Tia watched the paramedics lift Tucker’s body into the ambulance. She knew the neighbors watching probably wondered why she hadn’t shed a tear, him being her husband of twenty years, but all her tears dried up long ago.
She watched as cops went in and out of her house, evidence bags clutched tightly in their hands. She knew the house would be a jumbled mess by the time they were done, but nobody cared about that. All they cared about was what happened to Tucker, one of their own.
She knew the pictures in her nightstand drawer would disappear. None of them would ever let proof of Tucker’s abuse get out if they could help it. The problem was, she had made sure they couldn’t stop it. A copy of all the photographs was in the mail to the local paper. Her sister, a reporter for the paper, was going to publish them in the late edition.
Tia was scared her sister would lose her job, but Leigh told her it was worth it. She’d been trying to get Tia away from Tucker for years, and since she never accomplished that, she was determined to help Tia after the fact. She didn’t care that Tia was guilty.
Guilty of killing her husband in his sleep. Guilty of beating him with his own baton. Guilty of enjoying it.
Tia didn’t care what happened to her anymore. Tucker had already taken everything from her, everything that mattered. He took her trust and peace of mind years ago, but those Tia had learned to live without. He had taken her dignity with every blow of his fist, and her sanity with every demeaning word he screamed at her. He had dwindled her self-worth down to nothing over the years with his constant tirades over everything thing she’d done wrong, but she had grown used to that.
But when he beat her so badly that he killed the baby she had been wanting, the baby conceived when he raped her a few months earlier, Tia gave up.
She waited, regaining her strength, until a time when Tucker was unsuspecting. He’d pulled a double shift and was dead on his feet by the time he came home earlier that night. By the time Tia was done with him, he was dead off his feet as well.
Her sister thought Tia had a case. That she could get off because of the abuse. Tia didn’t tell her it no longer mattered. She knew her sister needed something to hold on to, a way to clear Tia’s name. Tia wondered if Leigh would still try to do that after she was gone.
Tia hated hurting her sister, but she was so tired. Tired of hurting, tired of life. Just tired.
The two officers guarding Tia were talking to each other. Tia knew they didn’t think she was a threat, not to anyone else anyway. She used their distraction to her advantage and quietly pulled her insulin and syringe out. She had counted on them letting her keep the medicine after the paramedics told the cops stress could bring about a hypoglycemic episode. One of her guards turned toward Tia, but not before she injected herself with a lethal dose of insulin. Tia watched him turn back to his partner, not concerned after he saw that it was just her medication.
Tia asked to be placed in a patrol car. She told the officers she was tired and needing to sit down. The officers complied. Tia watched activity swirling around outside the window and thought back to earlier that night.
Given the chance, she would do it all again, she decided. It was past time Tucker was stopped. She had thought about leaving him numerous times, but couldn’t bear to think he would find another woman to abuse. She thought she could handle everything, and she did for years, but she finally figured out there were some things nobody could handle.
As Tia felt her body slow down, she smiled. She knew it wouldn’t be long now. The last thing she saw before she slipped away was Tucker’s face. Tia knew she’d see him in hell again soon.