*Trigger warning- sensitive topic ahead!*
As Matthew reached out to hold her, Rachel flinched to the touch.
It had been like this since the first time Matthew had raised his hand and hit Rachel. Rachel thought back to that day and that scared her to the core.
*FLASHBACK – 2 years ago*
Rachel was running late to go out with her friends. She was running around the house trying to find her car keys so she could leave. Just then, Matthew entered the house. She gave Matthew a kiss and asked him if he knew ‘where the keys were?’ Matthew didn’t respond for a while and then he said “why are you wearing this dress? Isn’t it a bit short for a girls night out or are you going to see some other guy?”
Rachel let out a laugh thinking it was a joke. But when she looked at Matthew, she could see that he was serious and his face was stone cold. She didn’t know what to say. They had been dating for 6 months and he had never said anything like this before. She tried playing it off and said “Do you really think I would cheat on you?” and she giggled to calm the tension.
Matthew walked across the room to Rachel, held her by her hair, looked straight into her eyes with rage and said “You better not because the consequence won’t be good!” and then he pushed her to the ground and left the room.
Rachel had been so confused and scared. This was not the guy she was in love with and definitely not the guy who had looked after through so much. She had sat frozen on the ground for hours. Until she heard the door and saw Matthew walk in. She was scared, she didn’t know what would happen next. But, Matthew knelt to the ground and started crying and apologising. Saying how much he regretted his actions. Those tears had melted Rachel’s heart and they had just sat there hugging.
Rachel knew that Matthew would never do that again.
It had been 2 years since that day. In that time, Matthew had hit Rachel many times and apologised as many times too. But Rachel still believed that he did it out of love and care for her. Her friends and family kept saying that she should leave him but she knew that Matthew was a good guy, he just had some bad days. Doesn’t everyone have bad days? she would always say to her friends to convince them that it would be okay. But it never was okay as she would have a new bruise to remind her.
But today Rachel was happy, Matthew had taken Rachel out for a fancy dinner and drinks. He had been attentive all night. They got back home and they were watching TV, when Rachel’s phone buzzed. Rachel checked and it was a message from her best friend, she laughed at the message and put the phone away. But Matthew was just looking at her again, with that anger in his eyes. Rachel shivered with fear, she knew what was coming. Matthew started shouting at Rachel and asking who it was?
When Rachel said it was her best friend. Matthew started laughing and said “you want me to believe that?” Rachel ran to her room and locked the door with fear for her life. She sat against the door, closed her eyes and cried as Matthew banged on the door and continued screaming. All their beautiful moments flashed through her memory, the walks in the park, the plans for their future and the names they would give their kids. But Rachel knew this was not going to work. She picked up her phone and dialled 999. This was the end, she couldn’t keep hurting herself.
The police sirens blared and Rachel heard the front door open and then slammed shut. Rachel knew that Matthew had left, maybe for now or maybe forever. But she needed this. With tears in her eyes, Rachel smiled at herself for the bravery. She knew this had to happen and she had done the right thing. She rang her best friend and cried on the phone. This was the start of a new journey… A journey away from Matthew.
Moral: People who love us would never hurt us. Never accept someone hurting you as a way of love. Learn to let go because it is so so important. You will thank yourself in the future for those few moments of bravery.