The too common Hallelujah breaker of violence against women is considered in another woman

Here is the first part of another window into Michelle’s life.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

_quiet rage, part i_

She slowly opened her swollen, bruised eyelids.  She squinted as she struggled to keep her eyes open as her pupils adjusted to the glare of the bright light.  For several minutes she fought against her heavy, fluttering lids.  They staggered open like old theater curtains,  too worn from use to glide.   She stared up at the white ceiling, noticing the random disorder of its small raised bumps.  Her brow knitted in concentration as she steadied herself.  Drawing deep, labored breaths, she tried to determine where she was.  She attempted to turn her head to look around.  A sudden jolt of pain forced a grimace as she sharply gasped for breath.  Everything hurt.  Pain smothered her.  It was too much for her to withstand.  She surrendered, let the waves of dizziness wash over her like a tide, closed her battered eyes, and allowed the undertow to pull her away, lost in its vicious current of pain.

She lay stiffly and still.  Her forehead creased as her nose twitched.  She was awake again.  Her eyes paced back and forth beneath her puffed lids like sentinels, as if to consider whether or not to do battle with the light again.  She turned her head to the left before she gradually opened her hazel eyes.  They teared as she blinked and waited to adjust to the invading light.  Her eyes followed the length of her arm.  She noticed the small, bloodstained Band-Aid that was pasted to the inside of her left elbow.  She looked at the network of cuts, scratches, and bruises which covered her arm like a red, laced glove.  She tried to move her fingers.  They wouldn’t bend.  It was then that she saw the white band which taped her fingers and wrist to a brace board.  She could only see the mound of white tape and part of the thin tubing of her IV.  Tears welled up in her eyes and coursed their way down into her matted, blonde hair.   The hitch and pull of her sobs tired her quickly, and like a mewling infant, she cried herself back to sleep.

She could hear someone calling her name, beckoning her out of the deep, black fog.  The intrusion of her peace as unwelcome as the pain that waited to attack her again when she woke.  It pestered like a woodpecker holes a tree, and refused to relent.  She strained to identify the familiar voice.  Her eyelids felt too heavy to pry open.

“Let me sleep,” her defeated thoughts begged.  “Please!  Don’t!   Please!  Please don’t make me!”

The voice menaced with her again and again, “Wake up, honey,” it said.  “Come on, baby, open your eyes.”

She had to fight against her own resistance to remain below, and forced herself to swim up through the darkness, exhaustion and fog back into the bright pain.  Finally, she crested the surface and forced her eyes open.  She slowly blinked away her blurring vision to make out the faces of her mom and dad.  Adrenaline smacked her bloodstream like an intravenous drug.   The taste of tin fear coated the back of her throat before it completely registered to her brain that she was very afraid again.

“If they are both here, and together,” she clicked, synapses firing in her mind like lightning bolts, “It must be really bad.”

She noticed her mother’s worried look right away; her brow was knit, her brown eyes were moist with tears and blazed with absolute fury.  A tight, strained smile painted her pale face into a grim mask of strained, maternal composure.

“Hey, Kitten,” Daddy said in his best salesman, I’ve-got-a-bargain-for-you voice.  “Rise and shine.  You can’t sleep this whole day away.”

“Honey,” Mom almost whispered.  “Are you alright? How do you feel?  Where does it hurt?”

Before she could answer, she heard a door being pushed open.  Heavy footsteps moved toward her bed.  She flinched.  Her panicked eyes strained to see who was coming.  She tried to seek solace in her parents’ faces, but they had retreated to greet the intruder.

Suddenly, a stranger’s face stabbed his stubby head over her.  She surveyed his salt and pepper hair, horn-rimmed glasses, big, ruddy cheeks and dull, green eyes suspiciously.

“And so, Ma’am,” he said smiling, “you finally decided to wake up for awhile.”

She looked up into his smiling face with a confused stare.  She noticed the stethoscope coiled around his neck, the white lab coat with a black smudge on the shoulder and the double Windsor knot of his navy necktie.

“It’s so nice to see you awake,” he said, still smiling.  “Now I can admire those beautiful, hazel eyes.  My name is Dr.  Williams.  I admitted you two nights ago when you came in.  You’re at Saint Joseph’s Hospital here in Millpoint.  I know you’re probably experiencing some discomfort.  We’ll give you something for the pain.  Along with everything else, you’ve suffered a pretty nasty concussion.  I’m going to have a look at you.”

Her split and chapped lips parted slightly as her eyes widened in fear.  She attempted to pull her shoulders back and hoist her waist up in an effort to rise,  bleated pitifully like a wounded lamb trapped under a fence, and collapsed back onto the bed.

“Now, now,” Dr.  Williams comforted.  “It’s all right.  No one will hurt you here.  Your parents will be right outside.  They can come back in as soon as we’re finished.”

“Go on, folks,” he said, directing her parents outside.  “We’ll just be a minute.”

“Hang in there, Poopsie,” Mom said, squeezing her good hand.  “We’ll just be outside for a minute.”

“Let’s get this out of the way,” Dr. Williams said.

She watched as he pulled down the silver, metal guard rails which surrounded each side of her bed like a barricade.  They looked cold.  She stared at the perspiration handprints he left on the bars as he lowered them.  The small beads of water looked like a ghost gripping the steel bars, refusing to let go.

“Okay, can you take a few deep breaths for me?”  Dr.  Williams asked.

She looked back up toward him to see he’d stuck the stethoscope in his ears, donning the instrument like a sacred, clerical robe.  His chubby cheeks appeared imprisoned by the silver tubing which joined together at his neck.

She stared at him blankly.

“Come on, Hon.” He said, pressing the head of the stethoscope to her chest.  “Just a few deep breaths.”

“Very good,” he said.  “Now let me help you sit up.”  Take my arm.  Let me pull you.  Don’t move around too much.”

She forced herself to relax while he pulled her into an upright position.  She fought crying out in pain by focusing on the black smudge on his shoulder which got larger and larger until her head was resting against it.

She felt the cold head of the stethoscope invade her bare back.

“How about taking a couple more of those deep breaths for me?” he said.  She buried her head further into his smudged, white-coated shoulder, and gasped to draw air.  She began to cry, soaking the fabric with tears, making it even harder to breathe.

“All right now,” Dr.  Williams comforted her as he lay her back down.  “Enough of that, you can rest now.”

Mucous streamed from her swollen nose to mix with the remnants of dried blood in her nostrils.  She licked her parched lips.  She closed her eyes.

“No sleeping yet, Dollface,” Dr. Williams said.  “Suppose you tell me what happened to you.”

She opened her eyes and stared at him, rage and pain darting from those haunted, hazel houses.  She gritted her teeth, closed her mouth like a vise, and shut her eyes again.

“Okay, we don’t have to talk now,” he said.