DISCLAIMER: Some of the themes/dialogues in this article deal with abuse and domestic violence, and may be triggering, or uncomfortable for some readers. Please read at your own discretion.
I am sitting at the café waiting for Diana; she told me to meet her here, sounding frantic on the phone.
”Meet me at our usual place, at two ‘o clock. I need to meet with you urgently. Please come meet me – “
I heard a man shouting in the background…
” – I-I don’t think I can handle it anymore”.
The shouting then grew nearer… ‘
‘Who are you talking to?!’
~YOUR CALL HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED~ , and that was the last that I heard.
The bell above the door chimes, alerting the barista at the counter, ”Welcome”.
I look up from my phone and see Diana walking towards me. She isn’t wearing her usual colourful clothing, nor is her bright red hair tied up, but hanging loosely, covering her face slightly. She smiles meekly at me, but it doesn’t reach her eyes; she looks dead.
”So why’d you call me? I saw you like two days ago” I ask. She just plays with her wedding ring.
She looks up at me, as I look at her closely, I can see that her eyes are puffy and her nose red.
”Can’t I just see you anytime I want to?”, she asks hoarsely.
”I mean, you can, but it’s not like you to call me during work.”
She looks around nervously, tightening her grip so much that her knuckles turn white, biting her lip nervously. Next thing I know, tears start rolling down her cheeks onto her black turtleneck.
”It’s about Max. He-He’s…” she starts sobbing, uncontrollably.
I put my hand on hers and give a comforting squeeze, gently saying, ”You don’t have to tell me if you don’t feel comfortable”.
Her crying’s calmed down, she moves her hands and tucks her hair behind her ears. That’s when I see it on her face – a monster mark, that no person deserves branded onto their face. A mark that’ll make anybody want to murder the person that produced it. On her jaw, a bruise, so ugly: its blue discoloration and hints of red.
She then rolls down her collar and I see more red marks starting to emerge, I stop her hands by putting mine on hers. She looks at me, confused and hurt.
I shake my head side to side, she looks at me like a deer in the headlights and starts trembling. We don’t speak, communicating just with our eyes. I look at her sternly and stand up.
I walk to her side of the table, roll her collar up, take my coat off and put it around her shoulders. I kiss her forehead and grab her hand. I pay the barista at the counter and leave the café, holding Diana’s hand tightly.
We stop in front of Diana and Max’s house, idling for a bit in the car before I turn to her.
“Do you want me to come in?”
She shakes her head and as she gets out of my car, barely above a whisper she says, “I love you.”
She freezes as she looks out to the house. I could see it on her face, she dreaded going back there; she didn’t want to step out of my car. I could see it on her face…