Lyn and Dave.
**Trigger warning: Domestic violence **
Lyn had been married to Charles for going on thirty years. Thirty miserable years filled with heartache and abuse. The only thing that made all those lonely years bearable were their two wonderful children. Lyn had focused all her love and attention on them but time moved on.
Now they were grown and had moved out of the family home, so she had little to distract her from her terrible marriage to a man who enjoyed hitting her and humiliating her any chance he got.
She should have gotten out years ago, but things were different back then. Her parents had been fiercely religious and her entire life she’d been taught that marriage was for life, no matter what.
Lyn remembered when she was newly married and Charles had hit her for the first time. It had come as such a shock. With her adrenalin racing and her jaw burning, she wasted no time packing a small case and running all the way back to her parents.
When the door to her parent’s house swung open she flung herself, weeping, into her mother’s arms and clung to her. Once she’d told her story over a hot cup of tea and freshly baked banana bread, her parents shocked her. They told her that she’d made her bed and now she needed to lie in it. They spun her right around and sent her back to him. She sat on the curb just down from her house and cried. The desperate pull to turn and run away was strong. She would have done practically anything to avoid walking back through that front door to the monster waiting for her.
But she had nowhere to go, no money, no support network. Everything she owned was inside that house, with the exception of the nightgown and single change of clothes she carried in her tiny case. So as the sun went down and the chill in the air picked up, she wrapped her jacket tighter around herself, lifted her chin, and returned to him.
And so, life went on. Dark days filled with misery and fear, with no way out. One day seemed to blend in with the next one week to another. The only bright spot, besides her children, was the once a month visits from Dave and his wife Sue. Dave was Charles’ best friend. The four of them would share a lovely dinner, followed by a game of cards, a few drinks and a chinwag.
The social interaction kept her sane, even if secretly she didn’t particularly like Sue. Sue was the female version of Charles. She openly berated Dave during dinner, putting him down, and nicknaming him Idiot. But in Lyn’s eyes it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Dave was the loveliest person she’d ever met and gave her faith in the male population. She focused her attention on him and his adventures, living vicariously through him. Because although he had a miserable home life, he had an exciting job in advertising.
When he would talk about an upcoming campaign, Lyn would be glued to the radio in the following weeks, waiting to hear the finished product. It was like sharing a tiny piece of Dave’s life, away from Charles and Sue. She would learn all of his advertising jingles off by heart and would hum along to them, like some would their favourite love songs. Because if she was completely honest with herself she knew she’d fallen in love with Dave. She tried to deny it, and then to fight it. But while she scrubbed the floors and did the housework, thoughts of what her life might have been like if she married Dave filled her mind and warmed her heart.
She would never act on it. She was an honourable woman. And besides, she doubted a man as handsome and sweet as Dave would be interested in her. Not that Dave’s opinion would even matter. She was stuck in a loveless marriage and years ago became resigned to the fact she would live out her bleak life by Charles side.
Until the summer barbeque of course. That’s when everything began. When her life began at the ripe age of 50.
To Be Continued…
Lyn and Dave
**Trigger warning: Domestic violence **
Lyn and Charles had invited Dave and Sue over for an informal barbeque dinner. Lyn stood at their outdoor dining suite which she’d decorated to an inch of its life. There were bright yellow napkins wrapped around the cutlery, matching the yellow gerberas in a vase at the centre of the table. Small tea light candles scattered across the tabletop gave the outdoor space a lovely ambience. Lyn was proud of how lovely it looked.
The wonder of the outdoor space didn’t last long. Charles came storming into the garden, letting the screen door bang behind him. He stopped and glared down at the table before his eyebrows dropped into a frown.
“What’s all this then?” he snapped, turning to face Lyn.
“Oh it was nothing. I just thought I might spruce up the old table a touch,” she managed to stutter out. The shift in Charles’ mood had the hair on her arms standing on end. She knew this look and tensed her shoulders, waiting expectantly for the swing of his hand.
“How much of my hard-earned money did you waste on this crap then?” He stepped closer to her, towering above her 5-foot frame.
She dared not move a muscle and continued to stare at the spot on the ground where there was a small chip in the cement.
“Nothing love. It was all just things we had laying around. I thought it might be nice to –“
“Why are you trying to get fancy all of a sudden? Is the Queen coming?”
She didn’t answer so he continued, his voice rising more with each new accusation. “Well? You think you’re too good for us now do you?”
He lifted his hand in the air and Lyn squeezed her eyes shut tight. Here we go. God please give me the strength to endure what is about to come.
“G’day everyone. We rang the doorbell but no one answered. We assumed you must have been out the back.” It was Dave’s voice. Lyn peaked out through one eye and saw Charles had now turned away from her. She let out her breath. Although she was under no pretence that she had avoided the beating, merely delayed it until later, she was thankful all the same.
“Dave! How are you old mate?” Charles greeted them. “And Sue, looking gorgeous as ever.”
Lyn fought not to roll her eyes. Such a schmoozer.
Dave glanced past Charles and met Lyn’s eyes. “Evening Lyn. What a lovely dress and oh my, that table.” He turned back to Charles. “You have a talented wife there Charles.”
Charles grumbled an inaudible reply before offering their guests a seat. Lyn popped into the kitchen to grab the salads while the meat sizzled on the barbeque. Dave looked gorgeous in his summer trousers and pastel shirt. Heat singed at the tips of her ears but she couldn’t help smiling at her own silliness. Acting like a teenager at the mere sight of Dave. It was ridiculous. She was ridiculous.
The night went well at first and the conversation flowed. Charles and Sue got through at least one bottle of wine between them, and Dave and Lyn shared the pitcher of juice. Sue was being her usual vicious self, yelling at Dave throughout the night. Lyn’s heart hurt, manifesting in real physical pain. Poor Dave. He deserved better. He deserved the world. But like her, he believed in the sanctity of marriage and was in for life.
Charles was busy bragging to Sue about his latest promotion as Sue batted her fake lashes and oo’d and ahh’d in all the right places. Dave winked at Lyn across the table and rolled his eyes, jokingly indicating Charles. She threw him a tiny grin and reached for the pitcher of cranberry juice, but Dave reached at the same time and they managed to tip it over, spilling the contents all over the table and each other.
Charles jumped up from the table, rage consuming him. He automatically backhanded Lyn across the cheek in one foul swoop. He’d acted on impulse and seemed to realise suddenly what he’d done in front of his friends. He glanced from Sue to Dave and back again before his glare finally fell on Lyn who had been knocked to the ground. No one said a word and the air prickled in shock.
To Be Continued…