“We should get there by nightfall, Shelbina,” the woman told her sleeping daughter, the susurrus of the road having lulled a sense of calm. She always used the little one’s full name, unlike her father. He refused to recognize the namesake, yet another way to maintain his control, so everyone else knew her as Shelly..
Shelbina was the tiny place where her mother grew up. That town and the girl represented everything the woman truly loved, which only fueled her husband’s resentment. But his predictable delivery room absence left her a chance signing of the birth certificate without him. Someone wise might have warned that lack of parental participation as a foreshadowing.
She glanced over her shoulder at the girl’s limp form slumped in the backseat, eyes fluttering in a disturbed REM cycle. A big row earlier in the evening must have played part in such fitful slumber.
The woman reckoned all that nonsense had to come to a head before she finally split up their family. A glimpse in the rear-view mirror as she returned her gaze to the road convinced her that fateful decision was the right one. Proof in fresh bruising around her left eye.
Just lightly fingering the puffiness brought a sudden flinch. That kind of pain proved she’d done the right thing to hit him over the head with the floor lamp and gain enough escape time to get to the car. Even if her brother ended up beating the man half to death in retaliation when he saw her face later.
It was only a matter of time before her husband’s anger turned to Shelbina instead of herself. “He ain’t never gonna touch you, honey. Not if I can help it,” she whispered, not wanting to wake the girl. Maybe saying the words out loud would mean she could believe she’d actually left him.
Shelbina’s untidy hair glistened in the golden hour glow of gathering dusk. The closer they got to the western horizon, the closer they were to home. “Just a little while longer now,” the woman said softly. “We’re almost to Shelbina.”
Two Word Tuesday prompt – adumbrate and/or foreshadow
video: Samantha Fish – “Go Home” via Local 909 in Studio