She’s got a bag of essentials and the kid is already in the car. There are bruises starting to fade on her torso and what she thinks is now a cracked rib, but none of it hurt the way it hurt to see the black eye on their child’s face. That’s when it became real.
She doesn’t look behind her when she approaches the door. She doesn’t want to get one last look and she hopes she’ll never have to see him again. Her heart only breaks for the scars that she knows will never leave their kid, her rib being only a dull ache in comparison.
Her knuckles turn white from gripping the wheel so tightly but she knows she made the right decision when she spots that sleeping face in the rearview mirror. Tears gather and her eyes start to sting, but she will not cry. The sleeping innocence in the backseat has seen too many tears and she won’t be weak anymore. Not anymore, she silently promises.
They won’t stop until they’re states away and she calls her mother to let her know it might be a while, but they have to be safe first. You won’t know where I am, no one will, she tells her, but I’ll call you when I can.
It’s hard, but her mother understands and is so proud of her for leaving. Her heart swells and her chest aches and the tired sinks into her bones.
They are on the road to healing and she won’t stop until they reach it.