The following morning, i woke up earlier than usual, before Joe woke up. i took a quick shower, packed my stuff and left silently. My back was sore from the lashes but i had to pretend that i was okay. I could not risk anyone finding out that my boyfriend was beating me up.
I had just settled in the office when Joe called me,
”Babe, where are you?”
”I am in the office, why?”
”Why didn’t you wake me up? I should have dropped you like i always do.”
”Mmmmm, i had an early morning, i did not want to wake you up.”
”Babe, about yesterday…”
”I am going into the meeting, i will talk to you later.”
”I love you.”
People who love you don’t beat you blue. Someone who loves you does not doubt you. someone who loves you trusts your word. I could not control my tears as i looked at my back in the work bathroom mirror. There were marks from the belt across my back, a painful reminder of the horror i had faced the previous night.
When i went back to the office, my friend Carol called. She used to pass by my house in the morning when going to work but lately i was never home.
”Woman, did you get married or what?”
”I know that tone, what is going on? Trouble in paradise?”
‘Uhmmm, not really, i am okay.”
”I promise i am okay.”
”You know this is Carol you are talking to and i know you.”
”I will have to call you a bit later, i am going into a meeting with my boss.”
”I am coming to see you.”
She hung up before i could protest.
If Joe saw her, he might think i told her what had happened and that was going to create even more problems. The office was still pretty much empty. I called and told her to wait for me at home because knowing her, she was not going to stop until she found out what was going on. When i got to the house, she had prepared some breakfast. She looked at me and knew something was wrong. She poured a mug of coffee for me and sat next to me,
I took off my top and showed her my back.
”Joe did this to you?”
”Yeah, yesterday night.”
”I knew that son of a bitch was too good to be true.”
”I will be okay.”
”The hell you will be okay. I will put him in his place.”
Carol is one of the most fearless women that i know. She always speaks her mind, nothing or nobody intimidates her. She was going to confront Joe and it would only make matters worse.
”Just let it go.”
”Are you kidding me? Let it go?”
”It will only make matters worse.”
She got up and paced about fists clenched tightly.
”Whatever that you are thinking about, you had better drop it.”
”Diana, that man dared hit you and you are telling me that it is okay?”
”I am just tired, could you oil my back? please?”
Just then, my phone rang, it was Joe.
”Diana, where are you? I am in your office and i am told you are not in. Are you avoiding me?”
”Joe, i will call you later, okay?”
Before he could respond, she snatched the phone from my hands.
”Like hell she will call you later.”
”This is Carol and i have a thing or two that i want to say to you.”
”Oh, hi Carol.”
”You can keep your hi, Joe!”
”What is going on?”
”How could you hurt her like that? Have you even seen her back?”
”Carol, please believe me, i don’t know what came over me. i hate myself for hurting her.”
”Don’t call this number again.”
She hanged up, switched off my phone all together and tossed it on the couch.
She warmed some water and started massaging my back while applying some assorted essential oils. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. My heart started racing, i knew it had to be Joe. What did he want? Beat me some more? We exchanged looks, she got up and went to the door,
”Who is there?”
”It’s me Joe, please open up. I need to see her.”
”She does not want to see you, just leave her alone.”
”I am not going anywhere, you hear me?”
”What are you going to do? beat me too?”
”Please just open the door.”
He was now banging on the door, attracting a few of my neighbors who were home.
”Carol, just open the door for him, he is attracting attention.”
”And that should bother us?”
”Please, i don’t want any more drama.”
”Okay, but if he tries something funny, i will not be held responsible.”
She opened the door and folded her arms.
”You can see her from here, oh you can see her battered back from all the way there.”
He walked past her and knelt on the carpet beside me.
”Babe, tell me what to do to make it up to you.”
”I just need some time right now.”
”Babe please don’t break up with me, please don’t leave me.”
I should have left him right there and then, but for some reason i did not. He promised to change. He promised to never do it again. he even promised to start attending anger management lessons.
”How about we go see my mum this evening? Mmmmm.”
”My back still hurts pretty bad.”
”She is a nurse, she will prescribe something.’
”I am not sure about this.”
”Babe please, do this for me.”
I looked at Carol, she already knew my answer even before i said it, she rolled her eyes and shook her head in disbelief.
”I can’t believe you. You are better than this.”
He got up and turned to face her,
”I am sorry for hurting your friend, you have every right to be upset with me.”
”Dude, i am not upset, i am angry, i am furious.”
”And you have every right to be.”
”I see right through your bullshit but let me warn you, i am the ghettoest woman you will ever come across, do something like this and i will cut your fingers and make you a necklace to remind you.”
”Carol, believe me, i am sorry.”
”She needs to rest, it is time for you to leave.”
He resigned by slumping his shoulders, bent down and kissed my cheek,
”i will pick you up at 2, i love you.”
I wanted to tell him that i loved him too but i could not. i just nodded.
Carol closed the door and turned to me,
”Wow! You really are in love with that man!”
”Can we not talk about it?”
”Okay, i need to head to work.”
She left, i curled up on the couch and drifted to sleep.
A few hours later, a loud banging on the door woke me up. There was a delivery guy with a package for me.
Inside was a dress, a pair of shoes, a cologne, a bag and an apology card……..