15 years I’ve realized that he enjoys taunting me and verbally, emotionally and mentally abusing me. I used to wish he would just not wake up and miraculously die in his sleep but life wasn’t going to be that generous to me.

My phone just rang and I automatically glance at the clock on the wall (I don’t have a watch because he says there’s no need). I don’t glance at the screen because I know who it is. I have one contact on my phone and that’s him. I put my mom’s number in my phone and he deleted it telling me I don’t need her number as I made a commitment to him.

I’d better rush and answer he wants me to answer on the 3rd ring. Surprise! Surprise! It’s him and his list of demands. He says he wants to vomit when he sees my face but insists on video calling and I have to show him where I am by filming the area.
15 minutes later he rings off and a fresh set of tears start because he’s decided to spend that time insulting me (which really is nothing new).

The tears must be automatic because I am numb. I’m like a robot programmed only to do his bidding.

Well not today, today I’m leaving because I have just turned 40 and if I don’t do it now, I’m never going to. I’ve always said I wouldn’t stay beyond 30 so I’ve consoled myself into believing I’m 30 but my head knows I’m lying.

I slowly inch towards the front door, no firm plan in mind but not willing to spend another second being shouted at, sworn at, insulted, degraded or mocked. I’m done!

It’s taken so long to find the courage to convince my mind that I deserve a life, that I deserve happiness and that it will never happen whilst I’m with him.

I’ve made myself many promises about leaving tomorrow but I’ve slowly begun to realize what if tomorrow never comes?