By: Mia L. Hazlett
It had been two months since my baby was taken. There were occasional phone calls from the detectives assigned to Jessie’s case. But over all, they were starting to dwindle. It used to be three to four times a week, but now it was only return phone calls. The hardest part to adjust to was the decrease in the search intensity. The first week I functioned completely on adrenaline. It felt like the detectives lived here. Our neighbors did everything to help. The house was never empty. Even the second week, we had relatives and friends in and out. But now there was just us.
My husband held most of the details to the investigation. There was very little that I knew, except that they had not found her. Unfortunately, these past two months, as heart-wrenching as they’d been, had been a reprieve from Mark, my husband, and his brutality. Last night was the first time since we lost her that he’d hit me or should I say beat me. It was with such viciousness that I thought I wouldn’t make it through. There had been times before that I thought that, but last night he unleashed two months of pent up fury.
I touched the mirror instead of my face. My fingers lightly traced my swollen right eye. How my left eye was spared, I’m not sure. The split down my lower lip seemed to cut it right in half. There was a bruise on my left cheek, which was probably the reason for the excruciating pain that shot through my face when I tried to open my mouth. Usually he spared my face, but I guess he knew I wasn’t leaving the house to go anywhere.
The last time I left the house was the morning we went to drop her off for school. It may be selfish, but I wasn’t ready to see other children playing in the neighborhood. I didn’t think I could take hearing the sound of “mommy” coming from a child’s mouth. I sat on the floor in her bedroom and cried myself to sleep most nights. Not to mention my dreams, they rentlessly taunt me.
Sometimes they were memories, sometimes she was running back into my arms completely untouched, but mostly they were nightmares. It was the nightmares that left me drained. There was one that I had consistently. I was at her school and following behind her in the crowded hallways. I could never seem to get close to her, but could hear her distinct little giggle. Out of nowhere, a man came and grabbed her. He was running so fast with her and my legs didn’t move. It was the sound of her screaming, “Mommy help me!”, that always woke me.
“Mommy help me.” Mommy couldn’t even help herself, I thought, as I examined the large bruise on my right side in the mirror. I knew my ribs were broken. A large inhale forced me to double over in pain and brought about a much more painful cough attack. I made my way back into bed. My four pillows offered me the only comfort I think I would find in the next couple of nights as I tried to heal my wounds. I could only pray that my darling Jessie was safe right now. As much as I missed my angel, I was grateful she was not here to listen to my cries for help.