“September 8 was Sunday. I was already settled in my mother’s house, living with my children. Juan visited the children almost daily, but I noticed something strange about him. He was quieter than ever. As usual, he took my phone and started checking it, and I ignored him and blocked it completely.
While we were having lunch with my mom, he stayed with our youngest son, Alejandro. I approached him to tell him I needed to buy diapers and other things. We left with Alejandro on our way to the grocery store, and Juan wanted to make a stop because he didn’t have any money. As soon as we arrived, I felt something strange.
He asked me to get out of the car, but I said no. He spoke to me with a particular tone of voice. He talked to me with a specific tone of voice, and I could tell something was wrong. He opened the door, closed the way, and made me get out, and I felt afraid, even if being afraid was customary. I thought it would be one of the typical and long arguments where he blamed me, ‘tell me who you are with, why are you cheating on me,’ with screams and more screams and threats. Used to all that, I got out of the car. He didn’t seem upset or out of control; everything was calm for what I assumed was coming. He played the radio music very loud and wouldn’t turn it down when I asked him to. He was looking for something. I was still scared and with my son in my arms.
At one point, he asked me to take off my shoes and jacket, leave the child on the couch, and accompany him to a room. I didn’t know his intention, but I knew something terrible was coming. Before going with him, I looked at my son one last time with a bad feeling but with the certainty that everything terrible was going to end; all the garbage and disgust that I was living was going to end. I had a feeling, and I surrendered.
We went inside, and he started asking the typical questions while trying to choke me with his arm, leaving me almost breathless. He was a man of anger, with much more strength than I had. He tied my hands, and although I managed to free myself, it was all in vain. He took me to the bedroom and, although I tried to get him to come to his senses, to talk to me, he told me that I was cheating on him and he couldn’t get out of that idea and didn’t want to talk. He grabbed my shoulders, punched me in the face, threw me to the floor, and jumped on top of me. When I felt he had broken a bone, I saw him disappear and come back with a knife. I thought he would bury it and kill me; I screamed like never before, asking him to please not hurt me. Meanwhile, I heard my son crying in the background, he attacked my eyes, and I stopped seeing.
He removed my eyeballs and damaged my optic nerve. I will never see it again; even if I went to the other side of the world, I would never see it again.
“I had no choice: I let myself die or went back to living.”
He left me on the floor. As best I could, I tried to look for my son, but he wouldn’t let me. He took me to the shower, jumped on me, and wouldn’t let me out. Then he went to get my son and handed him to me. We were together for a long time, so I breastfed him. I still couldn’t see anything, but I could feel him going from one place to another, making calls. There were moments when I stopped listening, stopped feeling, and didn’t even feel alive. I even asked him to kill me; he said no, picked me up, put my wet clothes on me, and took me to the car with a towel on my face. He started to drive around the city.
I, not knowing where I was, not feeling any pain yet, just knowing that I could not see, did not cry or kick.
We arrived at the house of a man I didn’t know. Juan had called him earlier. I overheard him talking about something, told him to get in the car, and asked him a couple of questions. Then I felt the shot. From the news, later, I found out his name was Mario, but at that moment I still didn’t feel anything. I didn’t care about anything.
When he threw Mario’s body away, he told me, ‘one less, let’s get the other one; who is it? To end all this I told him it was him, that Mario was my lover, but he didn’t believe me, and we went to Claudio’s house. I didn’t contradict him. I knew that was the only way to get out alive, going along with him. He found Claudio, and I heard him ask him if he was with me; the boy said no, but Juan took out his gun, and before shooting him, he said, ‘I’m sorry. I got desperate, I started to scream, to ask him to take me to the hospital, he told me that he would take me, but first, we were going to my mother’s house because he would kill her too. You’re going to be alone,’ he told me. I begged him so much that he took me to the hospital, he left me there, and I was confused, and the last thing I said to him was ‘Are their people, which way do I go’ he told me to the left. I got lost; I went into a pothole many times with my baby in my arms. I was screaming for help; I heard cars; I was on the road, with no idea where he had left me stranded.
We spent the night in the cold, with my child wrapped in my clothes, trying to keep him warm. I kept repeating to the baby: ‘Papacito, someone will be here soon. The next day, at dawn, a lady who lived a few plots of land away approached me. I felt my soul return to my body. ‘They found us, daddy,’ I told Alejandro. They lifted me, took the child from me, and took me to the hospital while they asked me a thousand questions, many people who wanted to know who did it. ‘Who did this to you? What’s your name?’
I woke up without knowing the day or time, and I only heard my family talking to me, nothing else. I spent almost three months in the hospital with psychological, psychiatric, and medical attention. The only thing that mattered to me was knowing if I would see them again. The world fell apart when they told me no. I cried and screamed many times. I cried, I shouted many times, and words did not console me; I did not think about finishing my career or how I would work: the only thing that mattered to me was seeing my children again. I was utterly heartbroken; about how I would take care of them, how they would take care of them, and how I would take care of them. Nothing anyone said to me was any consolation. I had no choice: I would let myself die or live again.
I was born again. I took everything the hospital gave me, the therapy they offered me, the therapy I took. I did not refuse any psychological or psychiatric help; whatever it was, I said yes to everything. So I began to feel the support of many people, which encouraged me a lot. They told me that I was going to be able to finish my degree and that I was going to defend my thesis. My parents were always coming to see me; that was fundamental. And my friends were all there too.
In February 2015, I came to live alone; I went back to my job, showered alone, ate alone, and started to be me again. The important thing is that my children are with me, and I enjoy them. I know they are going to grow up, and we are going to go out together again.