Chunks of the Big Kahuna burger he was eating flew out of his mouth as he screamed at her. Again. She looked down as he continuously cursed her and called her names. Stupid. Dumb. Bitch. She’s heard this from him many times before but the words still hurt the same, each and every time. She didn’t even know what set him off for this round. Was it because she opted not to cook that evening? She didn’t feel like cooking and thought that bringing home his favorite take-out would be okay. Was it because she failed to remember something that he said earlier that morning. Was she supposed to do something and forgot? She tuned him out as he screamed some more. She’d been doing this a lot lately despite knowing that this pissed him off even further. When is enough, enough? she thought. All the times that he’s put her down, made her feel like shit about herself. How much more abuse could she take?
She remembered the first time it happened. They were going to the movies that night. He wanted to see the new Tarantino film. She wasn’t a fan of his, thinking his movies were always way too violent, but she went with him because he liked them. After the film, they went to a diner. He liked to order a piece of pie and talk about the movie they had just seen. He ordered a warm piece of apple pie with a slice of American cheese on top. She thought it was a weird combination, but she had read somewhere that apples and cheddar compliment each other really well. She thought this was an odd choice of using American cheese but kept those thoughts to herself. She opted to have a cup of coffee instead of dessert. He asked her what she thought of the movie. She liked it, she lied. At that moment, she saw something in his face change. His eyes became angry as if he was literally seeing red. Even though they had only been together for a few months, she had never seen it before. He became silent, not giving the film’s recap like he usually did. After what seemed like forever sitting there in an awkward silence. He yelled for the waitress to get them the check. The waitress dropped off the check at the table politely smiling. Could she sense that something was wrong? He threw the check at her and demanded that she pay for everything. He stormed out of the diner leaving her sitting there stunned. For the first time, she was scared. For the first time, he broke her heart that night.
She looked up when she realized the screaming had stopped. He was no longer yelling at her but clutching at his throat and gasping for air. He was turning blue. She hesitated for a moment. This is it. The cruelty will be ended once and for all. It can take as little as 5 minutes before permanent brain damage could set in. She could just wait it out and watch as he struggled and choked until his breathing stopped. She could turn the tables on him and start yelling back. Something that she had never done before. She could tell him that he ruined her life and that he was the stupid fat one and that he had no direction or common sense. No, this was not her. This was not who she was. He was turning purple when she grabbed him from behind. She grasped her fist with her other hand and started the Heimlich maneuver on him. She used all of her strength with each thrust. She thought she heard a crack at one point. A broken rib perhaps. Serves him right. Her silence broke on her fifth thrust as she screamed at the top of her lungs, “Enough!” He coughed as the chunk of food = that he was choking on came flying out. He held his right side as his breathing started to return to normal. She sat on the ground, near tears staring at him. She got up as he started towards her. He went to hug her but she recoiled in disgust. She grabbed her jacket and walked out the door, leaving him there with a confused look on his face. He called out to her but she ignored him. She walked to her car and drove off. Leaving everything behind.
Several years had passed and she had not thought about him at all. While walking through the park one day she saw him. Her heart fell into her stomach at the site of him. All the memories came rushing back to her. The ones that she had thought were long buried. He was with another woman. As she got closer, she noticed the woman’s long brown hair partially covered a swollen black eye. She came to the conclusion that his mental abuse had escalated physically. The woman sat on a bench while he was standing over her, yelling at her, intimidating her. She walked past where they were, unnoticed by him. She felt bad for the new girl but this wasn’t her problem. He was her problem now. No, this was not her. This was not who she was. She thought about this new woman not only being psychologically abused but also physically abused. She couldn’t know this for a fact, maybe something else happened, but it was highly unlikely. This man was a bully in every sense of the word. She couldn’t just walk away and not do or say anything. She walked back over to the park bench where they were. He was still yelling at her, calling her names. It wasn’t loud enough to garner the attention of the other denizens of the park as he was always careful not to create a scene in public. He was surprised to see her standing directly in front of him. She got right into his face and she screamed at the top of her lungs, “Enough!” She regained her composure and walked away.