As she turned the steering wheel to the right, Karen felt the nagging pain in her wrist from where he had twisted it, never letting it go through her piercing cries.
The thought of that wicked night wouldn't leave her. She remembered to do her breathing that her therapist had told her to do when these thoughts came up.
"In," she whispered as she breathed in. "And out," as she exhaled slowly. Then repeated.
By the fifth exhale of her breathing exercise, she was coming up on the rustic farmhouse she had known as a child.
The trees and shrubbery outside of it were different than what she remembered. Everything had grown.
The bushes were taller, the trees were enormous with their branches covering the entire front yard. The only thing that hadn't changed was the house.
It had looked the exact same as it did when she was nine years old. Before her and her parents had moved to the city.
Before she met the man of her dreams, who would change her life forever, Jim.
Jim was perfect and treated her like a queen up until they were married.
After that, he had made a complete one-eighty, turning into the ugly man she knew now, with the same mannerisms as his abusive father.
He had treated her like a dog, and not the kind that's man's best friend, either. The kind you would see on TV, shivering and cold with some washed-up celebrity asking you to pay money.
She always cried when these commercials came on, but was always too lazy to call.
She was over that now, it was time to start a new chapter in her life.
After the divorce, Karen had got the best of it and decided to move into her old house back out in the country.
Her parents had still owned it, but lived in the city close to her and her sister, Cathy.
Cathy had helped her throughout the divorce and everything that came before—the yelling, the bruises, the fractured appendages. But she couldn't make it out today on account of work.
However, she said had told Karen she would be by to check in on her around eight tonight.
All of her furniture and belongings were already inside the house thanks to the generous movers she had highly paid.
She pulled into the long, winding driveway made of gravel and parked her sedan in front of the garage that was separated from the house. It was more of a giant shed than a garage.
Her dad would keep his tools and hunting gear inside it and would park his car right where she had.
It felt good being back out in the country. She continued with her exercise and breathed in the nostalgia, as well as the pollen and cedar she had forgotten about.
They reminded her of how bad her allergies had been when she was younger.
Welcome home, she thought.