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Household Sorrows (part II)
Willa shivered once in her seat, causing Charlie's story to suddenly come to a halt. ''You walked here in the pouring rain didn't you?''
''Just finish the story would you? I have to be home sometime before next year.'' Charlie couldn't help but laugh before she returned back to her story, Willa, was without a doubt strong, and Charlie had an impression that not a lot of people got to see that in her.
On the side of the road, a woman could be seen walking with her daughters. She held one by the hand, the little girl swaying in her little lavender dress enjoying the gentle breeze in which rushed through her hair making her feel like she was flying. Cars passed, caring only about their day’s journey, and none about the pregnant women and her children’s. The little girl danced beside her mother as the progressed down the road, occasionally touching the belly of her mother, and pulling away with even more life as she giggled at her little brother or sister who happened to kick her hand. The mother smiled lovingly down at her child, dancing with such life and youth; as she danced around them, stroller and all. The youngest one, comfortably asleep in the stroller, sucked on her thumb, her head bobbing with the unsteady ground. It took an hour and a half to get to the doctor’s office. An older, two story building, stood tall on the other side of town. The mother’s feet being slightly swollen from her condition seemed worse as she sat on the hard doctor’s office examination table, the white paper scrunching together in a loud manner beneath her body. The doctor sat in a chair, playing with the eldest for a moment, as the youngest one remained asleep in her stroller.
The doctor, mid thirty’s with soft gray speckled hair handed the little girl crayons and turned his attention to the mother.
“Mrs. Bennett, how are you?” The doctor leaned closer, examining her face, and the swollen black and blue areas that surrounded her lovely features.
“I’m fine Dr. Sheldon.” She attempted a smile but it was weak and only caused the doctor to frown in concern.
“You know Kaylie; there are programs, shelters, places that will help you.”
“I didn’t realize people took an interest in clumsy pregnant women.” Kaylie Bennett, mother of two and soon to be three smiled, laughing aside the deeper meaning of the doctor’s reference.
“Kaylie, approximately 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. You have been coming to see me for years now, I have seen the signs and again I will tell you that the best thing that you can do is to separate yourself from your abuser. If you leave your husband, it is true that the risk of him coming after you will increase. However there are associations and programs that will help you. And ultimately may improve your life, and your children’s protect your priorities. Don’t let those beautiful little kids, the one on the way included, loose two parents.”
His voice was low and grave, the raspy vocals a mere whisper in front of her. Tears threatened the control she had, she knew better then anyone that this was a dangerous situation that she got herself into. She took a deep breath and then exhaled very slowly, counting the seconds she wasted.
“I don’t want them to grow up without a father.”
“Your girls are surrounded by domestic violence. Girls who grow up around domestic violence often fall into it in adulthood. Which would you prefer? The absence of their father? Or their future having to go through what you are going through now? Do you really want that for those girls?” His eyes reddened with remorse, as he understood that after so many years she wasn’t about to give up and leave him.
“Fine, at least allow me to give you a ride home.” He spoke defeated.
''Are you okay?'' Willa's eyes had managed to produce tears. Her hand raised, brushing aside her bangs from the black and blue swells that emerged from her eyes.
''You know, I just don't understand it.'' Willa's voice cracked as she struggled to release her thoughts. ''I can't understand why.'' She wiped desperately at the tears, and all signs of pain and fear.
“Willa, please, let me help. You can see that I understand. I’ve been where you are now.” Charlie reached gently across the oak surface to where Willa’s hand laid limply. Tears drained dramatically out of the corner of her eyes. Sinking slowly to her sharp chin and whistling downward through the air, splashing against her arm. Willa slowly and weakly raised to her feet tension tempting her to stay, denying every thought of abandonment she possessed. Taking a deep breath, she spoke. Her voice and overall nature broken, shattered, torn to pieces with her decision.
“I can’t leave my father alone. I won’t abandon family.”
“Willa, please think about this. You are putting yourself in danger.” Charlie pleaded full heatedly.
“Look Charlie, I’ve done my homework, I’m just another statistic.” Charlie’s face pulled together confused. “Millions of children in the U.S witness Domestic Violence in the home each year. Me, I’m just another number, another child, another statistic. I’ll be fine, I’ll get through it; I’ll survive.”
“Willa, if only you could hear yourself. You’re not trying to convince me of those words. You’re trying to convince your self.” Charlie straightened her jaw. It killed her to know what it was like for her, and not break through to her.
“Don’t worry about me Charlie, I’ll live.”
Alone on a little green patch stands strong the gray stone with the letters. R.I.P. The single woman, who had remained, standing isolated in the white snow that covered the surrounding perimeter; is now accompanied by a man. In his late thirties he dressed in a minister’s uniform.
“May we say a prayer for the young girl, and ask for God to take her under his wings.” He said. “May Willa Daniels rest in peace.”
His words faded into the cold morning, as a memory was all that was left.