Reality Check

He carried this further when he stomped up our back steps, pounded on the door window and threatened to beat the hell out of her if my mother didn’t let him in. Quickly, I grabbed a hammer for protection. A minute or two later, he broke out a pane of glass. But as he reached through to unlock the door, I moved in close and slammed the hammer down hard on his arm. He bellowed and cursed and stumbled back down the steps.Two or three nights later, it all came to an end.

He talked with my mother on the phone—cold sober. Polite. Convincing. Again he asked her forgiveness. He said he wanted to stop by a moment to say good-bye. He told her that he knew their romance was over now. And he knew she was filing for divorce.

With some uneasiness, she agreed to meet briefly with him, one last time.

As a fourteen-year-old, I was skeptical of her even being in the same room with the goon who had severely mauled her. Without telling her, I took a boning knife with a keen, five-inch-blade from out of the kitchen drawer and I hid it under the front edge of an overstuffed chair in our front room. I had no idea what I would ever do with that knife—if anything. But I was determined, absolutely determined, to prevent Wentworth from again beating my mother.

I was sitting in the overstuffed chair when my mother let him in the front door. He wasted no time. Ignoring me, he took off his coat, tossed it on a chair, wheeled around towards my mother and growled, “There’s something yer gonna have to learn, you bitch.” And he hauled off and slapped her across the side of the face.

Instinctively, I reached for the knife and let out a howl as I sprang up from the chair and lunged. He saw me coming. He turned and caught my right wrist in the air, twisting it sharply back so the blade of the knife was aimed at my own chest. I jerked frantically to the right as the knife came stabbing downward. The blade cut into my arm, at the left elbow. I held on. Twisted loose. Then, like a bar-room brawler, he cocked his beefy fist and swung a roundhouse punch that would have taken my head off. I slipped under his killer blow. And with the bloody knife still clutched firmly in my right hand, I drove the blade deep into his side—deep into his ribs.

He grunted. He gasped. He staggered … and slowly stumbled to his knees. Then he collapsed.

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