Romanced by fantasies, terrible things are done in the name of love. And when love goes wrong, it could be the most intensifying and painful experience of a lifetime. Secrets, disappointments, betrayal, fantasies, obsession and violence, a treasure trove of memories as well as human experiences shared.

Love in any form manifests itself into varying ways, this narrative is about the myriad colors of passion.

To see a battered woman, it is like nothing you can imagine. The split lips, a swollen face, misshapen, the colors of a spectacular sunset just before nightfall, in a twilight of every color, blue, yellow, purple — with some of the bruises fading into a yellow green.

These are victims of spousal abuse and assault.  Recorded on her chart as “POSS DA” or “Possible Domestic Abuse.” There would be an “again,” and  there always was. What provokes the complex combustion, attraction and destruction, unexplainable feelings between two people who are connected in way, they will never understand.  This is a story of three women, the names I’ll call them are not their own.

Obscuring their identity to respect their good name is secondary.  The primary reason is protect the Moonlighter from their wrath, once they realize I’m writing their sad and gruesome stories. They related to me as a cry for help, and on a personal level.  I am hoping to help these hapless souls realize that to share their terrible secret, wrapped in shame and silenced in strangled sobs; they will still be respected and have a career, as your Moonlighter has.

For Agnes, the first time her husband hit her, she was only eighteen.  She couldn’t wear a sundress or frolic in the beach the whole summer.  The marks of his beatings were like a tattoo.  The next night he kissed each spot with  his tears, wetting the spots like it would wash it away. He was so sorry, he cried.  His sorrow and regret seemed so palpable.  She wept with his sorrow more than hers.  Next morning, they were holding hands, gazing at each other’s eyes, acting like nothing had happened.

Rosa had a 10-year-old daughter who kept her secret.  The child had to have heard the countless sounds of the slaps, the thumps of the punches, the birdcall of her mother’s sobs, the sharp intakes of breath in pain. In the morning her mother tapes herself up, swabbed herself off — as she tried to put her pieces back together again.  A repetitive scenario.

She had seen her mother’s bruises, remembers all those countless mornings after the horrible sounds and screams.  Over at the breakfast table, her father calmly sits, drinking coffee from his favorite mug, her mother coming in, with a breakfast tray filled with garlic fried rice, eggs and longanisa, as though everything was just as it should be.

On the outside, Angelita looked fine.  She was a registered nurse, had a beautiful home, three kids, a husband and a smile.  Nobody got to see the hitting, which was really the humiliation turned into hatred. Hatred for her husband and the life she had lost.  Her cringing self was afraid to leave.  Besides, divorce was a dislocation.

She stayed because she thought things would get better, or at least not worse.  She wanted her kids to have a father and she wanted a home.  But the real truth, is that fact that she stayed because she loved her husband and no one had ever gotten to her the way he did.  He knew and hat is why he made her an accomplice in all the abuses he inflicted.

Three women and their sad, gruesome stories.  All these times they told their children they have had broken noses, collarbones, black eyes, split  lips by walking into the dining room, in the dark.

They would have gone past some point of no return. They would have killed the child in every kid, the woman in what was left of them.

Many years ago, I have been in that distant place, where no lights illuminate dreams and fairy tales.  But I learned in the process is redemption,  your children make it impossible to regret your past.

When you make your choice and everyone tells you that you are doing the right thing – then maybe it is what should be done.

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