I am awake, but they don’t know it. I can’t open my swollen purple eyes and my jaw is broken so it hurts too much to talk, not that I have anything to say at the moment. I just lay there on the scratchy white sheets with my throbbing head resting against the pillow and listen to the hushed conversations of my loved ones gathered around me.
“That monster did this to her!”
“He deserves to be thrown in prison and left to rot…”
“She’s lucky she didn’t sustain any permanent injuries or damage. Things could be much worse…”
I struggle with what they are saying. I know what he did to me was undoubtedly wrong; I didn’t deserve this beating. But every word they say adds to my own shame. He told me he would love and protect me forever and I believed him. He said he would take care of me, never let anything hurt me and I trusted him. Maybe I was blinded by my own emotions, but I highly doubt it. Am I really so gullible and naive that I didn’t recognize the dangerous side of this man, the side that only appeared when he grew angry?
Perhaps I have a valid excuse. I was in love and he was tricky. I mean, he had convinced my entire family of his kind, honorable, and gentlemanly ways. A deception that cut deep, literally. My father had approved my decision to pursue a relationship. My sweet daddy. I can’t imagine what he is feeling. His only girl so mistreated by a man whom he approved of and could’ve protected her from. But it is not my daddy’s fault. I cast no blame toward him.
No, this was not my doing or my father’s doing and this guilt and shame that I struggle with is uncalled for. The biting pain in my jaw and aching nose was undeserved. How many other women have accidentally burnt dinner? Countless, and most were treated with grace and understanding, not a frightening rage coupled with flying fists. All of this I know to be true so why do I still feel as though it’s all my fault? Why do I still blame myself? Is he even sorry for what he did to me? Why do I even care?
I’ve decided that, whether he’s sorry or not, I’ve forgiven him though I could never tell him to his face. Does he deserve my forgiveness? No. But they say to forgive is to set free and maybe in forgiving him, I will set myself free from the shame I feel as well. Maybe…just maybe.