It was while I did my homework that it started again. The thud of a clenched fist hitting soft flesh followed by the cries of agony and stuttered pleas trapped between sobs and mumbled apologies. I turned up the volume of the music entering my ears through my earphones. What could I do? I was powerless.
I waited a while and pulled them out from my ears. Silence. I stood up and stepped out of the room, knowing exactly what I would find while hoping in vain that I would be wrong. I wasn’t. There she was, my mother, sitting curled up in the corner of the room, her fingers gripping a rosary. This always happened, he would hit her and she would retreat to the corner of the kitchen to cry and to count off her prayers.
I walked up to her. She heard my footsteps and dug her face deeper into her arms. Slowly and deliberately, I crouched and pulled her face up into my hands, she didn’t resist. There it was, the evidence of his cruelty, half her face had turned blue, her left eye swollen shut, blood trickling down the side of her mouth.
With her good eye, she looked at me and forced a weak smile, “It’s okay. I’m fine”. She was definitely not fine. Only half of her mouth moved as she spoke.
“You are not fine”, I said, anger forcing me to choke out the words, “something has to be done about the bastard.” I stood up to go and she held my arm, tighter than she should have been able to.
“Don’t do anything foolish”, she said, “I will pray and God will help him through this. Remember he is your father”.
“He is NOT my father!” I yelled, making no attempt to lower my voice, “and God…God has forgotten us. If He can allow us to live under thumb of that madman, then he has no thought of us.”
“He is your stepfather. And you know the things we would have to give up if we left him. You can’t stop school at SS1 like I did.”
“God never forgets us.” She said as much to herself as to me, “He always has a plan. You might not understand that yet,but you will.”
With that I pulled my arm from her grip and marched off back to my room. I put the earphones back in my ear, lay down and allowed the music take hold of my consciousness.
Again, just under the music, I could hear the thud of fist on flesh. Again, I heard the sobs and pleas. Again, I felt the anger. Again, I felt the helplessness. Amidst it all, the song kept playing, giving my sorrow a voice that said:
Even though sometimes the sun may shine,
But darling, don’t forget
It never stops raining in Gotham
And the sadness never ends.