Leave Means Leave Episode 4

She’d given up so much for him; her degree, her hobbies, her friends – what had he given up? He talked of sacrifices, but the sacrifices were all hers. He talked of working hard but around the house he did nothing, except the odd repair job. Mostly he got someone in to do them – so long as he was inconvenienced by the problem. If not, she could live with it. She’d lived for years without hot water in the kitchen, boiling the kettle for everything because he wouldn’t stump up for a new boiler. He wouldn’t let her pay for it either, said it made him feel emasculated. Then there’d be another row.

Well, Ruth would be happy now. She’d maybe give her a call. It was Anna’s fault they’d lost touch – well it was his fault really, but she’d gone along with it just as she’d gone along with every theft, everything and everyone he’d taken from her. She could phone Ruth, arrange to meet for a coffee. Why not?

Fear clutched her heart at the thought of walking outside alone but the thought of leaving the town where she’d spent most of her life made her feel faint. She hadn’t been outside it for ten years; they’d never taken holidays because he’d say we need to save money (though he never said what for) and what’ve they got abroad that we haven’t? He probably didn’t want her having her own passport. He wouldn’t let her learn to drive either; she had to get the bus to work.

Work! She could do better than that miserable office. Go back to university, get a degree, do what she’d always wanted, have the future he’d stolen from her. Move down South… little by little the plans were hatching. And then the next day coming back from the shop with Michelle she saw his car in the street, just sitting there with the engine running. She looked to left and right but too late, he’d seen her. He climbed out and stood between her and the shelter.

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