A beep of a horn from outside told her it was time to go. She walked down the hallway, the suitcase at her side. Memories of a life that had been lived in fear and dread flowed through her. She touched the white painted banister and tried to think of happier times but they were few and far between. She had waited many years for this moment, building up her courage to walk away but held back by a sense of duty as a wife and a mother.
The children had moved away as soon as they were old enough many years ago, they refused to return, not whilst he was still there. The man she had once loved but now who she feared. The man who decided when it was time for the next beating to be dealt because something wasn't quite to his liking. The dinner that was cold, the towels not quite straight, the kids when younger, making too much noise, it hadn't taken much.
She had tried to leave many times but he always pulled her back. The tears, the flowers, the promises to get help. He would change for a while but it would soon start again. She felt no sadness for what she was doing only relief. The years had been long and the time had passed so slowly. Now she knew she could leave and had made plans to go as she soon as he had told her.
"I have cancer" He had said "They need too operate straight away"
She had played the dutiful wife once more. Comforted him when told the news, reassured him he would survive, packed his case and made sure he was ready for what lay ahead. For the first time she had seen fear in his eyes and it had empowered her. She had sat there holding his hand as he was prepped for surgery then with a dutiful kiss and a promise that she would be there when he woke, she had slipped away. Her chance for freedom, her chance to live what was left of her life.
As she closed the door behind her one more time she stopped and looked at the house that had been her prison. She pushed her keys through the letterbox and smiled to herself. Free at last she thought as she walked down the path.