Made of Bricks
The ground is hard against my back – frozen solid at this time of year. His left knee is pinching the skin on my right arm. I am having difficulty focusing on his face. A combination of my eye swelling and his hands around my throat, squeezing. Welcome to yet another Christmas tainted by alcohol fuelled violence.
From the moment he sat down to breakfast I knew that the day was not going to end well. His expression brought with it a rolling weather front – dark clouds with flashes of lightning. I made every effort to keep the girls out of arms reach, encouraging them to play with their new toys in the front room.Their wide eyes and spilled drinks told me that they too had read the signs.
I ran out into the back garden in a vain attempt to shield them from his temper. As soon as he stamped on my hand, crushing the wedding band into my finger I knew that I needed to get him out of the house. I was hoping that one of our neighbours would look out of their window and phone the police.
All the windows are empty apart from one where my pale faced angels are looking out at me , their sad mouths stained with orangeade. I try to tell them that it will be OK and that I love them. I am beginning to lose the fight. My brain is starting to play tricks on me – out the corner of my eye I am sure that I see a four foot cat with a chestnut coloured tail edge its way out of the kitchen door and disappear through the garden gate.
From the end of a very long tunnel I hear the voice of one of our neighbours and I am free. The two men attempt an elaborate dance routine and there is lots of shouting and swinging of arms before my attacker runs back into the house. All I can think of are the girls and I let out a sound so unfamiliar to my ears that it silences me.
I can’t stop shaking and the girls have not spoken since we got back from the hospital. The police searched the house and assured us that he was not hiding in there, waiting for us to return. The girls are playing by the fire and the TV is on. They are eating Twiglets and drinking cream soda floats. They have built a fort of cushions around us and have advised me that ‘When he huffs and puffs we won’t let him in. It’ll be OK Mummy, our house is made of bricks.’