One Week Out: The Complicated Relief of Escaping Abuse

Each day after leaving brings emotions that are anything but simple

Maggie Haukka
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readNov 5, 2018


Photo: David von Diemar/Unsplash

Day One

We leave in the night. It isn’t how I planned it, but none of this is how I planned it. Nobody plans to end up in an abusive marriage; we just ignore the signs that foreshadow its inevitability.

The girls are curled up like squirrels on the sleeping nests I’ve made them on the floor of our new apartment. I couldn’t have any furniture moved ahead of time because I couldn’t risk telling him we were leaving until after we did. Even the dog seems unfazed. I look at the three of them, so trusting of me, so accepting of this absolutely bizarre circumstance, and it breaks my heart.

I lie there on the floor next to them questioning everything. Was it really that bad? Did it warrant this?

It was. It did. I know it. I’m just scared.

And it’s so hard to know anything for sure, in the middle of this night. I am so cold. Bone-shakingly cold. I look at the thermostat, and it registers a perfectly livable temperature—everyone else seems fine—but I shiver and shake until sunrise; I am chilled to my core.

But the sun does rise.

Day Two

Logistics. I send him an email to tell him we aren’t coming back. He’s furious, but he doesn’t know where we are, and he’s probably too lazy to expend much energy to figure it out. He always was a low-hanging-fruit kind of troublemaker; if there’s no punching bag in the vicinity, he’s not going to look for one. I hire movers to go in and get our stuff. It costs more than I should spend, but costs are relative things.

Day Three

Everything makes me cry. The new landlord calls me at work to tell me the dog has been barking, and this destroys me. I imagine a scenario in which we have to either get rid of the dog or we’re evicted, and I can’t even decide which one is worse.

I still love Jekyll.

The idea of losing the dog feels like an exquisite and precise kind of pain, an intolerable cruelty that I simply could not survive. I promise the landlord I’ll do something to get…