She never knew. Not until she saw it that night on television. Then it was only because his killer had died. Her savior was thirty years in his grave; that handsome young cop.
She still remembered him.
Then she was a shadow of a girl, barely a hundred pounds and eyes too shy for anyone to know the color of. The man was all tattoos and swagger, wearing a wife-beater, drunk. It’s not cliché if you invented it. That’s why you shouldn’t marry young.
Every night the man was out, or at her. Sorry in the morning. Her, bruised. You don’t know what life is, until you’ve had it nearly choked away.
The cop was new; the neighbors called. He took the girl outside, begged her to leave, handed her a number. Said she had to press charges, because that’s just how they did it back then. She stared at the crumpled number in a bleeding hand. Said it was nothing.
It was nothing for the sixth time.
The cop went inside, charged at the man, leaned into his face, “You think you’re tough?” Thunked the man’s chest with a forefinger.
That night it worked. The man took the bait, swung and went to jail with his hands cuffed behind his back.
She almost got away. But the man was back the next day, sorry. There were a few more years of almosts before she gave up. But she always remembered what he did that night: that cop; her savior.
But a savior needs someone worth saving.
It was a different night, a different fight. Domestic dispute; the same young cop provoking. That woman bleeding, that man armed with a twelve-gauge shotgun. Cop killer.
You could say it didn’t work that night, but it did. That woman got thirty years to get away.
Every savior needs someone worth saving.