The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back ~ Single channel silent video
The moment of decision.
A mother reads her son a story at bedtime, snuggled up tight to lure him to sleep before tucking him in. The story she reads is Rumpelstiltskin, apropos she thinks, since it is a story of psychological abuse, and manipulation. She dreads leaving the safety of her child’s room. But she must, there is a monster to confront while her son sleeps. She enters the living room and it begins. Just weeks ago he was charming and kind. He took the family to dinner and a movie. He brought her flowers and promised to never hit her again. But that was then. Tonight she knows all is lost, her attempts to keep peace only prolonged the inevitable. So he waits for her. And then he yells. It is an angry red-faced yell so close to her nose that his spit splatters her face. She doesn’t move, so he pushes her. Maybe she should have moved? She crashes in to the pantry door and the knob hurts her back. He grabs her arm and slings her across the room into a stool. Crying, she falls to the ground. He is over her now yelling and kicks her in the leg. She begs him to stop and he does. He storms out of the room, yelling threats to divorce her and leave her with nothing. She runs after him promising to change. Change what? She doesn’t know - but she does know that he has money; it pays for their home, their food, and their lives. She also knows his money would buy attorneys that might take her child from her if he does as he threatens. She is terrified and has nowhere to go, no job, no experience, no degree. Hers has been a life of helping him succeed. Hers had been a life of hosting dinner parties for bosses, and dressing pretty for the company picnic; of trying to be a good wife and trying to please him. And she has a child she loves that she must protect and care for; her son is her everything. She blocks him from leaving; he grabs a handful of her hair and uses it to throw her out of his way. The hair comes out in a big clump in his hand. She stops chasing after him, lands on her side on the floor and simply cries. He storms out and she hears the tires squeal on the pavement outside. Only then does she see her small little boy peaking around the corner watching her weep. She runs to him promising him that everything will be okay, that daddy only lost his temper, and she takes him back to bed. He looks up at her with large, hazel eyes and asks, “ Will he find it before he comes back?” She smiles at him through her tears, truly thankful that her son is safe. Back in the haven of her child’s room, they both fall asleep and she dreams of flying.