This novelette looks at the world of domestic violence. It is not a pretty picture.
Set in present-day Boston, Truvi and her four boys are living with Jake, her boyfriend (two of the children are his). Noor, her friend and co-worker, is the recipient of several frantic, late night phone calls from Truvi saying that Jake is drunk (again), he has grabbed her by the throat, and pushed her against the wall, etc. Noor lets Turvi and her children live with her for a while. After some time, Truvi tells Noor that they are going back to Jake. Crying on the phone, Jake has promised to do better in the future. Noor tells Truvi that there will be no more rushing over to her place. If she wants to leave Jake, Noor will help her any way she can, but Truvi has to make the first move.
As the months go on, Truvi's normally vivacious personality disappears. She barely says two sentences to Noor in weeks, she brings her lunch, so she can stay at her desk, and not have to talk to Noor, and she starts wearing scarves and turtlenecks to work (to hide the neck bruises). One day, Truvi announces to Noor that she has found an apartment, away from Jake. Noor helps them move in; there are now five boys (the latest child is Jake's). Things are relatively stable, for a while.
Jake continues to demand his visitation rights, and the courts continue to agree with them. Bringing the boys over for one such court-mandated visit, Jake walks out of his condo, carrying a shotgun. He makes it clear to Truvi that he intends to use it. Demanding that Truvi open the car doors (everyone is still inside the car), Jake seems surprised when the police come and arrest him. Searching his condo, the police find a pigsty, a large arsenal of weapons and lots of Nazi paraphernalia. The police criticize Truvi for sending the children into such an atmosphere; she tells them, in no uncertain terms, that she had no choice. Now that Jake is in custody, is Truvi's nightmare over? Is this one of those stories that will end only when someone is dead?
This is very unpleasant, but very good, reading. The author does a really good job at putting a human face on a subject like domestic violence. It is very much recommended.