**Trigger warning: Domestic violence **
A few days later, Charles, surprised Lyn by calling her from his office in the city. He never called her. He said it was bad enough putting up with her at home, without talking to her at work as well. He’d even forbid her from calling him at work or dropping in. Lyn suspected it was so he could carry on having affairs with his secretaries without the fear of them finding out about his wife. Lyn didn’t care. She hoped he fell madly in love and left her. Then she’d be free. But sadly, that had never happened.
“Lyn, it’s Charles. Make sure you go to the grocery store and buy a leg of lamb. Dave and Sue are coming for dinner tonight. I want it to be special.”
Lyn’s heart flipped at the mention of Dave’s name, and Charles hung up without saying goodbye.
As excited as Lyn was at the prospect of seeing Dave again, there was a little bubble of worry which had wedged itself inside of her and was impossible to ignore. Dave and Sue visited once a month like clockwork. Never in 30 years had they only had three days in between visits. And why did Charles want it to be special? He never wanted any fuss over anything. Airs and graces annoyed him, he always said.
She glanced at her watch and realised, if she was going to slow roast this meat she’d need to get to the store quick smart.
When Charles arrived home that night he had Dave and Sue with him. They came in and enjoyed a nice meal. The meat was cooked to perfection, practically falling off the bone when Lyn attempted to take it out of the baking dish.
Lyn stood up to clear the dishes, but Charles nodded, indicating for her to sit back down. The bubble was back. Something wasn’t right. She risked a glance at Dave, hoping for some reassurance, but he looked as confused as she was. She stood frozen with the plates still in her hand.
“Sue and I have something to tell you,” Charles began and glanced at Sue who nodded her approval. “There is no easy way to say this, but Sue and I… well… we’re in love and we want to be together.”
The top dish slipped from the pile in Lyn’s hands and crashed to the floor, shattering into tiny pieces.
Charles’s eyes turned on Lyn and darkened. “Oh for God’s sake woman, sit down.”
She placed the rest of the dishes back on the table and slid into her seat.
“Now, I’m sorry to do this to you old chap, it’s nothing personal,” Charles said and glanced at Dave before guiltily turning away.
Dave said nothing. Lyn wondered if he’d gone into shock and longed to reach out and touch his arm.
“Lyn, you’re going to have to move out,” Sue blurted out. “Charles and I have chosen to live here together so Dave can keep his house. We felt it was the least we could do in the circumstances.”
“That’s right,” added Charles. “I’m hoping it won’t affect our friendship.”
Dave shook his head in disbelief. “You affected our friendship the minute I found out how you treat Lyn. The only reason I still talk to you is so I can make sure she’s okay.”
“And what about me?” Lyn found her voice, and attached to it was every bit of hurt, anger and injustice she’d suffered throughout her marriage. “You’re just going to kick me out onto the street?”
Charles at least had the good grace to look ashamed. “I’m sure one of the kids will take you in,” he mumbled.
“How long has this been going on?” Lyn needed to know. She’d sacrificed her own happiness for years, and for what?
“Not that long,” Charles mumbled.
“Only about 15 years,” Sue added.
“Fifteen years?” Lyn screamed and Charles flew to his feet, his hand raised in the air. Lyn closed her eyes and waited. She heard a thud but felt nothing. When she opened her eyes, Charles was flat on his back and Dave towered over him.
“You will never touch her again, you hear me?” Dave’s voice shook.
“Oh for God’s sake idiot, look what you’ve done,” Sue screeched.
Then something magical happened. Amongst the chaos, the screaming, and the fighting, Lyn and Dave turned to each other and smiled. Then the smile turned into a laugh. Dave walked over without saying a word, took Lyn’s hand and led her out of the house and got into the car. They turned the music up and sang along to the radio as they drove away to start their new life together. There was never any regret or sadness about what had just ended, because what was beginning was much more special.
**Charlie and Sue lasted about 18 months. He hit her, she hit him back and then left him for one of his colleagues.
**Dave and Lyn have now been married for nearly twenty years. They laugh together and still kiss each other as passionately as they did that first day in the laundry room. Lyn can’t stress enough that anyone living in a domestic abuse situation should do whatever they can to get out. Tell someone, ask for help, leave. If she had have known how wonderful life could be she would have made a very different decision while she sat on that curb on the very first day.
Adelaide author Suzie Jay grew up within walking distance from the beach, dreaming of life as a famous author or Johnny Farnham’s back-up singer. After a stint as a teacher and stay at home mum, she decided to make her dream a reality, writing romance- not singing, because she can’t hold a tune. She didn’t give up on Johnny all together and in her spare time sings along to 80’s hits, bakes and binges on Netflix with her own knight in shining armour- who’s more likely to wear tattered footy jumpers than chainmail.