She’s young and kind of beautiful. On the face with a mask of anguish, daily pain, and fear, the features of that beauty appear, which seduced a handsome man at one glance. She had steep hips and a thin waist and really was like Marilyn Monroe. She could choose from the top of the line.
Her hands are constantly fidgeting, they run away. It seems that if there is only one shadow of danger, these hands will scoop up bags, children and she will fly to hide.
First husband. She had a major crush on him. He dedicated poetry, fairy tales and whole poems to her. His letters could be printed in some almanac about love. There was about unattainable space, about the stars, and that when he is far from her, the whole world narrows to one small hole, in which it is necessary to lay a finger to dial her phone number in the telegraph booth to hear her voice.
He first hit her when she was pregnant. She covered her bruise with her hair, smiled oddly and said that she was to blame. He was not even condemned for that. People needed a reason – he did hit her for something. He could not just make a fist and hit the same face, which recently has sung in poems. People were looking for a reason… in her. They needed to hear what she did wrong that made him do it. They searched and could not find. The reason, like the bruise, she hid behind her hair and a bewildered smile.
She did not tell anyone about the fact that he hit her for second, third, fourth time. She had no reasons and explanations, excuses, and people just needed it. I did not notice when a mask of pain and fear appeared on her face, even when she laughed, there was always a mask of pain and fear. With every word, action, step, she seemed to be looking back, expecting the fist flying at her again.
Shoulders… Her beautiful white shoulders dropped, they turned into wings, folded in front of her to somehow protect herself and her child.
The son was screaming, screaming so much. She only heard the distant rumble, curled up and stopped counting his punches in her body. The body… sung in his letters, in his verses, and even poems. The neighbors saved her.
She did not notice when she stepped into that hollow and long pit.
Her second husband picked her up, circled and kissed her knees, she laughed… she laughed gaily as if someone was playing on hundreds of small bells. She said that she was happy.
She went on saying that she was happy even when she had to run barefoot in the middle of the night in her dressing gown. Even when she had to hide bruises, and to put her hair so that no one saw the bald patches. He taught her to run… even deeper into the pit. Here she already knew how to find an explanation and justification. For him and his actions. So that people do not think that she is “a moron, who made an unfortunate choice for the second time”. She wanted, at least occasionally, to have a man to lay her head on his shoulder. The one, who will take her from nightmares… sometimes.
He became her nightmare. He came at night. For a long time, he could not take off his shoes, so he got angry and threw heavy boots at her. But she knew how to run, to persuade herself that he was still the one, who could once embrace, and she can still lay her head on his shoulder.
Once she escaped and could not return. Another woman laughed in his apartment. In the window, she saw that woman in her own dressing-gown. She talked about this as if apologizing. It seemed this was her fault. People needed a reason and an explanation. It could not be just like that…
The third… was not her husband, just like a good person, invited her on a date. He just hit her. He was having fun. And here, for the first time, she felt pain, terrible pain, in every cell of her body. For the first time in her entire life, she did not look for reasons, explanations, and excuses in herself.
“You see, I’m in a pit. I do not know how to get out of here. How can I explain to people why I am in this pit? They need explanations, at every step. I have never been asked in my whole life: “How can I help you?”. I was asked: “Why did he hit you? Why did you escape? Why are you standing barefoot in the middle of the night in the snow?”. I’m in the pit. Just give me your hand. I want to get out of it. I do not want to seek excuses for them and myself. But you see, running along this pit is easy and usual, and upwards from the pit is difficult and painful. Will you give me your hand? Will you not ask?”.
She has so many questions to herself, that every mine would drive her even deeper. She says this with a smile that appears under the mask of pain and fear. Her hands are in constant motion. They are still rushing to grab things, children, and run from this hell to another hell of questions. She is still beautiful, just a scar over her eyebrow – a memory of the wonderful love of the first, a scar on the back of the head – a memory of the second, a bruise on her shoulder – a mention of the third.
She does not agree to talk about this with a psychologist, because one has already said that there is nothing terrible, it happens so, that a man is an aggressive being by nature, and therefore, can hit, that’s why she has to foresee, understand and seek ways of reconciliation. That psychologist also asked her how she made her husband do it. He, like everyone else, was looking for a reason in her. And even persuasion to find another, a good specialist, who will not seek her fault, and will not justify men, did not work. Maybe later, but not now. She herself has so many questions that she does not have the strength to answer.
On the news line, there are almost daily messages about this “innocent” kind of violence. Home and cosy… violence. And most of the comments under such news are “Why did he hit her? Well, he could not just have…”, “Why is she still with him? So, she’s OK with it”. People over the pit always know better. People over the pit always have interesting questions.