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In this excerpt from The Best Angel Stories of 2014, a desperate woman in an abusive relationship is rescued by an unlikely angel.
My husband, James, was a drinker. We’d been married 15 years, and every day he wasn’t working he hit the bars as soon as they opened. Beer after beer washed down shot after shot of whiskey. Then he’d come home and scream at me, “You’re nothing!”
That particular summer afternoon, James stumbled in and snarled, “Gimme some money.” I didn’t have any. I was terrified he’d start hitting me. Again. Abruptly, James staggered toward me and knocked me over. Then he went out, slamming the screen door behind him. I heard his truck squeal out of our driveway while I lay on the floor, sobbing.
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I can’t go on like this, Lord. After picking myself up and snatching my keys, I left the house. For the last time, I thought as I got into my Plymouth Duster. In my mind, one of us had to die for this situation to end. And I was going to be the one.
I headed toward the bridge, intent upon driving my car off it. I had that utter sense of clarity that overwhelming despair sometimes brings. It’s the only way, I thought.
As I passed by the community pool, I saw a little blond boy in swim trunks standing on the corner, crying and rubbing his eyes with his fists. Must have lost his mommy.
Pulling over to the curb, I called out the window, “Are you okay, honey?”
He shook his head. “My daddy forgot to pick me up.”
My heart went out to the little boy. He must have felt so abandoned. “Come on, I’ll take you home,” I offered.
He looked at me, then opened the car door and climbed in. “Where do you live?” I asked. “Just show me where to go.” He told me to turn right at the next corner and directed me to the outskirts of town. Tidy rows of houses greeted us. It was a neighborhood I’d never been in before.
These developments were springing up everywhere. He pointed at a new ranch house. “That’s it!” he cried. I stopped.
“Here you are, sweetie,” I said.
“Thanks,” he called as he rushed into the house.
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In the driveway there was a man working under the hood of a car. “I brought your boy home,” I hollered, then drove on. I passed the bridge on the way back to town. But my desire to kill myself had been replaced with a sense of hope and renewed faith.
Amazingly, my attitude felt stronger than it had in years. I joined a spousal support group and gained an understanding of what it means to be in an abusive marriage. It took time, work, and prayer, but eventually I was able to recover my sense of self. This changed things for the better for me.
One day I happened to tell a friend about the boy who had inadvertently saved my life.
“You should go back and see how he’s doing,” she urged.
Soon after, I drove out to the development, taking the same route as before. I came to the same street, except there were no tidy rows of homes. No ranch house. Just a field of grass and trees. Yet I knew this had been the spot where the little boy lived. At least for that one day years ago when I needed him.