She pulls up her forearm to shield her eyes, a vain attempt to deflect the blow
So incessant is their conversation that she retreats into silence watching them animate. There are conversations within conversations and nobody seems to be listening to each other, they’re all talking ‘at’ each other. She is totally ignored. It’s easier to remain hushed, quiet, silent. She doesn’t want to talk. She doesn’t need their prying eyes or sympathetic sighs, not here, not now. Not ever really. It’s her business, her silence, her choice and not for them to judge.
Too preoccupied with wiping noses, and dishing up the quiche. Temporarily distracted by demanding toddlers and passing the salad. The noise and chaos are palpable and reaches that mad maternal crescendo. Silence is preferable. She has nothing nice to say so chooses to say nothing at all. She feels nauseous as they raise their voices above the melee and speak of shallow things and pretty shoes.
She kneels and clasps her hands behind her head before she feels his boot
A lunch on a warm Wednesday seemed like a good idea. She was like these women once, secure, happy, attractive. She was confident and professional, loved and nurtured. She too could chatter and chirrup endlessly about things that really didn’t matter but now her thoughts are focused on the more serious side of life, whether she should stay or go - and so she remains silent. She won't come for lunch again.
Her hands now tight around her ears to block his bully bellow
He's becoming careless, not so particular about his mark. He rarely used to fly off the handle. Abuse is now his choice, his power, and fear and subjugation her weakness. She squirms nervously, smooths her hair and raises her collar to obscure his purple kiss upon her neck.
He rages from behind and pulls her down by the hair
His carelessness is painful. Back-handing without warning, pushing her from behind. His criticism incessant, he slugs her hard against the mirrored wardrobe door until it comes crashing off it's tracks and shatters as wantonly as his flailing fists. She sees her bloodied form in a hundred sharpened shards and knows that it will soon be over. He's beaten her within an inch, this time he'll go all the way and she'll take it lying down.
She curls into a foetal position and feels his buckle slam her back
Now he feels such self-directed guilt. He's apologetic and he weeps. He acts contrite and reassures. No point any more. She lies bleeding on the floor wearing her bruises as macabre badges of courage. Hope has been abandoned but her pain is felt no more. She's just cold, still, silent, lying broken.
Entry for Tenth Daughter of Memory, "Silence Lies Broken"