A piercing pain roused me from a partial state of sleep and wakefulness. I peered out of one eye to see that things had not changed and were as I remembered them. Ten large boxes had been retrieved from the car-park area, lugged up the stairs and placed along the empty living room wall. Scraps of tape, labels and pieces of cardboard lay strewn along the coarse and ragged carpet.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, allowing my mind to have regrets for a brief instant. I had never authorized such sick and repugnant thoughts, nor had I conceded defeat until this moment. Pain locked my hips and back into a vicious cycle of roll and push, until I reached a crawling position. An intermittent grinding shifted through my stomach, signaling hunger that would no longer abate. My hair was drenched in perspiration, sweat dripped onto the worn brown blanket that had served as a bed for the children and I.
I pulled Foof next to her siblings and prepared to stand, one last glance at the children reassured me that everyone was accounted for. I reminded myself that I was fortunate, even spoiled as he repeatedly stated when the real me dared to surface. I searched for things to be grateful for, an old tattered brown and tan blanket and pillows that had been unwittingly tossed into boxes at the last-minute.
I surveyed the villa in the light of day and surmised that things looked much the same as they had the previous night, every line on the walls, each crack through the plywood and the lack of furniture had not changed. I felt a sudden twinge of disbelief and bewilderment, building tension gave into pulsing words that could no longer be denied, “I do not have to be the perfect wife”. Repulsion gripped my entire being as I grappled with this foreign and abhorrent concept. I composed myself and tried to remember that I was a God-fearing, good woman who had duties and responsibilities.
An unwavering resolve took over and I scanned the room for a way to bring cool air into this stagnant space. I reached up towards the brown plastic window and pulled back and forth until it relented. A gentle breeze made its way towards me, mucky sweat dried on my forehead and a momentary relief washed across the room.
The children moved restlessly back and forth, each holding firmly to their position on the bed that had been fashioned from the old brown blanket. It had not occurred to me that we would need food and water until my lips and mouth felt parched and sore. I wandered to the area that looked most like a kitchen and once again saw the sink that stood alone on the opposite wall. No stove, refrigerator or cupboards, no food or water were to be found.
I wiped my face and scoured the room; sure that he had left provisions for the day. A white plastic sack had been overlooked and sat randomly on the counter; five small bottles of warm water and 1 container of melted mango ice cream were the contents.