The tinkle of shattering dishes still rings in my ear. Gone. Everything gone. All that remain are questions.

I remember nothing. The last three hours were black. Where is she?

I looked around myself, at the destruction and desolation surrounding me. I didn’t know where to even start.

Standing in the kitchen barefoot, I gingerly stepped around broken dishes, an overturned wastebasket, the set of four dining room chairs, all splintered across the kitchen.

Once I reached the rug which she insisted we needed and use to leave our shoes on next to the front door, I slip into my flip-flops. Those would prevent any splinters or cuts on my feet.

I finally turned to examine the kitchen more closely. Every cabinet flung open, every dish on the floor, mostly broken and not salvageable. The dining room was completely done. The table itself had two legs broken from it, used to destroy the kitchen from the looks of it. The china cabinet my grandmother gave me just before she passed away was toppled, every dish and knick-knack in it broken, some having been thrown at the wall for more effect.

I quickly turned and hurried through the living room, only to find it untouched. Her rage must have stayed in the kitchen, then, I thought hopefully.

I was not so lucky. In the bedroom, every drawer was pulled from the dresser, clothes thrown from the closet and strewn across the room. Only my clothes, though. All of her things were gone. Her clothes, her twenty pairs of shoes, even her shampoo and every cosmetic and cream she ever bought.

Her books were gone from her nightstand, her pillow gone from the bed. The throw she got when her grandpa passed away noticeably missing from the foot of the bed.

I peered into the bathroom we shared, quickly assessing the damage. A pile of my clothes were dumped in the bathtub, the strong smell of bleach rolling off them.

On my own nightstand, I found my wallet. All my credit cards were missing as well as my driver’s license. She was thorough in her exit.

Calmly, I opened my nightstand where I kept my Tom Clancy books that she insisted on giving me for every gift she needed to buy: birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. I had acquired quite the stack. Luckily she hadn’t bothered to rummage through those.

That is where I had kept everything. Letters to my lawyer, photos and memory cards documenting the abuse, even extra money I had managed to keep from her in case I needed it. I had all my credit card information tucked in the pages of the books. I was prepared.

Walking back to the kitchen, I caught myself next to the door. I locked the chain, handle, and deadbolt, leaned against it and sunk to my knees.

I was free.


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