DiscoverContemporary Fiction

Behind Closed Doors

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Worth reading 😎

Many think women are the major victims of domestic violence, but this writer thinks the child(ren) suffer even more, and she is right!

Synopsis

To the world they appeared to be perfect. Behind Closed Doors they were struggling to survive.
Behind Closed Doors is the first in a series of gripping short stories about living with, and hiding, domestic violence.
Four fictional characters with very different perspectives and experiences.

Tonza D Ruffin: What happens Behind Closed Doors?


There's no art

to find the mind's construction in the face.

       --William Shakespeare


A successful lawyer with an edgy temper and who knows not how to keep his hands off his wife, beating her even to a state of unconsciousness. The wife, also a successful lawyer, cannot understand why she has tarried in the marriage. Her doctor knows that the many cases of bleedings and injuries he has had to treat could not be from mere accidents; he suspects that whoever put a ring on her finger must be responsible. But even the doctor was not any different for he also subjects his wife to much the same treatment, if not even worse. The lawyers' daughter grows up into a successful lawyer herself. Her parents' life has bred an aversion for the opposite sex; she uses them and dumps them as soon as things begin to get too serious for her comfort. However, she soon meets one man who she hopelessly falls in love with; the only problem is that he is married. Their relationship blossomed, but how did it end? This, you must find out for yourself.


I quite like how the story handles the problem of domestic violence by telling the story from the perspective of five major characters. Often times when we broach the issue of domestic violence, we think of women in poor homes where the husband is probably a drunk or drug addict. It is not uncommon for us not to see women living the supposed 'happily married life' in luxurious homes, and often with great careers, as victims of domestic violence. Tonza D Ruffin's Behind Closed Doors opens our eyes to this fact. Really, a lot more than the happy and smiling faces of couples goes on behind closed doors!


The greatest mystery remains why these women cannot dissolve these abusive relationships even while they appear to be successful and do not need a man for survival. The female lawyer particularly had helped many women escape abusive relationships and given them freedom, yet she could not untangle herself from her own abusive marriage. The cat and dog life she lives with her husband is to later affect their daughter who becomes fiercely independent only to later slip from her high pedestal and end things in a disastrous manner.


Society has a lot to do to ensure it does not leave a streak of psychologically wounded young people who may decide to take out their revenge on others in the future.


However, I think the writer would have done well to provide foils for the abusive characters, just as is done for the lawyer's wife using one of her clients.


Not a lot was done to make the characters come alive in the mind of the readers, but I think this is deliberate. Denying the characters individual names (using the name of their professions instead) and also providing sketchy physical and scenery descriptions might just be a way to make readers think of the characters as 'me or anyone'. But I would have appreciated the story more if these details had been featured. Maybe the reduction of these aspects also makes the story run faster for the casual reader, so it may not be a bad thing altogether.


I am quite curious to know how the subplots are resolved, that is if we are to consider the lawyers' daughter story as the main plot. However, I noticed that the story has a Part Two which is 'coming soon'; I can only hope that this second part will answer most of the questions bothering me with regards to the story.


Before I end this review, I would like to suggest another look at the use of punctuations and capitalisation after dialogues. It is a small matter anyway and does not hamper the story in any way as I see it. Finally, I think it is a good story and it deserves three of five stars from me.


Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy 2020

Reviewed by

Talking about books is what I know how to do best. With over 50 reviews on various online platforms, you need not fear that I shall deliver.

Synopsis

To the world they appeared to be perfect. Behind Closed Doors they were struggling to survive.
Behind Closed Doors is the first in a series of gripping short stories about living with, and hiding, domestic violence.
Four fictional characters with very different perspectives and experiences.

THE LAWYER

Sitting in the emergency room once again she wondered how her life had come to this. When did she stop loving herself? Had she ever loved herself? How could this be happening to her? And, why didn’t she see the warning signs?

As she sat on the cold, sterile hospital bed with that awful gown on, waiting for the doctor to examine her, she couldn’t remember what caused yesterday's outburst. She wasn’t surprised: she rarely remembered what caused him to lose it. These days it seemed as if anything, and everything, had the potential to make him lose it. When she tried to softly suggest that he spend a little more time with their daughter, he lost it. When she tried to lovingly coax him into spending more time with her, he lost it. If she didn’t talk to him enough, he lost it. "Losing it" was the new norm in their household.

Realizing she had no ability to control when, why, or how he might lose it, she gave up on the idea that gentleness would make a difference. While she constantly felt on edge, she rose every day and reminded herself that life with him was simply “survival of the fittest”. Maybe, just maybe, if she beat him to the punch and showed him that she too could be a royal asshole, he would one day call a truce, and they could return to life as she knew it, before her husband had become a monster.

Her “biggest asshole” approach meant they spent a lot of time screaming and yelling; screaming and yelling which ultimately led to him physically assaulting her in some way. Unfortunately, the violence between them had begun to take its toll on their three- year-old daughter, as well. Their adorable little princess always seemed to be fussy and on edge. Their adorable little princess also had taken to whacking her mother, and others, when she did not get her way. In fact, this past weekend when they were at the playground, she witnessed her daughter calling one of the little boys a dumb ass while simultaneously slapping him across the face. Stunned and embarrassed by what she just witnessed, she grabbed

her daughter by the arm, put her in the car, and sped off, as the little boy stood there wailing at the top of his lungs.

Yesterday was no different. After about 15 minutes of yelling and screaming about God knows what, he once again exploded, this time punching her, with all of his might, in the face. Silenced and dazed from the sheer force of the punch, she did not realize blood was pouring from her nose as fast as water from a faucet until she noticed the look of terror in her husband’s eyes. When she reached up to touch her face and realized that her fingers were covered in blood, she began to scream and cry uncontrollably. It was only when she began to scream and cry that she then realized she was lying on her back, on their kitchen floor. Had he fucking knocked her out, too?

Hearing her screams and cries and watching the blood cover her white, linen shirt, jerked him into action. Grabbing all of the dishtowels he could find, he knelt on the floor beside her and covered her nose, quietly whispering, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry”. The more he whispered how sorry he was, the more hysterical she became until she glanced to her left and saw their daughter standing in the hallway, just staring at them. Quickly she gathered herself up and told him to get the baby and take her upstairs while she cleaned up the mess from his latest attack. Looking ever so remorseful, he turned, placed a big smile on his face and ran to grab their daughter, showering her with kisses and hugs as he carried her upstairs to play in her room. 

About the author

Tonza D. Ruffin is a woman, mom, and lawyer who is finally listening to that inner voice and pursuing her passion for writing. Her passion for writing led to the birth of her blog SouthernMomJD; a chapter in the anthology, Divorced...Not Devastated; her books Pieces of Me and Behind Closed Doors. view profile

Published on December 01, 2019

Published by Shero Publishing

5000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Reviewed by

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