A Certain Woman

By monet thomas

tw: domestic violence

A whiff of onions was all that preceded the punch that sent Daniella Boyd crashing into the cabinets above the stove and subsequently to the floor. She had enough time in the falling to wonder what she’d done this time. What was later unclear in her memory, less so than the view of her husband’s worn work boots still covered in bits of onion skin from his job at the processing plant, and even less so than the memory of a particularly sharp pain reverberating in her head, was why she had expected him to help her up. Dinner had been late. And because it was late there was no steak searing, no potatoes in the oven. Maybe, she wondered for weeks after, that was why he’d hit her. She’d been standing at the sink, washing the breakfast dishes when she’d heard the front door open and then the smell of onions and then she was on the floor.

Daniella didn’t know when she became a woman whose husband hit her. There was never a signpost or an epiphany-seen-through-flashbacks like in a Lifetime movie. She thinks some women must be marked at birth, destined as they leave their mothers to hide future bruises. Because how else could she have grown up reading Cosmo articles titled “He Promised He’d Never Hit Me Again” and “Her Family Had No Idea” with their helpfully color-coded bullet points only to be hit again and again. After the first time her husband held her down with one hand at her throat, Daniella had done some research. She’d learned spousal abuse crossed all racial and economic lines and had no real genesis scientists could pinpoint. From housewives in San Francisco to politicians in Rwanda, their shame was the same. Money and power could not save a woman nor could beauty or submission. The idea of a certain kind of  woman being more likely to be abused was a myth.

From the witness stand, Daniella would tell the courtroom—and most pointedly, as her lawyer advised since the jury contained six women—it was in protection of her unborn daughter, knowledge that was only just news to her that fateful day at the sink, that moved her to violence against her husband. But that was a lie.

Daniella knew a deeper truth, that once violence was visited upon you, you became a black hole for violence, attracting and absorbing. And in that dark place where no light could survive, human imagination could not begin to comprehend or predict what would emerge. This clarity came to her in the backseat of the cop car as she watched her husband’s body being wheeled into an ambulance. When she’d explained the metaphor to her state-appointed lawyer, he said it made her sound, “Fucking crazy,” but for her it was a relief to finally understand this one thing in her life. When she’d gotten up from the kitchen floor, Daniella wasn’t thinking of anyone or anything. She did not think of her daughter, who was still safe inside her, unmarked, when she picked up the boning scissors she used to cut into chicken carcasses.  She did not hesitate.

 

 

 

Monet Patrice Thomas is a writer currently living in Beijing, China. She has an MFA from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, Washington. Her published fiction, nonfiction, and poetry can be found on her website: monetpatricethomas.com. She writes a weekly newsletter, which you can join here: https://tinyletter.com/whileyouweresleeping

Art by featured artist Sirena Hildebrand.

Monsters and Lace was created by Sirena the Mermaid and Chris the Troll. They live in Lancaster, PA, with their many plant children, such as Mary the Mint and Bert the Dracaena. On any given day, you might find them romping through the forest, toting reflectors, camera gear, smoke grenades, and who knows what other props. The aim, is to tell a story via pictures, whether it be a hard road a friend has travelled, or a light hearted children’s tale. To view the world through a lens is a beautiful thing! To capture someone’s soul within a photo is a hard task, but one they aim to master.