Mona’s Choice

(a sequel to “Evie’s Choice”)

“Do you think we’ve made the right decision?” Mona turned from the counter, potato peeler in hand.

Fred finished setting four places at the table. “Would you rather they were sent to live with a foster family?”

“Oh, heavens, no. It’s just that, well, are we too old to be raising our grandchildren?”

Fred put his hands on her shoulders. “Mona, to me you will always be that young, good-looking, smart-ass girl I tried to pick up in the university pub.”

Mona laughed. “You were the smart-ass. And you still keep sweet-talking me.” Her face sobered. She shook her head and sighed. “Those kids have been through so much. They’ve lost their mother, their dad’s in jail. Who knows what they saw or heard all those years.”

Fred leaned against the counter beside her. “I can’t imagine what they’re feeling now, probably anger, hurt, confused, who knows what else.”

“Somehow we have to show them that isn’t normal, that isn’t the way two people love each other. But are we up to the challenge? That’s what worries me.”

Fred put his arms around her and kissed her. “All we can do is show them love, and be patient. It’ll take time, that’s for sure.”

Mona heaved another sigh. “Time, love and patience – I hope that will be enough.”

“We’re in this together, remember.”

The doorbell rang. Mona tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear.

“That will be the social worker with the kids. Let’s go welcome our new family.”


(This story was not part of Voice and Vision 2019; however,  “Evie’s Choice” cried out for a sequel because other people now have to make choices.  Perhaps more sequels will appear as the children make theirs.)

#DomesticViolence #VoiceAndVision2019 #MargaretGHanna

Evie’s Choice

“Evie’s Choice”  Melissa Bruglemans-LaBelle. Mixed media

“Evie, how many times has this happened? You have to leave him before it’s too late.”

“I can’t, Mom.”

“You mean, you won’t.”

“No, I can’t! I have to stay for the kids.”

“Evie, take them with you. Go!”

“Oh sure, easy for you to say. Remember what happened last time? He beat me up, broke my jaw, threatened to take the kids away. It’s easier to stay. Besides, I love him. And he loves me.”

“Loving you means beating you up? Really, Evie.”

“Well, he does. He always apologizes afterward. Besides, it’s my fault. I do things that make him mad and then he loses his temper . . .” Evie shrugged.

“That’s his problem, not yours. Go to a woman’s shelter. You’ll be safe there.”

“There’s no such thing as a safe house, not from him.”

Evie’s sleeve slipped up as she drank the dark bitter coffee. Mona saw fresh marks.

“You’re using, aren’t you? Aren’t you!”

Evie slammed her cup on the table.“So what if I am? What’s it to you, anyway. Leave me alone, it’s none of your business.”

Mona clasped her daughter’s hand. “Leave him. Please! I beg you!”

Evie yanked her hand away and stood up. “No, I can’t. I’ll be fine. Good-bye. And don’t try to call.”

She stormed out the kitchen door, slamming it behind her.

“Oh please, dear God!” Mona stared at the door, then buried her head in her hands and wept.

That was the last time Mona saw her daughter – alive.

(This was my initial submission to Voice and Vision 2019 when I was paired with Melissa Bruglemans-LaBelle. I knew it was a difficult piece, both to read and to create art in response to it, but Melissa rose to the challenge. Her painting (using coffee and found media) captures the pathos, the tragedy and the horror of the story.)


#DomesticAbuse #VoiceAndVision