Samantha didnít see the blow coming from across the table until it had landed. John was in a rage Ė again. The stunned recipient put a hand up to her face in an attempt to take the sting out of the fresh wound.
John and Samantha (everyone called her Sam) had been married just a little over a year Ė a very long year for Sam. She had not seen this side of John while they dated. He had always been very loving and attentive, so the new bride was shocked the first time Johnís fist made contact with her face.
The couple had just returned from their honeymoon in St. Thomas. After unpacking, Sam suggested they go to her parentsí house and share their honeymoon photos with them. John became angry.
ďWe donít have to stay long,Ē Sam responded to Johnís objection.
ďI said NO!Ē John yelled. The beatings began that night -- the first of many Sam would receive at the hands of her husband.
John grabbed Samís long dark hair and slammed her up against the kitchen wall. The first blow was the worst because John had leverage in where she stood. Almost immediately, Samís eye began to swell and darkened into a deep purple bruise. John struck her in the mouth with the back of his hand for good measure which toppled the petite woman to the floor.
Sam was not only hurt physically, but emotionally she was devastated and confused. She was afraid to say anything and hovered in the corner whimpering like a wounded dog.
ďIíll make the decisions around here. I donít need any suggestions from you,Ē John yelled as he walked back toward his prey.
Sam automatically put her arms up around her head to protect herself, but there was no need. He had caused what damage he would this first time. Soon after striking her, John left the apartment, but before doing so, he warned Sam not to call anyone, especially her parents.
As the front door slammed, Sam realized what a mistake she had made in marrying this monster. Why had he turned on her? Why hadnít she seen this behavior in him during the year they dated? Had she been blind? So many questions Ė so few answers.
As time went on, Johnís abuse towards Sam increased. His rage came totally unexpectedly most of the time. He didnít like the way she dressed so he chose what she would wear. He cut off communication with her parents and friends. She did, however, sneak a call to them on occasion from her job.
During the times in between beatings, John was as loving a man to Sam as any woman would want. Flowers were plentiful with cards given, oozing with apologies for what he had done.
But now, John was beating her again. She was frightened for her life this time. Each beating seemed to bring more rage with it than the previous and more damage to her small frame. She kept an abundant supply of makeup on hand to cover the purple bruising inevitable with each beating.
One morning after a particularly savage beating, Sam finally went to her boss. She took her sun glasses off and revealed the damage John had perpetrated the evening before. She didnít care any longer what John wanted or didnít want. She was no longer going to be his punching bag.
Samís boss grabbed the Polaroid camera normally used for business.
ďWeíre going to take some photos of what this monster has done to you. Iím afraid one more beating and you wonít be alive to tell anyone what has happened."
ďIím really frightened, Miss Carlisle, Sam said.
ďDonít worry, Sam; Iíve helped others in your situation. Right now, you have two choices Ė you can either go to a womenís shelter or come stay with me for a while. Once the police see these photos, they will be knocking down your apartment door to arrest John.ď
From that day forward, Sam took control of her own life and never had to fear John again. John was not home when the police went to arrest him. Later that night, they spotted him in his car. As soon as he saw them, he took off at a high rate of speed. John was driving so fast that when he hit the tree, the police knew he would never hurt another person again.
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