After that day the tables were turned, John looked at her with a grudging respect and she in turn saw him for what he really was.
He was a weak bully.
He preyed on the weak and helpless and translated love into control.
When they were dating, she had noticed that he had a tendency to bully people that he felt were beneath him.
Waiters and valets always felt the brunt of his harsh words but, she felt that she would never be at the receiving end of such behavior.
But a person’s character is always tested the most through times of adversity and John has shown her who he really was.
Susan realized that she had been fighting a losing battle; she had thought that she could change his life and make him a better person.
Make a better life for him and his daughter.
But she was fighting a losing battle because his daughter Jennifer had no respect for her.
Jennifer was fond of saying that Susan was not her Mother in public.
She flaunted the rules, stayed out late and was failing her grades.
When Susan had tried talking to her the previous night Jennifer had suddenly started yelling and breaking things.
When Susan had tried to restrain her Jennifer suddenly turned around and slapped her.
Susan was shocked, not because of the pain but because of the way their relationship had degraded.
What had happened to the little girl who was so excited to have a new Mommy?
With tears in her eyes she looked at the rebellious teenager and suddenly thought of her own children.
Susan’s children Cynthia and James were the exact opposite of Jennifer.
They excelled in school but were easily frightened and introverted.
“Should I continue to allow my kids pay for my mistakes?” She thought to herself as she watched her children walking home timidly from school the following day.
James walked beside Cynthia and tried to shield her from the cold wind.
With their worn out clothes and scuffed shoes they looked so desolate and unhappy.
That evening Susan packed up their things while John was out with his friends.
She got in her rusty station wagon with her children James and Cynthia and drove to a motel.
With only 100 dollars in her wallet, she didn’t have a plan but she was determined not to continue enduring her life.
The next day she drove down to another state,.
She was meant to pick up her last pay check from her second job as a sales person at a Departmental store but she knew that if she went back to her job John would come looking for her.
Now that she had taken a step towards freedom, she didn’t want fear and guilt to send her back home.
She could just hear John’s words in her head
“What about Jennifer?” He would say with tears in his eyes
“She needs her Mother?” He would continue with those soulful big eyes.
But Susan was past the point of platitudes and guilty words.
Her children needed her; they also needed their Mother.
They needed a strong woman that they could love and respect.
Not a broken shadow of herself.
But as she drove on the busy highway, her destination unknown she wondered
“Where to now?”
Photo by YaiSirichai. Published on 15 June 2011
Stock photo – Image ID: 10046148