Challenge: Man Down! (Blog 8)
Preface: I want to make it understood to anyone who may read this that while my children’s father is from Egypt, his is an isolated case. Please do not read my blogs and think that all Egyptian men or Arab men are like my ex; they’re not. I am not saying there couldn’t be others that are abusive, but I am not saying they all are. Look here in America, I’ve known women who have had to live in shelters because their husbands were abusive. Abuse of any kind is a horrible thing, and unfortunately, it does not discriminate.
It’s all such a mess, I don’t know where to begin. Memories are coming at me like bullets; those sneaky snipers are hiding everywhere. Just when I think I’m in the clear, BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! I’m hit, I’m wounded. I move out of the way, but another sniper from somewhere else gets me! I have held these memories down for too long, now they won’t stop hitting me!
I remember once, he came in late and was going to head back out again. I made the mistake of asking “Why?” He proceeded to yell at me that he can do whatever he wants and I’m not allowed to ask questions. I said I thought it would be nice if he stayed in and watched the game with his daughter, she was quickly becoming a football (soccer) fan.
I’m not sure why that sent him over the edge, but it did. He rushed towards me and pushed me up against the wall and began slapping me lightly across the face, each time asking me, “What? What do you want to know? What? What do you want to know?” He tired of his little game and released me, I sank to the floor.
My daughter, not even 4-years old at the time, came running over, asking if I was okay. I told her we were just playing around and that I was fine. I encouraged her to go watch the game, she obeyed.
I walked across the room to our bedroom door, holding my tears until I was safely inside; I had learned from previous experience that crying would only set him off again, or make him laugh, mocking my pain. I got to our room and fell onto the bed, crying, my face still stinging. I cried to God to make him change. I had forgotten that God gave us free will; he chose to abuse me and I chose to stay.
Another time it was late at night, we were in bed and he kept receiving text messages. I finally asked him, “Who is she?” Out of the darkness a hand pushed me off the bed. Within seconds he was out of the , by my side, looming above me.
He began kicking my legs with his bare feet, the right leg, the left leg, the right leg, the left leg… As he was kicking me, he was yelling at me and telling me I had no right to ask him his business. Each word was emphasized with a kick.
I somehow scooted away and ran out of the bedroom, leaving my daughter in her bed. I was in the small kitchen, pacing, I didn’t know what to do. My mind was racing as fast as my heart was beating. I couldn’t think straight, and my legs were throbbing.
I didn’t hear him until he was directly in front of me. I held my hands up in defense. I told him that if I couldn’t ask about his business, there was no need for me to be there (nope, I didn’t complain about the abuse). He grabbed my arm and pulled me towards the front door. I was waiting for the beating to come.
My eyes were closed and my body tensed, I know a beating was coming. It didn’t come. Instead, I heard the front door open and I was pushed out into the hallway. The door to our flat slammed in my face. I heard it lock.
There I was, in the wee hours of the morning, standing in my night clothes in the hallway. I knocked on the door, no answer. I banged on the door, no answer. I banged and kicked the door for about 10 minutes before I began shouting.
I shouted for him to let me in! Let me in! I shouted for him to open up! I shouted and shouted, I think some of what I shouted wasn’t even words, just emotion on a primal level.
He came to the door with our daughter (she was around 1-year old) in his arms. I tried to enter, but he pushed me away. I fell backwards onto the floor. I scrambled quickly up, my daughter! He had my daughter!
“Please, give me my daughter. GIVE ME MY DAUGHTER!”
“You’ll never see your daughter again!” He slammed the door in my face. I began screaming hysterically. A neighbor must have called the doorman to complain because the doorman arrived. He knocked on the door and spoke to my husband through the door.
That’s as far as I can trace the memory – but I know I was let back in because I stayed with him. Yes, even after that, I stayed with him.