I am woken up by a loud bleeping noise. It’s the truck picking up the rubbish left outside the kebab shop. I get up and stretch as my legs ache from being curled up al night, trying to keep out the cold.
A cat brushes himself against my leg and sends a shiver up my spine like the one I got when Jason was screaming at me for not telling him I was going to be late from work.
It’s a Sunday morning and I walk down the deserted street looking for somewhere to have a cup of coffee, I only have eighty pence on me which isn’t enough for a bacon sandwich so I’ll have to settle for a coffee.
The church bells ring and the town women, all dressed in black and navy blue, stand around the priest like bees round their hives and congratulate him on the wonderful sermon and invite him round to their houses foe tea and biscuits.
I walk into a shelter for a bite to eat, this place is warm and has a cozy feeling even if I don’t know anyone here.
I stand in the queue and wait to pick up some tomato soup, coffee and a piece of bread. Further on along the queue there are two men arguing over the last cranberry pie. That takes me back to the rainy, humid , terrifying night that I ran away. My face starts to sting as I remember Jason Slapping and shaking me. The hot coffee spills over my hand making me jump back to reality, the volunteer apologizes repeatedly for burning my hand.
I grab my tray and walk over to a deserted table in the corner of the room, I sit down and pick up a newspaper that is left on the chair next to me. This paper is full of greasy oil and smells like fish and chips have been eaten of it. My attention is drawn to the headline ‘Young woman abandons 8 year old child for street life’ I read on and am horrified by what’s written. This makes me sound like an uncaring mother when it should read ‘Battering husband drives wife away’.
I pick up my spoon and dip it into the soup as I raise it to my mouth soup drips over the sides and onto the tray, the soup is cold and makes me repel the spoon out of my mouth.
I sit on a park bench and watch two boys play football, I watch them closely as they run with the ball mimicking a football reporter.
A television in the shop opposite grabs my attention. As I walk over to the window, I see Jason and my family on TV making a report about my disappearance. I think to myself, ‘how can he act so innocent and convincing when its his fault I’m here in the first place!’.
A tear runs down my face as I see my son on TV hiding from the photographers and flashing cameras screaming out ‘Mummy, I want my mummy’. I press my hand against the glass and say ‘I’m here baby, mummy is here’, my skin stats to crawl as he is carried off by Jason and I’m left shouting out for someone to stop him.
As it starts to pour I look up at the sky and open my mouth letting the fresh rain run down my face, wetting my lips and into my mouth. I walk down the street while everybody around me runs like if they were being pursued by feisty pit bullterriers, leaving me alone in the street.
I stroll to the alleyway where I will stay for the night. I set up some cardboard boxes that I can lay on, I walk over to the end of the alleyway and lean against the wall as I watch the moon shining down on me.
Its too early to go to bed, so I go for a walk. I stop at a bridge and look down at the sea flowing under my feet. I think about everything that has gone wrong, all the abuse, the hatred and dirtiness in our relationship. My stomach turns as the images keep repeating themselves in my head. I climb on the rail, the breeze blows my long brown hair n front of my eyes. I take a deep breath and lean forward when suddenly my sons image comes into my head making me jump back onto the pavement, I cant do it but not because I’m a coward but because I’m not prepared to let Jason win.
I sometimes think about calling my parents and telling them I’m alright and although they will try to convince me to go back home, I could never go back to him. I couldn’t carry on living that life of nightly torture. There is still time for my son but not for me, it’s too late. I can never go back.
A couple walk past me laughing, kissing and hugging taking me to the old, happy times before the beating began. A mans strong cologne makes me drift back, he steps out of his red Mercedes in a clean white shirt. Carrying a large bouquet of roses and smartening himself up.
I tuck myself up for it’s going to be a long night, I take a piece of bread out of my pocket which I had saved, and start to nibble at it like a mouse. It has gone hard and has a dry taste but as I’m not spoilt for choice, I will have to settle for it.