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The how is easy. How is mundane, grounded in reality. Solid. How is a rock.
How did he hurt her? How did she keep coming back?
There is no emotion in how, just cold facts, statistics on a sheet buried deep in records of the police. There would be no file, but neighbors have ears. They call the police when they hear screaming.
Why is harder. The why is what keeps me up at night, watching the lights of passing cars illuminate my room for a moment.
Why does he hurt her? Why does she keep coming back?
The why leads to even more questions, dangerous ones. Does she still love him? Can she leave? Would she? I assure myself that she would, because how could anyone put themselves through this willingly? She can’t be happy here, any more than I am.
I am lucky when only the why keeps me from sleep. Many times it is the yelling, drifting up from downstairs.
The next day, her face is always filled with blue splotches, unconvincingly explained away. She fell; she has run into a wall.
I know how she lies, I do not know why.
Some nights, I see her alone in the bathroom, washing any blood from her face. The basin is tinted red, and the new bruises are beginning to blossom beneath her pale, broken skin.
Before she leaves the room she reaches for her bag. I watch as she covers her face with dark, heavy makeup, until the marks barely blemish her skin. Though the physical evidence is gone, her eyes bear witness to her abuse. They are still scared. I am still scared.
Both of us need makeup to cover our wounds.



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