“Two mochas, low fat turkey sandwich and a chocolate croissant, warmed up please.” Wrappers littered the van floor, an account of our vagabond lifestyle. Each day was spent driving around the tiny town we now called home, searching for answers and a way to bring about a temporary peace in what had descended into a tumultuous environment. Ordering fast food, driving past green hills of the Spring Palouse and finally wearily heading towards Saleeha’s little downstairs apartment. What had once been viewed as a dingy, first residence, now served as a safe haven and refuge.

Leaving our home that day seemed scandalous and sickening; it was not me, not Lynn. I was raised in a “good and respectable” home, a loyal wife and companion, accepting whatever was given to me and making the best of it. Now abuse had knocked at the door and there was no way to deny its entry into our lives. Numerous excuses had been made for his controlling and aggressive behavior, but never had this reality actually been inescapable until it openly became physical.

Shame and guilt were evident in a last ditch effort to co-exist, not call police and pretend that we were still a family, that I was not a failure as mother and wife. My first reaction was to flee, take the children for the remainder of his visit and stay at Saleeha’s place. My desire to keep things on an even keel and eliminate any further humiliation won out and after hours of wandering aimlessly around our small city, we finally drove up the hill and opened the door.

He sat in the middle of the couch, a small but self-assured grin spread across his lips. He looked straight at me and asked me what my plans were for the rest of the day. The events had been erased and once again I felt that it had been my doing, my fault.