“Shhh. We have to be very quiet so that we don’t wake your daddy.”
“Mommy, where are we going? Is daddy coming too?” Four-year-old Kaylee Rodgers mumbled to her mother. It was three am, and she was not used to being up at that time.
Her father was sound asleep two bedrooms down the hall.
“Shhh. Not now honey. Please put your coat on while I get J.J. dressed.”
Two-year-old Jacob Jr. lay fast asleep in his race car bed as his mother bundled him up in his snowsuit.
“Mommy, turn the light on. I can't see. I can't zip my coat.”
Carol’s hands shook; her heart raced. She struggled to inhale.
“No honey, just do it in the dark.”
“Mommy, I can’t see.”
“Here sweetie, I’ll do it.”
Kaylee yawned and rubbed her eyes as her mother zipped her coat. “Mommy, where are we going?”
Carol’s mind played tricks on her. Believing that the door knob was turning, she pressed a single finger to Kaylee’s lips; a silent plea in her eyes.
She grabbed what items she could for the kids, scurried down the stairs and eased out the back door leading to the garage. She rushed to secure the kids in their car seats and locked the doors to her BMW four-matic. When the garage door was completely open, she paused and leaned against the headrest. She heaved a sigh of relief.
There was pounding. The car shook. “Carol, what are you doing? Please don’t leave! Don’t take my kids away from me.”
Her husband, Jacob Sr., stood barefoot in the garage screaming. His face was laced with sorrow, but he continued to pound furiously on the driver’s side window. It was like the car was no match for his monstrous frame. At six-two and two-hundred and twenty pounds of lean muscle, Jacob was more than the average man.
Beads of sweat trickled down Carol's face as her clammy hands gripped the steering wheel. Kaylee screamed and covered her ears.
“Kaylee honey, it’s okay. Mommy’s not taking you anywhere.”
Carol, with her swollen and discolored left eye, turned towards the driver’s side window to face her husband. “Shut up Jacob! Just shut up!”
“Carol baby, we can work this out.”
“Work this out? Do you see my eye? I think my ribs are broken, and you’re saying we can work this out.”
She had to leave him. She determined that his empty promises to change would not be the death of her.