…After five hours in the emergency room, she was relieved to learn that her nose was not broken. Once all of her paperwork was completed and the nurse had left, she got up from the stretcher, slid her sundress and Gucci sandals on, grabbed her handbag, and left the room. Since it was around 9 pm when she actually left the ER she could not hide behind her big Tiffany shades. She could feel the gaze from the nurse’s station as she quickly walked past searching for the nearest exit from the glaring hospital lights that made her feel her abuse was on display for all to see.
With the exit in sight, she could feel the tension in her jaw easing and her breathing began to return to normal. And then she heard someone call her name. Picking up the pace, she braced herself to pretend as though she didn’t hear whoever it was trying to get her attention. Only feet away from the exit, this unknown pain-in- her-ass person repeated her name even louder. Stopping dead in her tracks, she slowly turned in the direction of the voice and saw a woman approaching her. When the woman finally stopped right in front of her, it took a moment before her brain registered who this woman was. When it finally clicked she almost gasped out loud. Instead, she glued a fake smile to her face in an attempt to hide just how uncomfortable she felt.
During her days as a prosecutor, she had zealously gone after this woman’s husband and sent him to prison for two years, after he had broken the woman’s arm, jaw, and several ribs, one evening after coming home in a drunken rage. As a young prosecutor, she could not believe what this man had done to his wife. What was even more unbelievable to her was the fact that this woman, who was now standing before her staring at her bruised black eyes, wanted to drop the charges against that prick. She remembered the woman begging and pleading for her to dismiss the charges until the very end. When the jury found the prick guilty of felonious assault, this woman had looked over at her husband and began to cry.
At a loss for words, she stood in the hallway of the hospital as the woman told her how her life had turned around for the better while her husband was away in prison. It seemed the woman had taken advantage of that reprieve and decided to get counseling and enroll in the nursing program at the local community college. She was now remarried to a man she absolutely adored and worked as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at the hospital. She thanked her once again for fighting for her, all of those years before, before walking toward the elevator to head up and begin her shift.
As she walked away, eyes black and blue, and almost swollen shut, she still could not identify as being a victim of domestic violence. She was different. Or at least she thought so…
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