For Your Abusement
The police were here again last night. He said he’d handle it, like he always does. After all, there was nothing to show, no damage done. I waited on the porch as the discussion went on inside without me.
Through the squeaking screen door a female cop emerged, joining me in my retreat. She put her hand on mine. I flinched at the touch and pulled back.
"Sorry," she said. "I should have known."
I waited, breathless, for the dismissal, but it never came. Instead, she continued.
"I've seen this so many times. Before you say anything, it is definitely not your fault, and you do deserve better. If you give me your hand, I'll take you to a shelter. They can help you there."
She reached out, but I held back. Help me. For what, a night? Maybe two? Then what? I'd be right back in this house and the cops would be called again, though this time it would be for a homicide.
"I'm fine," I lied. "Sorry to have troubled you."
Was it cowardice or self-preservation? I don't know, and I'm not sure it matters. Instead I wiped my eyes, plastered on a smile, and entered the house again, leaving my dignity out on the porch with the only person who seemed to care about it.