The fight wasn’t so different from what her daughters had seen a hundred times. The family had just watched a movie together — mother, father and two daughters — when something set off a fight between the parents.
There was screaming. There were threats. Then crying. Anger and quiet fear were in the air.
After the worst was over, the mom stepped out onto the front porch to get herself together. She was crying when her daughters came outside to check on her. Then she put on a brave face and reassured the girls that everything was fine.
The 13-year-old was silent, but the 11-year-old asked a question.
“Mom, is this what love will be?” she asked with fear in her voice.
After years of putting up with ugly fights and threats, that was the moment when everything changed for the mom. She told me the story tonight — about the night she decided to leave — nine months after this family drama played out.
For years, the woman had been in denial. She believed her husband’s promises to change. She accepted his excuses. She told herself that her girls deserved to have their father. But if this is what her daughters were learning, it was time to get out.