The first time it happened she thought that she had tripped over something and bumped her head. Then she had looked up and seen her husband's face. Cold hard eyes within a mask of vicious fury. Something broke deep inside her then, an unbearably painful feeling of loss and hopelessness ripped through her very soul. These wounds have never healed she just has learnt to manage them. It took a long time . instead of trying to make her husband happy all her energy went into not making him angry.One day when the attacks were particularly frequent she had tried to confide in her mother- in- law to seek some help. The beseeching desperate look she got had told her all that she needed to know. She had to break the circle. She had to protect her son, to show him that there was another way of being a man. Her weapons became humour, love and kindness. It was like rowing a boat on a lake knowing that a monster lay beneath and could strike at any time. When her son graduated and left home to live with his girlfriend she felt relief wash over her. He was safe now. She felt immense sadness too. It wasn't meant to be like that.
For all those years she had thought it was all her fault, only her problem. Now it was talked about a lot , it was all in the open. There was even a Day each year dedicated to it, world wide. Once on a television chat show someone had said that it was always unacceptable, it was never the woman's fault, a man must never do that. She had cried then, deep body wracking sobs , thirty years of tears in one afternoon.
She pulled out her purse and placed a generous tip on the table for Laurent.